Wednesday, April 6, 2016

DC Super Hero Girls: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High

When DC Comics first announced this new marketing of female super heroes, I was excited.  I mean, for far too long, the female line of heroes at DC (and Marvel, for that matter), have had little attention.  While Superman and Batman have carried multiple monthly titles for decades, poor Wonder Woman has struggled with just one (only in recent years has Sensation Comics been revived, only to be quickly cancelled).  So the fact that DC was marketing a whole line of toys, books, etc. with the female heroes from the DC Universe, I was hyped.

First came the cartoon shorts online, featuring the female heroes as youngsters, going to school at Super Hero High, where Amanda Waller is the principal and the familiar faces of Supergirl, Hawkgirl, Stargirl, Katana, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Bumblebee, and more are students.

Then came the dolls and action figures.  They are a bit on the "kiddish" side, but then, they are aimed at a young audience - although, no doubt, there is a large market of adult collectors who are buying them as well.

Now comes this book.  I was hoping that it was just the first in an ongoing series of books based on these characters.  It is bound in a nice hard cover, and with 237 pages and 29 chapters, I thought it would have plenty of space to flesh out a great story.  Wonder Woman at Super Hero High - the Amazon princess comes to man's world as a young girl to join this prestigious school that trains the next generation of super heroes.  Only, the school is not quite as easy as she thinks.  She begins receiving messages telling her to leave the school and constantly harping on how un-heroic she is.  Then she makes one mistake after another, whether in class or social settings.  The harder she tries to fit in, the more of an outsider she feels. She finally gets the opportunity to prove herself, to her mother, her fellow students, and herself - at the 100th annual Super Triathalon, where a select group of students from SHH will complete against heroes from other schools in contests of strength and will.

The premise and plot are rather fun, and Lisa Yee's writing certainly makes for a smooth, easy read.  The characterization is pretty close - Barbara Gordon is a tech whiz; Poison Ivy is shy but has a passion for plants; Harley Quinn is simply bonkers; Killer Frost is one cold cookie; Katana is as sharp as she is serious; and Wonder Woman carries an air of innocence about her.  The thing that bothered me, though, throughout the entire story, is the fact that the characters have no names outside of their super hero names.  Wonder Woman is not Diana.  Ever.  Even her own mother called her Wonder Woman.  Hawkgirl is never Shayera.  Poison Ivy is never Pamela.  Bumblebee is never Karen.  It's as if they have no real names.  Which makes for some clunky dialogue at times, when a mother is talking to her daughter, or a teacher is talking to a student, and they repeatedly have to refer to her as "Wonder Woman."

That aside, however, it was a fun read, so who could ask for anything more.  Plus, with some cameos by Amethyst, Black Orchid, and other lesser-known heroes, it's a fan's Easter Egg special. And with the last page of the story bringing into the fold a certain Maid of Might with the tagline "To Be Continued..." one can only assume that a next book is planned.  Whether it actually sees the light of day remains to be seen.

RATING:  7 golden lassos out of 10 for spotlighting some of the greatest characters in the DC Universe who definitely deserve more limelight!

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