Rising Stars 1/2
Review by Mike Helba
Issue 1/2 is a special issue that was available as a promotion through Wizard: The Comics Magazine #103. The price seems a little steep for a 12-page story: $4.99 for the Wizard magazine plus $3.00 for the comic itself. Fortunately, customers could order multiple copies from a single magazine coupon, so a few of my friends were spared the price of the magazine.
The good news is that this story is far better than the one in the Issue 0 Reprint. It tells the story of a boy who was conceived nearly a year after the flash. He is assumed to be normal, but as a young teenager he claims to have manifested powers. The government is afraid of the implications, but Dr. Welles is convinced that the claims are false. While the boy is dealing with the fantastic world of Rising Stars, the issues he faces are the same issues faced by every teenager in the real world.
While Issue 1/2 seems like a "throw away" story, Joe Straczynski drops in one thing that seems a bit sinister and important. While the Normal children are taught about the Bill of Rights, the Special children are in a separate class being taught about their flying powers. Is it possible that the Specials received an incomplete education? Having seen the events of the first act of Rising Stars, one must wonder if the upbringing of the Specials is in any way to blame. This is only one instance, but it raises the question of whether there was a pattern in which the study of the Specials' powers took precedence over their social and civic development.
The other eight pages of Issue 1/2 contain an interview with Joe Straczynski and a sketchbook from Christian Zanier. This sketchbook compliments the one from Keu Cha in the original Issue 0. Zanier's sketchbook includes drawings of Poet, Patriot, Pyre, Chandra, Matthew Bright, and Ravenshadow. The interview covers how Straczynski started as a writer and how his career has progressed through television and comic book work. Straczynski also talks at length about creative control. Finally, Straczynski answers several questions specifically about Rising Stars.
Issue 1/2 comes in a deluxe slipcover embossed with the Wizard logo. It is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.
Several comic retailers are selling Issue 1/2 for $10 to $15. This price is merely based on the collector's value of the comic. I can't recommend paying this much for a 12-page comic book, but I will say that Issue 1/2 is definitely worth a "normal" comic book price if you can find it.
The synopsis provides a detailed summary of Issue 1/2. It contains spoilers.