Star #1 Review

by Charles Martin on January 08, 2020

Star #1 Review
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artists: Javier Pina with Filipe Andrade
Colourist: Jesus Aburtov
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

On the surface, Star #1 might seem like a hard sell if you didn't follow Ripley Ryan's rise and fall in Captain Marvel last year. 

But this is a comic that stands on its own feet; it's also the second installment in Marvel's long-term plan to assemble a new sort of Infinity Watch. This issue's tone is the opposite of cosmic, but there are deep undercurrents of grandeur lurking beneath this gritty antihero's story.

So, who is this Ripley "Star" Ryan person? A disgraced reporter. Traumatized by her peripheral position in Captain Marvel's post-apocalyptic fight with Mahkizmo, she made Faustian bargains to protect herself with superpowers. She took an ill-advised, villainous swing at Carol and the people of New York, which trashed her reputation and career prospects. She has taken herself most of the way to becoming a supervillain and is starting to regret that.

But just as she exited the pages of Captain Marvel, she discovered that the Reality Stone now lives in her chest. So she's got that going for her, which is nice!

A Reality Stone in your chest is a handy thing. It keeps you from getting turned into a pavement smear when Titania picks a fight with you at the Popup Bar With No Name. It allows you to stand your ground when Loki comes to tear it away from you. It gives you a shot at mind-controlling Jessica Jones if you're too ignorant to know what a spectacularly bad idea that is.

As you can probably guess, I am digging the guest-star cast this issue assembles. Kelly Thompson is all-around excellent at writing these women, and Star herself is no slouch, either. In words and deeds and decisions, Ms. Thompson makes it clear how desperate and angry Ripley is.

Normally I avoid spoiling things like last-page surprise guest stars. But in this case, I gotta: The Scarlet Witch rolls in at the end. Who better to talk about the dangers of bending reality, yeah?

This issue only has a single line for the Scarlet Witch, but already I'm in love. I've been severely underwhelmed by the way Wanda's been used in recent years. I don't care for her in the role of "Glinda, the Good Witch Of The Importance Of Mental Health."

She may still fill a function along those lines here: Star could certainly use some therapeutic insight. But Wanda arrives with a sharp Kelly Thompson edge, literally telling Star she needs to "knock this $#%& off right now." 

Javier Pina strikes an excellent balance with the art. His action work is clear and bold, his finishes have a vibrant hint of organic sketchiness, and he makes the most of his characters' faces as storytelling tools. 

You know you're in good hands, visually speaking, when your artist sells the idea that the Popup Bar With No Name smells disturbingly of ham with one nostril-raised protagonist expression.

On the colours, Jesus Aburtov keeps the settings dark and faded. This issue takes place past the twilight hours, and the palette ensures you know it. But Star's Stone is a colouring game-changer whenever she uses it, lashing her eyes and surroundings with vibrant, ominous reds. Mr. Aburtov's colouring work gets particularly impressive when Star and Loki butt heads. Red vs. green is a tough sell, but he pulls it off.

There are plenty of reasons to check out Star #1. Maybe your curiosity was piqued by her role in Captain Marvel. Maybe you're interested in tracking the rise of the new Infinity Stones. Maybe you want to see Kelly Thompson play with an all-star roster of guest stars. Whatever your reason for picking up the book, Ms. Thompson and artist Javier Pina do their utmost to make sure you won't be putting it down disappointed.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
Do we really just get the one page of Filipe Andrade art? I hope we see more of it further on!