When I get bored, I look for trouble. And since I have no idea what trouble looks like, I usually find a book, or five books. Granted, none are more than a 150-200 pages each. Just quick young graphic novels that were not really “that young” with some mature themes, issues and images going on.
In Supergirl Adventures: Girl of Steel we are introduce to Kara (aka Supergirl) from a young girl on her home planet, to the day Krypton was destroyed and the sister planet she lived on was forced out of orbit, to her being found by Superman and her life on Earth. This might be different from other versions, but this is what we are given: themes of literally being an alien, learning how to adjust to your changing body, family and more as she is in the middle of stopping villains, learning the truth about happened to her family, and the human emotions. The illustrations are dark, but not gruesome, but they are not covering anything up, really. Yet the colors are brightly done, even when there are shadows, or a tense scene. They look like a cross between a traditional comic book, tv cartoon episode and a picture book. They are not “girly” or “boyish” and the story can fit anyone.
Superman Adventures: Lex Luthor, Man of Metropolis continues this combination of comic book, tv cartoon episode and picture book. And still, it is not light. We deal with racism, hatred, villains (not just Luther) and the everyday issues humans face. Superman is set in the “now” but also feels old school. Lois Lane has no problem with showing off a lot of leg as she places herself on top of a desk. And yet, she is not too much of a damsel in distress. The stories focus on Luther as the main villain, but we are given other people as well, such as Granny Goodness and even Livewire. This book, like the Supergirl one is a typical comic graphic novel. It has Superhero stories in them. Neither title is “light” but not overly “heavy” in themes or content, still at least ages 10 up is the best audience.
This also includes Justice League Unlimited: Girl Power. This book is like the above titles with multiple stories all focused on some well-known female Superheroes and a few I was not aware of or knew little about. Two of them surprised me to realize they were still allowed in a modern book, especially for kids. One is due to the suggestive nature of her outfit and the other was Gypsy. Yes, she looks like she stepped out of Hunchback of Notre Dame, with her flowing skirts and wild hair, bare feet, dangles on wrists and ankles, and her ability to literally disappear. The theme of Girl Power is strong, even if Mary Marvel sounds like her brother Captain Marvel, has the same powers, she has talents and abilities all her own due to her personality. And just because the team was all female, they were not sent because they are female, but because their talents will work best for fighting. And yes, the men are right there beside them. Sometimes being “guys” and having to learn to be more “woke” but they are all heroes at the end of the day.
And then there are the two for the younger (7 to 10) group, Dear DC Super-Villains by Michael Northrop (illustrated by Gustavo Duarte) and DC Super Hero Girls: Midterms by Amy Wolfram (illustrated by Yancey Labat).
Dear DC Super-Villains goes way over to the goofy side of things, and even though we are dealing with bad guys and gals, Luther, Harley Quinn, Katana, and others, we are having Kids writing letters to them for advice. There are a few bumps along the way (the Justice League has ways of making bad guys talk) and instead of Luther being broken out of jail, he has some company, but overall, the advice is solid. Do you best, help others, have a soft spot for kittens (even if Yellow Lantern says always to be mean) and so forth. It is just silly fun, and the companion to Dear Justice League (which is the good guys being asked does Superman make mistakes and such).
Finally, I will touch on DC Super Hero Girls: Midterms. This book is trying to be a “serious” story with the message of being able to balance work and fun (schoolwork and superhero work and hanging out with friends). There is the pressure of “doing the best” you can (which means a 4.2 not just a lowly 4.0). And how friendships are the strength behind us. Of course, there is a “bad guy” who tries and ruin the day, everyone including Bumble Bee learn a lesson about leadership, balance, and the right amount of it all. Simple text, simple illustrations that are bold and fun and look like they are a cartoon show with a little “umpfh” pf to them. Not overly exciting, or new, it is a fun way to introduce superheroes (especially the super gals) and graphic novels to people. The nice thing is you do not need to know who Wonder Woman is, or the others as this story is new to their mythology.
If an author or illustrator is not mentioned in a books review, it is because due to the nature of multiple issues within the collection, that book is by “Various” authors and illustrators.