This just in, kids graphic novels are bigger than superheroes according to ICv2 Insider Talks. Enter DC Zoom, which has produced quite a few awesome done-in-one stories. Kids are reading more graphic novels, so why shouldn’t DC Comics continue to build their brand with kids and young adult books? In stores now, Black Canary: Ignite is the latest from DC, capturing the middle school reader audience with a younger version of Black Canary. After reading this book it is becoming quite clear a non-cannon superhero story for younger readers is a blast to read for all ages.
Written by Meg Cabot with art by Cara McGee this book introduces thirteen-year-old Dinah Lance who is a fun and highly relatable girl who stands up against bullies. She’s in a band with her two friends and while she’s not the popular girl she’s okay with that. Life gets a lot more complicated however when things start to crack and break around her. At first, she thinks it’s telekinesis and it puts her life in a bit of disarray. By the end of the book, she gains confidence, learns being different is okay, and grows up a little bit.
The magic in this book comes from the energy of the lines and writing. More than once I was reminded of Scott Pilgrim with the fun and young energy exhibited by the characters and scenes. Dinah is finding herself as much as she is finding her inner superhero and it’s fun to tag along. The book is also told in chapters similar to manga keeping a general focus on a few scenes and the greater purpose of those scenes. It keeps the book moving along while showing the passage of time well too.
Parents are going to love how the parental dynamic is written; they’re familiar in their protective nature, but also open to Dinah discovering herself. Dinah’s dad works as a police officer in Gotham and her mom is a florist. Cabot does a good job integrating minor hints this is taking place in the DC Comics universe like Joker being on the run, or how Dinah’s friend insists it’s “The Batgirl” not just Batgirl. It’s also interesting to learn about a separate high school for superpowered kids. Black Canary has always been a slightly different DC character as her powers are genetic. She’s not simply strapping leather on and running out to fight bad guys. That uniqueness is captured well here.
I had a blast with this collection, which is a brisk 144-page read. McGee’s art is constantly clever throwing in interesting wrinkles to capture the emotions for the characters well. Give this book a shot and I guarantee you’ll want more from Dinah and her journey in becoming a superhero.
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