A Universe on the Brink: Stellar #1 Review
Writer: Joseph Keatinge
Artist: Bret Blevins
Publisher: Image Comics
Stellar is a living super-weapon turned bounty hunter. Taken from everything she knew as a child, she was forced to fight and end a centuries old war. Now that civilization is near the brink of existence due to her past actions, she searches dead and dying worlds of the universe for criminals, and a shot at redemption, before her past catches up to her.
Stellar in many ways is very standard sci-fi. The concepts and plot devices here aren’t exactly original, and in a genre as wide and deep as sci-fi it can be hard to break through the pack. Stellar as a main character does manage to become interesting, despite her “reformed bad guy” trope.
There is also a lot of world-building in Stellar’s first of six issues, and its in that world-building that the book is at its best. While reading the book I felt the pain and creep of entropy in the war-torn world and on the people who inhabit it.
Stellar packs a lot of information in its pages, but leaves much to be explored throughout its six-issue run and does a good job of leaving enough of the information out to keep you wanting more.
Bret Blevins work in Stellar is a little hit or miss for me. The backgrounds and alien worlds are stunningly beautiful and packed with loads of detail. I found myself looking at the backgrounds more than the actual characters because of how visual appealing they were.
The character work for the large part is disappointing. Stellar’s design is a bit generic, sporting a skin tight space romper you might find in a 90’s sci-fi show. Most of the human characters suffer the same flaws, but many of the alien creatures look interesting, particularly Stellar’s first bounty, a bug-like creature named Karkinos.
I found the flashback scenes to be my least favorite part of the book, however, as the backgrounds are largely stripped away and replaced with the orange glow that symbolizes the destruction Stellar and her compatriots caused, instead of showcasing more of the world they are trying to build.
Overall, Stellar #1 is a solid albeit flawed start to a familiar concept, but there is enough here to warrant further readings. The main character and the world remain interesting, even if we may have seen the concepts before.