Author: Anthony Cleveland
Artist: Antonio Fuso
Colorist: Stefano Simeone
Letterer: Justin Birch
This time on Stargazer:
The book starts with a tease of the broader plot as some shadowy government types are talking cryptically while dealing with what appears to be a humpback whale rotting in the middle of the Sahara Desert. It then cuts to a group of teenagers on a camping trip elsewhere in the world who end up experiencing drug-fueled hallucinations that one of them determines was actually an alien abduction. Fast forward twenty years and the friends have mostly moved on, except for one, and his trauma has veered into the realms of obsession as he’s become enthralled with the aliens only he believes in.
This first book felt very much like a sort of teaser for the series to come, mostly setting up the pieces that would later be in play, but I enjoyed it as a sort of prologue/intro credits for the series. It seems to be dealing in ambiguity and suggestion, more so than daring action, which is a refreshing change of pace for me, and the tone of a late 80s coming of age adventure movie is sure to strike a nostalgic cord for many people. I also rather liked the paneling later in the book that manages to make use of the empty space outside the panels as well as its own art and writing. I do also enjoy that one of the main characters is explicitly not straight, with a background picture of her wedding day to another woman. That being said, I find the art to be kind of ugly.
The line work is very angular and obvious, which isn’t in itself bad, but the coloring is the part I dislike the most. I think they were going for a sort of dream-like intensity with backgrounds mostly abstract splashes of color and scenes being almost bathed in just a few colors, rather than trying to be true to life, but I find this style to be kind of distracting and unpleasant. This book, however, is definitely worth your time if you’ve enjoyed movies like ET or Flight of the Navigator, or if you like shows like Stranger Things.