REVIEW CORNER: Star Brand # 1

Star Brand # 1
Writer: Jim Shooter
Penciller: John Romita Jr.
Inker: Al Williamson
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Christie Scheele
Cover Date: October 1986
For this week’s installment, I’ll take a look at “Star Brand # 1” from Marvel which was part of The New Universe, which was at the time a new imprint created by Marvel’s then editor-in-chief Jim Shooter who wanted to showcase the real world in which it was inhabited by realistic superheroes and it could have been a huge hit with a cult following, but without the budget to hire such big name creators to work on the books, The New Universe was doomed from the start but I felt like Star Brand did have some promise due to Shooter’s scripting and John Romita Jr.’s artwork (When it was great) really made the series.
The story opens up as resident Pittsburgh, PA native Ken Connell meets up with a mysterious older man who gifts him with the Star Brand, a tattoo of sorts that grants anyone superhuman abilities and what I thought was very interesting is seeing Ken try to come to terms with his new powers, especially in a world with absolutely no superheroes (Although it was weird seeing an armor-clad intergalactic alien show up to take the Star Brand for himself, even though The New Universe was supposed to be the world outside our window); Now back to Ken Connell. It’s safe to say that Ken is no Clark Kent or Peter Parker when it comes to being upstanding when he’s not using The Star Brand, seeing as how he’s got a girlfriend, Debbie “The Duck” Fix, on the side all while being in a relationship with Barb, his fianceé; Also, I think it weird how fast the plot was as if Shooter was determined to give us a beginning, a middle and an ending but in the end, the story felt very rushed and I felt like Shooter could have taken his time in fleshing out the story but what we got was okay in terms of storytelling.
While most of The New Universe titles fell by the wayside after Jim Shooter was dismissed as Editor-In-Chief by the end of 1987, Star Brand was still around after Shooter and Romita Jr. left the series and John Byrne took over and basically demolish everything Shooter set up for the series due to Byrne’s hatred for Shooter but the Jim Shooter/John Romita Jr. era of this series was intriguing and as I alluded before, had such a huge promise but the premise still stuck around and put to good use (See Jason Aaron’s current run on Avengers) and after reading the first few issues, I only wish that the original series could have been better and to also see Ken Connell redeem himself, both as a human being and a hero.
Well, that’s it for me. I’ll be back next week with another review and I will keep with the spirit of Halloween so thanks for sticking around and I will see you all next time.

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