By: Jai Nitz (writer), Alex Ross (art direction and story), Johnny Desjardins (art), Vinicius Andrade (colors), Joseph Rybandt (editor)
The Story: Silver Star regroups and starts looking for Norma. He explains the gravity of the situation to his new psychologist, through a series of flashbacks.
The Review: On visuals, I thought Desjardins was a fine artist who did some nice work in bringing some Kirby special effects to life, as well as the corpse of the giant kraken that had attacked them. The layouts were effective and drew the eye across the page on the paneled pages and especially on the collage-like double splash of the flashbacks. Some of the facials were a bit rough, but others were evocative. This occasional unevenness did not detract from my enjoyment of the story, as other elements, like scenery and Silver Star himself were cool to look at.
Writing and story caused me more problems. Anyone who has followed my reviews for a while knows I’m a Jai Nitz fan. I thought he did something magical with the narrative voice in Kato: Origins, while also bringing a real-world resonance to the stories, in terms of racism, crime, the ghosts that we carry with us, and the ghosts that we acquire. Unfortunately, that same inspiration and subtlety didn’t get to the table in Silver Star.
Comics is a medium of stewarding brands and characters and universes, of protecting or rejecting history, and expanding the fields that future writers can till. A writer can, without consequence, create a crime book, a horror book, a fantasy book or a sci-fi book without a sense of deep history or vast community. But in superhero books, the deep history has become a convention. Arch-villains become arch because they keep coming back. The first time they are just bad guys in funny suits. The vast community has also become a convention in superhero books. Heroes fight villain #1 on Monday, villain #2 of Wednesday, and team up with another hero on Thursday, and each character brings their history and baggage to the conflict. I think the hardest thing to do in the superhero genre is create a new hero and a new world out of whole cloth. We’ve seen so many origins that it is difficult to find anything fresh. We’ve seen so many motivations that they mostly appear trite or cliché, unless you bought into them as a kid. What writers can do when put in the bind of creating a new world is to deeply personalize the hero. Engage the reader powerfully in the humanity of the hero.
Nitz did this beautifully in Kato: Origins. He did not do that with Silver Star and I think that my tepid reaction to the Silver Star series comes from a sense that I’ve seen this all done similarly before and there is no emotional punch to turn Silver Star into a person. There was one moment of freshness when Silver Star was explaining the stacked Earths, but that wasn’t enough to make me feel this series needed to exist on shelves that are already crowded with uninspired work. I hope that for the sake of Dynamite, that I’m the lone dissenter, but otherwise I hope Nitz gets a new project where he can again show the talent for voice and perspective that served him so well before.
Conclusion: The art was nice and the story competently told, but after two issues, I’m ready to conclude that Silver Star lacks heart. I’ll be on the lookout for the next Dynamite project and the next Nitz project, but this one didn’t work for me.
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