Rising Stars 1
Review by Mike Helba
Issue 1 of Rising Stars is another introductory issue. However, unlike issue #0, which gave a brief overview of the story, this issue starts at the beginning of the story and covers the childhood of the Specials.
The inside front cover features a short excerpt from a fictional news story about the phenomenon that hit Pederson, Illinois with accompanying photographs.
The book is narrated by Poet, whose real name is John Simon. He is writing in his journal nearly 60 years after the trigger event, which he calls the flash. He is the last Special left alive, and he feels compelled to record the truth about their lives.
The story is fairly straightforward. When the children's powers ar revealed to the world, the government scrambles to control the situation. Straczynski creates a government heavy named Paulson who seeks to restrain the children. However, he his tempered by a realistic set of limitations and coworkers that prevent him from treading on the civil liberties of the children. He welcomes the disaster that allows the government to tighten its grip on the children, which makes him seem like an unsavory character. However, we are reminded that he did predict that a situation like the one involving Lee Jackson would occur. It is easy to believe that he is honestly trying to work in the country's best interest rather than being a one-dimensional bad guy.
While the main section of the story ends with Paulson organizing a crackdown on the Specials, we know that he will not succeed. The text pieces from the back of issue #0 reveal that the parents sue the government and the Supreme Court rules that the children can not be taken from their parents.
Straczynski's script flows smoothly, interspersing Poet's writings with the action set in 1975. The characters may be more verbose that those in other comic books, but we have come to expect Straczynski's writing to be more literate than most.
Keu Cha provides the artwork for this issue. Cha's artwork is crisp and clear. It is reasonably easy to identify the characters which is important with such a large cast. One page provides a good effect by showing three images each for five characters as children, teenagers, and adults.
Noted comic book author and Babylon 5 scriptwriter Neil Gaiman provides a foreword to the book. He praises Straczynski's penchant for setting his goals impossibly high and beating the odds to reach them.
The synopsis provides a detailed summary of Issue 1. It contains spoilers.