Writer: Joseph Keatinge
Artist: Bret Blevins
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Review by Michael Farris, Jr.
Stellar is a weapon created for the soul purpose of ending an intergalactic war. So what life awaits after the war is over? Having been reduced to hunting down criminals for money, Stellar finds that the post-war landscape in Stellar #1 is not all that promising. While trying to drop off a bounty, she learns the drop-off is no longer doable thanks to bureaucratic red tape. She takes her mark to a sort of refugee camp instead, all along the way reliving with the memories of the war that haunt her. She was once someone of import during the war, and now is having an identity crisis in the universe she helped create.
There was a good amount to like about Stellar #1. The themes of belonging and remorse are weirdly universally relatable devices to use in storytelling (right? Is it just me? What does that say about me?). A lot of the art design both in the present-day and the past is something to behold.
But as much promise as this book showed, I felt like I was trudging along with Stellar and her bounty across this issue. For a first issue of a series, it got off to a little bit of a slow start. The most interesting parts of the book were the flashbacks to seeing what type of true power Stellar was able to display, but about 80% of the book is her trying to get rid of this alien she’s captured, while just kinda walking around and cryptically talking to him. There wasn’t a lot of conflict throughout this story other than the internal conflict in Stellar’s head, but that’s not enough to carry us through an issue introducing us to a new character and universe. The external conflict waits until the last few pages, and even then, it just comes from out of the blue and ends on an unsatisfying cliffhanger.
The artwork also had its hiccups. As previously mentioned, a lot of the design work is breathtaking. It gave me flashes of The Iron Giant-style steampunk, Sandman’s otherworldly locations, and Indiana Jones-worthy facemelting scenes. But there were a few panels here and there where the characters’ movements didn’t seem quite natural or they looked stiff and awkward.
Verdict: Wait and see.
There just wasn’t quite enough about Stellar #1 for me to be able to recommend it, but it can redeem itself easily if done well in the following issues. It just felt like you go to start a car and you can hear the engine turning, but it won’t start. Hopefully the next turn produces the roar we’re looking for.