primer dc young adult graphic novel

Primer – DC Graphic Novel Review

Primer by authors Jennifer Muro and Thomas Krajewski, Illustrations Gretel Lusky

Primer is the introduction of a new female superhero for the younger DC Comics audience. It’s not quite the typical YA, young adult, content. More pre-teen, maybe middle grade level.

This hero’s name is Ashley and she’s a foster kid. I guess orphan had been done to death so they modernized it by making her a foster child instead. Is it completely impossible for a superhero to have parents? Batgirl seems to manage just fine without mounds of childhood trauma attached to the loss of parents. Oh well, Ashley, Primer, foster child.

Since she’s a foster kid she has a bit of that stereotypical wild child mentality. She’s a bit of a badass rebel and likes to spray paint her neighborhood. She’s quite the artist she just uses illegal means. But her cool hip foster dad finds out and encourages her instead of punishing her. The way I’m writing this makes it sounds like the book is very “fellow kids” cringe but it’s actually pretty cute. Don’t let my permanent sarcastic tone trick you.

Ashley discovers some secret paints and her new journey as the young superhero known as Primer begins. These paints have an activation spray that she’s been contaminated with and now she can apply nearly every superpower possible with the stroke of a brush. She can use up to three at a time, everything from fire to ice and super strength to telekinesis. So she could walk through walls or smash down walls, maybe even freeze a wall, anything she needs to suit the situation!

Honestly, what a cool super power set. She can do it all! She just can’t lose the paints, and of course there are some bad guys who really want to get a hold of these paints! I mean, who wouldn’t?! Imagine being able to paint yourself green like the Hulk but it actually makes you super strong!

It’s really nice to see a new superhero who isn’t just a diversity adaptation of an existing hero. Ashley is her own person unrelated to anyone else currently fighting crime. I don’t need another addition to the bat family, I need strong female protagonists who do their own thing. These YA books are a great start.

Primer graphic novel second cover
Primer second cover

This comic book does a very good job of matching the age and capabilities of the hero to the conflict. I see some books for younger audiences go too far over the top and have a child fighting human trafficking or something way beyond their comprehension. These are still kids regardless of how many powers they have.

Primer is a fun run that I would love to give to my niece and nephew once they’re old enough to read comic books. It’d be a great introduction to comics for younger people and will hopefully get them hooked for life. Bonus points for not being totally out of touch with young people and not forcing it to be cool or whatever the kids are saying nowadays. I’m in my 30s and childless, kids say things like rizz, it sounds dumb when I say it.

I dunno, get Primer for some cool kid you know!

4/5 colors 🔴🟠🟡🟢

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