By: Chris Roberson (writer), Khary Randolph (art), Mitch Gerads (colors), Ed Dukeshire (letters) & Bryce Carlson (editor)

The Story: Is this man crazy, or is the novel he’s writing really coming to life around him?

What’s Good: This was a good first issue.  I’ll go ahead and spoil the basic premise because it is the most enticing aspect of the title so far.  After a really rough first couple of pages, you realize that those pages were actually from a novel being written by our protagonist, Benjamin.  Ben is a struggling author, stuck in a job he hates while he tries to write a space opera.  It turns out that he has had this story in his head since he was a small child and that his imagination was so intense that his parents actually thought he might be insane and took him to psychologists.  All seems well, but then his novel starts to come to life in a scene that reminded me of a cross between The Matrix and Wanted (the movie moreso than the comic).  All of this begs the question: Is he crazy or is this stuff really happening?

Roberson’s writing has a very enjoyable rhythm to it.  Even the pages that have a lot of writing on them never seem too cluttered and he keeps things moving along at a brisk pace.  It also didn’t feel like we had to spend too much time figuring out who this Ben is.  We get a panel here and there about his background, but this issue tosses us right into the story and leaves a LOT of mystery there to be solved.

Sometimes I wonder if Boom editorially puts the clamps on their artists because there isn’t much experimentation or really creative art in their titles.  Perhaps I should take that back because Randolph illustrates this comic in a much more cartooning style that I’ve gotten used to in Boom’s other titles and I like it a lot.  It reminds me a little bit of Chris Bachalo and that is a very good thing.  The coloring by Gerads is also very nice in a few places.  Colorists really get to show their stuff with cosmic action, but they can also really disappoint if it looks bad and Gerads doesn’t disappoint.

What’s Not So Good: I really hated the first few pages when we were actually reading Ben’s novel.  I think the point of the title is that Ben is not a very good novelist, so it would make sense that his book kinda sucks.  I think it was Roberson writing as if he were a bad novelist.  Still, it made me a little concerned that I might not enjoy the rest of the story if it starts to mirror the novel (and I LOVE space opera).

Conclusion: A very good first issue.  It has excitement, mystery and space opera.  Now that all three Boom/Stan Lee titles have come out, I can tell you that Starborne had the best first issue.

Grade: B

– Dean Stell

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