- Writer: Anthony Cleveland
- Artist: Antonio Fuso
- Colorist: Stefano Simeone
- Letterer: Justin Birch
- Editors: Chris Fernandez and Brian Hawkins
Thanks to Mad Cave Studios for the review copy!
STARGAZER is the story of Shae and her brother Kenny. In the past, they had an encounter that Kenny is convinced was an alien abduction. 20 years later, Kenny’s disappearance causes a reexamination of that night. The first issue deftly set up both the family dynamic between the siblings, established a present and flashback timeline, and provided some interesting hints about a bigger picture mystery. With the trade paperback coming out, I took the opportunity to catch up on the story.
While the story starts out as a fairly straightforward alien abduction story (to the extent there is such a thing), the early portion of the story book drops in just enough reminders about the outside world to remind us there’s something going on with a wider scope. Soon, the story evolves into something much grander and more original. When it does, it is stronger for having started small and focusing on characters and their relationship, which becomes essential to the story even as it moves in different directions. The originality of the story ensures that each twist is a surprise, but there are plenty of callbacks to earlier details to give the story cohesiveness. For an alien story, STARGAZER has a lot of heart and a genuine feeling of sacrifice.
One of the things that stood out to me was how STARGAZER nailed the little details. The story gets points for being the first alien story I’ve read or watched to reference the “Storm Area 51” movement, courtesy of a fun conspiracy theory spouting radio show host character and for dropping in a variation of the famous Konami cheat code that I can still recite by memory.
As the story goes on, the visuals take on a grander scope. The art uses both panels with a red tinted color palette and cooler blue tint. In many cases, the coloring coincides with the emotions the characters seem to be experiencing. The volume also consistently makes use of interestingly shaped and sized panels.
If you are looking for an epic science fiction story filled with big ideas and strong character relationships, look no farther than STARGAZER. While it is always possible there is more story to tell, the first volume of STARGAZER (issues 1-6) seems to tell a complete story. This is a real plus for those who get frustrated when they read a ‘volume’ but it doesn’t provide any closure to the arc. There isn’t a terrible amount of violence, but there is cursing so take that into account before sharing with your children.
STARGAZER Vol 1 will be released on April 28, 2021.
Do you plan to read the series? Feel free to chat with me on Twitter or leave a comment below!