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‘Anti Hero’ (review)

Written by Kate Karyus Quinn
and Demitria Lunetta
Art by Maca Gil
Published by DC Zoom

 

Anti Hero is a tween graphic novel from DC Comics. Perhaps because of this, they felt the need for a totally superfluous subplot involving Bruce Wayne and, for a couple of panels, Batman. Seriously unneeded as it all works just fine on its own without him.

Anti Hero is the story of two middle school girls who are close to being exact opposites in the beginning but in the end discover that they’re really not that different.

A typical tale for people around that age. In this case, though, they both happen to have super powers.

Sloane, aka Gray, is tall, white, and a brain, poor at sports, standoffish, and with few friends because her family has a scandalous background. She fancies herself a super villain.

Meanwhile Piper, aka the Hummingbird, aka the Wrecking Ball, and aka the Cheesy Chipster) is short, darker-skinned, a whiz at sports, but a C student. She considers herself a superhero.

Living in the same suburban Gotham City neighborhood, the two inevitably clash in their secret identities and, due to a device invented by Piper’s parents—who are now off in Antarctica—their personalities switch bodies.

Nothing new there. Although I’m sure it dates back even further, Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper pioneered this plot concept, albeit with lookalikes, and hundreds of variations followed. They trade places and each learn lessons from seeing how the other person lives. Disney’s Freaky Friday was perhaps the best-known story where minds were actually switched but that, too, has occurred in many a book, movie, or TV show since—it’s even a trope in porn!

The question, always is, how is this familiar plot handled? I’m happy to say writers Kate Karyus Quinn and Demitria Lunetta have handled it in an original, age-appropriate fashion with wonderful, realistic sounding dialogue that manages to keep who’s who from becoming too confusing at any given time.

The delightful artwork is credited to Maca Gil (with Sam Loftin) and it’s done in that now-recognizable manga-influenced middle school age graphic novel style. Is there a name for this style?

At 160 pages and nearly all story, it’s a quick but well-paced read and best of all, it’s fun! And, excepting a stray loose end, it’s a well-done-in-one graphic novel that should be inspiring to young girl readers from all different backgrounds and exciting for everyone else, too!

Booksteve recommends!

 

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