Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Green Lantern: Legacy by Minh Lê and Andie Tong
Publication Date: January 21, 2020
Tai Pham inherits his grandmother’s jade ring just before she passes away but soon learns that the ring chose him. Tai learns that his grandmother was a space cop in the Green Lanterns and the ring signifies his induction into the group. Tai learns that superheroes are more than just superpowers and uses his own determination and imagination to help the Green Lanterns and make his grandmother proud.
Tai’s best friends Tommy and Serena provide great support for Tai. Even when he reveals to them that he is a Green Lantern, they do not spill his secret like the trope typically goes. In Lantern lore, there are thousands of Lanterns and they are quite diverse. It’s great to see this story being told with that diversity in mind and for a younger audience. While this will appeal to middle grade, there is still appeal for the middle school and high school readers. This book is a great introduction to the Green Lanterns without being bogged down in the long and storied history of the Lantern Corps.
The action shots are beautifully drawn and the dialogue reads like natural conversation. This book is great for DC fans and newbies alike. Recommend this book to teens that have liked other recent DC books for young readers such as Black Canary: Ignite, Teen Titans: Raven, and Batman: Nightwalker (graphic novel and YA novel).
Outpost Zero, vol. 3 by Sean McKeever, Alexandre Tefenkgi, and Jean-François Beaulieu
Publication Date: January 21, 2020
Returning one last time to the smallest town in the universe for the third and final volume of Outpost Zero, Alea and Sam have ventured into the underbelly of the city hoping to finally find out what was really behind their friend Stephen’s death. Elsewhere, Jann and Denis make an announcement to the community about what they have discovered in their expedition into the Frost, which may be part of what Alea and Sam find out underground.
The third volume of Outpost Zero brings a strong mystery/sci-fi story to an impressive end, as the events build to an intensifying conclusion. Satisfying answers to the story’s most pressing questions are given, while many aspects of the story are left open-ended. The art continues to be as strong as the written story, with its bright, lavish colors that are extremely effective in setting the mood.
Outpost Zero, vol. 3 is a perfect pick for readers looking for a short sci-fi series with strong mystery elements. The series should appeal to fans of Space Boy, Infinite Dark, or Netflix’s recent reboot of Lost in Space.
Black Canary: Ignite by Meg Cabot and Cara McGee
DC Zoom / DC Comics
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Thirteen-year-old Dinah Lance is happy to grow up as the daughter of a police detective for Gotham City’s elite force, be in a band with her two best friends, and have a great relationship with her mom who owns a very cool floral shop. But things become very mysterious when a hooded figure comes around asking Dinah where she can find “Black Canary,” and Dinah starts to reveal signs of having super powers. Her mother and father confess that Dinah’s mother used to be Black Canary and know that the person looking for her is her old rival, Bonfire. They also confess that Dinah has inherited her mother’s “sonic canary cry.” Can Dinah hold her own when her mother passes the torch so she can become the new Black Canary?
This is a great addition to the new landscape of superhero graphic novels for younger teens. The coloring is young and vibrant as is the artwork. The pacing of the story is great, and the teachers that help teach Dinah to control her gift—music teacher Ms. Bonner and gym teacher Mr. Grant (aka superhero Wildcat)—are very amusing and steal the scenes they are in. This fast-paced superhero tale is sure to engage readers of all ages.
Readers that enjoy superhero stories aimed at younger teens may also enjoy Green Lantern: Legacy by Minh Lê. In Green Lantern, thirteen-year-old Tai Pham is recruited into the Green Lantern Corps after the death of his grandmother. Like Black Canary, it’s also a superhero story shifted down to a new generation.