Review - Stan Lee's Starborn #1

Stan Lee's career has been nothing short of amazing (or choose any other superlative) at this point. His recent partnership with BOOM! Studios to shepherd three new titles is just the latest accomplishments in one of the most revered figures in comic book history. Today marks the release of the third title as a result of this collaboration in Stan Lee's Starborn #1. Does the Chris Roberson written and Kahry Randolph illustrated (colors by Mitch Gerads and letters by Ed Dukeshire) work stand up with Soldier Zero #1 and The Traveler #1? Read on for a review.

Like the other two works, Starborn #1 focuses on a character on Earth thrust into the middle of an intergalactic war. Instead of an alien suit or time traveler though, Benjamin Warner is just a guy. Stuck in a full-time job he hates he spends most of his working day trying to make it as a first-time novelist. It's amusing how the issue opens up with an epic space battle only to lead into the revelation that the battle is really just a figment of Warner's imagination. I'm not sure if Roberson was channeling any personal frustrations here he may have had as an aspiring writer, but I'm sure most can commiserate with Warner's plight regardless.

Warner's path through the first issue is primarily through his viewpoint of potential successes and failures as a writer. From this standpoint, the issue itself is a little slow and plodding. Two-thirds of the issue is Warner dealing with rejection, having grandiose plans for being published and being told his work is eerily similar to another science-fiction writer, Kirk Allen. Apparently, Warner has always been somewhat of an imaginative individual, so much so to the point that his parents put him in therapy as a child.

Business picks up in the final act, as he encounters a long lost friend in Tara Takamoto. "Friend" is probably selling his feelings for her short, as she's clearly the one that he always pined for. There's actually a really clever panel that shows pictures of the two of them as he reminisces and in each one he's looking at her lovingly while she's staring straight ahead, coldly. Regardless of their relationship, he discovers that she's really there to see him. More specifically, to save him from his own creation. The issue ends with the two of them fleeing potential death at the hands of the hive mind he created for his book.

Comparing this to Stranger Than Fiction is a very apt comparison. Instead of someone else dictating his life, Warner himself seems to be respsonsible for creating the very world he's now fleeing from. Later issues will no doubt further explain whether or not Warner really is a prescient being from another world and if the world he's creating for his novel is really one he's escaped from and forgot about for some reason. The artwork is very Saturday morning cartoonish and I'm not sure if it fits with the theme of the book. Potentially, Warner could be an extremely important individual and I feel that the artwork sells the gravity of that short just a bit. It's not bad per se; just not sure if it's the right choice of style for the story.

I'm intrigued by Stan Lee's Starborn #1, but not nearly as much as I am by the other two. The first issue may be facing something of a disadvantage in that it's really slow and nothing really seems to happen at all, so hopefully the second issue ramps things up a bit and gives the reader more to grab onto. There will most likely be some connection between Kirk Allen and Warner and we know that Warner becomes Starborn (suit and all) eventually. The bigger question is how this story will be weaved in with Soldier Zero and The Traveler.

The book hits stores today and interiors are below.