Just so we’re clear, I know very little about Starfire going into this comic. I watched a few episodes of Teen Titans: Go a while back but couldn’t really get into it, I viewed a few highlight clips on YouTube, and I enjoyed it when Linkara tore apart her characterization in his Red Hood and the Outlaws 1 review. That’s all I know about the character. But since DC cancelled Supergirl, I felt the need to replace it with a new series from DC, so I decided to pick this up the day they announced it. I’m glad I did.
Starfire 1, written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, is in the running for my favourite comic of the week. This issue mostly serves as an introduction to Kori, a princess from another galaxy who was sold into slavery after her peaceful planet fell to an attacking force. Despite this rough past, she remains a fairly optimistic person who looks forward to making Earth her new home. She’s all about being kind and showing empathy.
Although she’s not dumb, Starfire doesn’t understand much about our planet, which leads to a number of amusing moments spread throughout the comic. There isn’t much action in this issue, but with a lighthearted introduction and all the fun interactions, it doesn’t need them. The thought bubbles showing images in her mind based on expressions are always entertaining. For example, she’s paid “3 big ones” for her off world diamond collection, and in her head, she sees three elephants that somehow need to fit in her pocket. The comic plays a bit with her attractive appearance and how her planet doesn’t see modesty the way we do, but it never feels exploitive. There are a couple of pages about the Coast Guard watching an incoming storm that feel like blatant foreshadowing for Kori’s future acquaintances, but considering the comic ends with a teaser for that storm, it’s a minor problem at best.
The art by Emanuela Lupacchino is also great. The flashbacks to her past are detailed, showing a very different solar system, a planet under attack and Starfire’s various outfits during her adventures from home to Earth. Her facial expression perfectly display her emotions, whether it’s the despair in her eyes while being a slave, her confusion over expressions or her excitement while meeting new people. There’s always plenty of environmental detail, whether it’s the Sheriff’s office, the restaurant full of patrons, the street complete with pedestrians and store signs or the heavy rain and wind lines in the final panel. This is an appealing book to look at, bright and colourful.
Starfire is off to a great start. The title character is fun and her interactions are always entertaining. There aren’t signs of any supervillain yet, but a first issue doesn’t always need one. Conner and Palmiotti seem to be completely ignoring her portrayal in Red Hood and the Outlaws, and that’s a good thing. The focus on an alien trying to fit in is relatable. As someone who doesn’t know much about Starfire I can’t comment on whether her fans will enjoy this or not, but anyone curious to try her out will likely enjoy this. I’ll certainly be picking up issue 2.