Urban Legends with the Crystal Gems: Review of Steven Universe #1

Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems #1Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems #1

Josceline Fenton (writer), Chrystin Garland (illustrator), Leigh Luna (colorist), Jim Campbell (letters), Kat Leyh (cover)
March 16, 2016

Disclaimer: A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher, and this review contains spoilers.

In Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems, Steven treats the Gems to an activity that he and his dad very much enjoy together: Camping! Steven treats them to a night of spooky stories, sleeping bags, and S’MORES. Amethyst is all about the food aspect of the trip, Garnet is the muscle behind the campfire operation, and Pearl’s in charge of tents, but … just doesn’t get it at all.

Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems #, KABOOM!The Gems are not used to any of these camping activities, so they trust Steven to show them the way. Once they settle in, it’s time for the scary stories of the night! Steven starts, but he doesn’t scare the Gems much, so Pearl and Garnet treat Steven to a story they used to tell Amethyst to keep her in line. After the night’s activities, Steven discovers that story might all be too real.

There are loads of side stories in Steven Universe that can (and need) to be explored in Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems. The first issue takes the most wholesome and amazing of activities to bring the Gems together once again in comic fashion. Who doesn’t like a good camping trip in the woods?

Something I personally enjoyed about the beginning of this story is that it’s set around an “urban legend” of sorts. Steven discovers mysterious shards of glass in the woods that he’s curious about, but not immediately frightened of. When he gets back, the Gems engage in a series of urban legend-type campfire tales that immediately made me perk up.

The first tale was reminiscent of the urban legend of “Have You Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems #, KABOOM!Checked the Children.” The urban legend goes like this: a babysitter is in the house doing her thing and the phone starts to ring. A voice whispers to her, “Have you checked the children?” The girl is super confused by this and ignores it (in different versions, and Steven’s, the babysitter checks the children multiple times). After a while, the calls start getting more and more frequent and more aggressive. The babysitter starts getting freaked out and goes up to check the children. When she checks, the children are gone.

This urban legend has shown up in movies and inspired many campfire tales. Steven tells his story in a fashion that only a kid can know, which is brilliant. It’s fragmented, but great. I love the small touch of putting Onion as one of the children and recalls the style of the Steven Universe episode “Chille Tid.” Garnet’s design from that episode is given to the babysitter’s image in the comic, and it brings you back to the beauty of the show while reading this new story.

Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems #, KABOOM!The other campfire tale was more of a Crystal Gem urban legend. Garnet and Pearl tell the tale of a little gem who was rambunctious, wild, and never wanted to listen. She would go out into the forest and basically keep going deeper and deeper, because she was becoming cocky enough to do so, until she comes upon a ghost-like creature who was a corrupted gem that scares her. When the Gems find this monster after hearing their partner screaming, it’s shattered into glass.

The greatest thing about the Steven Universe and the Crystal Gems comic is that it FELT like an episode.  The team completely stayed with the look and feel of being in the woods of Beach City. Josceline writes an amazing story about spooky tales, camping mishaps, and urban legends. She captures the essence of the show very well in this first issue. Chrystin Garland’s illustrations perfectly capture Steven Universe. Chrystin’s illustrations paired with Leigh Luna’s colors make the world of Steven Universe all too beautiful and all too real. It’s type of pale pastel coloring that gives the comic an immediate vibrancy that you can’t ignore.

I’m exciting to see what’s going to happen next within this miniseries. This is only issue one, but it’s going to be amazing to see how Steven and the Crystal Gems handle their urban legend come to life and to see more of where the story will end up.

Insha Fitzpatrick

Insha Fitzpatrick

Moving Image Columnist + Teacher of Cartoon Academy. Insha is a freelance + comic writer, film nerd and Crystal Gem from NJ. She enjoys cartoons, comics, b-movies and has very strong feelings about Kylo Ren. Stay Weird. ♡