World Reader Vol. 1: Dead Stars is Amazing
By Paul Aloisio
Every so often I come across a comic that is so overwhelmingly great that it’s hard to put it into words. World Reader is this type of book. I don’t even think you should be reading this review. You should be reading the book instead. Right now. This instant. It can’t wait.
Still, I need to put it into words, because that’s what I do. So I’ll do my best.
World Reader is a multi-layered story about Sarah, an astronaut with psychic abilities. As she travels from dead planet to dead planet, she is able to speak to the dead. Sarah quickly learns of what may be a serial killer – but this time, it’s a killer who destroys entire planets, not simply isolated individuals. Serial Committer of Genocide may be more appropriate.
What begins as a very sad, very beautiful story ends up being something heartwarming and transcendent. World Reader Vol. 1 is a very deep multifaceted story that reveals its layers as the book goes on through very organic and very clever ways. Revelations don’t often come as big “holy crap!” moments, but instead in simple phrases. A comment here or an afterthought there. Even the most thickheaded characters have something deeper to them than simply being thickheaded here, and it makes reading the book an absolute blast.
It’s sad, sure, but it’s not depressing or disturbing. Throughout the story, an element of hope remains, usually in the form of our protagonist, Sarah. As she boldly states as she is commanded to stay on the ship and stop exploring with the rest of the crew due to them worrying about her mental stability, she claims: “I don’t want to be safe. I want to be right.” Not right as in, hey, I told you so. Right as in moral. Right as in doing what’s best for everyone – not just herself.
Jeff Loveness has written an amazing story with World Reader, and he’s found the perfect collaborator in artist and colorist Juan Doe to help bring together one of the most amazing finished products I’ve read in a very, very long time. Doe has a keen eye for creating interesting and pleasing characters, and he does so often, employing a wide range of variety in the aliens depicted here. The colors are astounding as well. It’s nearly psychedelic in design, and it’s very pleasing to the eye.
I love the design of the human characters as well. Everything is very cartoony here, and it provides a great contrast to the deep story unfolding before us. But instead of turning things silly, it helps to bring forth an even larger element of the fantastic than the story already has.
Loveness’ tale wraps itself up neatly at the end of the collection, which is six issues long. This is a perfect length for the story. It’s not too long, it’s not too short, and it never feels rushed. Likewise, it never feels as if it’s dragging on for the sake of filling up pages. It also helps in terms of readability; I feel that this can be a good comfort crutch for anyone who ends up falling in love with the story and needs it on a bad day.
And that’s really what is so amazing about World Reader. The emotions. A good comic is easy to make. But an amazing one? You need depth. You need just the right combination of dialog, art, and color. Most of all, you need real, tangible emotion. This is a new classic. Don’t skip it; you’ll be sorry you did.
World Reader, Vol. 1: Dead Stars
Writer/Creator: Jeff Loveness
Art: Juan Doe
Letterer: Rachel Deering
Letterer: Dave Sharpe