Irena’s uncle oversees the sky. Her father, while never said outright, oversees the earth. For Irena, he’s dad, and laying out where her family stands in the hierarchy of this realm (are they Gods? elements? spirits?) isn’t pressing. Not too many series would be comfortable moving forward without these definitions, but definitions require exposition. There’s something pure about having armageddon be spoken about in terms of a family whose lives are, matter-of-fact, intertwined with the fate of the world.
It’s a world which could be less one sky if Irena doesn’t get the diamond star to her dying uncle in time. The star will heal him at a price, and the emotional resonance of the opening scene makes Irena and her dad people we instantly care about. Bloodshed and death is a visceral way to make an emotional connection. The Diamond Star #1 goes a step deeper, and without our hero participating in violence.
She faces enough unruly pests on her quest for the thought to pass her mind but, while Irena’s powers aren’t set in stone, they’re used for reform, not punishment, and trace directly back to her father’s hold over nature. Calling vines up from the ground to hold her enemies still, their release is dependent on their willingness to rethink their actions and feel remorse. For an all-ages audience, that’s a powerful message and one that doesn’t inflict pain, but teaches.
For adults there’s something to be said here psychologically, too. Artist, Alethea Van Holland, draws Irena’s dad rooted to the ground around him, part of the earth, unable to walk or detach. Waist and wrist strung with vines, feet covered with mud, like sand pushed over legs on a beach, you see him with all the admiration and nobility Irena does. For him his condition isn’t a consequence. It’s a sacrifice.
Holland’s color swap, from forest greens to hot pink terrain, when Irena reaches the mountains, is more jaunty for its lack of subtlety, and Irena’s nature-based dress has a Tinkerbell ring about it. Some of the profile shots are flatter and sometimes the expressions are too quick to smile, but this does cushion darker moments for a younger audience.
Written by Troy Vevasis (Mr. Crypt), issue one tells a complete story, for a satisfying standalone that also preps for the series ahead. His greatest creation may be a fuzzball named, Ikop, whose name asks to be spoken aloud and whose reaction to danger is very unabashedly ‘avoid it.’ The opposite goes for what people should do when thinking about reading Diamond Star.
Diamond Star #1 is available to purchase here.
Update: Kickstarter Campaign