Anti/Hero by Kate Karyus Quinn, Demitria Lunetta, and Maca Gil is one of the several new and refreshing books in DC’s current wave of graphic novels for kids, featuring young heroines with a lot of heart, a lot of emotion, and a lot of power.
13-year-old Piper is a young hero-want-to-be while Sloane spends her evenings working the Gotham streets for her villain grandfather. Both girls go to the same school but couldn’t be further apart, that is, until they switch bodies by mistake.
Throughout the book Maca Gil’s fantastic art lets us see many of the same places and experiences from two very different perspectives. Piper is bright and energetic while Sloane is somber and drear. As the girls switch bodies back and forth, we see how each contrasts with the other’s surroundings.
Refreshingly, while the book touches on things like friendship and finding your place in the world, it also shows how each girl has weaknesses. While they can’t always overcome these weaknesses outright, they can grow from them. Piper, who is normally super strong, now has Sloane’s quick thinking, robot building brain. It’s not the kind of power she’s used to. But that doesn’t stop her from adapting while still being her determined ‘punch-through-everything’ self. Sloane on the other hand is forced to come face to face with responsibility, realizing that her choices—be it intentional theft, or accidentally punching holes through walls—all have consequences.
Fast paced but heartfelt, the story touches on the action side of being super as well as the everyday struggle we experience when trying to connect to others and make changes in ourselves when we come face to face with our mistakes. Focusing mostly on fun and action, the story subtly reminds us that open hearts are the true power of a superhero.