by T. Mack
DC is creeping into all corners of the market by making certain every demographic has as much access to their heroes as possible. Their latest endeavor is a team-up with some of today’s most popular young adult novelists. In DC Icons, the company has created a series of YA novels featuring some of their most popular characters. Each book in the series is written by a different author, whom fans of YA fiction will most likely recognize.
In each book, the main character is not quite a hero, but a teenager on the verge of becoming one. The stories are not origin tales, exactly. However, they are stories that bridge the gap somewhere between the characters’ origin and the stories we’ve already seen of the characters’ later heroics. The books are not connected and the stories do not necessarily follow a specific continuity. The series is a true anthology that allows fans to pick up whichever book interests them most without needing prior knowledge of any of the other books. So far, the series includes four books, with three having already been released. The fourth will be available on March 5 of this year. I’ve read books 1-3 and have the scoop on which ones to check out.
DC Icons #1: WONDER WOMAN: Warbringer
I adore Diana Prince and her superhero alter-ego, Wonder Woman. Because of that, I was super excited to get my hands on this book. In it, a young, teenaged Diana finds a young woman near drowning off the shores of Themyscira. Diana must make a choice… Let the girl drown as she is supposed to or save the girl and risk exile from her home. Diana saves the girl and soon learns that with this one act of bravery, she may have doomed not only herself, but the world.
The premise is a good one and I was eager to dive into this book. But once I did, I found it slow and prodding. Even listening to the book on audio was a bit tedious and I was eager to get to the end, not to know what happened, but to have the book done. While this wasn’t terrible, it also wasn’t very good. I wish I could tell you more about it but it was just kind of boring, so I’ve mostly forgotten about it. It was simply, “Meh,” which isn’t what you want from anything with Wonder Woman’s name on it.
RATING: 2 Shields
DC Icons #2: BATMAN: Nightwalker
In this book, Bruce Wayne is about to turn 18, inherit his parents wealth, and gain the keys to Wayne Enterprises. After a run-in with the police, young Bruce is sentenced to community service at Arkham Asylum, where he meets Madeleine Wallace. Madeleine is a brilliant killer involved with a group targeting Gotham City’s elite. And she’ll only talk to Bruce. But is she trying to help him or set him up as the group’s next victim? Bruce must decide and figure out what he’s willing to risk for the mysterious girl he’s not sure he can trust.
Nightwalker is a mystery thriller book that keeps both the protagonist and the reader on their toes. There is no dramatic irony here. I genuinely didn’t know what to make of Madeleine Wallace and went back and forth numerous times as to whether I thought this young, pre-Batman Bruce Wayne should put his trust in her. Because of this, my interest and imagination were captured and I couldn’t put this book down. I needed to get to the end to find out the truth. But I was sad when it all ended. Marie Lu painted a vivid picture of Gotham City during Bruce Wayne’s adolescence and made me care about not only Bruce, but the characters around him and the end of this particular story.
RATING: 4.5 Shields
DC Icons #3: CATWOMAN: Soulstealer
Catwoman is one of my favorite comic book characters. So I was pumped to get my hands on this book. It tells the story of a young Selena Kyle, who returns to Gotham City two years after escaping its slums. She now has very specialized training, a high-class false identity, and a mission for which she’ll risk everything. In the meantime, Luke Fox is Batwing. He’s trying his best to hold things together in Gotham while Batman is away on an important mission of his own. Now Luke/Batwing must contend with a new thief in town. She’s incredibly smart, she’s specially skilled, and now she’s teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn to create a new brand of chaos that Luke isn’t absolutely certain he can handle.
This book made me giddy! I absolutely adore Catwoman for the way she walks the line between hero and villain. This book highlights that from beginning to end. Also, I loved the short-lived comic book series, Gotham City Sirens, which had Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn living together and teaming up to do a little bad and a little good throughout Gotham. This book felt like a return to that dynamic and it was glorious. On top of that, Luke Fox was a refreshing turn from the extra-brooding Bruce Wayne. And the book jumped back and forth between the perspectives of Selena and Luke, which can be jarring when done poorly. But in this instance, it was fun and helped the story keep moving. This book was my favorite of the three so far. Also, for those who like a bit of romantic tension (and possibly even a subplot or two) in their superhero action, this will give you more of that than either of the previous titles.
RATING: 4.5 Shields
DC Icons #4: SUPERMAN: Dawnbreaker
Available March 5th!
Are you a fan of any of these DC Icons? Who is your favorite superhero and why? Have you or do you plan to check out any of these titles? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.