Issue 11 Synopsis

Rising Stars 11

Review by Mike Helba

Issue 11 seems short. A flashback and a fight scene take up over half the pages, and the other pages have only sparse dialog. These factors together with the fact that the time span covered in the story (sans flashback) is not much longer than it actually takes to read the comic make it feel like not much happens in this issue. But what does happen has significant impact on the Rising Stars universe.

First, there is a surprising new character. I will not spoil who it is because I actually yelped out loud when I first read the name. If you really want to find out who it is, read the synopsis. The meaning of this issue's title, "What Goes Around..." becomes evident when the results of one of John Simon's previous good deeds comes back to help.

The second major event is the resolution of the shocking conclusion to Issue 10. I'll talk about that more after a spoiler warning below.

The art is much improved in this issue. As with Issue 10, the characters are identifiable and consistent between panels. The coloring in this issue is better than Issue 10, which was very dark. Many of the scenes really appear to be lit by moonlight. I did note one minor inconsistency. A crescent moon is visible on page eight, but there is a dramatic full moon by the end of the issue (which is only minutes later).

My only remaining significant complaint about the art is that the battle scenes are very chaotic and it's very difficult to determine how many nameless opponents are involved. This is important when one is trying to keep track of the fates of the 113 Specials.

Before I get to the spoiler warning, I'll mention that the back of the issue hosts a letters column and a two-page ad for the Rising Stars action figures.

OK. Here's the spoiler warning. I'll reveal a major event from Issue 11 below, but not the identity of the new character. Anyone who has been reading Rising Stars from the beginning should have already figured out what I'm about to cover.

Way back in Issue #0, it is evident that John Simon is narrating Rising Stars from around the year 2030. In Issue 1 he confirms that he is the last of the Specials left alive. Therefore, he can not be dead at the end of Issue 10.

Or can he?

Anyone who read Issue 4 has been waiting for Cathy Jean's power to take center stage. After reading Issue 10, it is painfully obvious that if John Simon really is dead, then she will bring him back to life.

That's what happens in Issue 11.

The reason I bring this up is because I am disappointed. I'm not disappointed in how the events of Issue 11 play out. They are sufficiently dramatic, and a terrible price is paid for the outcome. By those standards it is an excellent issue.

What disappoints me is that my prediction didn't come true.

What happens when a Special dies? His power is divided among the surviving Specials. Ever since reading Issue 4, I have wondered what would happen if Cathy raised a Special from the dead. The Special's power would have already been dispersed among the others, and there is no evidence to suspect that it would somehow be returned when he is resurrected. This could have set Cathy up at the center of a very interesting story line.

Many of the Specials longed to live normal lives. Wouldn't it have been interesting if these people could come to Cathy, have themselves euthanized, then have Cathy return them to the living as normal people? Just think of the repercussions of this?

The government could require all Specials to undergo this procedure. Some would certainly try to avoid this at all costs. Most interesting of all, Cathy would begin to wonder what the government would do with her if they were successful enough to leave her the only remaining Special.

What if the procedure remained purely optional? Would some of the "good guy" Specials get angry at the Specials undergoing the conversion because they were turning their backs on the problem and giving the criminal Specials more power in the process?

These are all very interesting ideas that we will never see played out in Rising Stars. John Simon still has his power when he returns to the living. Did it go to the others and return? Does the power transfer work differently after the Surge? Do things just work differently for John because of the uniqueness of his power? Was this an inconsistency in the story?

As I said, Issue 11 is a good, dramatic story. I just can't help thinking of what could have been a very interesting different path for the story. I also like Cathy and wish she had a larger role.

The synopsis provides a detailed summary of Issue 11. It contains spoilers.