In Review: Starfire #6

This is the gold standard for fun and action in comics.

The covers: The Main cover shows the title character splendidly. Starfire stands powered up, her flaming hair whipping around her, giving off embers that float skyward, while her visage is fierce. Excellent image from Amanda Conner & Paul Mounts. This is poster and print worthy (and would also look terrific as a statue, HINT DC! ). The colors by Mounts make this image sizzle. The second cover is a fun Looney Tunes Variant by Emanuela Lupacchino, Tomeu Morey, & Spike Brandt. It’s a turnaround cover with Koriand’r holding Pepe Le Pew in an embrace on a beach, with the polecat struggling to escape being touched by her lips. It’s funny and looks terrific. Overall grades: Main A+ and Looney Tunes Variant A

The story: Some time is spent with Maria and Sol on a date and its results, before moving forward a few hours when both are put on call to go out into a storm. It’s revealed that this is what Sol Gomez is thinking of after being knocked out last issue. As he comes to he sees Koriand’r  punching out Soren, who goes flying into the pool. Starfire leaps into the water and begins to throttle the man underwater, seeking to kill him. However, this allows the man to lock eyes with her and she begins to see all the bodies he’s left in his wake, which have been shown teasingly since this series began. This book continues to impress for all that it accomplishes so smoothly without feeling like anything is rushed or left out. Co-writers Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti are able to have a couple’s moment, some momentary resolution with the Soren storyline, some bonding between Sol and Kori, and a major action sequence that resolves neatly (though is left with a possibility of a return), and a tremendous cliffhanger with the arrival of someone from Kori’s past. This is a lot to cover in twenty pages, and not once is any part of the story tedious: every bit is necessary to each character and the overall arc. The two are also able to have a nice bit of humor in some scenes and maintain Kori’s wonderful innocence. This should be a model for other writers on how to write a perfect super hero book. Overall grade: A+

The art: Without a doubt, Emanuela Lupacchino is one of the best artists and Ray McCarthy one of the best inkers. Together these two are stellar. The first panel contains a scene not often shown in comics, a couple dancing at a formal occasion. The characters look great, both are very attractive, and the setting is highly detailed. A thin panel follows with the pair in a very different location, which is then followed by another setting entirely. The characters are consistent and the settings perfect. When Kori first appears she’s smacking Soren out and then flashes into his past. Even without reading the text, the expression on her face in the fourth panel on Page 4 tells the reader that something important is occurring. A nine panel page follows, showing the death that has followed Soren’s path. There is not text for these scenes, nor is any needed, for the art communicates the horrors perfectly. As in previous issues, Kori has thought balloons that illustrate the confusing idioms she hears and they continue to delight. Kragg’s arrival begins a quick slugfest that has both combatants looking excellent. The first three panels of Page 17 are very cool: they constitute one image, but are split into long vertical panels to emphasize the speed that the characters are employing. The second panel on 18 is the super hero shot of the book with Starfire doing something that shouldn’t be possible. This may sound cruel, but I hope that DC has chained down Lupacchino and McCarthy so they’re not separated and they stay on this book for as long as possible. Overall grade: A+

The colors: For the longest time I’ve gone on about the sensational skills of Hi-Fi. This book shows why my praise hasn’t been hollow. Look at the incredible work in the first panel of the first page: the outfit on Maria, the curtains, the other characters’ clothes, they all look sensational. The second panel shows a different location with a major shift in colors with greens and blues being wonderfully dominant. Look at the evening sky done on Pages 2 and 3. Who wouldn’t want to live where the night sky looks like that? The coloring of characters’ skin is also superb, with Kori being the standout with her golden flesh tones, but the pale blue of Kragg is just as impressive. Hi-Fi continues to show them at the top of their game. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Chapter titles (Boy, do I love these!), dialogue, yells, inner monologues, a weak awakening, opening title and credits, sounds, computer speak, and next issue’s tease are crafted by Tom Napolitano. I love all that he does, but his creativity with some elements, such as the chapter titles and that outstanding computer font, add just another way this book is visually pleasing. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This is the gold standard for fun and action in comics. Incredible characters and lots of action make this a winning book, time and time again. This is the book you show people who have never read a comic. Recommended. 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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