Spinning Out of the Pages of Captain Marvel, This is STAR #1 (Review)
Written by Kelly Thompson
Artists Javier Pina and Flipe Andrade
Published by Marvel Comics
Ripley Ryan as Star is the newest reformed villain in the MU, but in her debut issue she can’t seem to get off the ground. Spinning out of Captain Marvel, Ripley Ryan was once a reporter assigned to interview Captain Marvel, after which she was kidnapped by the Nuclear Man. Eventually, she made a devil’s bargain with a Kree scientist and attempted to kill Captain Marvel. Now, after barely surviving her encounter with Captain Marvel, Ripley has escaped the Raft and is on the run.
And that’s where our story picks up. Ripley has managed to escape the Raft with the Reality Stone, which has bonded with her. Now, we all know the Reality Stone allows its user to warp or change reality at will. However, that’s largely based on the user’s own imagination and understanding of reality, something that it seems Ripley has very little of. Heck, for a first issue she doesn’t even make an announcement. Everyone knows the first rule of superheroing is to let them know who you are. This is something that Riley just can’t seem to do or doesn’t get around to.
While I’m not a regular reader of Captain Marvel, this one seems like it was written for fans of that book. Was Ripley Ryan such a breakout star that she deserved her own book? Only time will tell. The first issue reads like a continuation of the Captain Marvel storyline only told from Ripley’s perspective. It picks up at Astoria, the pop-up bar with no name, which really seems to have a name. I mean, it’s right there: Astoria. Maybe I shouldn’t have read that part and just skipped to the part where it says the bar with no name, the pop up bar for supervillains.
Do supervillains really need a bar? I thought most supervillains drank alone. I’m sure Doctor Doom does. Mephisto does or drinks with people he would consider his equal. Maybe this is just a pop up bar for low level supervillains. You know, street level guys. Guys like Hank Johnson of Hydra. Hydra’s still a thing, right? I assume Hank is still employed. I remember he said Hydra had great benefits. After all, that’s why he left Zemo. The benefits were just better at Hydra. Medical, dental, paid time off. What are the supervillain employment numbers after all? With unemployment at all time lows are low level workers leaving their supervillianing gig for more traditional jobs? These are the questions that inquiring minds at want to know.
Anyway, back to the pop up bar with no name which really seems to have a name. We find Ripley taking a drink at the bar, which took her two hours to find and smells like dirt, broken dreams and ham? I’m sure that dirt and ham give it an earthy feel that probably goes great with a nice bourbon. Something top shelf if the clientele can afford it. Maybe Four Roses Small batch? Hydra pays bonuses right? I mean if they do I’m sure they could afford it sometime. Maybe around the holidays? If not, Evan Williams is a nice sipping bourbon with ice and a little water. Just let it rest a minute before you enjoy with a good cheese. Maybe chocolate if you like a contrast pairing.
So back at Astoria, the pop up bar with no name, Riley is savoring a drink at the bar while questioning the smell of the place. when Titania tells Riley that she is sitting in her seat and to move it. If it’s a pop up bar does Titania really have a favorite seat or is she just starting some crap with Ripley? Why is Titania dressed in her supervillain best? Is she meeting a prospective client or employer here? If not, where is Crusher? Are Titania and he still a thing?
Well, after Titania tells Ripley to move and she doesn’t they of course get into it. At which point Titania knocks Ripley out of the bar leaving her to question her use of the Reality Stone. There, while trying to decide what to do next, Ripley is knocked out by an unknown assailant. All this while Ripley and her attacker are watched by an unknown woman.
The debut issue of Star, as you can tell, is not your typical first superhero story, and I am completely fine with that. It really does read as a continuation of another series if you will. The scene has changed or perhaps this episode has a guest star. Either way, this first issue really reminds me of when I first started reading comics. Who are all these people, what do they have in common and what is really going on, and that is exactly what Ripley herself is trying to figure out. All the while trying to stay alive and discover her new powers at the same time and that, people, makes for a good read.
As for the art, while Javier Pina and Filipe Andrade don’t soar, they do something else that is even more impressive. They deliver on a house style. Comic publishers used to have a house style. A way of drawing that provided a continuity within books so that if you read multiple titles the art seemed to share a common artist. While this was bemoaned in the 90’s with the superstars of yesteryear, this worked for years and built the House of Ideas. To this end I can say Pina and Andrade’s art delivers. It’s clean, easily readable and enjoyable. And that is what comics should ascribe to.
Overall, while this issue didn’t give Ripley Ryan the introduction to the superhero world she may have wanted. What it did give us is a dang good read. A fun read that while not a blockbuster should serve as a template for others. They’re comics, people, pick one up. Read it and enjoy it for what it is: an escape from a crazy world. Ripley may not soar as Star in her first issue, but what she does may be just a little better.
Not your typical first superhero story.