Fantasy Mystery Comics Non-Fiction Fiction

Rising Stars

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Rising Stars: Born in Fire (2001) Power (2002) Fire and Ash (2005) J. Michael Straczynski


When I asked for comic recommendations, Tom gave me several suggestions. The one I found locally was Rising Stars. Initially I only picked up the first volume, however I saw that all three volumes were there, so I figure that I should go ahead and pick all three up while I had the chance. After all, the introduction to Born in Fire was written by Neil Gaiman.

I’m glad I did. As soon as I finished Volume I, Born in Fire, I immediately grabbed Power and started reading.

It’s been awhile since I was so completely sucked into a story, and this is the first time it’s happened with a comic. There is something about a story that won’t let me put it down, that won’t let me go.

Rising Stars totally blew me away.

The books tell the story of a group of children who turn out different–special. There was a flash in the sky above Penderson, something new, and all those children who were in utero were affected by it. They developed powers and became superheroes.

The story is told by the Poet, John Simon, the last of the specials.

Born in Fire, Power, and Fire and Ash tell the story from beginning to end. They introduce us to these children, and watch them develop into superheroes and villains and those who end up in the middle. It’s a complete mythology in a couple hundred pages.

But there isn’t any one thing that made me like this story so much. It was more like everything. The world he build, the story, and the characters–especially the characters.

John, the main character, was my favorite. Although some of the characters–Matthew, Jason–looked and acted like traditional superheroes, John and Randy did not. They’re dark, with long ponytails, and they wear dark clothes–my kind of people actually.

There is also a strong theme of redemption in the series, something that I particularly like. I believe that we have free will and the choice to take actions that are good or evil, but I do not believe that someone who has taken an evil action cannot be eventually redeemed. Of course he did make it easy for some of the characters to redeem themselves, but that’s okay, because redemption and forgivenmess are a hard things. They may not be as easy in real life as they are in the story, but that’s okay. I’m more than willing to let it slide.

I’m actually having a hard time writing this, because every time I pick up one of the books to check something, I end up reading on until I can force myself to put the story back down. I already want to go back and re-read them from start to finish, picking up the things I missed the first time, picking up on the bits of foreshadowing that didn’t necessarily make sense the first time.

Now I need to get Michael to read it, so that I can not just rave about how much I liked it, but also rave about specific things I liked, to see if the bits that I particularly liked were also the bits that he really liked.

If this is how J. Michael Straczynski typically writes, I am definitely going to have to search out other things he’s written, because this series was absolutely wonderful. But now I have to go. There was one other thing I wanted to re-read…
Rating: 10/10

ADDENDUM the First:
Michael just finished and his comment was, “Wow. That’s really cool. Wow.”

Categories: 10/10, Graphic Novels     Comments (0)    

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