REVIEW: ‘Stellar,’ Trade Paperback

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Stellar

Welcome to the world of Stellar. The trade paperback collects the entirety of the Image Comics six-issue miniseries. Stellar is written by Joseph Keatinge, with art by Bret Blevins, and letters by Rus Wooton. Stellar is created by Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) and Marc Silvestri.

Stellar puts the reader right into the depths of an alien universe sometime far in the future. Stellar is a bounty hunter bringing in the alien criminal Melan Karkinas. Giant dead creatures and crashed rocket ships abound in the background, offering a macabre feel and an air that a lot has gone on beforehand. Stellar is a survivor from the start, trying to make a living in worlds struggling from untold years of universal warfare that has caused massive deaths and unrest. There is a lot more to the story than one hunt. Stellar has a past.

Childhood trauma can last a lifetime. For Stellar and a handful of other children captured in the war years earlier, trauma is an understatement. Stellar and company were made via super-science into godlike beings in order to end the war. Things did not go as planned. Superior power only added to the body count and instability. Murders and destruction on her conscience hit hard. Stellar left the life behind her. Bounty hunting allowed her to utilize her unique skills and earn a living on her own terms.

But the past comes for her, relentlessly.

And from that point on, Stellar elevates from a simple retro sci-fi action piece to one of the bloodiest, most violent, time-spanning epics I’ve read in a mini-series. The superhuman children Stellar left are sent by their imperial leader to bring her back. She can’t have peace, and neither can they. Their struggle is but part one in a fiasco that continues to up the ante. Bloodshed. Over the top violent acts. Worlds destroyed. Stellar survives throughout, taking on more than one change in her efforts to endure the acts of the main villain pulling the strings. The confrontation between Stellar and her adversary makes what came before seem like child’s play.  I can’t even get into just how insane this story becomes, but it manages to end well for a tale that seems as if it will only escalate events forever.

Joseph Keatinge wrote a good one here, even though it took me some time after reading it to calm down. However, at times I really felt like things went too overboard, especially with the violence. If these characters are so powerful, it didn’t make sense that their bodies would rip and bleed so easily, even when fighting each other. It did offer a frightening display of rulership and abuse in the hands of superhumans, and how inhuman they can become. The constant changes to the setting and story were jarring, but not in a bad way. It kept things interesting for sure.

Bret Blevins provided excellent artwork. He went all out from page one on, illustrating a chain of worlds and character designs that drew my eyes into the backgrounds so much I had to read things again to pay attention to characters in the foreground. I loved the variety of aliens and alien creatures and the differing outfits he drew for Stellar.  Colors are soft and inviting, not too bright or subdued.

There’s a touch of space horror in Stellar. Madness and other topics worth exploring. It’s a fine narrative about the past constantly haunting someone. If you think the funny books you read are tame, or you need a change of pace, bloody your bookcase with this trade.

Stellar is available in trade paperback form hits comic book stores on Wednesday, January 16, 2019, and bookstores on Tuesday, January 23, 2019.

 


Stellar
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TL;DR

There’s a touch of space horror in Stellar. Madness and other topics worth exploring. It’s a fine narrative about the past constantly haunting someone.