Starward #1 Review

Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Ivan Shavrin
Letters by Saida Temofonte
Published by Heavy Metal Elements

“Stephanie Cohen’s life is all going according to plan. The only problem is…the plan isn’t hers! She’s crushing it at college, but her fast track to a medical degree is something her parents decided for her, seemingly at birth. Stephanie was never consulted on her own life. So, now she’s drowning in pre-med when she’d rather be studying classics, folklore, and mythology. But on the eve of her twentieth birthday, as Stephanie prepares to stare into her own personal summer abyss for yet another day…she gets a gift unlike any she could possibly expect.”

First off, let me say that this comic fucking rules. I got goosebumps on the reveal on the last page. Phenomenal writing from Steven Orlando and a fantastic twist on an already great start to building this new world. I am all about a story where a character is secretly someone else but doesn’t even know it themselves. The Starward Sisters existing in the cosmos to protect reality from Kaos, while having a counterpart on Earth should something happen to them in the cosmos is a concept that I quite enjoy.

Stephanie Cohen is a character so relatable that it is impossible not to get wrapped up in her story. She’s following pre-med classes in college, but would rather be exploring mythology and more creative ventures. She’s working as a lifeguard because she needs the money, but would rather be anywhere else. She’s going through the motions of life but needs something new and exciting. And something new and exciting is exactly what she gets the second she turns 20. When she learns she’s actually one of seven Skyward Sisters she slightly freaks out – but not because she’s not ready to embrace this change in her life, but because of the costume change that occurs. She fully accepts what is thrown at her by…herself.

Speaking of the costume, Ivan Shavrin absolutely kills it on the art in this issue, from the cosmic backgrounds to the minor details thrown into Stephanie’s room, all the way to the costumes of the Skyward Sisters and the beautiful details thrown into the entire issue. The unique use of paneling all throughout this issue took Starward to the next level. The depiction of Stephanie’s initial reaction to the Wonder Woman-esque costume she suddenly was wearing literally made me laugh out loud.

Steve and Ivan used a great mix of present-day scenes and flashbacks to weave the lore of the universe into the story without taking away from the journey Stephanie was experiencing as she accepted who she was. And as much as I want to comment on that final twist – and believe me I very much do – I will keep spoilers from this review and just say that I accept this as a very real explanation for how the world is right now.

This story would not be what it is without the detailed and oftentimes really fun lettering done by Saida Temofonte. The lettering really brings the story and the art together so fantastically that I feel the story coming to life.

If you are a fan of mythology, fantasy, and characters so down to earth it’s hard to believe they belong in the stars, then go check out Starward! Issue 1 of Starward is out now!

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