GRAPHIC NOVELS

Anti/Hero

DC Comics. May 2020. 144p. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781401293253.
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Gr 3-6–Two polar-opposite, superpowered 13-year-old girls get in each other’s way as they attempt to complete a mission. Popular Piper Pájaro is determined to protect her city as the superhero the Hummingbird, but her lack of control over her super strength has law enforcement dubbing her the Wrecking Ball. Intelligent thief Sloane MacBrute is the essence of suave thanks to her tech gadgetry and stealth. But unlike outgoing Piper, Sloane is a loner, forced into an isolating life of crime in order to take care of her mom. When Sloane’s crime lord grandfather demands she steal a mysterious invention for him, Piper’s and Sloane’s paths collide and they accidentally activate the invention: a body-switching device. Trapped in each other’s bodies, the two girls must work together to thwart the senior MacBrute’s evil plans. Although the plot is predictable at times, this is a quick, funny read with an empowering message about learning to understand others. At times, the authors use well-worn tropes (Piper’s missing parents; Sloane’s sick mother) to advance the narrative; at others, they subvert expectations (often kids with troubled family lives are depicted as academic underperformers, but here it’s Piper who struggles and Sloane who excels). Gil’s vibrant art brings the story to life through contrasting color schemes, skillfully drawn action sequences, and lively facial expressions.
VERDICT Fans of the DC Super Hero Girls TV series will find Piper and Sloane a winning duo.

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