Title: Study Hall of Justice
Author: Derek Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Release Date: January 2016
Length: 176 pages
Series?: DC Comics: Secret Hero Society #1
Genre: Graphic Novel, MG
Being the new kid at school is tough, especially when your school is called Ducard Academy and your name is Bruce Wayne. There’s a gang of jokers roaming the halls, a muscle-headed kid named Bane wants to beat you up, and your headmaster Hugo Strange seems really, well, strange.
This inventive novel follows young Bruce Wayne and his friends Clark (Superman) and Diana (Wonder Woman) as they start a Junior Detective Agency to investigate their teachers and find out what’s going on behind closed doors at Ducard Academy, all before recess.
This all-new story presents a twist on the idea of junior sleuths, using comics, journal entries, and doodles to reimagine Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman as three students in the same school. They’ll try their best to solve their case, but just because you’re faster than a speeding bullet or more powerful than a locomotive, it doesn’t mean you get to stay up past eleven.
Bruce Wayne enrolls in a mysterious and prestigious private school, Ducard Academy. After his initial tour, he immediately begins to suspect some things are amiss, especially after spotting stalker ninjas. Bruce struggles with adapting to his new environment and has several run-ins with fellow students, leading him to find the only other normal kids like him: Clark Kent and Diana Prince. The three band together and form a detectives club to investigate their new school.
“The S is a symbol of my home planet. I mean Smallville. The S stands for my hometown Smallville.”
The Highs and Lows
- The Trinity. In this re-imagined DC Comic, the Trinity members (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman) are young middle school students. They have not yet fully grasped their dual identities, nor have their personalities fully developed. Bruce is a little dorky, Clark is quite dense, and Diana has anger issues. The underlyings to the personalities we have come to know and love are little seedlings.
- The Content. The storyline is developed and told primarily through Bruce’s POV as he investigates Ducard and conducts his detectives club. The plot is told through a variety of black & white sketches, comic panels, journal entries, text and instant messages, and school reports and notes that all help develop the plot in a fresh way.
- Familiar Faces. The book is filled with familiar faces from DC. The students and teachers are all DC villains. It would be hard to find a character who isn’t a DC villain. Whether a seasoned DC vet or new to to game, this is a new take on the already existing characters, some of which include Joker and Harley Quinn as the class clowns, Bane as the school bully, Braniac as the librarian, Hugo Strange as the guidance counselor and many more.
- Halloween. The characters don’t really realize who they are in terms of their superhero dual identity, and at Halloween they all dress up and show some semblance of who we all know they later become. Going through middle school, they are learning who they are and what they stand for, and this is just the first step in claiming their superhero status.
This is a very age-appropriate graphic novel, especially for those in 3-8 grades, but it appeals to a wider audience. Whether kid, teen, or adult, this graphic novel is entertaining and enjoyable.
Recommendation – Buy, Borrow or Skip?
I really think this is a series to buy and keep around for a rainy day. It also makes for a perfect back-to-school read and it is an AR book!