cover image Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero

Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero

E. Lockhart, illus. by Manuel Preitano. DC, $16.99 paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-4012-9322-2

High school junior Willow Zimmerman, who is Jewish and light-skinned, balances her time between classes, caring for her ailing mother Naomi, and protesting City Hall’s refusal to address recent anonymous “greening” attacks that have covered major community centers with vegetation. When Naomi’s old friend E. Nigma returns to Down River, Gotham, he reconnects with Willow first, offering her a job running his poker nights for Gotham’s elite. As Willow inadvertently allows her relationships with her mother and friends—including love interest Garfield Logan, who is Black—to fall to the wayside, she discovers the true extent of E.’s undertakings. Lockhart (Again, Again), in her graphic novel debut, establishes compelling drama as Willow attempts to justify the criminal activity funding her mother’s cancer treatments, but recognizable DC characters and superhero elements crowd the narrative to the extent that Willow’s major character moments lack adequate space to shine. Still, Preitano (The Oracle Code) excels at bringing the New York City–esque urban landscape—from the apartment buildings and bridges to Down River’s corner deli—to life, with colorist Metzler’s muted oranges and poppy teals adding atmosphere to Willow’s typical origin story. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)