Boom! Studios puts out really good quality comic books. They aren’t Marvel, Image, or DC, but they get the job done. They have innovative ideas for their comics that aren’t indie, but aren’t necessarily mainstream. Boom Studios is something else. My sons absolutely love the WALL-E and Toy Story graphic novels and they are an inexpensive and excellent way to get your kids in to comics. With big titles like Irredeemable and Incorruptible filling their coffers and smaller projects like children’s graphic novels, Boom! Studios employs good ideas and generally surprises me with the immense value of what is produced. This might have a little something to do with Mark Waid being involved in the early stages. Mark Waid is a true veteran in the comics industry and has written tons of things that I have liked (Kingdom Come, Fantastic Four, . I don’t like to speak in colloquialisms, but as an initial tent pole writer, Waid is a good person to hitch your cart to. Another decent trailer hitch is Stan Lee.
He is credited as a father of comic books and essentially started Marvel Comics. He is known and recognized as a celebrity all around the world and co-created a few characters that you might be familiar with. With Kirby primarily, Lee created the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and the X-Men. With Bill Everett he created Daredevil. With Steve Ditko he created Doctor Strange and the pop culture phenom, Spider-Man. So Stan’s got a couple of skins on the wall. But that was a long time ago.
Fast forward to 2010. Up and comer Boom! Studios teams up with comic icon Stan Lee to co-create and write stories for a slew of new characters. They live in a shared world and follow their own paths through it, but the series of books rolls out with all of the bells and whistles. Much of the series is not exactly loved by critics, but there is one diamond in the rough. Starborn.
Co-written with Chris Roberson, this title actually took me aback. It was really good. It didn’t “stick the landing,” but that doesn’t kill a comic book and we’ll get to that later. What we do get is twelve genuinely enjoyable issues of a comic book with multiple things that I don’t think that I have seen before and a plot twist mid-way that might shock you.
This is the story of Benjamin and what happens when his boring life as an after hours science fiction writer heats up a little bit. Characters from his wild stories that he has written begin to show up in his real life and everything gets turned upside down. By the end of the story, this everyman has a chance to be the hero that previously, he could only write about.
It’s a good little story that hits a few high notes, one or two low notes, but otherwise is simply enjoyable. As I said previously, nearly halfway through the series, Benjamin has a revelation that changes everything and I really liked where Chris took the story. When I read it, it just felt like what the Ifanboy.com guys call “good comics.” The story was paced really well and from page to page, I was never lost. Things unraveled and the plot got more complicated and rich slowly and intentionally. It was a good read.
Another highlight was Khary Randolph‘s art. It has almost a hand-drawn vibe, but mixed with Photoshop effects. There was a lot of work put in to every two page spread, every close up scene, every space battle. People looked like people and aliens looked very much like aliens. The whole thing was just very appropriate for the type of story this was.
If I were to nitpick negatives, I would only have a couple. The ending was too tidy for me. For the scope of what happens in the story, the fallout probably should have been felt more and not dealing with it felt cheesy. I stated previously that I did not get lost from page to page, but there were a couple of times that I got lost from panel to panel. Action can be done in a way where this doesn’t occur, so that was unfortunate. The only other thing that I didn’t like was how much re-hashing they did of the story in each comic book. There is something to be said for knowing where you are in a story, but there is also something to be said for not beating horses to death.
All in all, I really liked this comic book and was happy that I took a chance on it. The story is interesting and even though it’s a little bit predictable, the surprises will REALLY surprise you. I recommend this comic book for rookies and veterans alike. You can purchase it at Instocktrades.com in three trade paperbacks for only $27.97 or if you want to just try the first volume, it’s only $6.99. Thanks for reading and let me know how you like it in the comments section. If you’ve already read it and hate it, let me know that too.
~ Scott Deaux ~