They say before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes. Well in the new DC graphic novel Anti/Hero, that statement is lived out literally. Writers Kate Karyus Quinn and Demitria Lunetta along with artist Maca Gil have crafted a delightful coming-of-age story about two thirteen year-old girls from opposite sides of East Gotham City. One wants nothing more than to be a hero while the other uses her unique talents to get what she needs by any means necessary. When a freak accident ends with the two of them switching bodies, the real fun begins.
The story revolves around Piper Pajaro and Sloan Macbrute. Piper is a bright student by day and The Hummingbird, a vigilante superhero by night. She possesses super strength but causes more damage than anything. Sloan, who also goes by Gray, uses her heightened intellect to pull off odd smash-and-grab crime gigs for her granddad to support her sick mother. Unaware that either has a secret identity, eventually they cross paths, which leads to tons of laughs and some pretty interesting action sequences over the course of the story.
Some of the coolest aspects of Anti/Hero in terms of writing is Quinn and Lunetta’s ability to play in the world of Gotham and create such a dynamic story that includes some current real world social issues like class, diversity, and upbringing. Piper is a hispanic character from Gotham Acres, which as you can tell from the beginning of the story, is a nicer area than where Sloan comes from. Sloan comes from Gotham Estates, which is essentially the ghetto part of East Gotham. She has to work a lot harder for the things that come easy for Piper. The most interesting part about their situation is that Sloan takes this role, which is usually bestowed upon a minority character.
The story also does an excellent job of fleshing out both Piper and Sloan’s goals, agendas, and differences and really showing how their separate journeys bring the two of them closer together. The trope of having Piper and Sloan switch bodies and having to experience each other’s lives never feels forced or like the same old cliches we’ve seen before. Instead, they make you excited for what’s to come with every turn of the page. Anti/Hero was a blast to read and I hope we get to see these new characters go on further adventures in the near future.
Maca Gil’s illustrations have such a warm and earthy feel to them — it complements the writing to the letter. Her transition from telling Piper’s story to Sloan’s and then bringing them together feels flawless. Her character designs, panel counts and facial expressions serve as an icing on top of freshly perfected cake. Colorist Sarah Stern makes her mark with sensational color choices that really bring everything in sync within the East Gotham Universe. Finally, Wes Abbott’s letter placement is on point throughout the book.
Anti/Hero is an enjoyable story that will leave you wanting to see Piper and Sloan again. The illustrations are tight, and the writing pretty solid with some amazing color work. You won’t be able to put this one down until you get to the very end. Make sure to check it out.