By Christopher Yost (writer), Angel Unzueta (artist), Wayne Faucher (inker), Edgar Delgado (colorist)
The Story: The Titans book continues to examine its characters one by one. This issue is about Starfire talking to a therapist. As uninspiring as that sounds, Yost and Unzueta carry us through the logical fallout of what Starfire has suffered not only in pitched war with Darkseid, Trigon, Jericho and others, but much farther back, right to the basics.
What’s Good: As I said in my last Titans review, if you wanted to get into the Titans, now is the time to do it. These self-contained stories are very forgiving to the new reader. As they did with Cyborg and Tempest, DC carries us through a complete arc with Starfire. This is a good character study, starting from denial and moving to acceptance. Yost does a good at storytelling, making us feel the difficulty that Starfire goes experiences.
Deeper than that arc, though, is a win that I think is not easy to do in comics. Many writers have penned Starfire over the years, from her start as a young alien visitor to Earth, through revelations of her tragic past, through love and breakup from Dick Grayson, to control by Jericho and Darkseid. When you add it all up, it’s a lot of disjointed, disconnected suffering. Too few writers take the time to pull those different experiences together and say, “What does it mean to the hero who has gone through all this?” Yost does that here, and in fact, what is more compelling is that he resists the temptation to knit the fabric back together again. Starfire is broken and this issue is about getting from denial to broken; leaving future writers with a lot of scope for this character.
What’s Not So Good: I’m going to take a swing at the art here. First, Unzueta and Faucher have a bit of a plastic style that is effective enough. However, given that this is really a character story, I don’t think the command of expressions and poses and emotions was subtle enough for what Yost was trying to do. That being said, it might just be a mispairing of artist to story. I get the impression that Unzueta would draw a dynamic slugfest.
Secondly, while I like to look at pretty girls as much as the next guy, I think there’s an element of overdoing it with Starfire that goes qualitatively beyond what artists do with Powergirl. For the most part, Starfire’s costume doesn’t do as much clothing duty as teasing duty. While this is nothing new for her (her costume hasn’t changed since 1980), given the depth of the story Yost was trying to tell, the T&A was a creative hindrance. I know this art team didn’t design her costume, and that Titan books must be sold to pre-pubescent boys, but Wolfman and Perez put her in a sweater and jeans when she wasn’t adventuring, especially when they were striving for meaningful stories.
Conclusion: A fair book. I like what Yost is doing and hope to see where the writers take Starfire next.