The Mundane Takes A Cosmic Turn: Reviewing ‘Starward’ #1

by Scott Redmond

Overview

Heavy Metal’s Starward is an engaging and gorgeously devised science fiction adventure, presenting a story type that we need more of within the genre. A detailed but not overwhelming foundation is skillfully built here and leaves so many avenues of exploration open down the line.

Overall
9/10
9/10

Science-fiction is super popular currently so finding stories that have different or intriguing stories to tell is a bit more of a task these days. One that features a story about one of seven young women awakened to their past as universal protectors who must battle the being known as Kaos is a pretty easy and awesome sell.

Especially since the first issue spends most of its time really diving into the main character Stephanie Cohen rather than bombarding the reader with all the information about the backstory/rest of the universe. Also helps that the issue ending cliffhanger shows what an uphill battle Cohen and any of the sisters she finds will have.

Steve Orlando does a great job at really selling this character and her world, giving us deep looks at who she is as a character and what her motivations and world ties happen to be. Where Stephanie is in the time before finding out her universal path is one that many readers will be able to sympathize with after their own similar struggles. What glimpses we do get of the cosmic fantasticness surrounding Stephanie’s past life blends and weaves into the rest of the story quite well. It’s just enough to get the reader intrigued without feeling overwhelmed in the first issue.

In essence, the ‘mundane’ nature of Stephanie’s current life just makes the overall fantastical cosmic elements feel more tantalizing not only to the character but to the reader as well.

Ivan Shavrin’s artwork is just gorgeous and feels beyond words to describe this work. All of the paneling and choices for how to layout pages with the borders and flow is wonderful. Panels do not follow any sort of ‘standards’ about placement or staying within boundaries. Some pages have a few panels in a more standard format while others have panels stretched out as far as the eye can see. The story is given the breathing space that it needs and deserves, rather than being confined in any way.

There is seemingly chaotic yet orderly energy to the proceedings, with bright smooth colors that bring everything to life with an almost watercolor or paint-like feeling at times.

This energy is followed and even matched by Saida Temofonte’s lettering work which flows around the page in an intriguing but still easy to follow way. Caption boxes with personality and always shifting font elements give depth to the dialogue and make it feel real and allow you to be deep in the tones and feelings that the words are meant to evoke. These words are not only our window into the world and the character but work as a verbose guide through the panels themselves.

Heavy Metal Entertainment’s Starward #1 is now available.

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