Books for Young People – Secret Hero Society: Study Hall of Justice
Author: Kyla Sterling
Young Bruce Wayne is getting ready to start a new school – he’s headed to the prestigious Ducard Academy, where Solomon Grundy is his homeroom teacher, the school librarian is an AI known as Brainiac, and this kid with dental headgear goes by “Bane” and bullies all the younger students. What’s an aspiring detective to do? Make friends with the boy from Kansas and the exchange student from Themiscyra, obviously.
Sound familiar? Readers with even a passing familiarity of DC Comics will get some giggles out of Secret Hero Society: Study Hall of Justice. The more you already know about the comics, the more inside jokes you’ll get (I had to go to Google for a couple!), but even if you know nothing, it’s still a good read. Bruce, Clark, and Diana are bound and determined to figure out why everything at the school seems so…evil, and in doing so, set off a plausible origin story for their future selves.
The book is full of little winks and nudges – from Clark desperately trying to pretend he’s not an alien to Brainiac having to close the library due to a virus (he apologizes for the inconvenience and vows revenge), it’s an entertaining read. The format itself is fun, too – part of it is in comic style, but other parts are presented as Bruce’s journal entries, instant message conversations, school memos, and more. It keeps the reader interested in delving deeper into the mystery without getting bogged down.
Really, my only criticism is that some of the book could really have benefitted from being in color. Some of the kids at school (especially, say, the class clown) are difficult to guess without it. (Said clown being shown on the back cover with green hair.) In general, it would have been an easy way to distinguish certain characters, but it also would have raised the price of the book considerably.
Study Hall of Justice is a great read for the DC enthusiast of any age – whether it’s a kid’s first introduction to some famous characters, or an adult looking for a fresh twist on beloved characters.
Things to know: Not a whole lot to object to, here. No language, no sex, no drugs – a little bit of comic book violence, but even that is more implied than shown. The lines between good and evil are clear, and our heroes prevail.