In Review: Starfire #7

Always a joy, always fun, always Starfire.

The cover: Dick Grayson and Kori are standing back to back, he with a pistol drawn, she with her finger pointed like a gun, lit up with green energy. As they smile at being next to each other they don’t seem to be notice the silhouettes of the men coming out of the foliage behind them, sporting rifles, pistols, and knives, not to mention red eyes. A cute cover by Amanda Conner doing the illustration and Paul Mounts the colors. Dick’s smile is infectious and the smoldering oranges that comprise most of the background make this cover caliente. Overall grade: A+

The story: Sol arrives at the aquarium to pick up Kori who’s swimming with dolphin Beth. She doesn’t understand why humans have such a difficult time with animals, but Sol is too busy trying to look for a deeper meaning in what Kori is saying. They’re going out on a date aboard the SeaQueen, a sunset cruise dinner ship. Kori loves the idea, especially getting drinks at Darwyn’s Dockside afterwards. As they board, an angry looking blonde man is right behind him. An unseen narrator says, ‘There’s my target. Time to advance.’ Using his camouflage suit, Dick Grayson transforms himself to look like an unthreatening older man. On the gangplank, he’s asked if he has a reservation and he doesn’t, but creates a story to get himself on the ship. As he watches his prey, he’s noticed by two thugs protecting the man. As this is going on, Kori and Sol are on the deck watching the sun set, they kiss, and then a flashback occurs. Written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, “Surrender” is a fun story that has a dark turn with the flashback, but that’s the highlight of the book. Yes, having Dick and Kori team-up is fun, with Conner and Palmiotti having it be as good as one could hope, but something is revealed about a character having this moment in the past replayed. It justifies why this character has been this way since the series began and provides some strong foreshadowing as to how the reuniting of the two Teen Titans will change this individual. There’s some really solid action scenes, and a nice bit of conflict between the heroes on 19, with one doing something to upset the other. This succeeds on every level, but my heart is already aching over how one character will take the final panel. Overall grade: A+ 

The art: Emanuela Lupacchino is listed as the penciller, Mirco Pierfederici as providing assists on the pencils, and Ray McCarthy and Sean Parsons providing inks. With this many people responsible for the illustrations, one would think that it would be easy to tell where each person picks up a pencil or pen, but it’s impossible — the book looks consistently excellent throughout. The opening page splash has Sol looking through the glass to watch Kori and Beth swimming around. I like how there’s thin linework on the two females as they’re behind glass, and the male has thicker work as he’s outside it. The expressions on the characters are terrific, with Kori trying to make sense of the language she hears, Sol trying to understand his alien girlfriend better, and Dick in James Bond mode — yelling and looking serious as he goes into action. Mr. Grayson is looking every bit the handsome rogue, with only one moment of sadness at what he’s put Koriand’r through on the final page. There’s quite a bit of action in this issue, with the two heroes working together for a common goal. Page 17 has Kori going into a familiar location where others can’t follow, and it’s always impressive looking when she does so. The final panel of the book is beautiful, but three’s a crowd. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Another terrific job by Hi-Fi on this book. The opening page has them accomplishing the complicated coloring scheme of two characters in water, the effects of sunlight through the water onto them, and the character in the foreground looking in on the two. The tones that Hi-Fi put onto characters are amazing: Kori is a stand out in every panel, Dick’s two personas look great, and Sol is perfect. Starfire’s hair is a continual source of delight, looking as though it will ignite the page. As with the art, my favorite coloring is on Page 17. It’s gorgeous, with the fifth and sixth panels being just beautiful. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue, narration, sounds, yells, chapter titles, and next issue’s tease are crafted by Tom Napolitano. He’s got several panels where he’s got to pack an intense amount of text and he does so brilliantly, without stepping on the art. Napolitano’s sounds are also impressive, with the sound of Starfire’s energy blasts wonderful. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Always a joy, always fun, always Starfire. Outstanding story and art that show comics can be 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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