Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Starfire #12 Review and **SPOILERS**

Who Cares About the Clouds When We’re Together?

Written By: Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti
Art By: Elsa Charretier, Hi-Fi
Letters By: Corey Breen
Cover Price: $2.99
On Sale Date: May 11, 2016

**Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom**

And so we have come to the conclusion of our twelve-issue Starfire maxiseries—one Palmiotti and Conner claim to have intended to last this long, though of course if it sold eighty-thousand copies a month I think the powers-that-be at DC Comics would have seen fit to keep the series going. But it shipped about a tenth of that, and Starfire is headed off to a new role in the DCU after Rebirth, where she will join the Teen Titans (not to be confused with the Titans), largely restoring the team’s roster to its much beloved Wolfman/Perez incarnation from the 1980s. I’m excited to read that, but I must say I am going to miss Starfire’s solo. It hasn’t been my favorite comic, some issues have been better than others, but it has fairly well redeemed Kori from the sexual cipher she played in Red Hood & the Outlaws and introduced a good degree of fun to the character. Not to mention it brought the pink alien earwig from Teen Titans Go! into comics continuity, something that should have happened a while ago. So I think Starfire has done what it intended to, and now it gets a swan song with issue number twelve. Let’s send her off the way she would want us to, okay? With light sexual innuendo and minor property destruction caused by a verbal misunderstanding. Before you smash your computer, read my review, okay? It will help your mourning.

Explain It!:

Kori is back topside and just in time for Key West’s Fantasy Fest, an event that happens in October where everyone gets drunk and…well, pretty much dresses like Starfire. If they are wearing anything at all, that is. The Florida Keys are partly a place where clothing, especially above the waist, is optional. And before the scores of thirteen year-old boys that read my reviews start packing their bags for Boobie Town, I’d caution them that clothing and keeping a hot bod are optional out there, and you’re just as likely to see that some old lady that looks like Charo in 2016 swinging her cans around as you would to see Charo in 1980. Who am I kidding? Thirteen year-old boys have no compunctions where tits are concerned. So Starfire and Atlee enjoy Fantasy Fest, while Stella does her policing bit…for three panels. We spent all of last issue reading these ladies gab like hens in a sewing circle, and now that we’re at the premier event for Key West, we get three panels? I expected at least half an issue of cleavage and almost-exposed butts here! And I didn’t expect them all to be orange. So now, we begin Kori’s tearful goodbyes, which actually make others more tearful than she gets. Damned Tamaranian optimism.

First, Sol explains that he and Stella’s aunt’s muscular dystrophy has gotten worse, so he’s moved her into the pool house, where Kori had been staying. Sol and Stella are very apologetic, and Sol has made arrangements to let Kori stay in the house proper while they find her a new place to live, but Kori is decidedly breezy about it and shuffles off to the Not Sea World local aquarium to see if her job is still intact, after spending an extended vacation in Atlee’s underground world. Turns out that you can’t disappear from this job for a week and a half and have it waiting for you when you return, unlike Eric’s job which seems incapable of firing him. Kori isn’t surprised, and on her way out chats it up with a dolphin that asks her to reunite him or her with his or her love out in the ocean. Figuring she can’t be fired twice, Kori grabs the aquatic mammal and soars out of the joint, plopping themselves into a school of porpoise pals that swim around and act like the sea kittens they are. Hanging with the lively dolphins wears her out, so Kori says her farewell and heads back home, where she crashes on the couch for fifteen hours. While she’s out like a light, Sol talks to his sister Stella about something that transpired while they were under the Earth’s crust: Kori’s love bug Syl’Khee sang an interstellar R&B song that caused Sol and his Coast Guard partner Ravena to smooch. They discussed it, and realized that they truly love each other due to the imminent end of this maxiseries, and they agreed that Ravena could wear Sol’s fraternity pin after he let Kori down easy. Turned out to be easier than he thought, since Kori was standing behind him the entire time he explained his near infidelity. She brushes it off because, hell, that’s her prerogative, I mean have you seen this woman? She may be orange but she can pretty much write her own ticket where sexual partners are concerned. She casually asks Sol if he still wants to get bizzay even while seeing Ravena, but since he declines she flies off, probably to find Kanye West or something.

That evening, Starfire sets up a beach party picnic for all of her Floridian friends (and Atlee), where she announces that she will be leaving the Keys for future adventures that will probably include more syntactic misunderstandings and public displays of nudity. Atlee seems particularly distraught, so Kori suggests Atlee goes with her, which got me excited because it would be pretty cool to see Atlee on the post-Rebirth Teen Titans. But no, she can’t because she has to guard this entrance to the underworld, and plus she finally found a cheap place to live in Key West—that’s not me making stuff up this time, that’s actually one of her reasons. That’s how you know this book is being written by a New Yorker, when real estate concerns can dictate the manner of your personal bliss. Before the party’s over, Starfire and Atlee team up to save a pilot and to stop his airplane from careening into the crowd below, which only proves they would make great teammates. I hope we see Atlee again, she’s got Earth-manipulating powers, but isn’t a goth chick like Terra or own a stupid costume like Geo-Force.

Kori is soaking up some more Fantasy Fest when an old pal swoops in to say…something. It’s Superman himself, the guy that first suggested she cut loose from the Outlaws and find her own way, which is to say become less murderous and more like her naïve character from Teen Titans Go! They kind of dance around the issue of Starfire joining the Teen Titans, and then Superman invites her to Metropolis to “help,” which really raised my Stranger Danger alarm. Kori says she has one more goodbye to make, and it’s to Stella, whose relationship has gone from mistrust and misunderstanding to BFF-status over the course of this series. They discuss the bombshell Stella drunkenly dropped last issue: that she doesn’t want Kori to hook up with Sol because she will ultimately break his heart. Kori says, “That’s alright, baby brother, but we’re still friends” and signs her yearbook with “K.I.T.” and “2Good + 2Be = 4Gotten.” Then Starfire and Syl’Khee take off into the night sky, off for new adventures that I have a sneaking suspicion start in roughly two months!

This comic book, like every comic book, was not for everyone. Speaking personally, I liked the move towards Starfire’s character from Teen Titans Go! and away from how she was in Red Hood & the Outlaws, though at times I felt it went too far in the other direction. I think it could have been fewer issues, or perhaps some of the issues could have been plotted better, but it has done what it was supposed to: restored Kori to a likeable character we can all root for. It’s just too bad not a lot of people seem to have watched it unfold. One thing you have to admit about Starfire is that the art has been spectacular the whole time, and I particularly liked the work in these final issues by Elsa Charretier, Hi-Fi. We may not see this exact same version of Starfire anytime soon, but I sure hope we see a lot more work from Elsa Charretier. An excellent talent whose work is precise and lively, and who would inject levity into any book that needs it.

Bits and Pieces

The farewell issue of the series, wherein Starfire says farewell. All loose ends are tied up, and necessary bridges are burned, and in the final analysis we can say that this book did what it was supposed to: make Starfire a character that more people would want to read about. While the book itself didn't turn huge numbers, I think Kori's character redemption was real, and I expect something closer to this post-Rebirth than what we got prior to the maxi-series. As it has been for the previous eleven issues, the art in the final story is phenomenal, and if there can be only one legacy of this title, let it be Elsa Charretier doing more work for DC Comics. Because I would love to see this style on something like Green Lantern.

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