Sunday, November 22, 2015

CBR Steven Universe Vol.1 (KaBOOM!)

They'll always save the day and even if you think they can't they will always find a way!

Here's the first volume of KaBOOM's ongoing Steven Universe comic book series starring Garnet, Amethyst, Pearl... and Steven!

Comic title: Steven Universe: Volume 1
Art by Coleman Engle
Story by
Rebecca Sugar, Jeremy Sorese & various 

Published by KaBOOM!, an imprint of BOOM! Studios 
From 2015
Lineup Steven Universe series
Format: Softcover trade paperback collecting Steven Universe (2014) issues #1-4.

By now most people are already familiar with the show Steven Universe. The cartoon is already getting a huge fandom and the series has been declined into all kinds of merchandising, toys, one first smartphone game and, of course, comics!

Like the Adventure Time series, these Steven Universe comics are also published through BOOM! Studios' KaBOOM! imprint. The series was launched on August 2014. The comics act as a companion series to the cartoon, exploring the life of the various supporting characters and life in Beach City.

This first volume collects issues #1 through 4.

Unlike Adventure Time, for comparison, the stories are not connected and rarely spread across various issues. Instead each issue is a collection of various short stories, mini-comics and even a couple of games. 

The main features come from writer Jeremy Sorese and artist Coleman Engle (known for his work on the Regular Show comic).

Steven Universe tells the adventures of Steven and the Crystal Gems, Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl, mysterious gem warriors now living in the town of Beach City. While the show focus on establishing, developing and world-building this ever-expanding universe the comics take the time to show us their everyday life and give some well-needed spotlight to the minor characters that don't get much exposition in the cartoon.

Each issue focus on one main feature and then gives the rest of the pages to a few backup features.

In our first issue opening this book, the Gems try to take some well-deserved vacation time offworld after defeating some corrupted gem since Steven was insisting to take a break. But they run into some problems when the defeated gem enemy refuses to stay safely bubbled! Pearl's still hanging up on the monster! And Amethyst keeps making fun of Pearl's nose! Not cool, Amethys! Not cool!

After that Steven and Connie decide to enter the "Annual Beach City Bike Race"! But the gems fear Steven might get hurt in the big race, so they all decide to help Steven on their own way. They each make some changes to Steven's bike at night... for the worse! And now he's in danger because of them!!

Greg Universe would love to go on a picnic with Steven, but Steven keeps canceling those nights to go run with the gems facing some new monsters every time... There's an Open Mic Night at the Big Donut store, so Greg decides to go there play some guitar. But it turns out this new monster might just be powered by music!!

Finally in the last issue we find Kiki and Jenny Pizza who have some problems working for their father's restaurant the Fish Stew Pizza. Steven wants to help them! They can ride Lion to run around town! The next day Steven and Connie open their own services - Cab Cub! But nobody asked Lion if he even wanted to do this in the first place.. 

The stories are all kinda silly and pretty short, but it's a really fun book for fans of the show! It does give some well needed spotlight to a few different characters, particularly the grandma Kofi Pizza who keeps popping in every story for some reason.

The tone is pretty well captured, and Coleman Engle's artwork is particularly gorgeous! Unlike the Adventure Time comics, it never attempts to replicate the design of the show and gives this comic that much more character and identity. Very cartoony and full of life.

Speaking of Adventure Time, KaBOOM actually reprinted all the backup features and bonus material here.

These secondary stories come from all kind of artists and different styles, some are splash-page pinup art, others black & white manga-style 2-3 pagers (reminiscent of KaBOOM's Adventure Time graphic novels). They come from Raven M. Molisee, Kali Ciesemier, Josceline Fenton and Mad Rupert and one of them was even written by Rebecca Sugar herself!

Lars and Sadie lost around town, Steven coming up with his famous "Everything Bagel Dog", the gems having to bake a cake for Steven's birthday, Steven entering Lion in a pet contest, playing in Greg's storage locker with Connie with various items glimpsed in the show, unlocking the mystery of a disco ball, Ronaldo uncovering a conspiracy about the gems also being models and finally the comic about Steven's minicomics that Rebecca Sugar made to promote and launch this comic book series!

We also get a couple of games like a Where's Waldo in Beach City.

And finally a cover gallery featuring the work of Rebecca Sugar, Matt Cummings, Amber Rogers, Tiffany Ford and even Rebecca's brother Steven Sugar (that's right, the "inspiration" behind Steven), a background artist on the show.

Overall,this was a pretty decent comic tie-in. A great little companion comic book series for the show.

While it doesn't aim to reveal anything major or introduce new ideas, it's a great collection of Steven Universe stories that fans of the show will enjoy no doubt. You might have to be a little familiar with the show to really enjoy this, since nothing's that much explained or introduced here.

Definitively Check It Out if you're a fan of the series! A perfect All-Age read with lovely colorful (and black & white) cartoony artwork.

I give it:
2 / 3 Snoopies!

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