There are some genres in different forms of entertainment that I will never like or understand. For example, the whole sci-fi thing with movies like Star Wars and shows like Star Trek. I find I’m most open-minded with music and although being relatively new to comics, I’m trying to open up to different genres especially with reviewing. With a name like Star Mage and a description claiming “a new fusion of Science Fiction and Magic,” I wasn’t so sure how much I’d like it. Luckily, there’s much more to this book than just those descriptors and has enough other factors for any comic fan to enjoy. The first page does a great job at grabbing your attention: it shows a boy named Darien Connors tied up at the top of a flagpole while 3 other boys on the ground admire their latest work of bullying. But something looks terribly out of place-Darien’s eyes have an intense blue glow in them while it looks like a galaxy is suspended in his hands. This event led to how his life was changed, but directly after this first teaser we get some backstory as to how Darien got suspended at the top of a flagpole.
It all started in school when a girl named Gemma asked Darien to help her with their Science homework. It’s clear that Darien is a geek and understands science more than everyone else. What happens next is a typical high school drama situation where Gemma’s jock ex-boyfriend Tristan comes over and starts yelling at Darien for even trying to talk to Gemma. Tristan then pulls back to sock Darien in the face, but luckily for Darien a teacher steps in and settles the situation. Tristan backs off due to the threat of losing his spot on the football team and even worse being expelled, but tells Darien they’re not finished. Gemma makes sure Darien is ok and says they’re still on for their study date.
We also get a bit of background behind Darien’s life. His mother died before he even remembers, and his dad (Doug Connors) was an astronaut who never really seemed to care for being there for Darien. Doug seems to want to be there for Darien, but seems to be incredibly selfish. For example, one year for Darien’s birthday he gives him a model of the ship the he’s going to space in. As a kid it doesn’t bother Darien, but as he gets older he realizes that perhaps his dad cares more about his career than his own son.
Getting back to Darien’s current situation, he’s waiting for Gemma outside of school but is greeted by Tristan and two of his football-playing cronies. Tristan claims he talked Gemma out of coming to see Darien due to the fact it would damage her popularity, but it isn’t clear if this is true or not. However, if you haven’t guessed it this is how Darien gets tied up to the flagpole. I really don’t want to give away any more of the story than this, as I can guarantee you don’t see what happens. The first half or so of the story is a great set-up in itself, but the second half is really where this book really takes off (pun intended) and has me on the edge of my seat in anticipation for next month’s issue.
Both the writing and art are great in this debut issue. Even though we weren’t introduced to a lot of characters, they’re already all memorable and have their own voice which is obviously very important to portray in a comic book. I feel myself pulling for Darien since he is an outcast and has been dealt a cruel hand in life. The art does a really good job of portraying his (and everyone else’s for that matter) emotions which made me even more invested in the book. I would recommend this to anyone who likes comics regardless of genre or preconceived notions like I had. I honestly can’t think of anything negative to say about this first issue and I hope the second issue keeps this momentum up.
Writer: JC De La Torre Artist: Ray Dillon Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 4/16/14 Format: Print/Digital