Starbrand and Nightmask #4
Written By: Greg Weisman
Art By: Domo Stanton with Daniele Di Nicuolo
Colors By: Jordan Boyd with Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters By: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 03/16/16
Rating: Rated T+
How can two characters from Marvel’s twice defunct “New Universe” from 1986 be relevant and entertaining today? Get one of the best writers today to write them and set them up young adults in college seems to be a great start!
Plot: In space Nightmask must stop his “family” Explosion, Gravitation, and Entropy the children of Eternity in order to save his friend Starbrand from being killed, and along with him the planet Earth. Meanwhile on Earth in the Arctic Circle, Starbrand struggles to recover from a would be fatal wound by the now cosmically powered Blizzard, Nitro and Gravitron. Can they save the planet and make it back in time for the Icebreaker Party?
Story: I know this series is off a lot of people’s radar, but it shouldn’t be. Yes cosmic stories tend to scare off a lot comic book readers who may be used to their costumed heroes in spandex and capes rescuing the same citizens from the same rogues gallery every issue, cosmic stories by definition go bigger, they deal with larger scale threats like the children of Eternity. So why should you read this? Because Greg Weisman, yeah you know the guy from Gargoyles, W.I.T.C.H., Rain of the Ghost, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Star wars Rebels, and a little show called Young Justice balances this phenomenal cosmic in an itty bitty dorm setting.
The college is where I think this story shines the most actually. While we get to see them have these adventures that are fitting for their power levels we get to see an artificial being (Nightmask) and young man (Starbrand) who blew up his last college when his powers manifested attend college and have all the fun and drama that goes along with their journey to connect to humanity when you have cosmic level powers.
It was great to see Kevin (Starbrand) and Adam (Nightmask) interact with their fellow students. After they return from the Arctic Circle they find out that they were the last to arrive so they are dosed with ice water. I hope we get to see more of them since we know that kenny Kong knows they are really superheroes after seeing them transform in the first issue.
What is really great about this supporting cast is what I think is really something that Greg Weisman does so perfectly and that is diversity. Weisman has filled the halls of ESU with a truly diverse student body that include Kenny Kong who is more like his Spectacular Spider-Man animated counterpart as opposed to his Ultimate Universe white counterpart. Then there is Shelly the sterotypical attractive white girl who is crushing on Kevin but Kevin is crushing on Imani Greene the R.A. who has an orthopedic leg brace, an eye patch, and scars on her face, but to Kevin she is the most amazing woman he has ever met. Weisman writes characters and situations like this without throwing up the neon sign of recognition, but instead plays them out organically. I loved seeing Kevin’ face as he heard Imani and the girls talking about how much she likes Kevin.
Art: This is really the only downside of the issue, while the art isn’t horrible, it actually pretty good but it lacked a single style. I felt like it was bouncing between a simple American animation style a Japanese anime style. This transitioning lead to some odd facial expressions and background shots.
Verdict: Overall I had a great time reading this issue and can not wait to see more of Starbrand and Nightmask but honestly I hope to see even more of Kevin and Adam.