- File Size: 146556 KB
- Print Length: 191 pages
- Publisher: DC (March 10, 2020)
- Publication Date: March 10, 2020
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0856QDXDN
- Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,717 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Digital List Price:||$16.99|
|Print List Price:||$16.99|
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The Oracle Code Kindle & comiXology
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|Length: 191 pages||Age Level: 12 - 14||Grade Level: 7 - 9|
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From School Library Journal
About the Author
Manuel Preitano is an Italian illustrator and graphic designer, and the co-creator of the Destiny, NY series. He has worked on a wide range of toy designs, book covers, illustrations, and comic books, both in the US and in his home country. He resides in Italy with his comic book collection and his beloved drawing tablet. --This text refers to the paperback edition.
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If you don't care about the history of the Barbara Gordon character, this graphic novel will probably sit well with you. But if you want any content that identifies Barbara as Batman's most-trusted female colleague, this won't be your cup of tea. I wonder how kids just getting in to DC will react to this book without being confused.
On the plus side, this book is about a character in a wheelchair. Diversity rocks. Unfortunately, this version of Oracle is in a wheelchair after being shot by a common thug (not by Joker, as in DC continuity). This approach demeans the character, reducing her to a shade of who the character actually is.
This book gets an B for effort and a C- for caring about its audience.
That rings so true - something bad happens to someone and their friends just don't know how to deal with it so they cut off the friendship, which is one more terrible thing happening to the person.
Added to that, Jim Gordon checks her into Arkham, which is not an asylum for the criminally insane, but a rehab place for similar children and young adults learning how to cope physically and emotionally with these changes in their bodies. There are a couple of terrific girls there who want to be her friend and help her adapt, but she's not in the right head space for that yet. There's also one seriously creepy little girl there.
This book is good in that it gives us a firm background for Oracle. Her growing friendships with the two girls foreshadow her relationship with the women in the Birds of Prey. And most of the characters have physical disabilities but do not let those define them as people. Again, this would be a great gift for someone. Hmmm, maybe my niece's older daughter....
The Oracle Code adds a wonderful and challenging aspect to this Oracle origin. Barbara is angry. Nijkamp takes the subtext of adolescence (feeling isolated, feeling ignored, feeling like you have no agency), and uses Barbara's narrative of emotional and physical trauma on top to accentuate those feelings and bring that subtext into the text. Barbara feels abandoned by her father and friends in a place not her home (isolation). The administrators of the facility and Babs' friends do not take her investigations into the mystery seriously (ignored). Her body no longer functions as easily or painlessly it once did (agency). Perhaps worst of all, she's angry that her therapy is slow, painful and humbling. Ultimately, the message Babs learns (and shares with us) is wonderful: being disabled does not mean you're broken and that you have plenty of agency yet.
Preitano's art is a clean, flat style that manages to convey a serious level of emotional nuance with a shocking few lines and little shading. The foreground art is quite good, but I keep spending inordinate amounts of time looking at the backgrounds. Pay special attention to the hallways. Clean, regular, and drawn from head hight in the day when everything is normal. Dark, slightly distorted, drawn from high, Dutch angles and with huge slashes of shadow swiped across the page like a set from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, at night when Barbara is scared or upset.
Preitano and Bellaire's colors add as much to the mood and tension as the penciling, inking or writing. Swaths of warm reds and yellows contrast with cool blues and purples. It's gorgeous and really helps to convey tone and mood in the varying scenes.
Cowles' lettering is good and helps to differentiate between internal narration, dialogue (in-panel and off), diegetic storytelling, and I think he probably also did the title cards to show location or time changes. So, bravo coming up with a simple way to convey all those different modes of communication.
All in all, I love this take on Barbara and it works quite well in the YA space.
Top international reviews
The book is about Babs working past her trauma and allowing people back into her life. As well is doing what she did best before the accident. Also first accepting her disability, then building back the pieces of her life and of course solving a mystery of disappearances.
I liked the story, the artwork is good, I really appreciated the theme of what makes a hero, not the absence of fear but facing it and raising up inspire of it. The only reason I did not give this five stars is there seems to be chunks of the story missing, and way too many loose ends. If you are doing a one shot story this should not be the case. I am wondering if this is based on a novel like some of the other books and these bits were not deemed important enough to put in.