Starfire #1 came out last week and was definitely a fun read, so fun I felt I needed to do a quick review here.
I was one of the many readers who was put off by the portrayal of Kory as a brainless sex kitten, there simply for my ogling, as written by Scott Lobdell in the Red Hood and the Outlaws book. So I was thrilled when I heard that Starfire was getting her own book in the DCYou, especially when I heard the creative team was Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Emanuela Lupacchino, Ray McCarthy, and Hi-Fi.
Conner and Palmiotti have brought a sense of lunacy and fun to Harley Quinn. That book is a guilty pleasure, a book which seems to thumb its nose at sensibility, bringing a pedal-to-the-metal pace of wackiness and bawdiness to the comic world. Harley is a sort of PG-13, 'wishes it could be R', ribald comedy. I love it.
That said, I wasn't sure that I wanted a xerox copy of that tone with Kory. Once the Amanda Conner's cover and initial solicits were put out though, I could tell that it would be a little different. Looking at the cover, you have this totally gorgeous Starfire, beautiful enough to be turning the heads of everyone she has passed by. But the wide smile and breezy feel to the picture felt like it was going to skew a bit more innocent than Harley.
It also doesn't hurt that the internal art is by Emanuela Lupacchino, recent artist of Supergirl. Her work absolutely shined there and I can tell you that it does here as well. Eye-popping wonderful art here by Lupacchino and McCarthy.
And Hi-Fi just shines on colors, giving us layers of reds and oranges in Kory's hair and bringing us a bright, vibrant Florida as a backdrop.
The story is pretty straightforward.
Kory arrives in Key West as a 'stranger in a strange land'. She heads to the police station and asks for help in setting up a life there. While we are nearly 4 years into the New 52, this Kory really has a sense of naivete and wonder to life on Earth. She doesn't seem to have a grasp about day to day life here. Luckily, Sheriff Gomez is a kind woman and decides to help Kory, sheparding Starfire.
I had to include the splash page where Sheriff Gomez comments on Starfire's strength, stamina, and flight calling her a 'big orange Supergirl'!
I guess that is the closest we'll get to more Lupacchino Supergirl.
'My' Starfire is the warrior princess from The New Teen Titans. She was fierce and fiery. She was emotional and sensual. But she fought for what was right. And she never forgot the injustices done to her and her people.
But my 'other' Starfire is the one from the Teen Titans Go! cartoons, a sort of innocent, bubbly alien still learning what everything means on Earth.
The Conner/Palmiotti Starfire seems like the perfect blend of both. One of the running gags in the book is seeing Kory's thought balloons where she translates idioms a bit too literally. So 'three large ones' doesn't mean three thousand dollars to her; it means three elephants.
She isn't played off as stupid. She's learning. And it is fun.
But there is that sort of free-spirit sexuality to this Kory as well. She has no problem showering in an outdoor stall with the doors open. And she kisses this young man deeeeeply moments after meeting him. She uses the old Wolfman 'I learn languages by kissing' excuse. But when she is called on it by Gomez (who knows that Kory already knows English), Starfire's response is perfect. She wants to learn more English. I laughed out loud at that.
As a first issue, Conner and Palmiotti move things forward pretty quickly setting the stage. Kory is settled in Key West. She has a sort of guardian and guide in Sheriff Gomez. We meet her neighbors and get a blurb of backstory. And we get a fun scene in a bar where we get a sense of Kory's love of food, fun, and fighting.
If Harley Quinn is a PG-13, wishes it was R ribald comedy, I think Starfire is going to be a randy television show, pushing the envelope of what is allowed but probably staying close enough to PG to be accessible. More to the point, while I don't know if I would let my 13 year old read Harley, I would probably let her read Starfire if the book maintains this tone and pace.