Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Review: DC Superhero Girls Finals Crisis

Last week, the first DC Superhero Girls trade 'Finals Crisis' came out. Written by Shea Fontana and drawn by Yancey Labat, the story is fun one showcasing all the characters nicely and telling a good story of how teamwork can defeat even the greatest villains. I had read Chapter One already when it was released on Free Comic Book Day. And while that meant that Supergirl was removed from the story early on, I was very impressed with this whole book.

For one, I liked how each character got to shine in a solo chapter. This gave Fontana some room to explore each of the Superhero Girls and let new readers learn about their personality. (There is a 'role call' page giving powers and character traits as well).

I also like who the surprise villain is and what their motivation is. Rather timely in an odd way.

Fontana also brings a lot of fun to the book for old timers like me. We hear how Liberty Belle wrote a text book on super-heroes. Starfire has a personality similar to the one from Teen Titans Go! I liked seeing Flash in detention, the only true hero there. Perhaps he has an impulse problem? And even seeing Steve Trevor and Lois Lane as the 'normal' people in the nearby cafe was fun.

But perhaps what I like best is that there is a fun timeline to the chapters that sharp readers can build in their mind. We will see a character in  the background in one chapter and then in a later chapter we see why that character is there. It makes it fun.

Labat brings a clean and breezy style to the book which shines here. Whether the light action sequences or the fun happening in school, the whole book is bright and energetic.

On to the story.

Each chapter follows a pattern. The main character somehow finds themselves alone where a villain cloaked in shadows traps them. The villain seems to know much about each superhero girl and is able to use the situation to their advantage. Here, Poison Ivy has been tricked into a place with no plants she can control.

I like that Ivy is here to find a radioactive fertilizer to create a massive plant to disrupt finals. There is a 'supervillain' streak in this Ivy.

I liked the Katana chapter mostly because we hadn't really met her in the shorts. I wondered what she is like on this series.

I liked how she talked about how disciplined she is and as a result the best sparring partner for her is Beast Boy as he is completely undisciplined. Nice insight into who she is.

Wonder Woman is out on the town with Hawkgirl and Lady Shiva and ends up fighting Giganta for extra credit. In the course of the battle, Diana has to catch Steve Trevor who stammers a bunch about how much he likes her.

Diana is really the star of the book. But even she is taken out by the villain who knows the one thing she can't break is her lasso. The villain snatches it and ties her up.

Here is a nice example of that intertwining of the characters' plot lines. Batgirl just wants to have a quiet place to study. Finding the campus too distracting, she ends up heading to the Batcave. But even that place is noisy as the battle against Giganta is happening above ground.

In the end, all the DC Superhero Girls find themselves captured by .... Luthor.

Perhaps the thing I find fascinating is his motivation. His sister didn't get into SuperHero High. As a result, Lex wanted to thin the herd hoping the school would find a spot for his sister.

Incredibly, Lena Luthor is a big motivation for Luthor in the main DCU and this book!

Lena Luthor!

Using some ingenuity, the team is able to get free to attack Luthor directly. The key is Ivy learning that sometimes something precise is more helpful than something large and powerful.

Facing the might of the all the girls, Luthor ends up being defeated.The girls are able to use the footage of this teamwork be their actual final exam.

This was a fun, breezy, delightful look at these characters. I have yet to be disappointed by this line. So kudos to Fontana and Labat. They really tell a refreshing story even for a grizzled old comic veteran like me.

Overall grade: B+

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So it was Luthor all along in the shadows... huh, who would've thunk it :)

Excellent review Anj. I'll have to head to my comics store to pick this up ASAP. Due to the combined Canada
and US long weekends, was a rather busy weekend. Looks like it'll be a fun read, and WELL worth the wait!