Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Bullet review: Flash Facts

Last week I bought the DC book Flash Facts, a sort of chapter book for young readers about science and technology. It carries the star power of Mayim Bialik as editor but most of the stories are done by comic veterans whose names I recognize.

There are ten stories in this book with a variety of characters and art styles which makes me think it is a decent primer for kids who don't know the DCU but are into science.

And I was happy to see that Supergirl was one of the characters chosen to be represented. Her story could have easily been a Superman one, or a Starfire one, or a Miss Martian one. But Kara got the spotlight and that makes me happy.

The story is written by Cecil Castelucci (who I know mostly from Shade the Changing Girl) and drawn by Gretel Lusky, someone I don't know. Castelucci frames the story with some good Supergirl moments but the bulk of the pages are an almost encyclopedic discussion of the galaxy and space. Great knowledge dump, no doubt. I learned a ton. But not much warmth .. perhaps appropriate when discussing space.

Lusky's art is charming and fits the tone of the book. It has a nice polish too it and feels right for a 'children's book'. But I also think it would work well with any of the new DC young adult trades or even some licensed books like Superhero Girls.

Still, I don't want to belittle that framework portion of the story. Castelucci seems to understand Supergirl more than many.

On to the brief review.

Supergirl shows up at a school as an invited guest. A student named Maya, a 'budding scientist', is assigned as Supergirl's guide.

Maya has been given an assignment to do a science project about something at home. She seems vexed about a topic. So Supergirl reminds her that home isn't just her house but also her planet, solar system, and galaxy.

What I like about this is Supergirl stating, almost matter-of-factly, that she has a new home ... Earth ... and she loves it.

How many times in recent years has Supergirl left Earth in the comics, not clearly stating it is her home, and sometimes hating it.

Supergirl takes Maya out into space.

I mean it when I say I learned stuff. Lots of stuff.

I like the 'Goldilocks zone' idea, a band which is the optimum zone for potential life.

But as you can see, this is a big info dump.

There is only a little bit of personal interaction between Kara and Maya. Kara is pretty much lecturing.

At least here, she says Maya has a good eye for celestial bodies.

But then Supergirl again says that Earth is beautiful and that is why she helps and protects it.

See how easy that is DC?

Maya does a great science project about her solar system, her 'home'.

For me, the best part of this page is Supergirl again says she really loves her adopted planet. 


I do wish there was a little more warmth in the middle pages, something to show that these two became friends and not just a teacher/student model. You see a glimpse here.

Still, overall this is a fun book which can teach interested kids a lot about a number of realms of science. Would probably make a nice birthday or holiday gift for the young budding scientist you know!


Martin Gray said...

Spot-on review, apart from the opening and closing I found this very tough going. Most of the other stories, too, failed to find a balance between fun and facts - too much medicine, not enough sugar. My favourite was the Mera and Aquaman story, it had heart to go with some fascinating information. The art was lovely, but writers of the calibre of Sholly Fisch were just wasted.

Anonymous said...

Great Krypton!! I haven't seen Dialogue Balloons that thickly settled since the Empire Days of Mort Wiesinger....:)
Properly written Supergirl should regularly haunt HS Science Fairs those kids are her natural constituency, in a meta context I mean.


Anonymous said...

Hello from a french fan of supergirl,

Please dc comic take care of supergirl as she takes care of the earth in this book. It would be so much better.

I have the impression that dc succeeds better in its universes intended for children like teen titan go or dc super heroes girls than the rest.

Professor Feetlebaum said...

It would be nice to see Supergirl visiting schools and taking students on fact finding field trips across the universe from time to time in the regular continuity.

Superman or Starfire may have worked out in Kara's place, but not Miss Martian. How could she convincingly explain that Mars no longer has water and thus cannot sustain life...H.G. Wells and Orson Welles notwithstanding?

John (somewhere in England) said...

Of all the natural sciences, astronomy is the one I know most about, so I'm very happy that one of my favourite subjects was given to one of my favourite characters.

Martin Gray said...

It’s almost as if someone at DC remembered that Kara is a science whiz...

Anj said...

Thanks for comments!

I do love when Supergirl gets all science-y so this was a treat.

And it was delightful to see a happy and helpful Supergirl get her a geek on.