Missing person or alien abduction? This is the question Shae must answer in Stargazer. Written by Anthony Cleveland, Stargazer is part mystery and part science-fiction thriller. Published by Mad Cave Studios, this six issue series is due for release as a trade paperback on April 28th. When they were kids, Shae and her brother Kenny witnessed something unexplainable. As the siblings grew up, each sought to explain what they saw in their own ways. Shae chose the path of science while Kenny seemed to dive deep into delusions about what happened that night. Years later, Kenny disappears, and Shae must reunite with their old group of friends to track him down and discover the truth of what they saw when they were children.
Stargazer has a great balance of scenes set in the past and scenes set in the present. Cleveland mixes the two together well, combining them into a straightforward narrative. The story moves at a brisk pace with emotional beats and tense moments sprinkled in all the right places. Like any good mystery or sci-fi thriller, there’s more happening beneath the surface of the narrative than meets the eye. The plot has a lot of moving pieces, but Cleveland does a nice job of fitting them all together.
Antonio Fuso’s artwork is a bit uneven from one panel to the next, but I like how expressively he draws the characters’ faces. The character designs are clear enough for the reader to tell each character apart while being distinct enough to distinguish scenes set in the past from those set in the present. As a result, it’s always easy to visually follow the events of story. Each issue collected in this trade paperback features distinct page layouts. Fuso plays around with the frames of each panel, giving each page a dynamic look. I really enjoyed seeing characters “break the fourth wall,” in a manner of speaking, as they reached past or through the framing of each panel.
Stargazer is an emotionally charged and thrilling science-fiction adventure. I try not to use this phrase, but this graphic novel warrants an exception: once you start reading, you won’t be able to put this book down. It’s a fast paced read with as many loud action beats as it has quiet emotional moments. The artwork is unique, even though the quality of the linework varies in spots. Fans of sci-fi comics will want to add this book to their collections.
Story: Anthony Cleveland Art: Antonio Fuso
Color: Stefano Simeone Letterer Justin Birch
Story: 9.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy
Mad Cave Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review