Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Starfire #10 Review and **SPOILERS**

Turn On Your Heartlight

Written By: Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti
Art By: Elsa Charretier, Hi-Fi
Letters By: Rob Leigh
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: March 9, 2015

*Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

“Under the earth’s crust, under the earth’s crust, we eat pomegranate, down beneath granite, in me you can truuusst!” Back to Strata, home of Atlee and probably a whole bunch of Sleestaks. My mother-in-law says that layered casseroles are called “stratas,” I wonder if they were invented by this legendary underworld society? Do you think they eat lasagna? Well, there’s only one way to find out, and that’s to dive right in and then burrow a little bit and spelunk through some caves to the very place itself, which we will do in my review of this issue! Keep reading if you’ve got your miner’s helmet!

Explain It!:

Stella Gomez is rushing Kori’s limp body to whatever qualifies as a hospital down in the Hollow Earth, while King Neala-Tok continues assaulting Strata with an army of giant crickets. The Stratanians are getting their clocks cleaned because they are a peaceful people, and have no weapons, depending instead on champions to defend them against threats. Unfortunately, most of their superpowered defenders are off at a Champion Conference, probably hanging out at the bar too long. Only Atlee is available, and coincidentally so since she merely happened to drop by her parents. Atlee confronts King Neala-Tok and wipes out his cricket army with some kind of bug bomb, but King Asshole laughs it off and reveals another army of orange-skinned lizard men, known as Chida, who crawl out of a big hole in the ground. Wait, so there’s an underground world beneath this underground world? How deep does this go? At what point do we get to Ann Nocenti’s Gotham Underworld, where Joker’s Daughter is from? What, we’re not allowed to cross over with the Batman group now? This is the Harley Quinn crew, buddy!

Just about then, Kori wakes up from her nap. Turns out her body was just adjusting to the weird underworld sun that lights and heats Strata. But now that she’s adjusted, she’s ready to kick some boo-tay! Right after she puts clothes on her boo-tay. Stella has been prepared to go fight all along, and weird bald dude with big hands agrees to take her to a museum where they keep a variety of weapons. Fine art is kept in a bank vault. Meanwhile, on the surface, Coast Guards Rave and Sol, the latter being sorta sweet on Koriand’r, are crusing around after helping a bunch of stranded teenagers get giggly and horny. Sol is telling Rave about Syl’khee (and it’s pronounced “Silky,” people), the weird caterpillar monster bug that hatched from that huge egg two issues ago. Yes, I know it is the same creature from Teen Titans Go!, but I don’t see how that makes it interesting or relevant. As Sol and Rave chat, Syl’Khee shows up all levitating and shit, then gives off some sicko vibes that make Sol and Rave smooch! Things get awkward between them, but Rave admits that she didn’t feel coerced by the bug, indeed she felt as if her inhibitions were removed! Aka she has major hots for Sol.

Back in Strata, Atlee is getting clobbered by a Chida, who grow larger the more they are attacked by energy, or something to that effect. Just when it looks like Atlee is about to get clobbered, Starfire shows up and starts shooting bolts around like a rotating sprinkler system. Atlee advises Kori to keep blasting these jerkoffs and punch ‘em to smithereens when they are all huge, which Kori does without effort. This leaves only King Neala-Tok and his right hand Chida, who, despite having had their asses handed to them, continue to taunt Starfire and threaten Strata. Kori gives a big speech explaining why she’s about to reduce these two jokers to wall paste, then she turns into some kind of weird flash bulb and reduces them to wall paste. This knocks her out and she falls from the sky, but Stella arrives just in time to catch her. Back at Strata’s ER, the blue doctor informs everyone that Kori is merely in what topsiders would call a “coma,” and it will eventually wear off—in thirty-two years! Stella has no time to process this, though, for she must go a ceremony that involves stripping nude in front of the citizens of Strata, putting on a blousy number, and activating their underworld sun orb to accept the spirits of the dead. Or something like that. It all happens and Stella is very impressed, and just then we see Kori has woken up and looks right as rain! It’s time to parrrty! Next issue.

Once again, Starfire is one of the best-drawn books on the stands, but it’s also still as meandering and inconsequential as always. The assault by Neala-Tok was silly, and didn’t seem threatening or unjustified. Starfire getting new powers is cool and all, but they are neither necessary or well-defined. I guess the big burst was the thing? Whatever—she was already kicking the Chida’s asses, and Starfire is always being made to hold back her full, destructive power anyway. It seems like giving a shotgun to a guy with a nuclear bomb. This wasn’t an unenjoyable read, just not a very pertinent one. If magical, pink earwigs are your thing, then you are gonna love one part of this book!

Bits and Pieces

Whoa! Starfire’s sleeping, so Atlee’s attackin’! Then Atlee’s getting beaten up, so Starfire awakens! Then she’s sleeping! I wish I were sleeping! This book was a reasonably fun ride that probably went on five pages too long. Artwork is impeccable, and worth the rather paltry admission price. Also there’s a little Starfire cheesecake, something you won’t even find in Playboy anymore.

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  1. Starfire's "weird flash bulb" seems similar to Superman's/Supergirl's "Corona" blast, because it destroyed her enemies but laid her out for some time.

    1. I thought the same thing! You just can't trust solar energy, Dick Cheney was right!

  2. Nice reference with the Sleestaks! And I was thinking more of Strata being a city on the way to The Center of the Earth type place. Perhaps Uruk would be the king there. Thank you for spelling out the correct way to say Silky, really hoping that Jim says it correctly on the podcast. It's been so obvious to me but no one has being saying it right.

    1. Well Jim learned to read only a few years ago so I think he's doing pretty well!

    2. i have no idea what the hell you guys are talking about!!!

  3. First time commenter here, nice review! I enjoyed this latest issue of Starfire but I have to confess I was a bit bummed by how easily Teala-lok was taken out. Ever since we first learned of this evil king character from Atlee & the first Chida I assumed he was gonna be a major antagonist for Starfire to contend with, something she's been in need of since this series began really, every superhero NEEDS a rogues gallery, but each of Starfire's potential rogues have been taken out in such a way that its unlikely they'll return to build any real rivalry with our fave alien heroine. Teala-lok suffers the same problem, he gets taken out rather easily without ever attacking Starfire or her friends himself directly, which makes it hard to take him seriously as the major league big bad Atlee makes him out to be...I mean, why the heck did all those underground monsters take orders from him when he never once displayed any superpowers of his own? It would make sense if the Chida were mindless animals under his sway but they're clearly sentient beings, & yet they follow their king blindly even though he never does anything to suggest he's the strongest amongst them or has any control over them beyond blind fealty (he's royalty, I get it, but still...Compared to other DC evil royals like Blackfire or Despero he's nothing special). I guess I was hoping there would be a longer story arch involving Starfire vs Teala-lok, or that this first encounter would mark the beginning of a long standing vendetta against Starfire, but nope, he gets taken out so easily one has to wonder if killing him was even necessary lol. Pity really, design-wise he was a decent looking villain, could have been a sort of subterranean "Prince Lotor" sort of character for Starfire to contend with, vindictive dark king vs heroic luminous princess, & kept expecting him to shoot laser beams from his scepter or something but...Nope XD

    Don't get me wrong, I DID enjoy the issue, the artwork was great and the threat was big in scope and Starfire got to kick tons of monster butt (plus Stella was awesome too), BUT I feel like the "hollow earth" storyline could have been an grander adventure & that Teala-lok, his Chida beasts, and his Mantodean soldiers could have been a bigger deal. I'm a Doctor Who fan too, so I know all too well that an alien hero contending with an army of hostile under dwellers can be a really engaging plot-line. Despite the series flaws I have been enjoying Starfire's solo series and intend to see it through til the end, I just hope something big goes down in the last few issues & that Starfire still has a bright future ahead of her in DC comics regardless of whether she gets a new solo series or joins another superhero team (no more Outlaws please lol).

    P.S. if the New 52 hadn't retconned Blackfire, Starfire's oldest & greatest nemesis, into a goodie good (disgraceful waste of a villain lol), her lack of an arch-enemy & meaningful rogues to fight against would not have been an issue for this series. Just saying, whoever made that call clearly didn't know what they were doing...Whats next? Is Lex Luthor gonna become best friends with Supes? XD

    1. Thanks for joining in! I do think that Starfire will continue in the Rebirth Titans book and not in Outlaws! I have been up and down with this series...the art has been great, but like you mentioned, the lack of an arch-enemy really did hurt it.


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