Comic Review: Star vs the Forces of Evil – Deep Trouble (Issue #1)

Almost 1 1/2 years after its record-breaking debut on the DisneyXD cable channel, Star and the Forces of Evil seems like a very quiet success story for the Walt Disney Company.

While it has cultivated a small fanbase online (made up mostly of fanshippers, given the tone of most social media conversations), there’s been next-to-nothing regarding merchandising for the show.

That changed recently, when at a San Diego Comic-Con panel, it was announced that the series would be getting its own comic series, published by Joe Books Ltd.

This month saw the release of the first issue, titled Star vs the Forces of Evil: Deep Trouble, with writing duties by Zach Marcus, and main illustration duties by Devin Taylor.

The first issue kicks off the first part of the story, titled: Parlay with the Pony.

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As our story begins, Star Butterfly is shocked to find out that her bestie, Flying Princess Pony Head, has been jailed in the Waterfolk Domain, for multiple crimes against the citizenry!

Star eagerly goes to help her bestie (along with Marco Diaz, who seems less-than-thrilled to be encountering Pony Head again), but finds that getting her friend a fair trial, might be harder than it looks.

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One thing that I was most excited about regarding this mini-series, was that unlike some comics that are connected to a show or film, this one is written and illustrated by people who have worked on the television series!

starcomic-1Zach Marcus (who has done storyboard work on the show) is the man who keeps the energy flowing as we turn the pages, AND keeps the characterizations spot-on! Star is bubbly-yet-emotional, and Marco’s attitude towards Pony Head is no different here, than it is in the show.

One of the show’s character designers, Devin Taylor, takes on illustration duties for the comic, and for those like me who are sticklers for characters ‘staying on-model,’ he translates the designs extremely well! Even the rendering of non-familiar characters, like the different fish and aquatic creatures in the Waterfolk Domain, fit within the design aesthetic of the animated series.

Another fun detail, is seeing Taylor insert some fun little character bits here-and-there. One thing I missed from the early parts of Season 1, was Star’s habit of gnawing on her magic wand, and in one panel, Devin surprised me with bringing back this familiar sight!

The Waterfolk Domain is definitely different from what we’ve seen before, though it’s hard to tell if it’s part of a larger ecosystem, or just a small part of a vast underwater planet.

starcomic-3One fun addition, is that we get to see more of the Pony Head species (along with a quiet return of Pony Head’s imposing father!) at the trial. We’ve seen very little regarding the Pony Head kingdom up to this point in the TV series, and it was neat to see how other members of this body-less horse-race would look.

The only new character we are introduced to by name, is a dolphin named Johnny Blowhole, a former-party-animal-turned-lawyer, who agrees to defend Pony Head. Though Johnny’s name is definitely a pun on a real-world person’s name (it should be familiar to some who watched MTV back in the day), his persona is the most malleable of all. His characterization seems to point to him being a one-off for this issue, but we’ll have to wait and see where this series takes him.

Pony Head’s trial takes up a good chunk of the storyline, and at times, feels like it’s channeling the more memorable courtroom humor from The Simpsons, along with some of the irreverence of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

This is the first issue of an 8-part story, and it manages to still stay entertaining, despite being largely about setting up the stakes for upcoming issues. For fans who are on the lookout for official items tied to this series, I highly recommend a purchase!

One thing I was most surprised at outside of the comic, was a lack of pre-release information. Word had come out of Comic-Con that the first issue would hit in September, but it wasn’t until we were right on top of the release date, was anything mentioned about it!

One would have assumed there would have been some early pre-release clout to get others excited, but there was none. Plus, going to my local comic shop, I was surprised to find they hadn’t ordered any of issue #1! I had to take a 4-block walk to the second-closest comic shop near me, and luckily, they did order a few issues! This makes me wonder what the situation will be like come next month.

Now that we have an 8-part comic series coming out for Star vs the Forces of Evil, I’m wondering what it would take to find some way to get figures or other merchandise made of the show’s characters (seriously, looking around online, I am still surprised that noone on Etsy, has even made a plush baby narwhal like the ones we’ve seen Star conjure up!).

Final Rating for Issue #1: B+

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starcomic-5Next month sees the release of issue #2. No summary has been given, but seeing as in the final panel of this comic, there is an emphasis on Star’s use of the word “time,” I think that might be  a hint…along with the illustration for the second issue’s cover, seen here to the right.

Most notable, is the open locket on the cover image…which has pictures of Star’s parents, looking considerably younger! Maybe we’ll get an Expanded Universe insight into the early lives of Moon Butterfly,  and River Johansen (or at least, that’s my one hope for the next issue!).

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About MWH1980

Growing up in the state of Iowa, one would assume I'd be enamored with pigs and corn. Well, I wasn't. Instead, I grew fascinated by many things that were entertainment-related. Things like movies, animation, toys, books, and many more kept my attention. This blog I hope to use to express myself regarding my varied obsessions. (P.S. There's no Photoshop involved in that Gravatar-I really am holding an Oscar)

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