Zodiac Starforce #1
With the success of Lumberjanes, we’re seeing more comics with girl teams, a trend I welcome. Zodiac Starforce takes its influences from the manga-style magical girl group, such as that seen in Sailor Moon, but layering it with American schoolgirl life.
There’s a twist here, as written by Kevin Panetta and illustrated by Paulina Ganucheau — the team has broken up, split apart after defeating a villain and now pursuing normal lives. Except, of course, that trick never works, and a new monster has raised its head.
The series is candy-colored and vibrant, opening with action. I liked the way the girls are working on balancing growing up with their mission and history. How one handles one’s life going in a direction different from previous friends, even close friends, is a struggle many can relate to, even without the mystical powers. Just because they worked together doesn’t mean they always agree, or that their lives will continue to intertwine.
One doesn’t want to give up — “so, what?! we’re just retired at sixteen?” she says — while others aren’t sure they want to get back into the game. One has distinctly moved on to boys and more traditional pursuits. Some of the girls remind me of characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, particularly given the loss one suffered during their previous battle.
There’s also a rival group of mean girls, who’ve coopted another away from her caring friend. There’s mysticism and loyalty and a lot of uncertainty, plus a disturbing prophecy that serves as the cliffhanger. I’m curious to see how these girls decide to proceed, whether they strike out on their own or follow the lead of their mystic advisor, even though they don’t like the implications. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)