Just as IDW did for Sam Keith with The Maxx: Maxximized, Star Slammers: Re-Mastered #1 begins the series of releases of one of renowned writer-artist Walt Simonson’s earliest works, now with new contemporary coloring by Romulo Fajardo. Is it good?
Star Slammers: Re-Mastered #1 (IDW Publishing)
I was quick to pick up Star Slammers: Re-Mastered #1 the moment I saw Simonson’s name attached to it. He’s one of the few artists that are able to achieve a sense of unadulterated, Kirby-esque power with a distinctive personal touch, whereas so many other action-oriented artists try, and inevitably fail, to ape Jack Kirby’s style.
As such, Star Slammers would seem to directly play to Simonson’s strengths, telling the story of an impossibly deadly band of mercenaries called the Star Slammers, who travel around a futuristic cosmos in search of seemingly unwinnable battles with explosive results. There’s more going on than just explosions, of course, including deception and at least one tragic origin story, but frankly, none of it is quite as interesting as the action sequences.
Not yet, at least. This first issue isn’t quite as compelling as one might hope, but there is plenty of room for improvement from this first issue. For one, obviously, this is Walt freaking Simonson that we’re talking about, so if he’s not blowing our socks off just yet, chances are he will be by next issue. Second, and perhaps less presumptuously, the story itself presents some great potential for social commentary and satire regarding the nature of war and violence, especially as it relates to capitalism.
Oh, have I not mentioned yet that I never read this series as it was originally printed? Yeah, sorry, I’m only 23. Therefore, I’m not at liberty to compare Romulo Fajardo’s coloring to the earlier colors by Walt and Louise Simonson’s, but I can say that it looks… good. It’s competent, but not particularly impressive, especially in a time when comic book coloring is experiencing something of a renaissance, so I wonder how fans of the original printing might feel about the necessity of new colors.
“WHOUM TAKKA TAKKA BAM BANG” is going to be the title track to my debut rap album.
Absolutely necessary, though, is the lettering by John Workman, who also lettered Simonson’s seminal Thor run. Nobody letters sound effects quite like Workman does, and it’s hard to think of too many other letterers that clearly have the kind of close collaboration with their writers and/or artists than Workman has with Simonson (although Joe Caramagna on Daredevil and Chris Eliopoulos on Hawkeye certainly come to mind). It’s been said that letterers never get the kind of credit that they deserve, because when done right, readers shouldn’t notice lettering at all. Workman is the rare exception to that rule.
Is It Good?
There’s a bit too much going on for Star Slammers Re-Mastered #1 to work as a first issue, but the exciting premise combined with spectacular art should still be enough to make readers want to come back for more.