"Starblood" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Written by Carmilla Voiez
Illustrated by Anna Prashkovich
2016, 146 Pages
Graphic novel published on September 30th, 2016
Love is a crazy thing. Yes, it's also a burning thing as Johnny Cash told us. In Starblood, it's even a little demonic. See if you can keep up with this tangled web. Goth wizard Satori tries to win back his ex-girlfriend, Star, by conjuring a demon. After all, what do you get a girl who has everything? Turns out he screws up the spell and summons Lilith, the queen of all demons. She saunters out of Satori's house and decides to mess with his life by seducing Star. Satori doesn't seem to care much and ends up cheating on her repeatedly. Meanwhile, Star and Lilith are spending their time murdering people, cutting themselves, and making sweet, sweet love.
The motivations for each character are completely unknown in Starblood. People seem to do things for no apparent reason, aside from perhaps that they look cool or exxxtreme. Wouldn't it be shocking if Lilith put a knife near her crotch and forced it into a dude's mouth to simulate oral sex? I guess, but in the scheme of things, it does little to serve the story or develop the characters. This is just one example, but there are many throughout the book.
Lilith is at the center of the story, yet goes through the plot on a whim. It's not even clear how or why Satori summoned her to begin with. I learned that whole bit about trying to get back his ex from the synopsis on Amazon. The conjuring is one page and then Lilith literally walks out the door while Satori just stands there.
Side characters are introduced and dismissed throughout Starblood with little rhyme or reason. Another sorcerer named Paul pops up towards the beginning and seems important before being abruptly murdered. Star has friends or roommates that aren't named until the last stretch of the story and are suddenly important to move the plot around.
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However, my main issue with Starblood isn't the lack of character development or motivation, but in its execution. It was first a novel which writer Carmilla Voiez adapted into the comic format, however the translation is far from perfect. Voiez provides an omniscient narration telling the reader what is going on, but that's redundant because artist Anna Prashkovich's images show us this in beautiful detail. We end up with blocks and blocks of text explaining scenes and elaborating on feelings that are completely unnecessary. This is a problem from page one where the first line is, “Satori's fragile looking, angular body is lost in a forest of writing.” We can see that with the image where he's standing there, holding a pen and he's pretty skinny.
This is a shame as Prashkovich's artwork is pretty good and works tonally with the story. It's presented in a grey scale that's a nice mix with the gothic themes. She walks a line between sex and horror, flipping from one to the other as the scene requires. Although most of the characters look alike as almost all of them have long dark hair and pale skin, Prashkovich says much in their facial expressions. There's the naiveté in Star, the power in Lilith, and the deer-in-headlights in Satori.
I don't seem to be the target audience for Starblood. That's probably fans of Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. This has much more violence and uses the supernatural to justify it in some strange way. At the end of the day, it doesn't deliver a cohesive story or interesting characters. It's overwritten and doesn't let the art do its job.