“Starborn” kicked off as one of the more promising titles launching from BOOM! Studios’ Stan Lee stable of comics. It was able to do this even through a few logic flaws and other problems purely because of its charm and force of idea. The pitch is good; a man is attacked by the beings he thought only existed in the novel he wrote. It was fun. Sadly this issue takes that fun, dips it into some concrete kicks, and plays ‘whack-a-mole’ with the fish on the very bottom of the deepest ocean.
Exposition. That’s the key word and it’s so rarely one that spells out magical comic pages. There is a lot of information Roberson needs to relay to the character but he does so through too much dialogue and not really enough action for its own sake. I also call foul on whether all this info needed to be dumped on Ben Warner right at the start. Leaving the character in the dark, as well as the readers, would have amped up tension. Dialogue tells us about the past, about what’s really happening in the present, and then what to expect for the future. You can’t say you don’t get it all but you can complain you were told not shown.
The first issue gave us the threat on Ben Warner’s life. This comic gives us his escape, thanks to the girl next door who turns out to be an intergalactic warrior tasked with protecting him all his life. Then, by the end of this issue, the threat has caught back up with them. However, you can see this time it will be on Warner to effect the heroic escape. There’s a cycle at play you can see a mile away and it robs the story of any sort of dramatic gravity. In a completely new world of creations, I want to know anything is possible and no one is safe. Instead, I decidedly get the other feeling.
There are a lot of good ideas on display in this issue, which makes it more of a shame they are fumbled in such a rush. The history between Warner and Tara could have been drawn out with only a few hints placed here and there. That sort of storytelling would have made for some amazing scenes over time. Instead it’s all given in one big chat. When you’re running for your lives, there shouldn’t be time for a deep discussion about the truth of the universe and the reality of your childhood.
“Starborn” still looks like a decent comic, and some of the design of characters and space concepts is interesting, but the pace of this issue simply gives too much so that in effect it feels like it hasn’t given you anything at all. A shame. Perhaps as part of the trade this chunk of information will feel more fluid, but as a monthly instalment this isn’t a story, this is a handbook. I’m hoping this is more a misstep and the comic can recover in the next issue.