DC WOMEN OF ACTION / AUTHOR: SHEA FONTANA / PUBLISHER: CHRONICLE BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 22ND
DC Women of Action illustrates just how many great female characters there are in the DC Universe, and author Shea Fontana takes these iconic characters, breaking them into sections and delving into their histories.
The book kicks off with the most iconic of all female superheroes, Wonder Woman and her history, which stretches right back to 1941. Every opinion within the pages of the book is by female creators, every piece of art drawn by female artists, and that gives the book a unique angle. In much the same way that Amy Ratcliffe’s 2018 book Women of Star Wars focused on the GFFA, DC Women of Action doesn’t stray from its modus operandi - this is iconic women, drawn by leading female industry figures and drawing their own perspectives on these memorable characters.
Themyscira highlights Donna Troy, aka Wonder Girl from the Teen Titans, and Cheetah; the Metropolis section allows for a wider range of characters to be delved into. Supergirl, Power Girl, Lois Lane - how can you go wrong with characters of such depth? You could argue that Lois Lane is one of the all-time great non-super powered characters in all of comics, and for a time in the ‘50s and ‘60s, she starred in her own comic (and during the wacky days often attained super powers of her own) but, just like Princess Leia in the Star Wars galaxy, her strength didn’t come from power but from force of character. Who’d be foolish or brave enough to argue with Lois?
Silver Banshee and Killer Frost end the Metropolis section before the most diverse and fascinating section - Gotham City, where we find an all-star cast of DC characters. Batgirl, Oracle, Black Canary, Huntress, Batwoman, Renee Montoya, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Catwoman, Zatanna…legendary characters who’ve all either led their own series or played key roles in major storylines. While Marvel have always littered their many superhero teams with female characters, there are far fewer leading women in the Marvel Universe than in the DCU, and during the golden era of the 80’s many of these characters enjoyed their greatest moments before spinning off into their own series. Catwoman - like Batman - has been reinvented numerous times, Harley Quinn (first seen in the Batman Adventures animated series) is a cultural phenomenon, as is Poison Ivy. There’s very little by the way of one-dimensional heroes or villains here.
We wrap up with beyond, looking at Granny Goodness, Big Barda, the Shazam family and the indefatigable Amanda Waller before ending the book highlighting key female creators behind the book and the artists behind the book. It’s a classy and crisp - an ideal introduction to the women of the DC universe.