DC Super Hero Girls: Spaced Out
After a set of great stories in this franchise, DC Super Hero Girls: Spaced Out concludes writer Shea Fontana’s run with the characters.
There are three major plot lines in this volume, all of which involve classic superhero premises and concepts. A group of Kryptonians have returned, and they kidnap Supergirl without her realizing it, as she’s thrilled to meet others like her. Their goal is to get a secret key to a magic device (in the sense of “advanced technology is magic”) that will destroy the Green Lantern planet of Oa.
This gives the other young women superheroes a mission, to rescue their friend, but that is background to the more important character development. New Green Lantern Jessica Cruz needs to learn to have faith in herself and her powers. Finally, as comic relief, but with an emotional underpinning, Krypto is left behind with a series of dog sitters who allow him to get loose and get himself in good trouble.
Fontana does a fabulous job blending all these sources of drama and suspense, all while adding in touches of classic DC history. (Coach Wildcat! Space Cabbie!) Artist Agnes Garbowska similarly is terrific at showing the ranges of emotion, even in the simplified style.
I’m far from the target audience for this series, but I could really relate to GL Jessica worries at meeting a whole new group of accomplished people she looks up to. Her anxiety and lack of self-esteem makes her one of the most relatable superheroes. With so many distinct and enjoyable characters, there’s at least one here for any reader to sympathize with.
Jessica, Star Sapphire (as a rich girl who seems to have it all, including self-possession), Big Barda, and Supergirl head out with Beast Boy on her mission. Back home, Wonder Woman, Batgirl (with Ace the Bat-Hound), Flash, Hawkgirl, and Bumblebee try to wrangle the super-powered Krypto while he tries to do his own good deed.
There’s adventure and double-crosses and robot fights and sassy nicknames (I loved it when Space Cabbie called Star Sapphire “Pinkie-Pie”) and deduction, as the Metropolis Junior Detective Society works out clues and plans schemes. Plus, Gorilla Grodd appears in spectacles and bow tie with puppies.
This is one of the best superhero stories I’ve read in a while. There’s even a timely message, as in battle against the racist Kryptonians, Supergirl recalls her mother’s message that “when the law is at odds with what we know in our hearts to be right, we must do what is right.”
Spaced Out ends with a short written by Sholly Fisch, art by Marcelo DiChiara, in which these characters view an alternate dimension starring the versions that better match the TV cartoon. That lays ground for the next installment of this series, which swaps these characters for that premise.
(Review originally posted at Good Comics for Kids.)