Star Power is the brainchild of seasoned webcomic creators Michael Terracciano and Garth Graham. It is a sci-fi comic set in a distant future, starring assistant astronomer Danica Maris a.k.a. the superhero Star Power. The comic is currently at Volume 4: Star Power and the Last Jump Gate. It updates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
I discovered Star Power back in 2013, after following Michael over from his debut work, Dominic Deegan: Oracle for Hire. Back then, I had already found the comic beautiful, brilliantly designed and full of character. But it was a baby. As it was only 14 pages in, I decided to place it in my “read in the future” bookmarks. So, welcome to the future.
Star Power Webcomic Review:
Star Power gets off to a bit of a bumpy start. The quick mutation into a hero 7 pages in, the lack of early character establishment and the less than creative first antagonist (his name is Black Hole Bill, for goodness sakes) are all less than desirable. But get through the first chapter and you could very well find yourself hooked, just like I was.
Danica Maris is an interesting heroine. One part saviour complex, one part insecure introvert (mommy issues *hint hint*). That may sound like most heroes, but finding a heroine with a personality and backstory is rare. She starts the story off as a quirky assistant that nicknames her favourite stars, and rails against the institution in very relatable ways (if you won’t let me do this at work, I’ll do it in my own time!).
She becomes a Star Powered Sentinel through this very trait – by watching her favourite star Mitch who is actually a sentient computer/energy/shiny thing. Mitch turns her into a sentinel just in time for her to save her station from the Void Angels (a murderous gang for hire led by a very Jaafar-like alien). And best of all, Michael’s work on her character development over 4 volumes has been steady and surprising, exactly what you want from a main character. She gets stronger and weaker, all without compromising the core of the character.
The art in Star Power is sensational. Garth Graham’s style has come a long way since his first comic Comedity in 2005. Star Power has the feel of an established publication – rivaling the art of the Marvel/DC universes. The environment, the backdrop – I imagine all the work that goes into each star and well, colour me impressed. Furthermore, each alien race having their own features and expressions, that are equal parts unique and accessible, is simply masterful. One of my favourite aspects is how Garth manages to convey Star Power’s expressions even with solid white eyes.
However, it isn’t Danica or the art that truly makes Star Power worth reading. While those are both amazing aspects, it is the world that Michael and Garth have created that is truly compelling. The Millenium Federation consists of more than a thousand worlds, races and cultures. Star Power gives us an amazing variety of alien races, a full-bodied cast of support characters, an ever-moving universe with ridiculous TV shows, intriguing universe-shaking secrets, thousand-year-old genocidal antagonists and the promise of exploration, of venturing into uncharted space. It also does a fine job of touching on world issues without being preachy, ensuring that it meets the standards of the Bechdel test and not shying away from or glorifying in death. Also, I really appreciate that Michael transferred his love for puns from Dominic Deegan to Star Power.
You can buy physical copies of Star Power from Shark Robot or read it online for free.
It doesn’t seem like it will be finishing anytime soon, so if you need anything to tide you over after binging like I did, you can always check out Michael and Garth’s other works. Dominic Deegan, Comedity and Finder’s Keepers are all available to read online. You can also support them on their Patreon page so that we all get more Star Power.
p.s. Patreon is a site where you can donate a buck a month or more to as many artists/creators/entertainers as you want to call yourself a patron of the arts.