Writer: Kevin Panetta
Artist and Letterer: Paulina Ganucheau
Zodiac Starforce, in its own way is a throwback to Jem as well as Sailor Moon. In fact, this opening book felt like a ‘what happened after it was all over’ book. It is, however an origin story at its heart.
The book opens as Emma, a former member of a super team known as Zodiac Starforce, is busy doing homework for a big test, ignoring friends and so on, all of a sudden is attacked by a monster. She is saved by another former member, Kim who then tried to convince her that because these types of attacks are growing more intense, that the time has come to get the band back together. After going to a party and having Emma getting injured, the team forms up again to find out what inter-dimensional dangers await.
In the way that this story has been told, there is room for the team to grow as there are four members present. Because there are 12 zodiac signs, my guess is that there may be room for 8 more characters and who knows, due to the sometimes chaotic nature of the zodiac, some may be antagonists as well. We aren’t told right off the bat what broke this team up, only that an evil force known as Cimmera may be coming back.
If I had one complaint about the book, it’s that I wasn’t 100% sold on the dialogue as written by Panetta. Early on, I felt that the ‘voices’ of Emma and Kim were distinct as I had a feeling that Kim was the more rough and tumble of the two but as more characters made their way into this book even at the party, I felt the dialogue getting a bit stiff and to a small degree, almost everyone sounded the same. Suffice to say, however, the dialogue was straightforward and quick-paced, without a bunch of Techno babble nonsense that would get readers lost. I really do like it when books don’t try to hurt the brain in its opening act!
Paulina and Savannah Ganucheau’s art direction was brilliant. In so many ways I felt the influence of Sailor Moon and other anime at work in many scenes especially when Kim first shows up. The colors are bold and bright, yet muted and even some of the facial expressions have a bit of a manga feel to it. Overall, the Ganucheaus are on point with having the art meld in to tell the story. I was impressed with the amount of detail that went into this book and it delivered without looking too cluttered and clunky.
In summary, it’s a good start for this book. While some work is needed with the dialogue, the plot and the Ganucheaus’ art really makes it worthwhile. Panetta did an excellent job at introducing us to the characters and laying the groundwork for a larger well-thought out universe. For those looking to have a good book with a female team as well as those who are manga fans won’t go wrong here.
3 astrological charts out of 5