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‘Zodiac Starforce #1:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Zodiac Starforce #1 does not begin at the beginning. I was reading and thinking to myself, is this the second series of this title? Nope. But, life-changing stuff has previously gone down for the four heroes of the book. They have a history, and it’s one that seems to be steeped in some pretty real-world stuff. Every time a character says, “That was fun,” it brings a world of tears and remembered consternation for another.

The beginning of our journey starts a couple of years after the freshman year of high school for the four females imbued with magic powers by a female zodiac force named Astra. After saving the world, they have decided to move on with their lives. Emma, wielding a pink power blade, was the leader of the group and seems to be the one who takes the emotional brunt of pretty much everything so far. Kim, who throws blue discs of power and has wanted to get the group back together since they split (You never once see her eyes, which is a hilarious take on a punk persona.). Savi, who seems pretty down to earth and hasn’t shown what she can do . . . yet. Molly, who doesn’t get to use her magic yet, but who is definitely not up for anymore crap – from anyone.  These are the members of the once group. The great thing is that even though they have their differences and fight the urge to regroup, when one of them is in trouble, their friendship binds them.

By avoiding the origin story, Kevin Panetta (Regular Show, Steven Universe – he’s written in good company!) makes his dilemmas fresh, putting a spin on things that may have otherwise been drudgery. We’re already moving towards the second boss fight, which means all of the stakes are going to be raised equally.

Paulina Ganucheau’s art (Adventure Time: Pixel Princesses, Bravest Warriors) and lettering is a strong addition to the magical girl genre. It’s light and fun but doesn’t withdraw from making the characters feel real.

It feels like a nice throwback to the magic girl stories of the '80s and '90s. The coloring schemes are really lovely to look at. The art springs to life, never looking digitally smoothed over (which I think is the visual death knell of any book).

There are a large number of female-led comic books that are quite empowering right now for girls and young women. For all you parents looking to introduce your children (girls and boys) to some healthy approaches to strong and empathetic female leads, now’s the time to do it. Zodiac Starforce is a nice addition to this ever-growing arena of popular books.

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