By: Jai Nitz (story and script), Alex Ross (art direction and story), Johnny Desjardins (artist), Vinicius Andrade (colorist), Joseph Rybandt (editor), Jack Kirby (concepts and characters)

The Story: This issue, spun out of Dynamite’s Kirby Genesis series, follows the story of Silver Star, a US super-powered asset in an alternate history that branches from ours sometime in the late Vietnam War.

The Review: Nitz and Ross have a ton of work to do in this first issue. They’ve got to introduce the characters, make us care about them, intrigue us with their world and launch the conflict. Slowing this down (as in the first act of any story) is the exposition and showing the character “in his normal day.” Luckily, Silver Star’s days are not normal. He seems to live in covert international conflicts. Nitz and Ross let Desjardins and Andrade do the heavy lifting on the “day in the life” exposition and the action and sets are more than enough to keep the reader turning the pages. What I found more intriguing was the interlaced Presidential Orders through history and tracking against my (admittedly Canadian) knowledge of US presidents to see where the turning points happened and where history changed. Despite all this, I didn’t feel that by the end of the story that I cared about Silver Star. A first act, day-in-the-life start (prior to the introduction of the conflict) makes for a passive main character. A character in action does not equal an active character. I don’t fault Nitz and Ross for this. It looks like they’ve risked a slower-paced start to properly launch a long arc, so the amount of stuff that has to go in issue one crowds out some of the gripping stuff.

Dynamite is really carving a niche in the comics field for visuals, especially, but not exclusively, under the art direction of Ross. Red Sonja, Zorro, Lone Ranger, Kato Origins and Warlord of Mars each have an independent visual feel to them, nearly like a brand. In the Superpowers titles, Ross’ hand has always been obvious and unifying (to great effect). In the Kirby Genesis project, Dynamite seems to have found another artistic stylistic winner with the Desjardins and Andrade team-up. The Kirby-esque designs and flourishes, rendered modern and slick with careful and competent draftsmanship, create some really powerful effects. The costume design and energy effects around Silver Star feel like vintage Kirby, while the camera angles and composition are modern. The only detracting moments I had with Desjardins’ draftsmanship was in the angles of some of the faces, which seemed a bit off to me. That being said, that’s a very minor point in an otherwise impressive visual feast.

Conclusion: Dynamite asks for a leap of faith for a spin-off book with a patient start. However, they’ve put some really credible talent behind this first throw. Jai Nitz has impressed me over and over with his work on Kato Origins and now he’s playing in Jack Kirby’s sandbox under the guidance of Alex Ross. Faith seems justified. Recommended.

Grade: B+

-DS Arsenault

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