Rising Stars 15
Review by Mike Helba
Issue 15 of Rising Stars differs from the format of all previous issues in that it focuses almost exclusively on a single character. That character is the very important yet previously neglected Jason Miller, who operated under the name of Patriot.
In Issue 14 the Specials pledged to change the world for the better, whether the world wants it or not. This pledge is especially important Jason Miller because he needs atonement for three reasons. First, he feels that he has wasted many years pushing the NexusCorp corporate agenda, which makes him an accessory to his employer's underhanded tactics. Second, under the control of Critical Maas he was responsible for murdering several of his fellow Specials. Finally, also under the control of Critical Mass he nearly killed his friend, Matthew Bright. Matthew still lays unconscious in a hospital room, and Jason vows to carry the torch and report back to Matthew until he recovers.
J. Michael Straczynski takes this opportunity to ask some of the obvious superhero questions that are rarely asked. Jason Miller is the strongest of the Specials, but to be honest he's more brawn than brains. He has trouble figuring out how he can help improve the world. For example, Randy Fisk (Ravenshadow) has the knowledge, experience, and assets to fight crime, but Jason wouldn't know where to start in this endeavor.
Jason turns to his wife, Andrea, for help. She eventually comes up with the one task that only Jason can perform: complete global nuclear disarmament. At this point, Straczynski conveniently mentions that Jason has always been able to detect radioactive sources, so he can even find hidden nuclear weapons.
Jason's chosen task makes him the enemy of every nuclear power on Earth. I predicted in my review of Issue 13 that future issues would likely focus on the Specials versus the Normals as the rest of the world opposes the Specials' meddling. Jason must hide his wife and child to protect them from retribution.
This brings up a possible continuity error in Issue 15. Jason and Andrea have an infant child in this issue. However, Robert Daniel Miller was a newborn in the Preview Issue, which takes place over ten years earlier. Was it a continuity error to draw the Millers' child as a baby, or do they have a second child? If this is a second child, where is Robert?
Brent Anderson finally brings a quality of artwork to Rising Stars that matches the writing. My only complaint is a disposition to putting faces in shadow too often.
At the end of Issue 15 readers are left with the question of how the Normals will respond to the Specials. David Paulson has a brief cameo in which he reveals that the U.S. government still has a few ideas about how to defeat the Specials. Jason's repeated midnight visits to Matthew Bright's hospital room reveal a possible opening where his enemies could get to him.
The synopsis provides a detailed summary of Issue 15. It contains spoilers.