Rising Stars #24 Review


Reviewer: “Starman” Matt Morrison
Story Title: Phoenix In Ascension: Part Three of Three

Written by: J. Michael Straczynski
Art by: Brent Anderson
Colored by: Brian Buccellato
Lettering by: Dennis Heisler
Graphic Design by: Spehar, Dreamer
Editor: Scott Tucker
Publisher: Top Cow Studios

On this, the final issue, all I can think is “it’s finally over”. I can quit wondering. The bad kind of wondering. Not “What will happen in the next issue?” but “When will the next issue come out?”

The delay has killed what was once one of my favorite titles. And it ends, not with a bang, but a whimper. Actually, the series DOES end with a literal bang and I will give JMS credit for a surprising ending that does conclude the series well. But it is too little, too late. The damage is done. And I don’t know yet if I will ever be able to read this whole series and take in all the good parts of it again without thinking about the lateness.

I support JMS 100% in the problems that caused this book to be so late. (You can read that whole story here.) I understand them, but I am still saddened by them. Maybe in time I can review the series as a whole objectively. Maybe.

As it is, the comic stirs no strong emotions in me. Joy. Despair. All I can feel right now is relief that it is over and that it ended with all of its story concluded. There are no plotlines left unexplored. No loose ends left untied. The story ends well. The art is competent. But… that is it.

Take what I say with that grain of salt in mind. If you’re a fan of the series, go and read everything from the first issue and read up to this. This series has always read better as a trade or in its novel format than as a monthly title, even before it started having problems coming out on time. If you aren’t a fan of the series, go pick up Vol. 1 of the trades and see if you want to read on to this point.

He stands at the center of the universe, old as the stars and wise as infinity. And he can see the turning of the last page long before you’ve even started the book. He’s like rain and fog and the chilling touch of the grave. He is called many names in a thousand tongues on a million worlds. Heckler. The Smirking One. Riffer. The Lonely Magus. Wolf-Brother. The God of Snark. Mister Pirate. The Guy In The Rafters. Captain. The Voice In The Back. But here and now, in this place and in this time, he is called The Starman. And... he's wonderful.