- Writer, Penciler, Colorist: Jim Starlin
- Inker: James Jameson
- Letterer: Dave Lanphear (of A Larger World Studios)
- Book Design & Layout: Phil Smith
Thanks to Paul Christensen with PAL Public Relations for the review copy!
Thanos. Gamora. Drax. The Infinity Gauntlet. If you have enjoyed the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or the comics), you can thank Jim Starlin for his creations. Now, after a long layoff, Starlin revisits one of his other creations – Vanth Dreadstar in a 100 page graphic novel.
While it is clear within the first few pages (and the fact that the title includes “returns” in it) that the story is set in an established universe, you do not need to be familiar with the prior stories to enjoy this one (though there is also a DREADSTAR GUIDEBOOK available if you really want to dig into the history). The volume helpfully provides a spread at the beginning introducing all the characters and Starlin effectively weaves in enough introduction/exposition without overdoing it. Like a movie, the story starts with a mini-scene establishing the Dreadstar character before launching into the main plot (and I’m guessing this scene will get some notoriety for the uncanny resemblance one of the characters in the scene has to a certain former president).
DREADSTAR RETURNS is a space opera in which a team of good guys has to save the universe. In addition to Dreadstar himself, the story is populated with some creative characters, my favorite being a cat guy. The fact that few of the characters are human gives Starlin a chance to really give each character a unique design. This book is full of visually arresting panels from two page splash pages to trippy panels that feel like a throwback to classic cosmic stories. There is a real fluidity of movement that makes it easy to follow the action sequences. The art and coloring feels classic, fitting in with Starlin’s prior work, while staying fresh.
DREADSTAR RETURNS is a space opera that strikes a great balance of action, humor, and big sci-fi ideas. Not having read Dreadstar previously, I was able to enjoy the story. But the fact that I’m now interested in going back and reading his prior stories shows this volume is a good introduction to the character. There is a small amount of cursing and some mostly comic-book violence (the one exception that comes to mind is a beheading), so parents might want to give the book a quick read before giving it to their young children.
Be sure to check out the interview I did with Jim and James about the title, their previous work, and a lot more!
DREADSTAR RETURNS is now available for pre-order here.