Saturday, September 12, 2015

Star Power - TBP Vol 1 - Star Power and the 9th Wormhole

Good, old-fashioned fun reading!  Those are the best words I can think of to describe this graphic novel that I picked up at DragonCon this year.  It was the cover that caught my eye, so asked the creators behind the table what it was about.  He described it as a girl who suddenly gains the ability to wield the cosmic energy known as the Star Power in the far future and uses it to protect the Millennium Federation of planets.  That intrigued me enough to glance through the book.  The art was stylistic but good, so I decided to give it a shot.

SOOOOOOO glad I did!

This was a great comic book, set on a semi-epic scale, but with down-to-earth characters (so to speak, since the story takes place on a space station who-knows how many light-years away from Earth), enjoyably over-the-top villains, and space battles galore!  The main character, Danica Maris, reminds me a lot of Ralph Hinkley, William Katt's character in The Greatest American Hero, as she suddenly finds herself with all this power, but has no idea how to use it.  Unlike Katt's character, Danica does have a disembodied entity (who she calls "Mitch") that from time to time offers a bit of assistance and instruction.

Danica is a lab assistant on Space Station Sanctuary Six, where she is providing research assistance in the study of stars - but one particular star ends up not being a star at all, but an energy source that shoots straight through Danica's telescope and into her, transforming her into a star-powered sentinel.  The last of her kind, Danica (or "Star Power" as she comes to be known) finds that she has the power to protect her fellow scientists and lab assistants from the coming threat of alien attack.

The plot moves along nicely, without all the filler we seem to get in today's mainstream comics (or "padding" as I call it, so that the companies can pad out the story to fill a trade paperback), and the characterization and dialogue is superb!  And the art!  WOW!  The style of Garth Graham works well for this story, and he creates some very distinct alien races and unique spaceships.  We get very few splash pages, those that are there being reserved for big moments in the story - most pages have 4, 5, or even more panels, which equals out to more story content!

Michael Terracciano, the writer, handles the young Danica Maris like a pro.  She is very believable as a young girl who suddenly gains massive powers.  I particularly loved the scene in Chapter Two where Danica finds out she is capable of interstellar travel.  When her mentor and friend, Dr. Brightman, goes to comfort her for the shock, Danice surprises her by screaming and jumping for joy.  "When can I start traveling to other planets?  Other stars?  Other systems beyond the jump gate network?"  Let's face it - what normal human being wouldn't jump for joy if they found out they could do that!?

And despite the fact that this is a big space drama with tons of alien races, alien worlds, and alien spaceships with alien technology and languages, Terracciano manages to handle it all so that you don't need to be a scientist to read it.  It reads easily, and by the time I finished this first graphic novel, I felt like I really got my money's worth for what I spent.

Star Power is a web comic that can be found at, and this first trade paperback collects the first six chapters of the story.  I spoke with the creators, and they said they currently have a kickstarter going for the second volume in the series and plan to have it by next year's DragonCon, if not sooner.

RATING:  10 out of 10 star-smashing space battles for giving a jaded comic fan what he has been clamoring for - a comic that is FUN to read!

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