Michael Terracciano and Garth Graham created a unique comic and a one-of-a-kind comic character when they created Star Power. What started as a simple space adventure with a new star-powered super hero in Star Power and the Ninth Wormhole, continued as a space opera that not only more defined the characters, but opened up more questions about the star power and where it came from in Star Power and the Search for Black Hole Bill. Now, with this third graphic novel in the series, Terracciano and Graham conclude the so-called origin story of Star Power by sending Danica Maris on a quest to learn more about her power and whether she truly is the last Star Powered Sentinel.
The Mystery of the Zel Gux Dynasty is more than just a discovery quest about the Zel Gux Dynasty and why Danica’s star power seems to have no knowledge of these alien creatures. It’s also a path of discovery for Danica and her friends. Readers learn more about the Countess and the reason she is who and what she is. Readers get another glimpse of the Void Angels and their thirst for vengeance against the Star Power (as well as a change of heart in one of them). And readers will see the camaraderie, friendship, and jealousies grow within the group as they travel from one world to the next to find the keys that will lead to Danica’s ultimate discovery – is she truly the last Star Power, or do more Sentinels exist?
Terracciano provides a fantastic sci-fi ride through space and star systems, with each planet unique in its inhabitants, their interaction with Danica’s team, and the fallout from Danica’s discovery on each planet. Danica’s relationship entanglements with Beena and Burke are also explored as Danica learns how to deal with jealousy and how people can change, regardless of their vocation and history. Graham maintains his beautiful art, with panels and angles that are cinematic and moving in nature, keeping the story going at a pace that moves not only the action, but the reader, forward. The intermittent jumps between Danica’s story and the psychological interrogation of the Countess play flawlessly against one another, and the brief interludes to drop subplots never interrupt the flow of the story at all, but rather leave the reader wanting for more.
I love Danica’s almost-child-like innocence with her star power; but it’s her determination and her willingness to sacrifice anything for her friends and for others that truly defines her as a hero. She’s not in it because someone killed her parents, or because her home planet exploded, or because of any other tragic event in her life. She’s also not doing it because she feels she has to, or because she has been ordered to do so. Danice, a/k/a Star Power, is using her powers for good, to help people, because that’s simply who she is, and quite frankly, she enjoys doing it. For me, the Star Power series is a completely refreshing take on the super hero / sci-fi story, and I give Terracciano and Graham the highest praise for sticking with it and providing truly entertaining, fun stories. This is truly what comics are meant to be!
I’m hoping this is not the last graphic novel in the series. While the online comic appears to be continuing, both the writer and artist indicate in their introduction to this third book that this could possibly be the final printed book, depending on sales. Hopefully, sales will be enough to continue with printed collections, as I definitely want to see more Star Power!
RATING: 9 flying sand dragons out of 10 for neatly wrapping up a lot of loose plot threads, while leaving just enough story open to continue the tale of Danica Maris – the Star Power.