Shatterstar #1 Makes A Cult Favorite A Star
by Tony Thornley
If you had told me a year ago that I would be picking up a comic starring Shatterstar, I would have laughed at you. Not that I have any particular problem with the character, he’s just a character that I personally hadn’t had much exposure to, and thus didn’t care for. But thanks to a friend I’ve made through X-Men twitter, I’ve become interested in ‘Star. Thanks to Shatterstar #1, I may have become a fan.
Marvel picked a fantastic creative team for finally giving Shatterstar his spotlight. The series is written by Tim Seeley, with present day art by Carlos Villa and Juan Vlasco, flashback art by Gerardo Sandoval, color art by Carlos Lopez, and letters by Cory Petit, all wrapped in a stunning cover by Yasmine Putri. The team quickly hits on all cylinders.
Once he was Shatterstar, a gladiator turned rebel turned X-Forcer. Now he’s Ben Gaveedra, a landlord to intergalactic and multi-versal refugees. As he goes about his daily life, we see a young man still struggling with his place on Earth and his own identity. Then his past catches up to him, as Mojo’s minions the Death Sponsors arrive on Earth with a revenge plot against ‘Star…
Seeley’s script dives deeper into Shatterstar than I’ve seen. He shows us a young man who is coming to be at peace with himself, while still struggling through issues he has. It’s a smart decision – giving us the man before we see the punching (or more likely stabbing).
One of the toughest challenges of characters were seldom see out of a team context is a believable supporting cast. That’s an obstacle that Seeley easily overcomes. He not only creates a cast of fascinating characters, but he shows why ‘Star cares about them- and thus makes us care as well.
The split art chores was an interesting call that works. In Sanodval’s few pages, we’re given a bombastic trip to Mojoverse. His style has always been a bit over the top, and that’s perfect here. It’s big, broad, and violent, and looks exactly how you’d expect Mojoverse to look.
Villa and Vlasco on the other hand, keep their story grounded. Ben Gaveedra is a humble man, who’s also deeply troubled but working on it. Their character work is great. A highlight is the single page appearance of Julio Richter, ‘Star’s longtime boyfriend. The two have recently split, and the venom and pain on Julio’s face is so brilliantly done.
I was actually kind of surprised that Lopez was the only color artist here. He is able to shift between a subtle slice of life story to bombastic, oversaturated violence easily. His work makes the shift between present day and flashback work even better than the line art alone.
Petit has a lot of work to do, but he does it extremely well. He actually takes a relatively heartfelt narration, and plants hints that there’s more going on though his choices in balloon colors, placement and so on. It actually sets up a big final page reveal and it’s a great touch.
This was an unexpectedly fun and heartfelt first issue, and sets up a cool action story to come. X-Men fans should check it out.
Shatterstar #1 is available now from Marvel Comics.