Star Runner Chronicles: Fallen Star does not tell a new story, but that’s not a bad thing — this story is a popular archetype for a reason. But “lonely young person finds that they have great powers and are the heir to some greater legacy, and use that to fight evil” is a well-told story. Star Runner Chronicles can be pretty well summed up as “Buffy meets Superman”.
Again, that’s not to put it down. Those stories are good – just from a mechanical standpoint, that story is an easy way to establish pathos and stakes in your story. But when I look at indie comics, I want to see something new, something with a little more innovation. Maybe that’s unfair. The bar to enter the comics field is high, and the people who are writing at the Big Two — or Big Two plus Image/Dark Horse/BOOM!/etc. — are the people who have a lot of experience in the field. Many doing indie books, well, aren’t. But when you’re doing a comic in this indie world, you have much more space for experimentation then you do elsewhere. Star Runner Chronicles doesn’t use that space.
It’s a straightforward story. Lonely teenager Aurora Palmer moves to a small town that also has a SETI-style observatory that also studies UFOs, where she discovers that she is actually a
Kryptonian Star Runner. With the help of Cordelia Chase her friend Kristine, and her love interest Scott, they stop the Standard Malevolent Government Agency and find the truth behind Aurora’s alien origins. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before.
Earlier, I described Star Runner Chronicles as “Buffy meets Superman,” and that’s true for reasons beyond just that story structure. The book is intensely late-’90s/early-2000s in its aesthetic choices. The women – teenaged girls, mostly – tend to wear low-cut everything and some very short skirts, and the characters in general tend to care more about the school dances then anyone in the real world ever has. I suppose that that is partially because, well, the author is not currently a teenager, unsurprisingly. You naturally draw upon your memories, which become stereotyped and one-dimensional – that’s just a natural product of time.
It results in an artistic style that — well, I’m not going to say it’s too sexualized, because it isn’t. It’s not like everyone is in ’90s Jim Lee costumes. But it’s a bit like Cordelia Chase, or the cast of Glee. Everyone is a bit too old, a bit too made-up, a bit too sexual, for you to buy that they’re supposed to be who the story wants you to think they are.
Otherwise, the art is good. I think that the artwork by Leo Cordeiro, ably helped by Carlos Eduardo on inks and Mohan Sivakami’s colors, is, while nothing mind-blowing, pretty solid. The faces are hit or miss, and while the misses are severe misses, the hits are pretty great – Star Runner Chronicles, at its best, is reminiscent of Kevin Maguire’s comics work.
According to the book, Star Runner Chronicles is going to be adapted into a movie, and it tells. The flaws in the storytelling as a comic aren’t necessarily flaws as a screenplay, and the issues in the artistic style aren’t likely to be issues if you have actual people playing the characters. But I can’t help but think it seems like the project was developed for the screen and then turned into a comic, rather than vice versa.
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