Sunday, July 17, 2016

DC Super Hero Girls, Graphic Novel No. 1 - Finals Crisis

The women (girls) of the DC Comics universe are back in their first graphic novel (after the preview issue on Free Comic Book Day back in May).  As a huge fan of the female characters in the DC universe, this new venture by DC Comics to spotlight the female heroes, albeit in a younger format, is exciting to see.  Not only has DC put out an online cartoon, dolls and action figures, but they have a series of young adult books and now a series of comic book tales.  Needless to say, I'm gobbling them all up!

"Finals Crisis" is the story of the girls facing one of their greatest challenges to date - final exams at the end of their first semester at Super Hero High!  These young super heroes prepare themselves for the last exam of the semester, where they will have to prove to their teachers and the principal, Amanda Waller, that they have learned and gained more control over their powers during the course of the semester.  There's only one problem - someone in the shadows is taking down the super hero girls, one by one, on some unknown thirst for revenge.

Shea Fontana, who is the writer for this graphic novel, is new to me.  I've never heard her name before, but based on her bio in the back of the story, she has also written some of the episodes of the DC Super Hero Girls animated shorts.  I give her props for being able to capture each character's personality and then take it down to the age-appropriate level for these young high school heroes.  Harley is fun without being psychotic; Poison Ivy loves her plants, but is somewhat insecure; Batgirl is a genius without being too assertive; Wonder Woman is innocent and powerful, yet still naive about other people; Supergirl is still new to Earth and learning as she goes; Katana is skilled with a sword but not as reserved as her older self; and Bumblebee - well, she's as fun and energetic as always.  The artist, Yancey Labat, provides an animated style of art without making the characters appear too cartoony.

I give DC props for going out on a limb with this series.  Today's comics seem less geared for kids and certainly do not show a lighter side of the characters (God-forbid every comic isn't all dark and gloomy with death and violence and depression).  This series hearkens back to the days when DC was publishing Super Friends, and you could watch them on TV every Saturday morning.  No concern with continuity and how the stories and/or characters fit in with the other 50 comics DC is publishing at the time, and no concern about ensuring that one story takes up 12 or more issues.  This graphic novel is a shining example of what comics can be - fun, not too heavy, and open to all ages.

I certainly hope DC has more of these in the works, as they have a life-long fan out of me!  DC Super Hero Girls rule!!!!

RATING:  10 bags of radioactively enhanced super-grow fertilizer out of 10 for proving that comics do not have to be dark and gritty and realistic in order to be enjoyed!

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