Posts Tagged ‘gary frank’

Rising Stars: Born In Fire

September 8th, 2008 by Martin

Florence was a fan of Babylon 5 and had also read other comics by J. Michael Straczynski, so when she saw this TPB at Wizard World she decided to pick it up. Little did we know that Mike had most of the rest of the series collected from the original run sitting in a long box at home.

From the big pile of things we bought in Chicago this summer, this was very near the top for Florence, and from exactly page 14, she knew she had to read the rest of the series. Essentially, this first TPB is about the origins of 113 people known as “The Specials”, who were all in utero in the same region in the US when a meteorite flew overhead and gave them the potential for superpowers. Because of some plausible paranoia by the U.S. government, these kids are eventually all rounded up and raised together under close supervision. Page 14 depicts 5 of the main characters in three stages of their lives: ages 6, 16, and 30+. Seeing this transition, along with the knowledge that Straczynski tends to plan for the long haul with his stories, promised to be a satisfying read.

I’ve only just finished this first TPB, (containing Issues #1-8) but Florence is about to read the final Issue of the series, #24. Coming at it from the beginning as I am, I think there is definitely a lot to find compelling about the series, but that it’s not all that original, from a superhero graphic novel kind of perspective. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by stuff like New Universal and the Authority/Planetary universe (where a bunch of powerful folks were born in 1900). Florence tells me the Authority parallels do continue, but that it still feels like its own story to her.

Rising Stars is really about how The Specials’ powers and their upbringing and social roles amongst each other really combine to form the path they choose in life. Neither Florence nor I found the government’s imagined reaction to these superpowers to be terribly far fetched, and by the end of this first TPB, things are set into motion that really liven up the playing field. Florence warns that there is a very wordy setup for the next arc, but if I can get past that, things will start moving fast again. (There were a few pages in the middle of this TPB too, that were mostly words, and felt a bit out of place in this otherwise standard comic book.)

From Florence’s perspective, nearing the end of the series, she says there are definitely distinct arcs within the larger story, and that it feels like it is going to come to a definitive end. When we looked it up, there was evidence of splinter arcs (not written by Straczynski, and thus less compelling to Florence). She really likes the character-driven nature of the comic, and is looking forward to the closure, allowed by the arrival of the second to last issue in our mailbox today. We already had the last issue sitting on the shelf, and Florence is going to go read it now.

ReadComics Podcast #006

May 21st, 2008 by Martin

Topics for this issue: Batman’s Death (we know nothing about this), Secret Invasion (similarities between Black Canary and Mockingbird), Gambit’s accent, Indiana Jones, Spider Man Loves Mary Jane, Joss Whedon, Southland Tales, sex in comics (Cherry Poptart), Iron Man, Starfox, and which superhero gets the most play.

For this podcast we had Martin, Florence, Jason, Mike and Susie.

Listen to Podcast Episode #006 (32 MB, 70 min)