Interpersonal Drama Meets Demonic Enemies In Zodiac Starforce: Cries Of The Fire Prince #3

by James Ferguson

The Zodiac Starforce meets…the Zodiac Starforce?! Up until this point, we’ve only seen the five members of this team, each representing a different astrological sign. As there are twelve signs, it would stand to reason there would be twelve members of the team, no? This issue we get to meet another five hailing from the UK, who join the US team to help them fight the demon Pavos. This is not a quick and jovial union and there are definitely some secrets hidden from the US folks.

Zodiac Starforce: Cries of the Fire Prince #3 greatly expands upon the mythos of the series. I’m filled with questions, and all of them make me more and more excited for where this can go next. How long has the Zodiac Starforce been around? How are the members chosen? Where are the other two zodiac signs? Where did they get those awesome uniforms?

The interaction between the two teams is strained, mostly because Molly has taken heavy damage. All eyes are on her as she’s healed by Cancer…Wait. That sounded wrong. The guy who’s call sign is Cancer. That’s another thing! There are guys on this team! Anyway, everyone is trying to figure out next steps as Pavos licks his wounds and prepares to strike again.

Pavos is proving to be one heinous villain. It’s clear that Alice and the others were not prepared for what they called forth, and some of them are starting to regret their actions. Pavos has little to no regard for human life and he’s incredibly powerful. This makes for a deadly combination. He effortlessly drains the life out of someone and smiles while he’s doing it.

I absolutely love the colors in this scene. Sarah Stern creates this moody atmosphere that’s shrouded in darkness. It’s the polar opposite of the candy-coated hues we see with the Zodiac Starforce. There are splashes of color surrounding Pavos and his victim, mimicking blood splatter from a crime scene. It’s like this guy’s spirit was lashing out in one final attempt at survival.

Although Cries of the Fire Prince deals with death and some more serious themes, there are still some moments that feel like they were ripped right out of an ’80s Saturday morning cartoon. This is the case with a group of monsters that the team encounter the woods when searching for clues of Pavos’ whereabouts. They find this goo that takes over nearby machines and tools, so the girls fight a refrigerator, a grill, a lawn mower, and a toilet. Each has arms and most have legs. They’re weird and creepy, and most likely something I saw the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fight years ago. I love it.

There’s a definite Sailor Moon vibe in Zodiac Starforce, especially as each team member yells out their special moves. It works really well here and looks amazing. Artist Paulina Ganucheau keeps the action scenes super exciting, making them feel like the characters are moving a mile a minute as they leap into battle. The UK team performs an impressive combo move that delivers a stunning blow to their enemies. If they’re all able to achieve that kind of power, they would be unstoppable together.

Zodiac Starforce is full of heart. These characters are not just fighting otherworldly bad guys. They’re also dealing with their own interpersonal drama. Writer Kevin Panetta makes the story more interesting and all of their actions carry more weight. When Gemini lashes out, it’s not because she’s trying to train harder. She also blames herself for Molly getting hurt. This kind of turmoil permeates the entire comic and it makes for a gripping read. It’s not quite to the level of a show on The CW, but still very compelling.

Zodiac Starforce: Cries of the Fire Prince #3 is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.