I was very unsure what to make of this series when I saw it solicited. I thought it was a Jem and the Holograms-meets-Batgirl of Burnside mash up, but I didn’t think that I would be getting the kind of book that I did. In a world that now is moving beyond “Batgirl-ing” it’s books, a title like this shows that, if it is done with the right intentions, and with your heart in the right place, you can accomplish “Batgirl-ing” a book (that is a new book, that isn’t actually capable of being “Batgirl-ed”) while still keeping it as a book with great creative and artistic value.
The first issue of this book doesn’t act as a true origin story for the Zodiac Starforce, and for that bit of originality and uniqueness, I think I appreciate the story all that much more. For a book aimed at a younger (and more female) audience, it doesn’t seem to find itself hung up on the idea that it’s readership is anymore uninitiated in storytelling, or incapable of jumping into a story without babysteps of an origin and a “traditionally” structured story.
The second issue jumps right into the story left from the first issue, and really pulls no punches in driving the point of this first arc home… Emma is cursed with dark realm magic, and will most certainly die, unless the Zodiac Starforce goes to the realm of Nephos and undo the damage. But there is, as always, a catch- (and as we find out at the end of this issue, it is a BIIIIIG catch…) the problem with opening the portal is that there could be problems closing the portal, and having things much too big and bad for the Starforce to fight come through to this realm and wreak havoc.
I feel like this book has a lot more going for it than just the unique storytelling and fun, animation-styled art (it is very thematically similar to, in my mind- a Jem and the Holograms and Stephen Universe mashup). This book also has a lot of great positivity underlying the main story- like the very open nature of young love and infatuation, and the idea that someone could very fluidly transition from showing interest in a member of the opposite sex to someone of the same sex. I like the body positivity that is shown in this book as well- all the girls are made of different body types, and Kim (the Taurus) being a bigger build girl who is also really into sports gave the story a different feel to it. I liked that the other members of the Starforce all supported her playing JV volleyball, and cheered very loudly for her (even if Molly doesn’t really understand anything about sports…).
I really enjoy this book quite a lot, even though it is definitely not aimed at me as it’s key demographic. I think that it does, in fact, attract a very wide range for it’s audience- and it should, because this book has a lot to offer people. It has a slowly growing fantasy element, several relationships for the reader to follow, lots of different interpersonal connections (within the Starforce and without) AND it is just a fun, unique take on a superhero team of teens that really feels like it is doing something new.
I love Paulina Ganucheau’s artwork- she really just gave these characters such unique looks that the writing for the book just really heightens their disparate and individual characters. I think that there is a lot of depth to this story, because the universe these characters inhabit is HUGE and hugely unexplored, and that there will be so much more that we learn about the characters, and it even looks like there are members of the Starforce we haven’t even gotten close to meeting yet. So there is a lot left to uncover here, and with only two issues out so far, you don’t have much in the way of homework to do to get caught up.
I definitely think that if you aren’t reading this book, you should probably give it a try, because not only do comic books that tow the line of “status quo” in comics get old fast, they don’t give new and unique voices an opportunity to shine. This book is not only a new and unique story idea, it highlights a pair of creators that I think will have a lot more great projects under their utility belts before too long.
If you are at all interested in this book, or if you’re just an open-minded reader, then please- by all means, go read this book.