Title: Zodiac Starforce: By the Power of Astra!
By: Kevin Panetta
Call #: YA Graphic Panet.K
I have to be honest with you, magical girl stories are my jam. They’ve been near and dear to my heart ever since Sailor Moon first appeared on the scene. Yes. I’m that old. I remember when Sailor Moon was NEW.
Anyway, enough about me, let’s talk about Zodiac Starforce. This is a comic that will not disappoint you. The writing is incredible, each girl has her own voice and each of those voices is authentic and entirely genuine.
The comic opens with Emma, our main character, being attacked by a monster one evening at her high school. In order to save herself and her school she must revisit powers she hasn’t used in years. You know, I think this is one of my favorite parts about this series. This is certainly an origin story – we are meeting all of these characters for the first time and we are learning the rules of their universe – but this is not an origin story of the team. We are meeting the girls years after they have broken up as a team and have gone their separate ways. This is a refreshing way to introduce us to a magical girl universe and let me tell you something: it works.
Along with the storytelling, the art is amazing. The drawings are dynamic, the colors are candy coated, and each girl looks as strong as she is pretty. Let’s also talk about these girls for like one second. My other favorite thing about this series is the diversity among the main cast. Each girl has a unique thumbprint on the page. They each have their own body type, ethnicity, and color scheme that is resonant with the genre but also busts right through the genre stereotypes. There is a conscious choice to subvert the genre norm (namely the lack of diversity) and it is done in a way that doesn’t pander or feel disingenuous.