Writer: Tim Seeley
Pencils: Carlos Villa
Inks: Juan Vlasco
Flashback Art: Gerardo Sandoval
Colors: Carlos Lopez
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
I was like most teenage comic fans of the ‘90s I gravitated toward the Mutant Renaissance sparked by the artwork of Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, and Rob Liefeld. I was young and attracted to the flashy artwork, the drastic stylistic difference to previous iterations of the X-Men. I knew there wasn’t a lot of substance to the books but I was having fun. Like most Jim Lee was my favorite but it was the characters of X-Force that I enjoyed the most. I loved the restructured New Mutants with a more militant take under the tutelage of the recently introduced Cable. Amongst this new iteration was a mysterious new character seemingly linked to a fringe favorite character of mine, Longshot, the Ann Nocenti and Arthur Adams creation that became one of my favorite mini-series from the ‘80s. Longshot went on become a member of the X-men during their time in the Australian outback. This new character was of course Shatterstar. My interest waned as I gravitated away from Marvel’s Militant Mutants but I returned every now and again, most notably during the great and highly underrated Jeph Loeb and Adam Pollina run. To me Shatterstar was always cool. He had a unique style but a very ‘90s feel to him. I lost touch as the ‘90s ended but Shatterstar has had a healthy comic life and has seemingly evolved over the years but has become more prevalent as of late, having some page time in Extermination and a member in the recently announced X-Force relaunch and now his own mini-series with Shatter-Star #1 hitting the stands this week.
Shatter-Star #1, while not wholly original as it riffs on some classic action movie motifs is still an enjoyable read. Over the course of the years Shatter-Star has left behind his violent past and has become the owner of an apartment building and landlord to others like himself, reality displaced beings. Shatter-Star (apparently now his name is hyphenated) likes his new life, a life where he has been able to hang up his swords and has become a caregiver rather then a death dealer. Yet life isn’t exactly as Shatter-Star wishes it could be, he’s single after his boyfriend Rictor and he have grown apart, and even as he wants to deny it he misses his days in the Gladiator pits of Mojoworld and the fame that came along with his success. Luckily for Shatter-Star, and unluckily for those around him, a threat from his past brings a chance for a return to the violence the previously defined him. In typical action movie fashion, he really has just been denying this violence is there and that he must once more embrace.
It wasn’t just the lead character that drew me to Shatter-Star #1. It was also writer Tim Seely whose work has really impressed me over the past few years, especially his wonderful Grayson with co-writer Tom King and then Nightwing during DC’s Rebirth. Although not an original plot Seely still has an ability to make the reader feel for Shatter-Star as he gives the former gladiator more emotional depth. Carlos Villa’s artwork is good, reminiscent of Peter David’s second take on X-Factor, which is fitting since that’s the last time Shatter-Star was featured in a book. Carlos Sandoval’s flashback pages are straight out of the ‘90s with hyper violence, unrealistic poses, and that classic white Shatter-star costume. As to where the story goes, I don’t know but I’m intrigued to find out. I’m hoping for some more throwback art to those classic days of the hyper violent ‘90s as well as a more rounded Shatter-Star entering into the upcoming X-Force relaunch.
Verdict: Shatter-Star #1is not an original storyline but it is an enjoyable comic that breaths new life into a ‘90s character birthed more for image then substance. Any fans of the ‘90s Marvel mutant renaissance and X-Force in particular ought to check on this new take on the now classic character.