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September 10, 2021

Whistle: A New Gotham City Hero by @ELockhart ~ a Review

by MK French

Sixteen-year-old Willow Zimmerman protests the neglect of her neighborhood and works nights at the dog shelter. Her mother is sick and they don't have health insurance, so Willow reconnects with estranged family friend E. Nigma. The former addict is now a party promoter and real estate tycoon, so Willow gets a new job hosting poker nights. Willow can now afford medical treatments for her mother and gets a taste of the high life.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.
September 2021; DC Comics; 978-1401293222
ebook, print (208 pages); YA comics

To start off with, Willow hangs out with friends, passes around petitions, works at the shelter, feeds a huge stray she named Lebowitz, and has a crush on a boy that she doesn't have time to act on. She hates being useless and will do whatever she can to help others, even if it feels like such a small gesture. A lot of people can feel disheartened when they're up against the sheer number of obstacles ahead of Willow. She willfully ignores that her new job for Eddie is illegal because it helps her pay the bills and get insurance that allows her mother to resume cancer treatments. She realizes that she's leading a double life and has to lie to people that she cares about and that the Riddler isn't who she expected at all.

There are fun nods to canon characters; at one protest is a "Stop Poison Ivy" poster and Willow meets Pammie Isley, assistant professor of plant biology. Edward Nygma here used to be Edward Nachtberger, and a childhood friend of Willow's mother. Origins here are slightly different from what people know, but it works in this world. Willow gets dog-related powers here so that she has heightened senses and instincts like a dog and a super-powered whistle to call in dogs to help her. Using these abilities in her corner of Gotham helps her to give back, and to make up for whatever harm she contributes to while working as an organizer for Eddie. I'm sure in time and future graphic novels, we'll see more of Willow's struggles with ethics. It's not something I often see and is a great way to really delve into Willow's moral and emotional centers. I really enjoyed the story and the accompanying art (Manuel Preitano is the illustrator) of this book and look forward to more.

Buy Whistle at Amazon


5 amazing non-superpowered pets of DC superheroes

Whistle introduces the world to the mighty great dane Liebowitz. Liebowitz continues the wonderful tradition of pets in the DC Universe and while you may know the likes of Streaky the Cat and Krypto the Superdog, here are five amazing non-superpowered pets of DC superheroes.

#1 - Liebowitz
Liebowitz is the loyal best friend of Willow Zimmerman. After Willow gains the ability to communicate with dogs, Liebowitz becomes her partner in preventing crime and her biggest cheerleader in their adventures together. 

#2 - Stinky
Sometimes known as just "The Cat", Stinky was discovered in a garbage can outside the Justice League and adopted by Power Girl. Stinky is notably ugly and ill-tempered, but Power Girl has grown accustomed to having him around.  

#3 - Ace the Bathound
Batman has had many loyal sidekicks, but perhaps the most loyal is Ace. In recent lore, the german shepherd was once a guard dog of the Joker that Alfred adopted and trained. He has since been incredibly loyal to both Alfred and Batman. Recently he's become besties with Robin, aka Damian Wayne.

#4 - McSnurtle the Turtle
The Flash has an appropriately ironic pet, a turtle named McSnurtle. In the golden age, he was an anthropomorphic turtle granted superpowers, but in current comics continuity, he's just a turtle with an appropriately cute name.

#5 - Ampersand
In the DC Vertigo title Y: The Last Man, Yorick, the aforementioned last man, was caring for a capuchin monkey that ended up being the key to saving the future of the human race. Ampersand was a loyal companion on Yorick's journeys, but also more than a bit mischievous.

Do you have a favorite non-superpowered pet?

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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