Fantasy Mystery Comics Non-Fiction Fiction

Voices of the Dead / Bright

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Rising Stars: Voices of the Dead / Bright (2006) Fiona Avery

This was definitely a disappointment.

First of all, it didn’t say on the front cover that this was not written by J. Michael Stracznski. So I was expecting a certain type of writing and story, and didn’t get it. That probably didn’t help matters.

This collects two different stories, Voices of the Dead and Bright. For those who have read the previous three volumes of Rising Stars, it should be pretty obvious as to who these stories are about. Voices of the Dead tells some of the history of Lionel Zerb–what drove him to his solitude and semi-madness. The second story, Bright, tells of Matthew Bright’s life from the time he left Penderson till he received his special badge and uniform from the police department of New York.

What bothered me, was that these stories didn’t really add anything to the Rising Stars universe. We already knew the basics of how Matthew Bright became a NYC police officer, and how he was dedicated to truth and Justice. So this expending retelling didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know or assume. Matthew Bright was a hero and a good guy. That’s it. No conflict, no discovery of his secrets, just the expansion of a story we already knew.

The longer story, Voices of the Dead did tell of a character about whom we know much less–Lionel Zerb, the Special who spoke with the dead. Except that even after reading this story, I’m less sure about what pushed Lionel over the edge than I was before I read the story. And somehow, the story managed to keep the character at a distance, so that I still never connected to him, or felt much interest in what happened to him.

And to add insult to injury, I hated the way that John and Randy (the brief glimpses we saw of them) were done. I didn’t recognize either of them from the way they were drawn or they way they were written. The seemed more caricatures than characters. Considering how much I liked John and Randy, this was another severe disappointment.

The story in the first three volumes is fantastic and compelling and nearly impossible to put down. These stories hardly seemed to know why they were written and put together. They wandered about, poking into things. But the story that showed us something new, didn’t give us a reason to care about what was going on, while Bright just seemed like a mundane retelling of a history we already knew.

They felt almost more like fan fiction than new stories. Not that there’s anything wrong with fan fiction–I just have no interest in paying $20 for it.

So although there was nothing wrong per se with either story, they were a disappointment, and their quality nowhere near that of the initial three volumes, or even Visitations. So perhaps on their own, they weren’t so bad, but when compared to the previous volumes, they were awful. Save your money, and re-read the first three volumes instead.
Rating: 3/10

Categories: Dislike/Abandon, Graphic Novels     Comments (0)    

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