DC Super Hero Girls: Finals Crisis is the graphic novel companion to DC and Mattel’s juggernaut action doll line, DC Super Hero Girls. In this volume the first semester at Super Hero High is coming to an end and finals are fast approaching. Each of our main heroes has a different reaction to the upcoming tests; Supergirl flying home for reassurance, Wonder Woman catching villains for extra credit, Katanna practicing her stealth skills, Bumblebee taking a study break at the smoothie shop, Poison Ivy deciding to go big or go home on her final project, Harley Quinn throwing a party, and Batgirl who is just trying to find a quiet place to study. But something sinister is afoot and our heroes are getting picked off one by one as a new mysterious villain checks them off his list.
The writing in this first entry, in what will most likely be a series of graphic novels, is pretty simple. The vocabulary is perfect for early elementary school age kids. It is full of corny and cheesy puns that play off our main characters’ powers and super hero identities. There isn’t a lot here for adults beyond a few carefully placed in-jokes that fans of DC comics will notice. A Nightwing doll on Batgirl’s bed, Supergirl’s horse comet makes a cameo appearance, and it turns out that Steve Trevor runs the local super hero café. Adults who are fans of the toy line and/or want to know about DC Super Hero Girls so that they can talk to their kids about the series are most likely the only adult audience this graphic novel will find.
The art is best described as clean. The heroes are clearly the main focus. In fact, most of the panels have blank, but colored backdrops unless there is something important happening in the background. The art style hues closely to the animation style from the webisodes and DVD, DC Super Hero Girls: Hero of the Year. The coloring, however, is the art’s strong point. The colors are bright, sugary, and have a sort of “pop art” feel to them. Parents will appreciate that the characters have age appropriate outfits on and I foresee a lot of youngsters cosplaying some of these outfits in the coming months.
This book will most likely appeal to readers between the ages of 6-10 years old. I don’t see it appealing to many fans outside of the elementary school age group just because the story line and language is so simple. I can, however, see there being some crossover with younger brothers and sisters as well. The main difference between this and almost every other superhero comic on stands and in book stores right now is that it is written with a primarily female audience in mind. Younger girls who love superheroes will appreciate this distinction and parents and educators will flock to a title targeted at an often forgotten audience.
DC Super Hero Girls: Finals Crisis
by Shea Fontana
Art by Yancey Labat
DC Comics, 2016
Publisher Age Rating: All Ages