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Rising Stars Review

-by Andrew Goletz

Rating: 5 of 10

‘The new Watchmen’. ‘The best comic ever’. Surely hype like that puts tremendous pressure on the team behind a book, and it usually causes readers and critics alike to judge the book on a much harsher level. That said, let’s turn our attention to one of the most over-rated, self indulgent comic books in recent memory.

The concept? If there were super-powered beings in the real world, how would they act? Would they hide their powers? Use them for good/evil? Become like superstar athletes trying to get the big endorsement deals? And what happens when these super beings begin dying at the hands of one of their own? Who do they trust? Intriguing…in theory.

With 7 issues down in an apparent 24 issue story, Rising Stars seems to have lost its focus. The killer has been revealed and it was anti-climactic at best. We didn’t have enough time to care about the characters, let alone try and mourn the dead and guess at the identity of the one who was killing them off. Now said killer is working with the authorities, and hunting down the other ‘specials’ in another conspiracy driven story.

Sides are being taken in a war between the Specials, and after too slow of a start, the action is beginning to heat up.

J. Michael Straczynski is a very talented story teller. His Babylon 5 television show was a cult classic and there are moments of greatness in Rising Stars, but the problem is they are few and far between. The dialogue between the hero of the series and one of the other Specials assigned to bring him in was crisp and real, and seemed to be much more akin to the epic story line we were promised than the 6 issues of drivel that we’d seen so far.

The problem lies in the art as much as the writing. Comics are a visual medium, and the writing and art have to not only work together, but be able to support each other. They need to be on an equal par for the book to work the way it’s supposed to.

Christian Zanier and Ken Lashley just don’t seem to be the right art team for this book. With all of the teeth gritting the characters do and their grotesquely tiny ankles, I feel like I’m looking at a Rob Liefeld book.

Can Rising Stars improve? Certainly. Will it be ‘The Watchmen’ of 2000? No. But then again, it wasn’t fair to make the comparison in the first place. Standing on its own merit, I still don’t think that Rising Stars is a solid book yet. As I said before, there are flashes of greatness, and perhaps things will flow together more solidly as the story progresses. But for now there is too much of a ‘been there/done that’ type feeling while reading the story and waiting 6 weeks to read a story chapter that basically goes nowhere tends to get old real soon.

Hopefully with time, Rising Stars may be able to come into its own, and not be overshadowed by the hype of a 15 year old classic.

Available every 6 weeks through Top Cow

Available Monthly from Marvel Comics

Copyright©2000 Andrew Goletz