A Trinity of Questions on Zodiac Starforce #3

Zodiac Starforce #1 Variant cover, writer Kevin Panetta, artist Paulina Ganucheau, cover artist Marguerite Savage, Dark Horse Comics 2015

Zodiac Starforce #3 (Image Comics, 2015)Zodiac Starforce #3

Kevin Panetta (script), Paulina Ganuchea (art, colors, letters), Kevin Wada (cover)
Dark Horse
November 11, 2015

(Disclaimer: This review may contain spoilers and is based on an advanced review copy from Dark Horse.)

In an attempt to save Emma from a mysterious disease, the team must not only battle monsters from an interdimensional portal, they have to figure out the source of Emma’s sickness without arguing each other to death in the process.

We’re now on the third issue: has the story settled into itself? Are there still aspects that you feel could be developed a little further, and do you believe that will happen in future issues?

Desiree: I liked it better than the last two issues. The pacing has finally started to pick up, and we’re getting into the meat of the story. Issue #3 is usually where the story starts to meander in other series, so I’m glad to see the action being kicked up into high gear. I didn’t love what happened; it felt moderately cliched that the enemy was the soured former team leader of the God figure our current team operates under. I’m pretty sure I saw this exact storyline in an episode of Totally Spies.

Ginnis: Desiree makes a good point about how third issues can really be a hiccup in a new series, but I agree that this didn’t happen this time. I didn’t mind the big reveal about Diana, and I want to learn more about Astra and the origins of the Zodiac Starforce, so I hope that mythology will continue to be revealed. For me the biggest cliche was Emma as “the leader.” I appreciate that the story challenged this in many ways, but for one Emma has yet to strike me as a bona fide leader, and I also think it’s time for stories where leadership is shared, especially in magical girl stories. I am hoping to see that further developed as the story progresses.

Angel: It does feel like both the characters and the stories are finding their strides, and there’s a little less dependency on background information/history. Each issue has kept the story moving, ramping up the action a little more with every revelation. I think this was also the first issue where I really felt the friendship between Emma, Savi, Kim, and Molly instead of just being told that they had a history. Granted, I was willing to believe in their history, but it was nice to see how they really fit together.

How are you finding Diana as a villain, considering her backstory? Does she feel like a real threat to the Starforce?

Desiree: Yes and no. See I actually like Diana, she feels like a really interesting character with strong motivations and presence. I actually liked her better than most of our Zodiac women because she just drew my attention when she was on the page. As for if she’ll be a real threat, that depends on where the story goes. If she’s easily defeated making way for a new villain to take place, then she’ll be wasted as a character. If she becomes a long-term villain that always lurks behind the Zodiac force then she’ll be more interesting.

Gin: Definitely, Diana really does grab your attention—granted, I always love the “bad girls!” I thought her motivation was warranted and complex, and admittedly, I started questioning Astra myself. I am very curious to see where the team will go with the type of deity that Astra is. But I really like Diana feeling betrayed and wounded and grieving and that’s what drives her—it feels honest and even justified in a warped way. That being said, I don’t necessarily see her as a real threat at this point.

Also, my heart totally broke when Lily was transformed. I heart her and Savi.

Angel: I’m not quite sure where I stand on Diana at the moment. I was expecting the reveal of the villain to take a little more time, but this was definitely a fast reveal. I don’t think Diana’s had as much opportunity to be developed as a character, so the connection to the Starforce team feels a bit like it’s being shoe-horned in.

What do you think of the representation of a Lily and Savi’s budding romantic relationship?

Gin: I really dig that the other two romantic relationships, both of which are heterosexual, are already established so we have different sexual orientations represented (including bi-representation via Savi), but really the focus is on Lily and Savi and their budding romance. When Lily tells Savi that she looks cute in her Zodiac Starforce costume, so cute! And it’s cuter with Ganuchea’s art and letters because the letters getting smaller when Lily complimented Savi made the scene even more endearing for me.

Desiree: I want to learn their history, and I really want to see more of Lily. Lily telling Savi how cute she is in her uniform was adorable. Right now they’re one of the highlights of the series for me. I’m not really interested in the other relationships currently happening in the story, even the friendships between the Zodiac members feels shallow right now. The girls seemed to really rely on Emma but I don’t get why yet. Right now Lily and Savi have some nice chemistry that I find really honest and sincere. I just want to see more of them.

Angel: I am LOVING the easy trust between Lily and Savi! Like Desiree said, their connection feels sincere and like it can grow with the girls themselves. I’ve always been interested in seeing how superheroes interact with the people in their lives who aren’t granted special powers, because it tells us more about the character. So seeing the light and joy Lily brings to Savi’s life is satisfying for both the reader and Savi.

Angel Cruz

Angel Cruz

Angel Cruz is a writer and boy band scholar. You can also find her at Book Riot for endless discussion and flailing over all things literature. Ice cream, Broadway musicals, and Arashi are her lifeblood.