Best Shots Advance Review: STAR #1 (2/10)

"Star #1" preview
Credit: Marvel Comics
Credit: Marvel Comics

Star #1
Written by Kelly Thompson
Art by Javier Pina, Filipe Andrade and Jesus Aburtov
Lettering by Clayton Cowles
Published by Marvel Comics
‘Rama Rating: 2 out of 10

It’s a tough market right now, trying to launch a new character in a sea of licensed properties - but with that all in mind, a character like Star feels like an even harder sell. After just one arc as a hastily-introduced Captain Marvel villain, Ripley Ryan has already survived death, imprisonment, and a shift in power as the new bearer of the Reality Stone… but with all that impermanence, readers are left with very little to hold onto, to actually invest in this spinoff character’s new solo series.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Who is Ripley Ryan? She fought - and was nearly killed by - Captain Marvel. She’s since gotten a mysterious upgrade, waking up with the Reality Stone in her chest. And she’s… kind of a jerk. But beyond the recaps, writer Kelly Thompson doesn’t paint us much of a detailed picture for her new antiheroine, instead bouncing her from cameo to cameo across the Marvel Universe. But even those cameos feel a bit one-note - if Riley isn’t picking a fight with Titania, she’s picking one with Loki or Jessica Jones, and perhaps most frustratingly, Star’s inability to leverage her Infinity Stone means she’s essentially a superpowered punching bag.

Credit: Marvel Comics

But to their credit, artist Javier Pina and colorist Jesus Aburtov deliver some solid work that fits nicely with how Carmen Carnero introduced the character in Captain Marvel. The artwork is clean and expressive, and while the layouts aren’t particularly dynamic or revolutionary, there’s an intensity to a scene where Loki tries to extract the stone out of Ripley’s chest. That said, there are a few hiccups to the art, as well - particularly a scene where an unknown watcher reports her findings to her group of nondescript friends, before cutting to a scene with Jessica Jones that looks so similar in design that it’ll cause you to do a double-take.

Given how monolithic the Big Two superhero pantheon can be, it’s hard not to applaud even the effort of trying to launch a new hero like Star - but to tie her to the labyrinthine continuity of the Infinity Stones with little to no characterization to back it up feels like putting the cart before the horse. One would think that given how quickly Ripley’s character was transformed into a villain in the main Captain Marvel series, this would be a welcome chance to fill in the gaps and build her from the ground up. Unfortunately, there’s no such luck with Star #1, making this a tough sell to recommend to even the more diehard of Captain Marvel fans.

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