The concept of a super hero academy is nothing new, dating at least as far back as Disney’s Sky High if not some earlier project I’m not currently aware of. There’s even a webcomic about a supervillain academy, and you have all the magic academies that the Harry Potter franchise brought up, like Winx Club. DC breaking out its own (in a different continuity) is no surprise either. What might be in light of the treatment of female characters in DC’s book lately is that it’s a project for little girls. DC has gotten some bad press lately in how it seems to forget girls in board games and other toys, while in the comics you have…
Yeah, that. (At least they’re fixing what they screwed up with Starfire.) Or Wonder Woman going past Xena into Kratos territory. DC Super Hero Girls is a marketing line to give girls (at least the girly kind for those of you ladies who prefer Kratos, Warrior Princess) a chance to find their own inner superhero as much as the boys get. They just have to do it “over there”. Can’t risk a cooties outbreak after all. 😛 Don’t get me wrong, though. It’s about time DC did something like this since they have issues with boys and girls enjoying the same product. (See: Young Justice) Girls should be able to have their own superheroes. And there’s a series of shorts that form a story, just as DC and Imaginext has been doing with the preschool line DC Super Friends. So how well does the DC Super Hero Girls show do it’s job?
As you can see, Super Hero Girls will follow Wonder Woman’s attempts to fit in at school and learn to become a super hero, her motivation being to be an ambassador for Themisc…Paradise Island. (Seriously, 90s DC, what was wrong with that name? We can SPELL that one!) Her roommate is Harley Quinn and they’ll learn to get along while Harley helps the new girl find her place at Super Hero High. Other characters are also re-imagined as school students learning to become superheroes and superheroines, but while there are boys around the focus of the series is the girls, who will probably be the ones with the dolls.
Any problem I might have with this is pure fanboy nitpicking with a hint of marketing so let me tell you what I like about the show before you all get up on my grill yo. I promise never to write like that again. The idea of the DC superheroes re-imagined as cadets learning their powers is actually a pretty cool one. The multiverse offers tons of opportunities after all. In the few episodes I’ve seen online Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn make an interesting pair. Harley is willing to help her friends and Wonder Woman wants to make new friends. As the show goes on I assume other heroines will get some focus of some kind as they teach young girls valuable life lessons like confidence and relying on your friends for help, plus not judging others. All good lessons.
And yes, the Hallie Berry version of Amanda Waller 52 running the Super Hero High makes a form of sense when it comes to multiversal continuity. However, there are some interesting decisions, some of which I don’t mind and some I don’t understand. For example…let me show you this video first.
Notice that Superman is not a student but already an established adult superhero and a standard for the cadets to aspire to. But shouldn’t Wonder Woman be part of that, or Batman for that matter? Wonder Woman should be the aspiration of the female heroes, a role model for them in their pursuit to become superheroes. Batman would do the same for recruits without powers. To that end, why not use Wonder GIRL, currently Cassie Sandsmark because DC decided they screwed up Donna Troy so badly that as far as I know she isn’t in the current DC Universe. She could fill the same role as Diana is here and like I’m assuming Supergirl will be when she finally shows up, trying to live up to her mentor. This could make Cassie and Kara closer friends, make Harley jealous, and lead to another life lesson.
For that matter, why is Wonder Woman or Wonder Girl the focus when Supergirl has her own television show starting tonight (review hopefully on Tuesday)? Seems odd marketing.
The one that really gets me however is that Harley Quinn, not to mention Cheetah (Wonder Woman’s arch-enemy in the comics) Poison Ivy, and I think that’s Killer Frost among the super HERO girls? Wouldn’t they be part of some rival supervillain academy, causing various acts of mischief for the heroes to deal with? It worked for the aforementioned Winx Club although considering the target age they probably wouldn’t be as evil as the witches in that show. Just a bunch of troublemakers. After all, the theme itself notes that they’re supposed to be learning to fight crime so having recurring villains wouldn’t be a bad idea for the show.
As a concept and from the few episodes that are online as of this writing, DC Super Hero Girls is a great superhero show for little girls and I hope they get some full-length episodes in the future. Plus the theme song celebrates capes. I like that.