Rising Stars 14
Review by Mike Helba
The cover for Issue 14 of Rising Stars shows a funeral scene.
If you remember the end of Issue 13, they you'll be desperate to plunge into this issue. Is Matthew Bright dead? First he was beaten mercilessly by Jason Miller, who was being mind-controlled by Critical Maas. Then he was nearly killed while saving innocent civilians caught in the crossfire of the Specials.
So, is it Matthew's funeral, or is a different Special killed in this issue? Perhaps there is someone else whom we have forgotten.
This issue marks a turning point in the story. John Simon comes to a realization about the purpose of the power. From this point forward, the Specials will look at their powers and obligations in a new way.
Do any of the ideas from my Issue 13 review come to pass this month? Not really.
The Normals don't play a major role in this issue. There is some initial distrust and conflict, but for the most part this issue is solely about the Specials. However, I think the government will express their interest in the Specials again before too long.
There isn't much conflict among the Specials either. This issue is full of forgiveness. When you think of how much they've been through recently, you can't begrudge them a few tears and hugs.
Do they investigate the nature of the power? Not yet, but I still believe this is coming. John Simon believes that the power is conscious, so that's a start.
Issue 14 is an interval in which the story slows down and changes direction. The action should be back next month, but the story will be significantly different from the battle for Chicago.
It was obvious from the beginning that Rising Stars is a history of the Specials. This is not a single story. It is an epic that spans their entire lifetime. Just like Straczynski's Babylon 5 went though several stages -- the growing conspiracies, the several wars, and the formation of the Interstellar Alliance -- Rising Stars will show several distinct phases in the history of the Specials. We've seen complacency and selfishness. Now it's time for altruism, but even the most positive goals can sometimes be misguided.
Stuart Immonen provides the pencils for this single issue. His artwork is less detailed than the previous artists, but it has a sort of charm to it that works especially well with the story in this interim issue.
The stage is now set for the next phase of Rising Stars. If Straczynski follows form, then the Specials' new path should reach a climax at the end of Act Two in Issue 16.
The synopsis provides a detailed summary of Issue 14. It contains spoilers.