Zodiac Starforce #2 cover by Kevin Wada, Dark Horse 2015Zodiac Starforce #2

Kevin Panetta (script), Paulina Ganuchea (art, colors, letters), Kevin Wada (cover)
Dark Horse
September 30, 2015

Disclaimer: This review may contain spoilers and is based on an advanced review copy of Zodiac Starforce #2 from Dark Horse.

After the events of Zodiac Starforce #1, where the team learns that they may have to come out of early retirement, the Zodiac Starforce learns a not-so secret secret about mean girl Diana and faces off against some funky monsters again.

Zodiac Starforce #2 words by Kevin Panetta, art by Paulina Ganuchea, Dark Horse 2015

Lily (bottom right panel) perfectly captures how Ginnis feels about most sports.

Based off your impressions from the first issue, how did you feel overall about this second issue?

Gin: I really enjoyed this issue, more than the first, but I think that has more to do with the first issue beginning media res, which is always an adjustment, and I was prepared for this issue. All the battle stuff is fun, but like most magical girl teams, it’s really about the characters and their relationships, which really shined in this issue for me. We also got see more of the team and more character development, and more Lily, yay! She is my new favorite—her “hit the ball thing” pretty much exemplifies my entire attitude towards sports.

Angel: I’m really happy to report that I loved the second issue and am feeling quite settled into the story now. As it has been a month since the first issue, I had to read a little bit more slowly until I could remember who was who again, but I hit my stride around page five. The friendship dynamics are highlighted really well in this issue, and I liked how lively each scene was in general.

Christa: Issue #2 was a winner for me as well. I was a little nervous at the beginning as it took me a couple pages to ease back into things, but by the time they were at the basketball game I was hooked. There was so much more action in this issue—which meant we got to see more of the girls using their powers, like Kim’s Bull Armour—and it feels like the story has an actual direction now and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

We had some critiques in our previous review that the diversity didn’t seem quite as diverse. Do you think this issue was an improvement over that?

Gin: I still want to see a larger variety of skin tones. I think the comic is doing well on this, but there are still largely white or white-ish characters. And I think the various skin colors in the background are nice. There also seemed to be variety in Diana’s team of baddies, but it still feels like the lighter-skinned characters are getting most of the talking points and panel time. I don’t know, is it just me?

Angel: I don’t really notice the skin colours as much, but I do want to hear more about the girls’ families and cultures. As Amanda once told me, dropping lines about characters’ backgrounds is a good way to showcase their diversity, and we’d get more of a sense of what traits and influences have made each character who they are.

Christa: I think diversity is still the big problem spot for this story. Like Ginnis mentioned, it really felt like the majority of panel time was devoted to the lighter-skinned characters, and I want to hear more about Lily and Molly!

Okay, can we talk about Savi and Lily? Admittedly, this is a leading question, but how cute are they?! What do you think about how they are being represented so far?

Gin: So cute! But that is because I wrote that question. 🙂 I am curious to know y’all’s thoughts on this.

Angel: I think they’re adorable, and I actually loved that Savi decided to tell her about being part of Zodiac Starforce. It hints at the level of trust in their relationship, and I think it’s a good sign for them.

Christa: They are adorable. When Savi puts her hand over Lily’s *swoon.* Since we only have Pisces, Aries, Taurus, and Gemini on the team so far, my money’s on Lily joining the ranks, especially now that she knows their secret.

Now, let’s talk art. What did you think? Do you think the art and colors do well to achieve the goals of this comic as a diverse magical girl team?

Gin: Like I said before about the coloring, the skin colors don’t show enough variety for my tastes, but I really do love the art and colors. The attention to clothing is one of my favorite things. When I think about the comics I read and who is doing some of the most interesting stuff with clothing and costuming, it is Sophie Campbell, Fiona Staples, Babs Tarr, and now Paulina Ganuchea. They all get the importance of clothing to comics targeted at a younger female audience and how clothing can serve as a shortcut for conveying character personalities. I admire that because admittedly, it takes a lot more time on the part of the artist to draw distinguishable outfits.

Angel: The vividness of this comic’s art is a pretty big selling point for me. It’s just bright and engaging enough that I don’t lose track of what I’m reading among the panels, which is something I still struggle with as a fairly new comics reader. There’s a clear colour scheme tying the girls together, and I like the way each girl’s fashion is reflective of her personality.

Christa: Paulina Ganuchea is doing a great job. The girls’ personalities really shine through on the page and the action scenes always have a high energy field. And I just adore their Starforce uniforms. They’re simple yet spunky and definitely something I could see myself cosplaying as sometime in the future.