Goodreads: Finals Crisis
Series: DC Super Hero Girls Graphic Novels #1
Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl, Bumblebee, and the rest are preparing for finals at Super Hero High. But when heroes start disappearing, they might not be able to pass!
This graphic novel take on the DC heroes (and villains) is cute and colorful, making even traditionally sexy characters like Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy age appropriate so younger audiences can enjoy the characters. Further, plenty of changes are made so traditional villains like Lady Shiva or Cat Woman walk the halls of Super Hero High. This apparently allows for the largest possible cast so, no matter who your favorite characters are, you can share them with a younger reader. Indeed, the cast is diverse enough that I had to look up many of the characters since I don’t read the comics and so only a few names are familiar to me.
But though the characters must necessarily change to be appropriate, there are plenty of nods to their original roles. Batgirl is always prepared, Harley Quinn likes jokes and parties, and Poison Ivy would rather spend time with her plants. Steve Trevor makes an appearance as the barista at a local shake shop. I’m not really sure what this does for his character other than make him seem really normal and not that important compared to the superheroes. Sometimes they need to rescue him from the villains on a lunch run. Basically, the entire book is very G-rated and very concerned with the types of things young readers might be concerned about–grabbing a smoothie, studying for a test, dealing with bullies, or trying to get extra credit.
The storyline itself is fun because it showcases seven characters, each with their own storyline that then connects into a larger narrative–Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Bumblebee, Katana, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn. No matter who you like best or whom you identify with more, you have a chance at seeing them featured as the protagonist for a time. You also have the opportunity to learn more about other characters you might not be as familiar with.
My only complaint is the ending, which only makes sense if you assume dialogue happened that isn’t contained in the panels. I can assume, of course, that these conversations happened somewhere in the gutters, but I’d prefer not to have to do that. [Spoilers for the end.] Basically, the principal determines that all the girls have admitted to breaking the rules even though they say stuff like, “I was fixing the smoothie machine” and “I wanted fertilizer.” Last I checked, neither are against the rules. Bumblebee takes an instrument from school without permission to fix the machine, but does not say so. And Poison Ivy? I’m still sure why it was wrong for her to buy fertilizer? Is it because she went alone? At any rate, you have to assume that somewhere they spilled all these details if you want to justify the principal punishing them.
Still, it’s a fun book and sure to delight young readers who love superheroes. I can see this becoming a much-loved franchise for girls.