Illustrated by Manuel Preitano
Willow loves her broken community of Down River in Gotham, and she often is found at protests trying to get City Hall’s attention. Her mom is a brilliant professor fighting brain cancer, so out of desperation, Willow gets mixed up coordinating an illegal gambling ring for her mom’s former friend, E. Nigma. Willow enjoys the work and the money that allows her to secure treatment for her mom, but her friends notice she’s slipping away and not as involved in saving the community anymore. One night, Killer Croc attacks Willow, telling her he’s protecting Down River from E. Nigma and warns her to stop helping him. The attack leaves Willow with special powers and the ability to talk to dogs. She discovers Poison Ivy has been working with E. Nigma to lower property values in Down River to make gentrification more attainable, but Willow draws the line when the next target is her favorite delicatessen.
This story feels like it has no climax or falling action. Instead, we follow the events in Willow’s life and are offered no resolution and no further plan of action. Willow leaves off still employed by E. Nigma, still conflicted about her role in the destruction of Down River and with no real plan about how she’s going to handle that. There is some conversation about her going to college that never gets fleshed out before the conclusion of the story. Killer Croc is a major figure behind the scenes in the first half of the book, but he's only on page for a couple of panels before he’s pretty much swept under the rug after he attacks Willow. It isn't entirely clear if there is any intention of having a second volume, so leaving things so unfinished feels like a bit of a let-down.
Preitano's illustrations are a highlight of this story. The palette is pleasing, but some of the coloring choices do leave the panels a little bit flat. However, characters and backgrounds are exceptionally detailed.
Sara's Rating: 6/10
Suitability Level: Grades 7-12
Publisher: DC Comics (Graphic Novels for Young Readers)
Publication Date: September 7, 2021
ISBN: 9781401293222 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 6/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Graphic Fiction, Superheroes, DC Comics
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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