THIS WEEK: Courtney Whitmore returns for a new miniseries, Stargirl: The Lost Children, from Geoff Johns and Todd Nauck.
Note: the review below contains spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comics in question, check out the bottom of the article for our final verdict.
Stargirl: The Lost Children #1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Todd Nauck
Colorist: Matt Herms
Letterer: Todd Klein
Cover Artist: Todd Nauck
It’s been over a year since the Stargirl Spring Break Special brought writer Geoff Johns’s most famous creation back to her own solo book. Johns was joined by artist Todd Nauck for the one-shot, which saw Courtney Whitmore and Red Arrow Emiko Queen uncover a new mystery for the DC Universe: where have all the sidekicks gone? Now Johns and Nauck, along with colorist Matt Herms and letterer Todd Klein, are back to dig into that mystery with Stargirl: The Lost Children.
Johns and Nauck open the issue with a brief history lesson in the issue’s opening pages about a semi-obscure DC duo called TNT and Dan the Dyna-Mite. It’s a lot of exposition but it’s presented in an entertaining manner, with the duo in action against some unnamed ‘40s mooks, and the refresher on Dyna-Mite’s more recent activities – activities that Nauck illustrated in the pages of Young Justice – is welcome. Along with the info-dump on the less-well-known aspects of the issue, Johns and Nauck also do a nice job of establishing who Stargirl is and how she came to be. More than just picking up from her adventures with the JSA, it’s clear that this series is a continuation of Courtney’s initial solo series from the late ‘90s.
In a lot of ways, Stargirl: The Lost Children #1 feels like a return to form for Johns. From Doomsday Clock to Flashpoint Beyond to last week’s The New Golden Age, Johns has put out a string of work that has been huge in scale and attempted to rewrite timelines and the history of the DC Universe as readers know it. It’s nice, then, to see him instead telling a smaller, character-focused story here, with Courtney and Emiko driving the action forward. Sure, we know that some of the missing sidekicks are spinning out of The New Golden Age, and the ultimate villain of the series, the creepily-named Childminder, very well may end up being some cosmic force, but at least Johns, Nauck, and co. have taken the initial step of grounding readers in Blue Valley, Nebraska before getting into universe-altering action.
The real standout of this first issue, though, is the art team of Nauck and Herms. The team’s visuals set a light, energetic tone for the story, whether it’s in the ‘40s or the present day. It’s a pleasant reminder of just what a natural Nauck is at working on teen characters, and of how far his work has come since his Young Justice days. Herms’s colors pair with Nauck’s linework perfectly, popping off the page even during the issue’s night sequences.
Stargirl: The Lost Children #1 is a really solid debut for this miniseries. After last week’s somewhat disjointed New Golden Age one-shot I have to admit I was a bit concerned for how this issue would go, so it’s a pleasant relief to see Johns, Nauck, and team telling a straightforward, character-focused superhero story. Here’s hoping the remaining five issues carry that forward without getting too bogged down in the continuity-altering weeds.
Final Verdict: BUY.
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