Top Cow’s Pilot Season continues, with Robert Kirkman’s and Marc Silvestri’s Stellar #1 in comic shops this week. Can a genetically enhanced woman who is toxic to all other humans ever make amends for her past? Find out more in our review.
Pilot Season: Stellar #1
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Bernard Chang
Cover Artist: Marc Silvestri
It’s not hard to become interested in Stellar’s story after getting a glimpse of Marc Silvestri’s stunning cover, which shows the title character shooting through space like a human fireball. How is she able to do this? Not all of the details of Stellar’s past are revealed in Stellar #1, but Robert Kirkman gives just enough backstory that you’ll probably want to learn more.
Stellar, presumably once a normal woman, has been made into a superhuman thanks to a volunteer program that infused her with radioactive powers. She can soar through space and rip vicious animals apart; I imagine this is only a taste of what she can actually do. Naturally, her superior abilities come with a terrible price: she is toxic to other humans, and even the tiniest bit of physical contact can do serious damage to others. Because of this, she exists alone, emerging from solitude only to help others when she can.
It appears that Stellar is doing these good deeds not out of the simple goodness of her heart, but to make amends for something terrible that occurred in the past. The other volunteers who were given powers like her have been driven insane, thriving on their strength and new abilities and using them against normal humans. Stellar doesn’t want to be like them, but that doesn’t change the fact that Earthlings perceive her in that way.
I’ll admit it, in the early pages of Stellar #1, I didn’t know where it was going, and I was afraid it would quickly turn into another tale of futuristic interplanetary travel with a female lead just for the hell of it. Luckily, it didn’t take long for things to get interesting, thanks to the pacing of Kirkman’s story and the art of Bernard Chang. The heroine herself really stands out as a female lead, with a unique look and attitude. She seems hard as nails, but she’s clearly not; she can be sad, lonely, even vulnerable, despite having these superhuman abilities.
Stellar’s vulnerability and weakness were best displayed by a few panels showing her showering off after her latest misadventure. What could have quickly become an excuse to show off a naked lady instead focused on her face, her emotional breakdown. I love tiny moments like that, when we get to see who a character really is, not just who she presents herself as to the outside world.
Pilot Season: Stellar #1 is in stores now, and if you want to see more of this story, you’ll have to pick it up and give it a read. This just might be my new front-runner for Top Cow’s latest Pilot Season.