Review by C.J. Bunce
Is there a more likeable superhero in all of the DC Comics and Marvel Comics extended universe than Melissa Benoist’s Kara Danvers on CW’s Supergirl? New this year from Abrams/Amulet Books is Jo Whittemore’s latest novel in her CW Arrowverse tie-in series, Supergirl: Master of Illusion. Readers will catch up with Kara as she teams up with J’onn J’onzz the Martian Manhunter, sister Alex, James Olsen, CatCo tech genius Winn Schott, and her boyfriend Mon-El against her next foe, vintage DC Comics supervillain Felix Faust, an illusionist, manipulator, and hypnotist. He’s out to gather some ancient artifacts to unleash a trio of demons on the world, and he has plenty to distract the protectors of National City. As Kara assembles her team to help, she meets up with another oldie-but-a-goodie, the multi-talented Princess Tlaca and Justice League Dark favorite Madame Xanadu.
Kara’s self-effacing inner monologue said out loud (“did she really just say that?”) makes her the most accessible protagonist of any of the recent slate of superhero novel adaptations of comics, TV series, and movies. Nice, kind, and never snarky (and always seeming to be hunting down her next snack), she accomplishes all she needs without acting like an all-powerful, infallible god like Superman and Wonder Woman, or her all-powerful counterpart named Danvers from that other comic book universe, Marvel Comics’s Captain Marvel. Supergirl doesn’t forget the “girl” in Supergirl–she’s cute but not cutesy, and she’s smart and has her own skills, but a key component of her character is her lack of confidence. She’s learning, but she makes mistakes along the way, like every young woman (or man) or girl (or boy), and that’s a great way to get readers on her side.
Felix Faust seems like a good guy at first, helping Kara get her way out of a fix as she’s schmoozing the local city elite at a gala event. But his real agenda soon becomes clear. How does the mysterious princess from the ancient Aztec civilization fit in? It’s up to Kara to maintain her alter ego as a journalist, get a story and keep her job, and save National City before it’s too late.
We reviewed and previewed Whittemore’s series of tie-in novels from CW’s The Flash last fall here at borg. Supergirl: Master of Illusion is the third novel in her series of Supergirl tie-ins, and like the other books in the series, each is a standalone story not requiring familiarity with the series or other books in the series. The best bet is letting your kid select which sounds the most appealing and get them started on reading.
Especially for kids needing a boost to get interested in reading, these DC Comics comic book tie-ins are not only interesting stories, they are well written, easy to understand, and likely to get young readers to come back for more. Whittemore gets that quirky CW Arrowverse banter right, too–the novel feels just like a movie-length episode of the series.
Fun for all ages but targeted at young readers, Supergirl: Master of Illusion is available now here at Amazon, and while you’re at it, check out Whittemore’s other CW’s Supergirl tie-ins, Age of Atlantis and Curse of the Ancients.