This week, an unlikely new protagonist soars into action in Star #1, featuring the one-time Captain Marvel villain breaking out on her own – though she’s not exactly leaving her villainous ways behind.
Captain Marvel writer Kelly Thompson and artist Javier Pina are giving Star her own limited series, which pits her against characters such as Scarlet Witch, Loki, and even a rematch with Carol Danvers – all driven by Star’s new connection to the ultra-powerful Reality Stone.
Newsarama spoke to Thompson ahead of Star #1’s January 8 release to learn what it’s like to bring a unique character like Ripley Ryan to the forefront - and put her at the crossroads of hero and villain.
Newsarama: Kelly, Star is busting out of the pages of Captain Marvel for her own series – but despite appearances, she’s really not a superhero. What's her status quo going into this solo tale?
Kelly Thompson: Yeah, uh, she’s actually the opposite of superhero…she’s a villain! I guess that white costume really throws people, but Star is 100% not a superhero and I spend a lot of time correcting people on that!
I will admit that she’s a complicated villain – she’s got lots of “shades of grey” to her – but don’t most good supervillains? This series will be delving a bit into exploring who she is, how she sees herself, what she can do, and what she’s up against…but don’t come into it expecting her to be doing superhero stuff!
Nrama: Star's powers originally came from stealing energy from Captain Marvel. Now she's empowered by the Reality Stone. What does that mean for Ripley Ryan?
Thompson: Yes. She’s bonded to the Reality Stone and that means a whole boatload of power…but it’s power she doesn’t exactly know how to wield. For Ripley it means she has to figure out fast how to use those powers and what she really wants, because there are a lot of people in the Marvel Universe interested in Infinity Stones…so she has a pretty large target on her back.
Nrama: The solicitation for Star #1 talks about pushing the boundaries of what the Infinity Stones are capable of. What's different about Ripley's interaction with the Reality Stone versus with previous hosts?
Thompson: Well, I can’t say much about that for fear of giving too much away, but I’ll just say that I think there’s a difference between someone simply holding/wielding an Infinity Stone and someone being permanently bonded to one.
Nrama: We know Scarlet Witch will show up in Star - and her role as mentor or antagonist is still unclear. What does catching the attention of the larger Marvel Universe mean for Star? Is this the birth of a great hero or a terrible villain?
Thompson: Wanda shows up starting in issue #1 – so don’t sleep on it, Wanda fans! I think in Captain Marvel we already saw that Star is a villain, the question now is does she stay on that path – does she double down or try for a path of redemption?
Nrama: Speaking of villains, what's Star's greater mission in this story? What's she up against?
Thompson: Star’s path of self-discovery will pit her against a handful of heroes – Carol Danvers, Jessica Jones, and Scarlet Witch among them, as well as some mysterious villains that I can’t reveal yet, and a few wild cards, like Loki.
Nrama: You're working with Javier Pina on Star. What does he bring to a story of this scale?
Thompson: I’ve been a fan of Javier for a long time now and I think he brings this really great traditional superhero style that’s got just the right amount of darkness and grit…just slightly edgy. It’s perfect for what we’re trying to do with Star. He also draws a sort of adorable Star…which makes it hard to stay mad at her for too long. I’m weak!
Nrama: What's it like bringing a supporting character you created into the spotlight in her own series? How does it feel to add a patch to the Marvel quilt?
Thompson: It’s very cool to be given an opportunity like this, and to feel that you’re really adding to the Marvel Universe in a significant way, but there’s also a lot of pressure. Limited series are notoriously tough sellers in this market, even when you’ve got a bigger name and audience than a new character like Star. But I hope we’ve got an interesting and unexpected story to tell that will keep readers engaged.
Nrama: Bottom line, what's in store for Star as she breaks out into her debut solo series with a new level of cosmic power?
Thompson: Star’s got everything stacked against her – heroes want her punished or put on a path of redemption, villains want what Star has – the reality stone – and at any cost. She’s surrounded by enemies of one kind or another…and desperate people with incredible power at their fingertips are not a good mix.