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Review: Primer

A new superhero is in town. She is colorful and sassy and has lots of guts.

book cover

Jennifer Muro & Thomas Krajewski. Art by Gretel Lusky
DC Comics. June 2020
Grades 5 and up

Ashley has been living in a group home for a while. Her mother is gone. Her father is in jail. And the various foster homes she’s lived in haven’t worked out. Kitch and Yuka Nolan have taken Ashley in, but they aren’t like other fosters Ashley has had. Kitch is a professor and artist, who is impressed by Ashley’s artwork (graffiti). But Yuka is a scientist who is nervous around Ashley.

Ashley doesn’t realize that Yuka’s uneasiness is related to her work, not to Ashley’s arrival. Yuka is part of a top-secret military project that has developed paints that will give someone superpowers. But Yuka switches the paint to sabotage the project, hoping to stop it.

When Ashley stumbles over the paints, she realizes that they give her superpowers and starts to use them. But the military, specifically a dangerous soldier, Strack, wants them back, and Yuka’s theft puts Yuka, Kitch, and Ashley in danger. Hopefully Ashleys’s new superpowers will be enough to ave them.

Ashley is a great addition to the realm of teenage superheroes. She’s fun. She’s spunky. She’s layered. There is much left to explore of Ashley’s relationship with her father. I wondered about her mother. I’m curious how things will continue with Kitch and Yuka. (So, yes, I’d love another volume and I think young readers will too.) The story ends with suggestion of another volume on the horizon.

The artwork is the same as Ashley: Fun and spunky. The coloriing, like Ashley, is bold. The bright colors just pop off the page. Sometimes there is so much color that it’s almost dizzying!

The story wraps up sweetly. For an action-packed read this summer, young readers should catch Primer.

(Want to know more? Check out our interview with writers Jennifer Muro and Thomas Krajewski as well as our preview.)

Esther Keller About Esther Keller

Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. Her collection is also the model for all middle school libraries in NYC. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library, and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.

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