Stone Star #1
Aboard the nomadic arena vessel known as the Stone Star, we meet a pair of young thieves, Dail and Kitzo, attempting to survive in a stratified culture that values entertainment over all else. But their lives take a dramatic turn when a heist goes wrong, leaving Dail exposed!
Coming to Dail's rescue is an enigmatic former gladiator, Volness, who witnesses Dail's ability to manipulate machinery and offers to open his eyes to a whole new world!
Zub and Dunbar manage to channel the storytelling of Squaresoft’s Final Fantasy series with this creator-owned effort. Zub notes that this project is something of a mashup of many of his imaginative influences growing up and it shows in this work. The first issue manages to set the stage through some well-crafted world-building but more importantly, the story crafts a handful of characters that are easy to bond to right from the get-go. While there is nothing particularly new in this pastiche of sci-fi and fantasy tropes, the blending of these tropes coupled with strong and early character development make Stone Star an enjoyable read throughout.
Max Dunbar’s art is reminiscent of an era where imprints ruled thanks to the works of J. Scott Campbell (Danger Girl), Joe Madureira (Battle Chasers), and Humberto Ramos (Crimson). The backgrounds are rich and full creating a sense of place and space within this fictional galaxy and the characters are well-defined and sharp, each with their own flare making them easily identifiable and distinct. The page layouts are nothing particularly new or innovative here, but it fits with the dominantly linear plot progression and straight-forward story-telling. The color work by Grundetjern is striking and a perfect compliment to the line art while the lettering from Dillon helps to enable a large amount of expository work for world-building not feel cumbersome on the page.
Stone Star #1 is both strikingly familiar and stunningly fresh, making Jim Zub and Max Dunbar's surprise release a pleasant surprise on this Wednesday morning.
Stone Star #1: Bread and Circuses
Writing - 9/10
Storyline - 9/10
Art - 9/10
Color - 9/10
Cover Art - 9/10
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