In Review: Starfire #1

If you don't have a copy now, you better run out and get one.

The covers: Starfire is walking down a street in Key West, Florida. Everyone is looking at her curvaceous body and skin tight clothes as she makes her way. There are some funny reactions from the people behind her: an old man gets his ear pulled by his wife for staring too long, a boy’s eyes are about to explode out of his head, a girl looks down her top comparing herself to the Tamaranian, and two members of the fire department are frozen in their tracks. Sheriff Stella Gomez is doing a facepalm as her charge blissfully goes along. It’s a cute image by Amanda Conner and Paul Mounts, and the content reminds me of the old Archie comics whenever Melody walked down the street–the males of Riverdale stumbled over themselves causing accidents. This has got the same feel and suits the tone of this book. The Variant cover is by interior artist Emanuela Lupacchino and has a much more serious tone. Starfire stands atop a building, energy pouring out skyward from her hands. Flame is coming off her hair and looks to be encircling her; though it seems the fire has started several small blazes behind and beside her. Outstanding image with superior coloring. As much as like the Main cover, Lupaccino is giving me what I want from Starfire on her cover. Overall grades: Main A and Variant A+ 

The story: This issue opens with a two page summary of Koriand’r’s origin and abilities, told to Sheriff Stella Gomez. To show she can fly, she goes outside and takes off, with the sheriff commenting, “Wow. You’re like a big orange Supergirl.” This is nice way to bring readers up to speed with the title character if they’ve never read a book about her. “Everything to Everyone” by Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti has this version of Starfire as naïve and upbeat as the character that’s appeared on the Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go! cartoons. I grew up with the Marv Wolfman and George Perez version of her from the start, so this was a change for me. She has no sense of money or what she’s doing to the men that notice her, but her heart is in the right place and she’ll do whatever she can to help out her friends, which this issue introduces. There’s no big bad guys, as this issue is laying the groundwork for setting and cast, though something that naturally occurs on earth makes its presence known by the end. There are several funny moments in the book, with one really heartfelt moment that got me teary with its simple honesty (Page 6). There’s a character who’s poised to be a love interest introduced, so there looks to be romance in the future. I was initially confused by Kori when she has thoughts that border on being emojis, but I got over this new form of storytelling. This has the funny and the drama, but not much of the super-heroing, yet. I’m willing to give the first issue a pass, but I’d like my heroes to be doing heroic things, at least by Issue #2. Overall grade: A-

The art: Emanuela Lupacchino can’t draw anything poorly, and Ray McCarthy can do no wrong with inks, I truly believe that. In two pages they have to give the origin of Kori, including alien worlds and invaders, slavery, a sister, and escape, and she does so handsomely. When Starfire demonstrates on Page 3 that she can fly, it’s the perfect full page splash that shows off her costume and how her hair is going to be drawn. I have to focus on her follicles for a moment. When George Perez drew her in flight, her hair blazed a straight path behind her, so she was easily tracked by readers. Lupacchino and McCarthy take the fire part of her name literally and has her hair, just past the small of her back, on fire. It’s an impressive looking visual, even when she’s sitting still, and falls into the category of “Why wasn’t this done long ago?” Stella and Kori’s faces are great, giving every necessary emotion the text demands flawlessly; and let me restate that Page 6 messed me up, due to the text and the visuals. The scene at the restaurant is set up straight out of Archie Comics, and it succeeds wildly. Ditto on the scene in the clothing store; it’s classy because it mirrors the joy that Betty and Veronica have trying on new clothes. The settings are as impressive as the characters. Look at the details of the all the places the pair travel to, both in the exteriors and the interiors. I was floored with how realistic the boat and car are on Pages 16 and 17. Lupacchino and McCarthy are a perfect match for this book. Overall grade: A+

The colors: The first page told me I would enjoy the coloring on this book. The violets, the blues, and the beautiful oranges were strong, but not popping off the page unrealistically. It’s very easy to believe that these colors would exist on Kori’s world. The excellence continues onto Page 2 with strong greens when the revolution begins. This is a nice change of pace for “action” coloring, as reds and oranges are often used by colorists to denote violent action, but greens work successfully here. When I saw the credits, I shouldn’t have been surprised. Hi-Fi is a class act. Look at the sensational job done with the colors on the title character’s hair throughout the book; Page 4 being the earliest example. Her dark orange hair has highlights, but becomes yellow to emphasize the flame at her ends. It’s beautiful. And look at the beautiful work being done on the characters’ faces–perfect shading done on every woman and man. This book will always be sharp with Hi-Fi on the job. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue, opening story title (Nicely done!) and opening credits, chapter titles, sounds, yells, signage, and next issue’s tease are crafted by Tom Napolitano. They all look great, with the story and chapter titles being outstanding. I’ve never seen a font like this done before in a book and it suits this book to a T. Overall grade: A+

The final line: If you don’t have a copy now, you better run out and get one. This is going to be sought after. It’s fun, and comics need more fun. Overall grade: A

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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