I just read that if you act in a DC movie or Marvel movie, you are now part of that franchise and cannot crossover. In fact, you are not even allowed to go to a premier of the other franchise less it confuses fans. Thankfully, as a fan of both franchises (or at least a few characters in each) I can watch whatever or read any graphic novel I want. And I wanted to read some DC graphic novels for the teenage age range. I will say these books are for the 13 to adult for the best audience. But as there is violence, language and situations that might not be for the sensitive reader, judge your reader accordingly. However, nothing is “too over the top” or not what has not been seen in movies, other books or television shows.
I started with Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale by Lauren Myracle. It is an origin story that takes some of the things we know about Catwoman and adds new twists and turns. Familiar characters (and new ones) play a part in making the girl, Selina Kyle, into Catwoman. We follow teenage Selina deal with her mother’s abusive boyfriends, deal with school, trying to make a few friends, her relationship with a young man named Bruce Wayne and the events that allow her to become a queen of crime. Things have become modernized; the looks and characters are both “new looking” and have an interesting classical vibe. Some characters you can guess might become other people, but that is less obvious than in the Batman story (next review). Isaac Goodhart’s illustrations are traditional graphic novel art with little to no real color (or at least in my reader copy). The details are both detailed and sparse depending on the needs and the panel size. One needs to read both text and art to get the entire picture (much of Selina’s anger, hurt and even madness comes out in them). There is a not a lot of action to start with, this is a buildup and not so much the “Criminal Years.” There are a few heists, danger, and a couple of fights. There is the theme of making your own choices and a possible cult (which I am trying to figure out why that is thrown in at the end).
Continuing with Batman: Nightwalker by Stuart Moore (who adapted the graphic novel from the Marie Lu novel) and Chris Wildgoose (illustrator). We see a piece of the Batman puzzle in this graphic novel. Based on Lu’s novel, we watch as Bruce Wayne becomes aware of the crime of the city and his place of privilege in it. We see the impulsive child, the young man who grew up quickly after the death of his parents, we see Wayne Manor with servants that seem not to be in other adaptations I know. With the movies, TV shows, novels, and graphic novels, we each have our own origin story. This seems to combine all of them and add its own pieces as well. We see a few people that will come other people later (Harvey Dent/Two Face to name one) and a few new characters (or at least new to me). There are hints to what is to come for Bruce (we see a few bats, there is Arkham Asylum). The technology has modernized as the characters looks. While this book created a lot of unanswered questions for me, it also answers several within the story. One of the unanswered questions is how (or is it) connected to Under the Moon. There are characters that could be crossing over. And not just Bruce Wayne. There is a gang in both novels that seem to be connected. However, nothing is black and white: not even the illustrations. Pay attention to the color yellow.
When I started Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo (adapted Louise Simonson with Kit Seaton illustrating) I started off with the bias of not being a Wonder Woman fan (handing in feminist card). I appreciate a female character; she’s just not on the Really-Like-List. I should have started that this review is from a not finished read. I left Diana trying to leave the island to save this girl who is a descendant of Helen of Troy. I know the story to where Diana learns of the Warbringer and her role to bring destruction to the world. The book opens with the basics: Diana is made of clay, she is not an Amazon because the goddesses granted her rebirth (did not know that the Amazon’s are female warriors of the world who died in battle and reborn because Greek goddesses allowed them immortality), but because her mother wanted something of her own. We see her try to prove herself and her human flaws: caring for someone that would destroy her people and not thinking of her loyalty to her Amazon sisters. We see female empowerment roles. There is a modern take on sexuality (Diana mentions some Amazons like women, some men, some both and others neither). There is Man Created History storyline (Helen of Troy was a Warbringer and that is why destruction came to the world; not because she was beautiful as man can only see her power coming from beauty and not internal strength). Things are slow despite a race, Diana saving the girl from a shipwreck and going to the Oracle. This is a buildup story to how a Princess becomes a Warrior. The illustrations are needed to show how people are presented (Amazons come from different religions and ethnic backgrounds) and to show the action. Details are what is needed to show the story. As this is a reader copy, I am not sure what final art will be like, but I’m assuming there will be little color.