Review - Zodiac Starforce: Cries of the Fire Prince #1 (@DarkHorseComics)

"Do you ever look back at your life and just have a million questions?"

When faced with a threat from another dimension you can either cower in fear or deal with it. Sometimes dealing with it means relying on a team specifically put together for dealing with such threats. A team like the one in Zodiac Starforce: Cries of the Fire Prince #1 from Dark Horse Comics is a great place to start. The issue is written by Kevin Panetta, illustrated by Paulina Ganucheau, colored by Sarah Stern and lettered by Christy Sawyer.

An elite group of teenage girls with magical powers have sworn to protect our planet against dark long as they can get out of class! Known as the Zodiac Starforce, these high-school girls aren't just combating math tests--they re also battling monsters! After defeating a former ZS member and her mean-girl minions, the girls thought they'd get a little break! But a new big bad's come out to play, and demons are starting to overrun the downtown!

Panetta picks things back up with the Zodiac Starforce team in Zodiac Starforce: Cries of the Fire Prince #1 by showing the reader what the team has been up to since their last go-round. In getting the reader up to speed, Panetta sort of reintroduces all the main players in the issue--even as some of them have slightly different roles this time around. Because of the way Panetta brings the reader up to speed on the current lives of all the members of Zodiac Starforce, the issue is paced pretty evenly as it moves from one member to the next. Some of the issue is devoted to Lily learning more about her role and powers, but the rest of the members are really just jumping right into the thick of things. The dialogue is just as snappy as it was previously as Panetta gives each character their own voice.

The illustrations by Ganucheau are very airy. Each of the characters sport a look that's unique to each of them and Ganucheau does a good job in rendering their looks. The "monsters" in the issue are the type of creepy alliance between technology and organic life that Fiona Staples pulls off so well in Saga. Ganucheau stacks panels in a way that keeps up with the pace of the book as it snowballs from checking in with the team to a fight downtown. And Stern's colors lend the book plenty of vibrant flair.

Zodiac Starforce: Cries of the Fire Prince #1 is a fun return to characters who are a good team that face an array of weirdness. The Zodiac Starforce think they have a handle on the current situation, but clearly things are going to get worse before they get better. Panetta has a firm grasp on each of the character's personalities and meshes them together seamlessly. Ganucheau's artwork is bright and bold as it follows along with their latest confrontation. Zodiac Starforce: Cries of the Fire Prince #1 is a lot of fun and definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of team-ups.

Zodiac Starforce: Cries of the Fire Prince #1 is available July 5.