DC Comics has been very good at releasing fantastic kids and middle-grade graphic novels — Dear Justice League and Super Sons are proof of that. Their latest DC Kids book is Diana: Princess of the Amazons, which features an eleven year-old Diana doing chores and trying to have fun on Themiscyra. The problem is she has nobody to play with since she’s the only kid. This makes for a good story for any only child, a kid who might have bad influences in their life or a kid who knows they should do right but doesn’t.
Written by Dean Hale and Shannon Hale, Princess of the Amazons does a good job establishing Diana and her good nature. She does her chores and is a good athlete, but her mother is a bit too busy running things. She soon finds a new friend made from clay and their fun turns from innocent to trouble. It’s quite clear Diana knows stealing bread is wrong, but she doesn’t want to lose her friend by saying she won’t participate. It’s a strong story of bad influences and I could see kids reading this and learning from it. The story turns from bad to worse with some action fighting monsters and eventually finding out what is really going on with Diane’s influences. The plot shifts well enough to keep things interesting all the way to the end.
The art by Victoria Ying has a storybook feel that suits Diana’s age and the many animals that live on the island. Pages tend to have no more than four panels, but in the digest format, it’s hardly noticeable. The story moves along at a good clip and is easy to follow. Ying does a good job showing the various emotions Diana goes through from happy, to sad, and quite embarrassed too. Diana’s red blushing cheeks do well to clue us into what she’s feeling inside.
The one downside of the book is the beginning of the third act. Diana ends up fighting monsters (I’m staying vague to avoid spoilers), and we stick to one location for much too long. It gets rather boring, with no scene changes, instead consisting of one long scene. There’s plenty of talking with the villain, but it feels somewhat pointless. We know how this is going to end and the conversation doesn’t add much. The problem is the meat of the story and meaning has been translated up until this point. Things pick up when Diana makes amends–another good lesson for kiddos–and the book ends well.
I liked this graphic novel, though I found it a bit thin at the beginning of the third act. Kids will love Diana, how she’s depicted, and the adventure in finding some fun when boring chores take up her day. Parents will appreciate the message in this story too.
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