Review by C.J. Bunce
An overlooked 2018 sci-fi adventure mini-series is making its way to a trade collected edition tomorrow. The six-issue story arc in Image Comics/Skybound’s Stellar is a mix of good sci-fi concepts and action-adventure imagery. You’ll find big-eyed aliens similar in design to the villainous hunter Zando-Zans of The Last Starfighter, a rundown future world bent on destruction like in Firefly, fast-paced action and characters like that of Syfy’s Killjoys, and a lead heroine called Stellar who is stuck out of time, with a past and future hidden from her, evoking recent years’ Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel stories.
Writer Joseph Keatinge (PopGun, Shutter) takes on a surprisingly complex idea created by Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) and Marc Silvestri (Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine) and delivers the kind of story that belongs in the graphic novel format. Stellar moves from place to place, from time to time. She pursues the evil Zenith, an alien monster she believes to be the cause of destruction in her future. Or is he pursuing her? She’s moving through time, encountering those who may be able to help her unravel the twisted time loop she seems to be stuck inside.
The pretty, futuristic stylings and color choices by artist Bret Blevins result in a standout read visually. And Keatinge pulls elements in from all kinds of sci-fi stories to create uncertainty and doubt. Readers will ask “what’s going on here?” more than once, with an ending that is both satisfying and interesting. It’s not the kind of tale that needs a sequel, the complete story is right there.
Here are some preview pages of Stellar, courtesy of Image/Skyborne:
The space fantasy vibe is reminiscent of Michael Turner’s ideas in his series Soulfire–not the vivid detail, but the colors, fantasy landscapes, and vehicles are components that seem to have at least some of the late artist’s influence.
Pick up the new trade edition of Stellar tomorrow at Elite Comics or your local comic book store. It’s also available for pre-order here at Amazon.