Starfire, princess of Tamaran, is trying to make a new life on Earth. She decides Key West in Florida could prove a suitable home, and asks local sheriff Stella for help. Starfire's not well known in today's DC Universe, so the law officer needs some convincing, but flight and a blazing hair trail do the trick. Soon Stella Is helping Starfire find somewhere to stay and suitable clothes to wear, all the while keeping an eye on a storm that's approaching.
Delightful. That's what this comic from writers Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, and artists Emanuela Lupacchino and Ray McCarthy, is. Starfire - she prefers Kory - is presented with good humour, the warrior princess aspect played down. She's not dumb, but being relatively new to US culture, can take things a little literally.
Pictogram thought bubbles show us how she's interpreting what she's hearing, making for an amusing extra layer of meaning while helping us understand Kory a little more. And whimsical chapter headings are a fun way to pace the story. There's no reference to her doings with Red Hood and Arsenal, and there's no need; they still happened, but as it's the charm of Kory that's being played up here, the bad ass can wait a little while longer. Kory has a real lust for life, and it's attractive.
Stella seems a straightforward type - friendly, great at her job, a family woman; in fact, she reminds me a little of Kory's pal from another life, Donna Troy. Stella has a brother, Sol (Stella, Sol, Starfire ... a bit on the nose, but forgiveable), who works for the coastguard and mourns lost love Maria. Will Starfire bring him happiness?
Probably not, that'd be too predictable for a Palmiotti and Conner book - she's more likely to fall for Sol's colleague Raveena. This issue, though, it's one Boone who has her attention. The handyman at his grandma Tina's caravan park, he immediately impresses Kory and she can't help having a wee snog. And then we get this great sequence.
Good on the creative team for having fun with that daft old New Teen Titans bit about language absorption, while showing us that today's Kory has a sense of humour. She also has huge empathy, as shown when Stella talks about her late grandmother.
It could be mawkish, it could make Kory look a fool, but penciller Lupacchino and inker McCarthy - late of the much-missed Supergirl title - really sell the moment. Their art, nicely coloured by Hi-Fi, is stunning throughout, with an especially nice rendering of Kory's fire-trail hair. And it's rather clever of Conner and Palmiotti to have people assume Kory has an amazing tan ... maybe she should tell people she's from Essex.
Lupacchino, McCarthy and Hi-Fi pay commendable attention to backgrounds, giving the issue a pleasing naturalism, while Conner's cover image, coloured by Paul Mounts, is the embodiment of non-threatening sexiness. The lettering is by Tom Napolitano, who keeps things nicely neat and unobtrusive.
There's nothing resembling a super-baddie this issue, with the storm being the nearest to a malevolent force, but the book is a million miles from being boring. Great character work, luscious visuals and a lovely air of humanity make for a terrific, feelgood read. There's even a quick science lesson. I never thought I could take to a book starring Starfire this much, but I think I'm a little in love.