Pullbox Reviews Stellarlands #1- Where we learn that capes are not covert, & interstellar travel requires a strong stomach

  • Stellarlands #1
  • Comx Studio
  • Written by Max Ferrada
  • Illustrated by Ben Worrell
  • Colors by Wilson Go
  • Letters by Es Kay
  • Edited by Katrina Roets

Action, adventure and political intrigue collide in this epic saga spanning multiple worlds, interconnected stories and a host of memorable characters.

Tasked with traveling to a moon of the distant planet Apolaki, superhero Anvil Liza (proudly sponsored by Anvilcore, mining the galaxy so you don’t have to!) is to investigate an abandoned classified station and gather any intel that may have been left behind, and bring it back before the enemy can retrieve anything of value for themselves. While the true worth of what was left behind on the Apolaki moon has nothing to do with military advancements, those secrets could spell disaster for any one of a dozen or so inter-galactic interests.

Anvil Liza (her corporate sponsors should be flogged for sticking her with that codename) is a deeply flawed hero, a fact that shows itself gradually throughout the issue. Max Ferrada is trying to walk a fine line between showing those flaws through her actions and dumping them into the laps of his readers through exposition. In that more subtle approach to storytelling, some details get lost in the shuffle as the narrative takes a few bounces to get from point A to point B. When Ferrada does fall back on dialogue to fill in the blanks, he does a good job of making it more of a conversation than an info dump.

Stellarlands is a great looking book, with the artistic team of Ben Worrell and Wilson Go behind the visuals. Worrell has a knack for character design, and that helps distract from some of the more confusing parts of the plot. There are instances where backgrounds don’t match, as in one series of panels featuring a conversation between two characters where they seem to be standing still but the backgrounds behind them change drastically. In other cases, it seemed like there might have been a miscommunication as I misinterpreted some visual clues to important character information. What I thought Worrell did very well was showing emotion through character expressions, something that helped make up for some of the things I missed in the narrative.

At its core, Stellarlands is a massively ambitious story of inter-galactic war, intrigue, and adventure. Coming in at 52 pages, this opening issue lays out the barebones of it all, as that grand backdrop occasionally overshadows a smaller, more layered story. Some of the finer points do get blurred, but overall the creative team keeps it all afloat and delivers an entertaining read.

Final Score: 10/13

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