There is much to love about DC Super Hero Girls, including the original graphic novel by writer Shea Fontana, illustrated by Yancey Labat.
This bestselling series, geared towards ages 9 to 12, has not only helped to introduce young readers a fresh look of some of DC Universe’s most popular characters such as Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Katana, and my personal favorites, Batgirl and Harley Quinn, it has been an age-appropriate way to remind them of the importance of values like friendship, loyalty, teamwork and believing in themselves, just to list a few.
This newest issue, Date with Disaster, starts out with a bang, or a “BOOOOM,” rather from the explosion at the S.T.A.R. labs that wakes the girls up in the middle of the night. Despite the patronizing mayor’s claim to be an accident, it seems a little suspicious.
Readers will notice Catwoman gets some more attention this issue, as well as the introduction into the series of young reporter Lois Lane, an old middle school bud of Bumblebee. It’s always refreshing to see non- “superheroes” in these stories who demonstrate their abilities to overcome obstacles and make the world a better place without the help of superhuman powers or gadgets. I hope Lane sticks around for more issues.
As the title reveals, we get a little bit of romance in this new book, as the girls share their time trying to get behind what really caused the S.T.A.R. explosion with preparing for a school dance. Even their stern principal, Amanda Waller, thinks about bringing a date of her own, a nauseatingly sweet (and sweet-smelling) man named “Floyd.”
Batgirl, whose dad Commissioner Jim Gordon seems a little overprotective when she announces she has a date to the dance, Cyborg, sees the tables turned on her when she runs across her father on a date.
Of course, romantic love is far from the only type of love in the world, and Date With Disaster reminds us of the importance of love and compassion for our friends, family, and everyone we encounter. This gives the eternal prankster Harley a chance to actually display the selflessness in wanting to make others happy. Yes, she does this through her “matchmaking” efforts before the dance, but also with the support and encouragement she has given friend Ivy long before their high school years.
What I appreciated about this story was the father/daughter relationship between Batgirl and Commissioner Gordon.
Although Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) is a strong, independent hero with plenty of people looking up to her, she still finds time to let her dad know he is her hero.
As the mother of two “strong and super” girls whose dad happens to be a teacher in the high school one of them attends (and the other will someday), I know it is awkward and weird to see parents and teachers as, well, actual human beings. Sometimes, when teens look up to the real-life heroes in their world, which can include their fathers, their mothers, and their educators, they forget these people can sometimes be lonely, sad, insecure, and imperfect. In some cases, as Ivy finds out in Date with Disaster, one person they look up to might also disappoint them greatly.
Fontana demonstrates these life lessons without turning the story into a dreary “after-school special.” As with their past books, they keep their stories filled with the brave battles and fun school antics readers of DC Super Hero Girls love, but weave their message into the story without dragging down the action.
Having this latest issue keep up with the pace of the first four DC Super Hero Girls issues is particularly important to me, as DC Super Hero Girls are partly responsible for my youngest daughter catching the reading bug. She loved Lisa Yee’s wonderful young readers’ novels, but she has read each issue of the graphic novel adventures so much, the pages are falling out. She has been hounding me about purchasing this fifth issue since she first saw it advertised in a comics’ preview book.
I think parents whose own young readers gobble up these stories are likely to be pleased with Date with Disaster. For me, I can’t wait to give my own daughter this latest adventure filled with heroism and heart.
Or, I might just wait until Valentine’s Day.
DC Super Hero Girls Date with Disaster was released Feb. 6, with a retail cover price of $9.99.
Lisa received a preview copy for review purposes.