WONDER WOMAN

WARBRINGER

Diana’s lasso of truth shows this one is a winner.

A graphic adaptation of Bardugo’s (Ninth House, 2019, etc.) 2017 novel of the same name.

Diana was molded from clay by her mother, Hippolyta, and given life by the goddesses. Because she was made and did not earn her place in Themyscira, Diana is determined to prove herself to her mother and her fellow Amazons by winning the race to Bana-Mighdall. Midway through the race, Diana witnesses a ship exploding and sets aside her desire for victory to save a girl, Alia. When Alia’s presence on the island wreaks havoc, Diana learns she is a Warbringer, cursed to bring death and destruction everywhere she goes. Diana and Alia flee Themyscira, return Alia to New York City and, with the help of Alia’s brother and two of their friends, work to break the curse. The introduction of necessary background information doesn’t always flow well with the conversation bubbles, and red-outlined text boxes showing Alia’s thoughts feel insufficient for the introduction of a second narrator. Well-paced and funny, where this adaptation stands out is in the illustrations that show people of color in a nuanced way. The cast is diverse—Diana appears white, Alia and her brother are biracial (black and Greek), their two friends are cued as South Asian, fat, and queer and Afro-Latinx respectively. Readers need not have read any other Wonder Woman stories to enjoy this one.

Diana’s lasso of truth shows this one is a winner. (Graphic novel. 13-17)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4012-8255-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: DC Ink

Review Posted Online: Oct. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

I AM NOT STARFIRE

Equal parts entertaining and thought-provoking.

Sixteen-year-old Mandy considers herself the anti-Starfire: Unlike her scantily clad superhero mother, she doesn’t have superpowers, can’t fly, and doesn’t even own a bathing suit.

Mandy dyes her hair and dresses in all black to further call out how different they are. Mandy’s best friend, Lincoln, whose parents were born in Vietnam, insightfully summarizes this rift as being down to an intergenerational divide that occurs whether parents and children come from different countries or different planets. Mandy tries to figure out what kind of future she wants for herself as she struggles with teenage insecurities and bullying, her relationship with her mom, and her budding friendship (or is it something more?) with her new class project partner, Claire. Yoshitani’s vibrant and colorful stylized illustrations beautifully meld the various iterations of Starfire and the Titans with the live-action versions of those characters. Together with Tamaki’s punchy writing, this coming-of-age story of identity, family, friendship, and saving the world is skillfully brought to life in a quick but nuanced read. These layers are most strongly displayed as the story draws parallels between cultural differences between the generations as evidenced in how the characters address bullying, body positivity, fatphobia, fetishization and sexualization, and feminism. This title addresses many important concepts briefly, but well, with great pacing, bold art, and concise and snappy dialogue. The cast is broadly diverse in both primary and secondary characters.

Equal parts entertaining and thought-provoking. (Graphic fantasy. 14-16)

Pub Date: July 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-126-4

Page Count: 184

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2021

THE PLAIN JANES

From the Janes series , Vol. 1-3

Hopeful stories about art, activism, friendship, and recovery.

The PLAIN Janes (2007), Janes in Love (2008), and a new entry in the Janes series, Janes Attack Back, released in a single volume.

In the first installment, printed in blue ink, Jane “Main Jane” Beckles was a regular teen until she was caught in a bombing in her city that prompted her parents to move to the suburbs. In her new school, she and her new friends—Jane, Jayne, and Polly Jane—form a guerrilla art group called P.L.A.I.N. (People Loving Art In Neighborhoods). The second entry, printed in pink, has the Janes struggling with interpersonal conflict and a lack of funds for art supplies. Jane corresponds with Miroslaw, the Polish stranger whose life—and sketchbook—she saved in the explosion and whom she visited while he recuperated, unconscious, in hospital. Volume 3, which features green ink, picks up as the Janes scatter for summer break with Main Jane traveling to France to visit Miroslaw and attend an art class taught by his girlfriend. The illustrations smoothly integrate different art styles so that readers experience them at the same time Jane does. Upon returning for senior year, Jane meets Payne, a new student who holds radically different views on art. Their push and pull deftly shows how complex relationships can be and how competition can build both stronger art and stronger friendships. Main characters are white. Unfortunately, the word “tribe” remains in these reprints.

Hopeful stories about art, activism, friendship, and recovery. (Graphic fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-52272-4

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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