Monday, April 12, 2010

Comic Book Review: JSA All-Stars #5

Book Information
Written by Matthew Sturges
Art by Freddie Williams II

Constellations Part IV
Stargirl has been sent to a strange world by the evil Johnny Sorrow and the All-Stars have no idea how to find her.  Now, with the aide of a new and mysterious mystic female, the All-Stars begin the hunt for their missing teammate.  But as they frantically prepare for the mystical journey to the unknown, Star-Girl and Atom Smasher do all they can to survive the obstacles ahead of them in the Subtle Realm. 

My Thoughts
I wanted to like this issue, I really did.  It’s got so much cool magical and mystical aspects to it that it should be right up my alley!  However, the direction the Mr. Sturges takes with the story is less than appealing.

I have no problem with a love story, none at all!  In fact, some of my favorite stories are, in fact, love stories.  American Gods by Neil Gaiman has a very interesting and emotional love story going throughout it.  Star Wars, as twisted as it may be, has an interesting, implied love story which boosts the likeability of each Han Solo and Leia.  Lord of the Rings, Superman, Down with Love, Cars, etc etc, they are all love stories, and quite popular ones at that!  But when you have a girl, and the girl can do nothing but swoon over the guy she hasn’t seen for a very long time, my gag reflex starts to initiate and make me vomit.

It’s not all bad, in fact it has this dark undertone to it.  Stargirl is a seventeen, underage girl who is in love with Atom Smasher, who reciprocates that love but cannot act upon it due to the difference in age.  But there is a genuine feeling of tension flowing through the air which always makes for a great angst driven story.  But when you get almost ten pages of this…

“I love him, I do…but I’m only seventeen.”
“It’s so strange being here with Al…being alone with him makes impossible things seem possible.”
“I just thank God for Al.  Without him here, I don’t know what I’d do.”
“I won’t admit it, but I want him to protect me.  I like it.”
“I’m trying to contain my feelings, I really am.”
“Nothing seems real to me except Atom Smasher.”
“The only thing keeping me sane is Al.”

The story begins to loose itself and becomes a corny mesh-up of a young girl’s high school crush, and readers become annoyed with her constant yapping of the same thing over and over again.  Towards the middle I told myself, “I get it!  You love him and you’re conflicted about it and you have no idea how to handle yourself.”  I guess I find myself wondering why so many love stories with females who have this desire for a man to protect them and treat them as if they are a weak vessel in need of a MAN’S companionship.  I guess it’s just the sociologist in me wondering why the gender stereotypes still persist to haunt the literary side of comic books.  Thank God for Gail Simone who’s given women in comics a much more respectable image. 
Rating: 3

I guess the writing and the themes go hand in hand even though they are separate entities.  Despite the love story being poorly written, the twisted world that they the two love birds are in is a pretty darn good representation of how both Stargirl and Atom Smasher are feeling.

As Stargirl continually regurgitates that same set of corny confessions of love and desire via inner monologue, the world around her seems to always be changing from one unrealistic obstacle to the next.  Monsters around an iron maiden, waterfalls flowing up instead of down, ground that bleeds the color red, forests that resemble a house of mirrors, it’s all very chaotic and does an excellent job at visualizing the emotions running through Stargirl at the surprising appearance of Atom Smasher. 

Now as this has more to do with the art rather than the writing, both Sturges and Freddie had to put their collaborative efforts together in order to create this world.  But honestly, I find it interesting how the writing can suck so severely, but the thematic feel of the love story can come off so successfully.  I have never seen this happen before in my life.
Rating: 8

Again, Freddie William’s has so much potential, but his artwork doesn’t feel right to me.  It’s as if he creates such intricate and unique drawings, which certainly is one of the more unique artistic styles in the comic book industry today, but has no idea where to go with it.  I think he tries way too hard to make his style his own; to not resemble any other artist in any way.  My biggest problem is the overdone muscular stature of each character and the unproportional bodies he makes.  Most of them look like shriveled up prunes that’ve shot up one too many times.

With that being said, he still has his shinning moments.  The kiss that Atom Smasher and Stargirl share is such a movie poster moment that I would have no problem blowing the page up, framing and hanging on my wall.  It quite possible might be one of my favorite emotional full page panels in comics I’ve ever seen.  Speaking of full page panels, the moment Anna Fortune shows up is an amazing display of talent as well.  William’s definitely shows off moments of brilliance with the usage of light, shooting off into purple beams.  The art is both up and down here, showing that Williams can portray wonderfully emotional pieces of art, but does overdo it way too often.
Rating: 5

Other Aspects
Power Girl’s boobs are still proportional!  Yippie!

Rating: 5.3 out of 10 stars

Next Issue Coming May 5, 2010
"Constellations" concludes as King Chimera makes his desperate move to save the rest of the All-Stars from the grips of the Subtle Realms! But has time run out for Star Girl and her new–found suitor? And in the co-feature, Liberty Belle and Hourman split up from Tigress and Icicle as the hunt for the Staff of Life intensifies on the deadly island of Santa Isabel!

No comments:

Post a Comment