Dear DC Super-Villains, written by Michael Northrop and illustrated by Gustavo Duarte, is the companion graphic novel for kids to the popular Dear Justice League by the same creative team. This time kids are sharing their thoughts and asking questions to the villains of the DC Universe.
I must confess that as of this writing, I have not yet had the chance to read Dear Justice League, but after reading Dear DC Super-Villains, the title is definitely on my to-read list. So, I’m probably doing things a little backwards, which is probably what a super-villain would prefer!
Dear DC Super-Villains features many of the popular DC Comics villains along with some lesser-known characters. Children will enjoy reading stories about Catwoman, Lex Luthor, Harley Quinn, Gorilla Grodd, Giganta, Sinestro, Katana, and Black Manta. Each chapter contains a short story along with answering a question emailed to them by a child. The result is often hilarious and at times actually quite heart-warming.
I especially liked the first short story, “Dear Catwoman.” The story starts out with Catwoman stealing some ancient Egyptian artifacts from a museum, including a gold cat of course! Once she has successfully made her escape, she stops to read an email. It’s from a child appropriately named Kat who asks how Batman, who has no powers, seems to beat Catwoman when she has all the “… agility and instincts of a fierce wild cat.”
As a Batman and Catwoman fan myself, I know that Batman just “accidentally” lets Catwoman escape more often than not. Catwoman feels that mostly Batman is just a regular person around her and his attacks really aren’t anything special. However, her human brain turns off when he brings out the Bat-Laser-Pointer and her cat instincts kick in. Her response to Kat though is that she doesn’t really know how he beats her.
Another story I really enjoyed was, “Dear Giganta.” I feel like this one has a very positive message for kids who may feel a little different or like they don’t fit in. Giganta is especially tall and has the ability to grow even taller. The child that emails her shares about how she is the tallest girl in her class and that it isn’t always easy. Giganta definitely understands and replies, “People can be jerks when you’re different… But I learned something else. What makes us different makes us special.”
The author, Michael Northrop, knowns his audience well. Northrop does not talk above the children he is writing for, nor does he talk down to them. He knows that kids like silly but can also appreciate serious moments, too. The writing is snappy and has appropriate references to vernacular and things kids currently enjoy.
Gustavo Duarte’s art fits perfectly with the stories. The characters are drawn in a cartoon style that children like without being over the top or silly looking. They appear animated on the page. The colors by Cris Peter are bright and engaging and really make Duarte’s art pop. Popular letterer Wes Abbot is once again at the helm for this book using a variety of fonts to differentiate between speech and what is being written in the emails.
Dear DC Super-Villains is a graphic novel for kids ages 8-12, though I do think kids a little younger with help from a caregiver or teacher would enjoy it as well. There may be some concern about the subject matter as far as if kids should be getting advice from villains, but the book itself is very sweet and positive. These characters have some good life lessens even if they are a little rough around the edges.
Dear DC Super-Villains is a book that kids would definitely enjoy. There are silly and fun moments, but with some insight from characters for kids who are dealing with things as well. There’s something for every kid to enjoy. I think it is also a good book for kids who maybe don’t like reading so much to check out too. There isn’t a lot of words, but the writing is funny and smart. Overall, it is a very enjoyable read and I’m hoping this is not the end of this particular series!
Author: Jessica Rae
Jessica has a BA in music with an emphasis in voice and spends her day typesetting, editing, writing, and moderating webinars. Jessica primarily reviews anime and comic book series. She also offers insights on various movies, books, games, and other geeky topics.
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