Review: Whistle

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publishers (DC Comics) in exchange for an honest review.

This was a fun origin story for a new superhero!

First off, the art in this is amazing. I loved the color palette of blue, orange, and green. It made for a striking combination. The art style reminded me of the old school cartoons I used to read in the newspaper as a kid. 

The storyline is interesting. Many reviewers mention the ending, in which things are not wrapped up completely. Things are left in a morally gray area so it may leave some readers unsatisfied. Personally, I was fine with the ending because it leaves open the possibility of more installments. Also, the morally gray ending was thought-provoking so I appreciated that aspect. 

Whistle’s powers were intriguing. Her dog-like powers and ability to communicate with dogs reminded me of Marvel’s Squirrel Girl and her squirrel-like powers. However, I would have liked more story development on her powers. There wasn’t a lot of exploration on them, and since this is a new character, it would have been helpful to see the full extent of what she could do. 

I loved the subtle cameos/references to other DC characters. For example, Black Canary makes a brief musical appearance (pg. 135), Willow wears a Flash tee shirt (pg. 139), and there is Harley Quinn graffiti (pg. 142). 

Overall, this was a solid start to a new superhero story. I am curious to see where it goes next. 


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Review: Victor and Nora

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (DC Comics) in exchange for an honest review. 

What a tragic love story! 

This was another great comic from the DC Graphic Novels for Young Adults imprint. This one followed a young Victor Fries (aka Mr. Freeze) as he first meets Nora (aka Mrs. Freeze). I thought this comic set up their origin story nicely. 

The comic really delves into the emotional states of the characters and the tragedies of their lives. There was a lot of depth and complexity to them. Both Victor and Nora have a lot of grief and it was interesting to see how they dealt with that. If you like tragic young adult love stories, then you’ll probably like Victor and Nora’s story! 

Since this is a comic, I have to talk about the artwork. It is amazing!The use of colors in showing their relationship was very clever. Victor was cool blues, while Nora was warm hues. The colors were also useful in distinguishing whose point of view was being shown. There were also a few art style changes in the comic that were super fun. For example, on pages 38-39, the art changes to the Tim Burton skeleton look, which was so spot on! 

Overall, I really enjoyed this young adult take on a famous Gotham villain couple! 


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Review: Beast Boy

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (DC Comics) in exchange for an honest review. 

I’m not super familiar with the Teen Titans so going in I knew very little about Beast Boy. Because of this, I didn’t have any particular expectations going into it. I ended up enjoying learning the origin story of Beast Boy. 

As a whole, the plot is fairly basic. There really isn’t anything super exciting going on since this is just the first part of his story. It basically him navigating high school while also discovering who he is and his powers. I am very intrigued to see how the rest unfolds. The book did a good job setting up things to come. 

The artwork was amazing. It worked really well with the overall vibe of the book and I liked how shades of green were featured and incorporated. 

Overall, this was a great start to Beast Boy’s story and I look forward to reading more of his adventures (especially with Raven)! 


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Review: You Brought Me The Ocean

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (DC Comics) in exchange for an honest review.  

This was a heartfelt origin story that tackles identity and sexuality. 

Prior to reading this, I had no idea who Jake Hyde (aka Aqualad) was so I had no expectations going in about his origin story. I was pleasantly surprised. The superhero element was a lot more subtle than I thought it would be. Jake trying to figure out the mystery behind his powers and coming to terms with his sexuality were both given equal weight. I liked that the book didn’t go too overboard with the superhero aspect because that could have easily overshadowed the coming-out story. 

The plot is very basic (it’s not the most exciting superhero comic you will read), but it works well for what the story was trying to accomplish. Sometimes less is more, and this book proves that. 

As for the characters, I loved Kenny. He was hands down my favorite character. I also loved the diversity in the characters. Jake is black. His best friend, Maria, is Latina. Kenny is Asian. The teacher, Mrs. Archer, is Native American. 

At first I wasn’t a fan of the artwork. I saw a sneak peek of this in another DC Comic and I was a little hesitant. The artwork seemed a little incomplete. But as I started the book and kept reading, I grew to love and appreciate it. There was actually a lot of detail in the sketches. I loved that at the end of the book there was sketches from the illustrator explaining the thought process behind them. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this beautiful superhero comic and its coming-out storyline! #RepresentationMatters 


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Review: Wonder Woman Tempest Tossed

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (DC Comics) in exchange for an honest review. 

This was a great YA interpretation of Wonder Woman! 

The book was very appropriate for the young adult age range. This focuses on a teenage Diana and she is portrayed exactly like that. Diana is frustrated with her changing body and is unsure of her place in the world. A lot of teenagers will be able to relate to her and her struggles of growing up.

The book also touches upon the refugee experience which is such an important topic. Additionally, is features child trafficking which is another tough topic. All of this was well executed. 

At one point Diana wears a hoodie that says, “Seeking Asylum Is A Human Right,” and her friend wears one that says, “Immigration Built This Nation.” This was a subtle, but powerful touch. 

My one critique is that the book went by so fast. Since this is an origin story, there was a lot of stuff that happened and it all happened at lightning speed. I wished it would have went a little more slowly. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this new take on the Wonder Woman origin story and its message! If you love YA and Wonder Woman, read this! 


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Review: Superman Smashes the Klan

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (DC Comics) in exchange for an honest review. 

This book was SO GOOD! I loved it.

So first off, the artwork is adorable. It worked really well.

I love that the story did not shy away from depicting racism. It shows both the hard core racism of the Klan and the more casual racism of Tommy and Roberta’s friends. 

I also liked that the book had an even blend of Tommy and Roberta’s story and Superman’s story. Both storylines were well developed and engaging. They also paralleled each other nicely. What I really loved about Superman’s story was how human he was. Like yes he is a superhero with powers, but at his core he is just like us. 

One of my favorite parts of the book happens in the beginning after the Klan burns a cross in the Lee’s front yard. 3 African American men come to help but Mr. Lee doesn’t want it. One of the men says, “They don’t want us around, not even when their house is on fire.” The other African American man (who is the police inspector) replies, “They got a burning cross on their lawn, don’t they? For tonight, at least, they are us. Even if they don’t want to admit it” (pg 48). This small part left a big impact on me because it shows a hint of the anti-blackness that is sometimes seen in the Asian American community. But it also shows a solidarity. That even though they are different races, they still face similar struggles. They are not as different as they may think. 

At the end of the book, there is an essay by the author, “Superman and Me.” The essay gives the historical background behind the story. I really loved it. It not only explained the history of the KKK and racism in the America, but also the story of Superman and how he came to be. 

Overall, I really recommend this graphic novel. Its message is an important one, especially in today’s times. 


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