Today’s Super Comic — Rising Stars #1 (1999)

I think Rising Stars was the first time I strayed from my DC/Marvel comfort zone. I lost track of the series before its conclusion, but I remember the early issues were strong.

The first issue provides an intriguing set-up. A mysterious flash of light affects every child in utero within a certain radius, granting 113 classmates various powers. And later in life, everything will go wrong.

Writer J. Michael Straczynski developed a superhero story that was intended to reach a definitive conclusion. No never-ending battle here. It was going somewhere specific from issue #1. That alone immediately distinguished it from most other comics.

In another nice touch, all super-powered people in this world knew each other from childhood. They have that lifelong connection, which would never work with the Justice League or Avengers. As issue #1 makes clear, these kids would go in all different directions as they grow up, but they share a starting point.

We don’t get a strong sense of the individual characters yet in issue #1, but it’s got me curious enough to want to find out. I can’t vouch for whether the series stuck the landing, but it starts off as an engaging science fiction story. These 113 people are unlike any who came before…now what are they going to do with their lives?

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski

Penciler: Keu Cha

Inker: Jason Gorder

Publisher: Top Cow Productions

How to Read It: back issues; Comixology; included in Rising Stars vol. 1: Born in Fire (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 15 and up