Rising Stars 4
Review by Mike Helba
Issue 4 of Rising Stars is yet another book filled with flashbacks about the Specials. Surprisingly, however, this issue works better than its predecessors even though it seems to be only tenuously tied to the plot of the series. The strength of this issue is that it is firmly rooted with a character in the present. The flashbacks are not stories about the various Specials, they are stories about how this issue's main character currently feels about the various Specials.
The main character is Cathy, who is not given a last name in this issue. She was raised as a Special due to her calculated conception date, but she never manifested a power.
Cathy works at a high-tech company. The framework for the story is an evening out with her coworkers during which she shows Harold, the newest employee, her scrapbook about the Specials. This may seem like a dry setup for more flashbacks, but Cathy's journey through her past shows a great deal about her personality. Hopefully she will reappear in future issues.
More information is revealed about several of the Specials, with extra emphasis placed on Matthew Bright, Jason Miller, and the previously unheard of David Mueller.
The meshing of the narration with the art is handled creatively. At times, the artwork reveals that Cathy is not being completely honest with Harold.
In true Straczynski fashion, Cathy's narration flows smoothly into a three-panel interlude in which another murder is committed. We are also given another hint about the devastating nature of Poet's secret power.
Throughout the story, a chemistry forms between Cathy and the obviously shy Harold. Cathy is beautiful and popular and seems to be out of Harold's league, but this story reveals that she may be very lonely on the inside.
At the end it is revealed to the reader that Cathy does indeed have a power. If she was honest about not knowing of it, then she still does not know. However, as with all Straczynski characters, there is always the chance that she was lying.
Now at the end of Issue 4 all of the suspects have been presented. It's time for Straczynski to kick this story into high gear.
The synopsis provides a detailed summary of Issue 4. It contains spoilers.