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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Innovative presentation, but...Jan. 1 2007
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First the good stuff:
I loved the format of the book. The introduction is informative and well-written. Numerous sketches are included. The original screenplay proposal comes along with all this, and everything is done on a high-quality paper. In a nutshell, the reader gets to know as much as he wants about the Silver Star.
Most importantly, there is the art. Jack's pencils are tight and easy to follow. There are quite a few pages of fully inked artwork inserted in this graphic novel, so a reader gets a great comparison and a feel for Kirby's creative process. The lettering is all printed in a polished and professional way. The end result of this is a peek at the early stages of a Kirby work without the reading experience being reduced at all.
Lastly (for the good), is that this is a JACK KIRBY graphic novel. I would agree that this came after Jack's prime. There are a couple sequences where story inexplicably jumps forward. However, EVERY page still contains brilliance. The art is bursting with energy. Shadows, backgrounds, gestures, expressions... it is all there and it is fantastic.
The story is a fine example of Kirby's creativity. Jack's best stories contain timeless and important themes and ideas. Both the Eternals and New Gods dealt with technology and mythological themes. Jimmy Olsen, believe it or not, had genetics and cloning in its best storylines. Reading these stories today, they still seem relevant and even cutting edge to me. The Silver Star also contains these big concepts. Silver Star also has Darius Drumm... Jack's best bad guy since the incomparable Darkseid!
Now for the bad:
Kirby was perhaps the greatest comic artist ever. I also touched upon his gift for big ideas and grand concepts. However, having a super-powered imagination and being an mega-talented artist does not mean a man is automatically a great writer. In this work, I have to admit that my enjoyment of the art and the cool concepts (in Silver Star, Jack again dives into genetics and technology) was dampened by huge plot holes, corny dialogue, a love interest sub-plot that did not work at all, and a puzzling ending. I understand it is a comic book that isn't shooting for realism, and I can suspend my disbelief. Despite that, I still felt the storyline just did not come together in a satisfactory way.
To sum up, I think anyone really into Jack Kirby, superhero comics, or great comic art will love this book. For the rest of us, it is a pretty good ride, but a far cry for The Eternals of The Fourth World stories.
Raw Kirby (or at least medium-rare)March 4 2007
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SILVER STAR: GRAPHITE EDITION is a trade paperback collection of legendary writer/artist Jack Kirby's second creation for Pacific Comics. A shelved movie concept from the mid-1970s, Kirby brought Silver Star to comics in 1982 as a companion book for Captain Victory. The story tells of the conflict between those individuals known as "Homo geneticus": engineered beings with the power to reshape matter at the atomic level, as well as other more frightening abilities. Morgan Miller, known as Silver Star, seeks out the others of his kind to prepare them for the coming of the evil Darius Drumm, who would turn the Earth into a wasteland.
This is by no means the best story Kirby wrote in his career; however, there's no disputing that it is big. Big action, big characters... just BIG! It's a very interesting concept that fits well with his other epic works such as The New Gods and the Eternals, but focusing on mortals rather than immortals. The ideas Kirby brings forth in this story are both bizarre and wonderful; unfortunately, the dialogue is absolutely awful, to the point of being embarrassing - that is, when it makes sense at all. It was nice of Pacific Comics to give Kirby free reign on this story, but a co-writer or strong editor really would have helped to make it more readable. Luckily, the original screenplay written by Kirby is included in order to clarify some points. While the storyline of the screenplay is not the same as the comic, it does help somewhat.
As for the art, do you even need to ask? While Kirby may not have been the best at dialogue, his art is never in question. Almost all of SILVER STAR: GRAPHITE EDITION is reproduced from copies of Kirby's un-inked pencils. The lines are intentionally rough, but you can really see The King's creative process at work. The texture of each line and shadow is clearly visible, and the power and dynamism is by no means lessened. A few inked pages are included when the pencils were not available, as well as inked versions of each cover. In addition, the story has been re-lettered for clarity.
Obviously, the purpose of this reprint is not to dazzle readers with the story, but to show us the raw creative power of King Kirby. So, while I wouldn't get your hopes up in terms of the story, the un-inked art alone should be enough to amaze Kirby fans for hours (general comics readers may not be so impressed). I'm hoping that TwoMorrows Publishing will do this with other Kirby works. Be sure to keep your eyes open for a color hardcover collection of Silver Star, available in summer 2007 from Image Comics!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A decent Kirby villain steals the show from a useless Kirby hero.Sept. 2 2010
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Silver Star is very much a "phoned in" effort by Kirby, an attempt to make a little more cash towards the end of a brilliant but largely unprofitable career, without much concern for care and quality. Norma Richmond's face frequently and spontaneously turns into the shape of a football as her breasts explode and jut out to the sides, only to have both return to normal proportions a panel later, a key character who dominates the first half of the first issue is completely forgotten by the third, and the dialogue is horrendously stilted and corny...even by Kirby standards.
Still, the one quality that stands out as being worthwhile in this volume is the villain. This should be no surprise as Kirby has always been the king of arch villains, frequently making them even more appealing than his heroes. How many of us are bigger fans of Doctor Doom than Reed Richards, Galactus than Silver Surfer, Darkseid than Orion? Indeed, the mad and religiously fervent demigod Darius Drumm is a fascinating speciman, and Kirby clearly understands that, giving him the center stage in this series. For, even though it's called "Silver Star," we learn more about Drumm's origin than Silver Star's, spend far more time analyzing his psychology and world views while SS is just a goodie goodie trying to stop him, and even the climax of the series, though involving SS from the sidelines, is more about Drumm standing in the way of himself. Drumm is the star of this series and the one quality that makes it worth reading.
Unfortunately, in contrast, Silver Star is a dull and relatively useless hero, bringing no personality to the story and repeatedly failing to save literally millions of lives while only managing to protect the three people closest to him. In all the Kirby classics, even while the villain stole the spotlight, he shared a special connection with the hero that somehow made the hero and his struggle more interesting. For Doom, it was his rivalry with Reed Richards and his hopeless love for Sue Storm. For Galactus, it was his reluctance to harm his formerly loyal servant. For Darkseid, his secret relationship to Orion was virtually all that made Orion an intriguing character.
Drumm and Silver Star bear uncanny resemblances to Darkseid and Orion, both visually and by the fact that they are both uber-powerful gods, even while the villain is hopelessly more powerful than the hero. Yet Darkseid and Orion share that secret relationship, and from that stems so much of the interpersonal drama of the series, so much of the investment in Orion's struggle. In contrast, Silver Star and Drumm have no deeper connection beyond the fact that they are both near-gods and SS is bent on stopping him. There's no buy-in for SS's character beyond the hopeless frustration he feels as he repeatedly fails to stop Drumm (though this borders on Kamandi-level whining).
In the end, there's a lot wrong with this volume, but if you can tolerate the hero long enough, the villain just might make the read worthwhile. And be sure to read Jack's original movie treatment from which this comic was derived at the end of the volume. Jack clearly put a lot more care into the would-be Silver Star movie than he did the comic. And Norma Richmond/Jayne Davidson, the invulnerable movie star who drives herself off of cliffs and straps herself to bombs, had serious pin-up potential.
Every Kirby fan should have this one!!May 19 2014
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I have pretty much everything ever done by Jack Kirby, and had to some extent been hesitant on this book. I had heard several bad reviews, that it was not up to the King's earlier works. Well, those people were wrong. Jack Kirby was, in my opinion, never a great writer, but instead was without a doubt the best "STORYTELLER" of a generation and beyond. His words were clunky, his scripts brief and punch-happy at times, but this was his style. Kirby gave you the story in it's most raw form. He could tell that story with a power that nobody else could hope to equal (Stan Lee succeeded in smoothing out the voices, but it was always evident that Kirby was driving the Imagination wagon!). Silver Star will never be mistaken as one of his finest works, but as it stands, it is better than most of the current drivel that is being put out today!! In short, it's an amazing experience for a true comic book geek!!!
There is Kirby Magic in this book!Aug. 1 2014
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No reasonable Kirby enthusiast or comicbook historian would claim SILVER STAR is among Kirby's best work. That being said, if this is "bad Kirby", it stands as a testament to Jack's brilliance. The storyline and dialog would no doubt have benefited from an editor or script writer but who cares? We get full, uncensored Kirby in all its zany glory! There is some great art: beautiful splash pages and energy and explosions that crackle off the page! The book includes and interesting introduction, Kirby's script for a proposed SILVER STAR movie and some behind the scene sketches from the King. At $34.99 retail I would call it a little pricey, but well worth the Amazon discounted cost.