Tag Archives: Starfire

Strange Comic Trends: Another Pair of 38s

The medium of comics is certainly not without controversy, and increasingly lately in the manner in which it depicts women.  It would seem as though the medium has been going through a pretty rapid change in the past year in terms of how to present its female characters, and this is an indication that the medium as a whole is changing.  It is a necessary change as the demographics of readers if changing, and so what is looked for in a female character these days is much more like solid writing as opposed to a revealing costume.  In the past few years there have been a few different developments which have caused fans to voice their concerns for the direction of the medium and its treatment of its female characters.  For instance the alternate cover for Spider-Woman #1 made a lot of readers wonder if there was ever going to be any change, and the comments about feminism and Wonder Woman caused many to raise their eyebrows.

38s001One of the points in comic history was that of the launch of the new 52.  Fans were promised that new approaches were going to be taken and that characters were going to be revitalized for a modern day treatment.  The result was a bit of a mixed bag, some creators shook up the normal and gave the readers something really new, and some other characters just got costume changes.  There was no bigger flashpoint of any character than surrounded Starfire and her depiction in Red Hood and the Outlaws. While there were aspects of the character which were in-line with what had come before, there was also a backlash over her depiction in this series.  With Jason Todd and Roy Harper as the unapologetic frat boys, Starfire was turned into the dream sorority girl, one that wore almost nothing and solicited sex from strangers.  At one point she was even referred to by her breast size alone (a pair of 38s).  Obviously a lot of fans were a bit taken aback by this new representation of the character as the change in her case was to make her a two dimensional being judged only for her appearance, which is pretty much the exact opposite of what female comic readers wanted.

38s003In the intervening years since the launch of the new 52, there seems to have been a renaissance in the medium, especially with its treatment of female characters as being capable as heroes without revealing their whole bodies to do so.  In the past year there has been this new focus on Silk, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Woman, Batgirl, Ms. Marvel and Olive Silverlock, and it seemed as though the medium was catching up to demographics a lot more quickly than anyone had ever imagined.  It thus makes the new launch of Starfire all the more curious.  She is a little different than what we got during the new 52 relaunch, and while there are a lot of jokes at her expense as a fish out of water as an alien living in Key West, the same jokes also come off a bit as making her seem like a bit of a dumb blonde.  That being the case, the writers even managed to replicate closely enough the description of Starfire as only being her breasts, as when she is trying to arrange to rent a room from two rowdy guys she offers the fact that she has three big ones ($3000) to spend but one of her admirers says that she has only two that he can see (her breasts).  While the character is not treated as lasciviously as in her new 52 relaunch, it would equally seem as though the writers didn’t get the memo about the change underway in the medium, and without a change in outlook, Starfire might find herself left behind once again.


Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here! I’ll be spending it checking out Jurassic World, no matter the negative reviews. How will you be spending it? While you decide that, here’s some news and reviews you might have missed.

Around the Tubes

ArtsBeat – For $7.99, You Too Can Be a Marvel Colorist – This is pretty cool.


Around the Tubes Reviews

CBR – All Star Section Eight #1

Talking Comics – Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #1

CBR – Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #1

ICv2 – Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Vol. 1

CBR – Marvel Zombies #1

CBR- Starfire #1

Game Review: DC Comics Deck Building Starfire Promo

starfireThe idea of the promo card has been with the DC Comics Deck Building Game since its onset.  As opposed to Legendary (Marvel’s Deck Building Game) where the characters are played based on entire decks, the main characters in the DC Comics Deck Building are solitary character cards who help determine how the game is played and thus a single character can be introduced to DC with only one card as opposed to the 14 that would be required for Marvel.  As the card is a promo though it is not as easy to acquire.  Although it can be order over the internet, it will go almost as much on a site like eBay as it will for the entire game on Amazon, and therefore it calls into question as to whether this is a good investment or not.

It should be said that the card is one that somewhat skips over the in-game mechanics and for the first time in the series is the main character card that is more dependent on related cards in the deck.  As opposed to character such as Wonder Woman who benefit from a deck which is primarily villains, Starfire does not have as much of an advantage with a particular card type, with the character text giving the following ability “Once during Each of Your Turns, if there are no Super Powers in the line-up then draw a card.”  While this can be a powerful ability, it also forces the character to purchase a lot of super powers in order to keep them off the board.  In an indirect way this is also good for the character, as it is beneficial when the Starfire cards from the Heroes Unite expansion are played together, one of which is a superpower.  Used together in the same turn they can be a powerful combination, and while the main character is not necessary to make use of them, thematically it makes sense as well as the in-game text increasingly the likelihood that these cards are bought.

In the first playthrough with this card she was pitted against another one of the Heroes Unite characters (Red Tornado) and it was a relatively easy victory, even accounting for the draw of the cards.  This means that she is a relatively powerful character as the ability to draw an extra card comes in pretty handy on most turns and as the combination of super powers gives her an additional edge.  As for the price, it is hard to say.  It is unfortunate that Cryptozoic does not make more of these cards available, as Legendary cards are mostly all out there for close to their original prices.  This card was free but has become a lot more, and so the difference in opportunity to acquire it might make it less desirable even it it is fun for in-game play.  In all honesty it is probably not worth the price paid to acquire it though, as Cryptozoic has released so many other main character cards and other with female superheroes.  It is a shame because the character is popular enough, except she is buried here because of her inaccessibility.

Score: 7.8, but 6 for availability.

Review: Starfire #1

starfire001bThere is perhaps no other character in need of a post-new 52 makeover than Starfire.  It was her after all around which so much controversy was focused after the launch of the new 52.  Her “no questions asked” sexual approach and relative willingness to walk around nearly naked was a point of contention for many fans, either the new fans that had come on board for the reboot, or old fans who were being promised something new, and found a lot of the old.  Of course, the background exists for the character to be somewhat open with her sexual matters, but the backlash nonetheless remained.  In the intervening years, and especially in the past year, there has been something of a renaissance for female characters, between approachable reboots/relaunches for Spider-Woman, Batgirl, and Medusa as well as newly introduced characters such as Kamala Khan, Cindy Moon and Olive Silverlock.  With the focus on well written female characters that were built on solid writing as opposed to their appearance, it would seem that the time is right for the same treatment for Starfire.

Thus for the first time in the history of DC Comics publishing, Starfire has been given the chance to headline her own series.  As conceived by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, the series is one which aims to take a less serious look at the life of a superhero, partially inspired by the Harley Quinn series.  The story finds Kory in Key West, an unlikely location for a superhero to set up shop, but tells her story as she details her life to a police detective who is keen on helping out the superpowered alien.  As the story progresses, there are various chances to learn about the past of the character, as well to introduce the other characters as a storm approaches.

The intention of the series to establish the characters as a fish out of water might be clear, but it is also confusing.  In the wake of so many other well written female character headlining their own series in recent months, Starfire comes off as the equivalent of the “dumb blonde” stereotype, asking questions about things which are apparently obvious while also failing to grasp basic parts of human society (like the need to be clothed.)  It fits with the character’s past, but it doesn’t bode well for her future, at least in this series, as this will soon be buried alongside other titles that have failed to evolve to the changing market for comic readers.

Story: Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner Art: Emanuela Lupachino 
Story: 6.2  Art: 8.0  Overall: 6.2 Recommendation: Pass 

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Starve01Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.


Top Pick: Mike’s Place: A True Story of Love, Blues and Terror in Tel Aviv (First Second) – The graphic novel recounts the true story of a suicide bombing at Mike’s Place, a bar where people of all persuasions get together to enjoy music and beer. It’s beyond moving, and hits you with a punch to the gut. Just an amazing example of using graphic novels to recount real life and history.

Batman #41 (DC Comics) – James Gordon in a robot/mech Batman suit? Yes please! Scott Snyder has been an amazing writer on Batman and it’s sure to look amazing with Greg Capullo on art. The all-new Batman makes his debut! What happens next? This is the new era in Gotham and it looks awesome.

Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #1 (Marvel) – They are the elite. The best of the best. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Kelly Thompson take Carol Danvers and her team of elite pilots into Secret Wars. It looks awesome. Beyond awesome.

The Disciples #1 (Black Mask Studios) – In the near future, Dagmar, Rick, and Jules, intrepid private eyes/bounty hunters, have been hired by a high ranking Senator to retrieve his teenage daughter who’s run off to join a mysterious religious cult. The latest from Steve Niles and Christopher Mitten.

Starve #1 (Image) – In a world torn apart by starvation and rising water, Chef’s are stars, especially one. This is the story of a popular cooking competition television show, and its star who wants to bring it down.


Top Pick: Gotham Academy #7 (DC Comics) – This title was an unexpected standout before Convergence, and while the crossover might have lost a bit of momentum for the title, it remains to be seen where the series can go from here, especially with the addition of Damian Wayne.

Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #1 (Marvel) – Marvel has to get the ball rolling after giving Carol her own movie, but previous attempts have not always gone so well.  With budding superstar writers Kelly Sue DeConnick and Kelly Thompson on board this might be the vehicle to put Carol where she belongs.

Silk #5 (Marvel) –  Flying under most people’s radar is the most engaging of all the Spider-books, and Marvel’s most intriguing Spider-Woman.

Starfire #1 (DC Comics) – Starfire gets her own ongoing series for the first time ever. It will be interesting to see if the series’ less serious tone can stand a chance against other titles.

Starve #1 (Image Comics) – From a near future where humanity is obsessed with celebrity and looser with the laws, a celebrity chef returns to an unexpected challenge.


Constantine the Hellblazer #1 (DC Comics) – I’m going to have to come clean: I never read Hellblazer. I mostly know John Constantine via Swamp Thing and his various guest appearances over the years plus the recent television show which we reviewed the earlier part of. Occult detective/conman/former punk band frontman is a great logline if I ever heard one. He’s just the sort of character I’d enjoy reading (and not only because we have a good amount of music collection overlap and bi-solidarity and whatnot).

So, I can’t wait to check out this series premiere by artist and now writer, Ming Doyle. She’ll be our podcast guest on Monday! Doyle’s created some of the most beautiful and singular art in comics so while I’m a bit sad that there’s someone else on art duties, Riley Rossmo‘s art looks evocative and unique too. Co-writer is James Tynion IV.

1602 Witchunter: Angela #1 (Marvel) – Now here’s an alternate history Secret Wars book I can’t wait to read! It sounds sword and sworcery-ish and a whole lot of fun. Writers Marguerite Bennett, Kieron Gillen and artists Stephanie Hans and Marguerite Sauvage set up what looks to be a lovely package of King James England era heroics. I found the story in the other costume period drama Secret Wars book underwhelming: a faux Medieval themed Young Avengers-y book. But I have faith in these creators to put together something worthy of this stunning cover.

Gotham Academy #7 (DC Comics) – Did you hear? Bruce Wayne’s son Damian is now enrolled in Gotham Academy! He’s going to keep tabs on our misadventuring cohort of rebellious and lovable kids and keep them out of trouble. Or maybe just scowl and act aloof. It’s anyone’s guess!

Jack Kirby: Kamandi Artist Edition (IDW Publishing) – You really love me, right? You know how happy it would make me to get this gorgeously put together compendium of one of Kirby’s later masterpieces? Kamandi is/was “The Last Boy on Earth!” an inspiration for characters like the beloved Finn the Human of Adventure Time. Put it on your gift lists now because it’s going to be beautiful.

Silver Surfer #12 (Marvel) – This series has been fantastical with some of Allred’s most creative art in years. But the series is about to end. The previews make this story look like our heroes are trapped in a dream of some kind. Lots of time and space paradoxes have sprung up of late in this book. I feel like the previews are lampshading Dawn becoming the new Silver Surfer. That would be a pretty wild conclusion!


Top Pick: Ghost Racers #1 (Marvel) – This the title I have been looking forward to since it was first announced, as every Ghost Rider that has ever existed or ever even mentioned now compete against each other against all odds for freedom.

Injection #2 (Image) – When Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey left Marvel’s Moon Knight last year, one could only wonder hat this dynamic duo would be doing next. I can only say they did not disappoint ,  with this series so far, the first issue was a gut punch, the second issue , can only be an uppercut.

Red Hood & Arsenal #1 (DC Comics) – Out of the DC YOU reboot going on at DC, this sounds like one of the more promising titles, as Red Hood has become a fan favorite, now teamed with rogue hero, Arsenal, definitely sounds like a lot of fun, as these two  fight against the underworld of the DC Universe.

Starve #1 (Image) – I have been interested in this series since it was first introduced at Image Expo and Brian Wood has never disappointed since his days working on the landmark, DMZ. A story that sounds like Masterchef meets Survivor, pretty cool.

Weirdworld #1 (Marvel) –  Part of the Secret Wars titles , but written by Jason Aaron of Southern Bastards fame and art by Mike Del Mundo, defintely  one of the more interesting series to crop out of this Marvel event about a new character named Arkon, a medieval warrior type.

Wish You Were Here – Where Would Starfire Really Go For a Selfie?

Last week DC Comics released images of various giveaways that it would be releasing in June to help get fans into stores and to buy their latest release under the new 52 banner (and the first post-Convergence.)  Among tour posters for Black Canary’s music and paper masks for popular heroes was a fake postcard featuring Starfire in Key West.  There is a bit of a back story behind the postcard as Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti both have said that they like the city as well, and the fact that it is known for its overall acceptance is something which might draw her to visit there (also Key Lime Pie.)

While the story of her travel to such a place in our solar system is a nice idea, it does raise the idea of where an alien might actually want to visit.  Starfire can survive in outer space unaided, and thus there are really not that many places where she could not travel.  That having been said, what features in our solar system might be truly unique to see and to take a picture in front of?  The idea requires some speculation of course, as what we know of other planets is still pretty obscure, but with the supposition that there is a group of advanced humanoids elsewhere in the universe, there would have to be some basic assumptions.  The first is that they come from a planet which has lots of water, and a lot of land.  Such land would be broken down into all the same identifiable features that we have on Earth, and so much of the surface of the Earth would be pretty normal looking.  Even if particular vistas looked amazing, it would be similar to locations on their own world.  So too does the prevalence of gas giant planets seem to be common enough in other solar systems, at least from what we have seen.  So while Jupiter is a marvel to look at, it probably would not be particularly different than other gas giants in others solar systems.  With the normality of other astronomical and terrain features being pretty common place, what might an alien find different or interesting about the solar system?  Here are a few suggestions.

Saturn’s Rings

1190_1280x1024-wallpaper-cb1425509465When first discovered through a telescope, the rings of Saturn were visible, at least that there were there, if not of what they actually were.  Since the improvement of telescopes it has become evident that Saturn has something special, and those are its rings.  As exploration has continued of the solar system, it has been discovered that other planets also have rings, but none of them compare to Saturn.  It is theorized that Saturn rings were formed as an icy moon was either pulled apart by tidal forces or by it being pulverized in one way or another.  And so while rings on planets are common enough, such spectacular ones perhaps are not.

Mercury’s Weird Terrain

Mercury is fairly devoid of any real interesting features except for one.  Most of its surface is pock-marked by impact craters, and Mercury therefore ends up looking much like the moon.   Its lack of atmosphere has meant that meteors and asteroids which impact it are not broken up before impact, but rather strike with full force.  One such asteroid long ago struck the surface and created a giant crater, but it is not the crater itself which is of note but rather what can be found at its antipode.  The shock waves of the impact traveled through the planet’s surface and converged at the same time on the other side of the planet, creating what scientists refer to only as “weird terrain”, lacking any other explanation for it or for its creation.

A Solar Eclipse

solar-eclipseThe Earth has its share of wonders, but its large canyons, vast deserts and imposing mountain ranges would be fairly common on other planets which are are both tectonically active and which have an abundance of water.  What would be of note to those on Earth is perhaps not its own features, but that of another.  Most scientists agree that the moon is necessary for life on Earth, or at least life as we know it.  Among other reasons the moon helps the Earth maintain its tilted rotation relative to the sun, which allows the Earth to have seasons.  It would thus be a relatively safe assumptions that another planet that had life would have a moon, but our moon is special for a different reason.  Although dwarved by our sun, the moon is the same times smaller as it is in distance from the sun relative to the Earth, which under the proper conditions gives us solar or lunar eclipses.  While other suns and moons might have the conditions for complete or partial eclipses, our solar system with its near perfect match would be something to see for aliens.

The Great Barrier Reef

There are a lot of special animals around the world, and a lot that put on some pretty amazing shows.  Whatever animal life would look like on other planets though, it would be safe to assume that most of them would have some kind of a counterpart.  It would thus be possible to ungulates migrating, or some kind of silk creating creature to have its beautiful webs.  What might not be so normal is the Great Barrier Reef, and other structures built by coral.  Coral is the remainder of what was once a living animal, as the rock like body is left after the animal has died.  Other offspring build directly onto the former and although small, over time the creatures evolve into giant structures.  Although coral reefs are found through the world, there is none more impressive that the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.  As a landscape feature, it might be the most unique thing which the Earth has to offer, especially if coral is something which only exists on Earth.


Review: Convergence Titans #2

convergence-titans002One of the common themes among Convergence is to give back little pieces to comic fans of what they lost with the onset of the new 52.  Some of these are unfinished stories, and some are characters who have not yet reappeared.  Among the most prominent of these is Lian, the daughter of Roy Harper, who had a fan following during her brief tenure in comics.  Among one of the more controversial decisions by writers in recent years was to kill her off, leading to insanity of her father, but she nonetheless remained at the top of most lists of characters that fans wanted back.

The Titans of the Convergence world are squared off against the Extremists, a group of Villains who had for a time been the main enemies of Justice League Europe, all of whom were facsimiles of major Marvel villains.  The world of Convergence is one which seems to be poorly conceived, with the pre-new 52 heroes being spared beneath a series of domes controlled by Brainiac.  With only a select group capable of surviving heroes must face heroes in order to battle for their own existence, even though the exact mechanics of this system is not yet understood.  The previous issue saw the return of the Titans, or at least a part thereof which featured Donna Troy, Starfire and Roy Harper.  The latter two have seen some success in the pages of Red Hood and the Outlaws, although this series is being rebooted post-Convergence.  Donna Troy only recently reappeared in the pages of Wonder Woman, and her reception there has raised only more controversy.  Here as they battle the Extremists the true battle is underway for the fate of Lian, far from a certainty as even in this continuity she has died.

This issue ends up being an ode to the love of a father for his daughter, and the extent to which he will go to get her back from the dead.  The remainder of the issue is a relatively humdrum effort with a lot of what we have seen before in comics.  The Extremists are out of the 1980s, and the storytelling and action seems to follow along accordingly.  For those that have wanted to see a return of Lian, this might be as good as they are going to get for a while, though with the end of Convergence still up in the air, it remains to be seen exactly how that will play out.  This short two issue Convergence series existed primarily for that purpose and if this comic is to have any value, then it will be to determine the exact fate of this prematurely killed character.

Story: Fabian Nicieza  Art: Ron Wagner 
Story: 7.5  Art: 7.5   Overall: 7.5  Recommendation: Read

Review: Convergence Titans #1

titans001Of all the characters to receive a makeover in the new 52, it is perhaps the original Teen Titans that have fared the worst.  The team was replaced almost completely with newer versions of older characters, and those older characters were left behind in part in the old continuity.  This Convergence title focuses on three DC heroes that have been trapped in Gotham City under the superpower nullifying dome – Donna Troy, Starfire and Arsenal.  The choice of these three is interesting as their histories are full of some controversy already.  Donna Troy had her origin story told and retold numerous times since the post-Crisis Wonder Woman was introduced, to the point that her own character’s history is confusing.  Starfire didn’t live as much controversy until she was introduced in the new 52 as a purely sexual creature (though the writers have backed off from that since) and her fans yearned for a return to the pre-Flashpoint version of the character.  It is perhaps Roy Harper who was the most controversial though, as fans had found a favorite in his daughter Lian, and when it was revealed that she had never existed in the new 52, they got the opposite of what they wanted.

This story focuses mostly on that of Roy, still trying to deal with the death of his daughter.  The heroes have moved on since the imposition of the dome, although Roy is ready for the return of something vile.  They get this return when the Extremists show up on Gotham’s doorstep after being gone for so long.  The Extremists are an interesting footnote in DC history.  They formed one of the main villain groups which fought the Justice League and Justice League Europe, but the group of villains were all loose facsimiles of Marvel villains (Doctor Doom, Doctor Octopus, Magneto, Sabretooth and Dormammu).  Thus while other heroes or anti-heroes from this same Gotham are facing other foes (such as the Zoo Crew) this group of heroes is facing villains from not only a different place, but also kind of from a different company.

The main problem with this (and many other Convergence titles) is that it is hard to see exactly where it is going.  At the same time the concept is not really gripping, and doesn’t really draw the reader in to its world.  It is still interesting to see where this can go, but this interpretation of the cherished and missed characters feels like they have forgotten what made them popular to begin with.  It is after all likely that every single group of characters will prevail against the somewhat random selection of foes it has to face, most of whom are not relevant to modern readers, even those from before Flashpoint.  Therefore this kind of feels like a fluffy but also mostly fun interlude before we find out what exactly is going to happen to these other characters

Story: Fabian Nicieza  Art: Ron Wagner 
Story: 7.7  Art: 7.7   Overall: 7.7  Recommendation: Read

Around the Tubes

Comics are out tomorrow! Yay!  So, what’s everyone getting?  While you decide, here’s the news you might have missed.

Around the Blogs:

Kotaku – He Asked About Misogyny in Street Fighter, and the Game’s Caretakers Didn’t DodgeIf only those in the comic industry could have answered the question so well.

Underwire – Unemployed Man Is the Unofficial Superhero of Occupy Wall Street – I’ve read the comic and it’s perfect for the movement.

Con Coverage:

Comicvine – Long Beach Comic Con 2011 Cosplay Gallery

Comicvine – LBCC ’11: Marv Wolfman Reacts to Scott Lobdell’s STARFIRE

Around the Tubes Reviews:

CBR – Scalped #53

CBR – The Ultimates #3

Around the Tubes

Lots of news, lots of links to help you through your day.  It’s new comic release day, what’s on your “to buy” list?

Around the Blogs:

Bleeding Cool – In Defence Of Starfire And Red Hood And The OutlawsSome very interesting takes on the issue.

Comics Alliance – Gay Archie Comics Character Kevin Keller to Meet His Future Husband In U.S. MilitaryYay the repeal of DADT!

CNN Geekout – Superhero metaphysics – A pretty interesting take and coverage of the new DCU.

ICv2 – New Batman Animated SeriesKatana? Really?

Con Coverage:

Publishers Weekly – APE Spotlights Indie Publishing Spirit

DC – Get Heard at New York Comic-Con – Flame on!

Around the Tubes Reviews:

Lytherus – Bone

ICv2 – Charmed: Season 9 Vol. 2

Blogcritics – Feynman

IGN – Star Wars Omnibus: The Complete Saga

IGN – X-Men: Schism #5

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