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Rising Stars Compendium

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Launched in 1999, Rising Stars is about a group of people who are born with special abilities after a mysterious light appears in the sky. Parallels have been drawn between this series and The 4400 TV series on USA Network and Heroes on NBC. This new collection includes all 24 issues of J. Michael Straczynski's run on Rising Stars, as well as all three spin-off mini-series Launched in 1999, Rising Stars is about a group of people who are born with special abilities after a mysterious light appears in the sky. Parallels have been drawn between this series and The 4400 TV series on USA Network and Heroes on NBC. This new collection includes all 24 issues of J. Michael Straczynski's run on Rising Stars, as well as all three spin-off mini-series written by his prot�g�, Fiona Avery.


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Launched in 1999, Rising Stars is about a group of people who are born with special abilities after a mysterious light appears in the sky. Parallels have been drawn between this series and The 4400 TV series on USA Network and Heroes on NBC. This new collection includes all 24 issues of J. Michael Straczynski's run on Rising Stars, as well as all three spin-off mini-series Launched in 1999, Rising Stars is about a group of people who are born with special abilities after a mysterious light appears in the sky. Parallels have been drawn between this series and The 4400 TV series on USA Network and Heroes on NBC. This new collection includes all 24 issues of J. Michael Straczynski's run on Rising Stars, as well as all three spin-off mini-series written by his prot�g�, Fiona Avery.

30 review for Rising Stars Compendium

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cheese

    3.5 stars. This compendium contains the main story and then individual stories about some of the specials that you wish you knew more about in the main story. I think there are four single stories, the one called untouchable and the ones called dead bodies are very good the others are a bit slow. Overall it's a great story, starts off very slowly but comes up with some good ideas like 'what if there were people with powers?' What would they do if they actually existed? They say this book is what he 3.5 stars. This compendium contains the main story and then individual stories about some of the specials that you wish you knew more about in the main story. I think there are four single stories, the one called untouchable and the ones called dead bodies are very good the others are a bit slow. Overall it's a great story, starts off very slowly but comes up with some good ideas like 'what if there were people with powers?' What would they do if they actually existed? They say this book is what heroes the TV show was based on, but don't let that put you off, because it shows no relation to it at all. The artwork is good, but there just weren't enough interesting characters to keep my interested.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Albert Yates

    Rising Stars tells the story of a group of children who all received powers when a flash illuminated in the sky when they were all still in-utero. The story follows the kids as they grow up, as they learn the use their powers and trust themselves. Each of 113 children have different powers that they learn to control at a government run facility. You can see where this is going now can't you? Government doesn't trust them, they don't trust the government. Surprisingly, none of the kids turned to t Rising Stars tells the story of a group of children who all received powers when a flash illuminated in the sky when they were all still in-utero. The story follows the kids as they grow up, as they learn the use their powers and trust themselves. Each of 113 children have different powers that they learn to control at a government run facility. You can see where this is going now can't you? Government doesn't trust them, they don't trust the government. Surprisingly, none of the kids turned to the dark-side through out most of their lives. I found this odd that they accepted their roles in life and mostly did good things when they could. Though some of the lesser powered members attempted to lead a normal life in the suburbs. What you don't expect from this book is such an engrossing story. I got lost in this world, when the book ended after the 24 issues were over, I was fully satisfied. The story had come to a wonderful conclusion that left no doubt in my mind that it couldn't have ended any other way. The rest of the omnibus contained other related stories that filled in some of the gaps in the events from when the kids were first learning about themselves. They released 2 mini-series: 1 about Lionel and his ability to interact with ghost, and another about the mysterious past of Laurel and her dealings with the government after she graduated.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Molokov

    The complete Rising Stars collection is in this volume - all 24 issues plus sundry spinoffs and specials - but they've subtitled it "Volume 1" which indicates there's a volume 2 coming? Weird marketing decision. This is a great comic series by jms giving some humanity to his super-powered "specials" as they grow up and work out why they think they have this gift in the first place. Only other problem is the binding on this very thick book isn't great, and after a single read, I can tell that some The complete Rising Stars collection is in this volume - all 24 issues plus sundry spinoffs and specials - but they've subtitled it "Volume 1" which indicates there's a volume 2 coming? Weird marketing decision. This is a great comic series by jms giving some humanity to his super-powered "specials" as they grow up and work out why they think they have this gift in the first place. Only other problem is the binding on this very thick book isn't great, and after a single read, I can tell that some pages are going to fall out very soon...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Curtis Schofield

    Amazing story - Incredible work. Terrible Binding - the publisher's binding is absolute crap. Amazing story - Incredible work. Terrible Binding - the publisher's binding is absolute crap.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Darth

    Really huge and rich series! Think Freakangels, but instead of seeing just a snippet of their lives at a critical junction, you explore every stage. Rather than being tedious, you get a more faceted picture typical superhero tropes. And there's an ending! An actual direction and some sense of meaning behind why the Specials exist--one of the things that's always bugged me about worlds that take superheros just as a given. There is so much potential for spin-off, and the writers give you enough s Really huge and rich series! Think Freakangels, but instead of seeing just a snippet of their lives at a critical junction, you explore every stage. Rather than being tedious, you get a more faceted picture typical superhero tropes. And there's an ending! An actual direction and some sense of meaning behind why the Specials exist--one of the things that's always bugged me about worlds that take superheros just as a given. There is so much potential for spin-off, and the writers give you enough space to explore what-ifs.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Marquis

    This story of 100 plus children gaining super powers and growing into adulthood with varying personalities is very exciting! Filled with surprises, betrayals and gripping storytelling, anyone who loved Stand By Me, Sleepers or the X-Men will love this story about people who just happen to have powers!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    This is one of the coolest superhero comics I have read. It is a very powerful look into the what if people got powers all of a sudden. How would we react, how would they react. What could/would they do for us as a people. This story makes me realize why hollywood is relaying on the comic industry for its stories. This is a great story that could easily be made into a movie/series.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tim Champlin

    DO NOT BUY THIS. The actual comic itself is pretty good but the binding is SO bad it is literally falling apart as I read it. Seriously, it’s like super cheap glue and I paid $60 for it at my local comic store. I haven’t finished it yet because of this. If you can read it digital it’s pretty recommended.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I love everything this man writes. From this to Babylon 5.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Primo Flores

    I started reading/buying this comic back in the early 2000's when I was working at Kobey's Swap Meet selling books, I met a guy there we all called "Waldo" (or Millhouse?...something like that, man, time flies...), his name is Gabriel. Gabe was the one to introduce me to some of my favorite shit ever, like Preacher, or Lord of the Rings (He lent me his book and I never returned it), among these recommendations he also talked about Rising Stars, I remember how hyped he was while pitching it to me I started reading/buying this comic back in the early 2000's when I was working at Kobey's Swap Meet selling books, I met a guy there we all called "Waldo" (or Millhouse?...something like that, man, time flies...), his name is Gabriel. Gabe was the one to introduce me to some of my favorite shit ever, like Preacher, or Lord of the Rings (He lent me his book and I never returned it), among these recommendations he also talked about Rising Stars, I remember how hyped he was while pitching it to me so I decided to "Gabe" it a go (...get it?). I bought #8 I think, and my mind was blown with this gimmick I'd never seen before in a comic book, still I didn't finish the whole thing until this year (long compendium, 1100 pgs), 15 years later.... MIND BLOWN again. Not gonna tell you about the story 'cuz really, What is there to say about a superhero comic book?, if you want a reference I would say "Watchmen + that Shitty "Heroes" TV show, but done right... ...So back to the gimmick, there's this guy who can talk with the dead ('cuz comic books), he lives isolated 'cuz he's fed up of dead dudes showing up with their problems... the story goes on, blah blah blah, superhero shit, adventures, etc, and by the end of this episode you see the dead talking guy sitting down on a couch, this left me wondering what the fuck, right?, what a dumb way to finish a perfectly good chapter, but then you start turning the page and you notice that the stuff on the back is now visible, and what do you see?, yep!, a bunch of dead dudes talking to the guy, it was a really cool way to play with translucency. Anyways, Thanks Gabe, wherever you are, I tried locating him to give him the LOTR back and you know, to get more recommendations, and then I heard from a mutual acquaintance that he's lost in drugs, possibly heavy drugs, anyways, Gabe I hope you're all good, man, take it easy and I still have your book in case you want it back...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mark Groenen

    I had the first volume of this series as a kid, roughly twenty years ago, but never found another copy back then. I hadn’t been introduced to the Comic Book Stores yet and ordering online was not a thing for me yet. As such, I never finished the story. I always kept the volume though, and reread it quite often. Since I never forgot about it, I decided to order the full collection. The story is awesome. 101 children are born with unique powers and we follow them as they grow up. The tale starts wi I had the first volume of this series as a kid, roughly twenty years ago, but never found another copy back then. I hadn’t been introduced to the Comic Book Stores yet and ordering online was not a thing for me yet. As such, I never finished the story. I always kept the volume though, and reread it quite often. Since I never forgot about it, I decided to order the full collection. The story is awesome. 101 children are born with unique powers and we follow them as they grow up. The tale starts with an intriguing muder mystery but blossoms into a grand philosophical tale by the end. One downside is, that Straczynski doesn’t really seem to care all that much about the actual powers, but is more interested in the impact on the world and politics these Specials would have. This does make it an unique superhero story, but it also leads to some missed opportunities. While the 101 have unique powers, only a handful are really explored. Even worse, when - at some point in the story - the Specials get powered up they all get super strenght and can fly, making (almost of all them) pretty much the same. Still, this is a super interesting take on the genre and one that ends on a high, positive note filled with hope - even if it’s a long, bloody way to get there. Since a lot of Superhero deconstructions are bleak or cynical (Watchmen / The Boys / Miller’s Batman) that is a nice change. I never hear anyone talk about this series, and I think people should. [spoiler: the final page, when the powers are passed on to an alien culture in space was thematically very cool, but since the aliens were never introduced or hinted at... it’s also incredibly silly from a storytelling standpoint]

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gavin Waskett

    Rising Stars Compendium – J. Michael Straczynski The series from 1999 tells the story of 113 Specials, children who were in utero when a blinding light struck a small American town, years later in their childhood they start to develop special powers. This tells their story from childhood to death, the joys and successes, the hatred and betrayal, the heroes and the villains, the redemptions and the lost causes. It focuses on several of the main players and we see the world through their eyes and h Rising Stars Compendium – J. Michael Straczynski The series from 1999 tells the story of 113 Specials, children who were in utero when a blinding light struck a small American town, years later in their childhood they start to develop special powers. This tells their story from childhood to death, the joys and successes, the hatred and betrayal, the heroes and the villains, the redemptions and the lost causes. It focuses on several of the main players and we see the world through their eyes and how the world sees these special people. It is as realistic as you can get, showing the hatred and spite for those with abilities others don’t have, the attempts to make the world a better place, spoiled by politics and power and the need to live a normal life as well as to make a difference. The first 600 odd pages focus on this story and the next 400 on the back stories of some of the main characters as well as some bit part players. I really enjoyed the first 600 pages but lost some interest in the smaller stories. I’m glad I read this story and have seen a different take on superheroes, however, I would advise anyone not to read the paperback version, as the spine is so weak, that the 1000 odd pages break it easily and you end up with bits all over your house and then have to go around picking it up for the next few days!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Driscoll

    Three and a half stars. I started reading this compendium years ago. One of my coworkers recommended it, so I was looking forward to it, but I found it really hard to get through. Wait, let me give a bit about the story first. Basically the earth gets hit by some kind of celestial fireball, and the children born around the time of the impact in a certain area all develop super powers of various kinds. The earth grapples with how to deal with the kids, and as they grow up, they fight, manipulate ea Three and a half stars. I started reading this compendium years ago. One of my coworkers recommended it, so I was looking forward to it, but I found it really hard to get through. Wait, let me give a bit about the story first. Basically the earth gets hit by some kind of celestial fireball, and the children born around the time of the impact in a certain area all develop super powers of various kinds. The earth grapples with how to deal with the kids, and as they grow up, they fight, manipulate each other, and try to save the world. Then in the back we get more focused stories on individual Specials--one about a super-powered cop, one about a ghost-hunter, one about an assassin. As I said above, I had a hard time getting through this book. I found it often quite long-winded and didn't really feel grabbed by the characters for most of the book. Still, there are some great twists and turns to the plot, and the main narrative has a memorable and impactful conclusion. I think, though, that I enjoyed the extra stories in the back more than the main narrative, as they have some fun narrative genre conventions. Not bad, but gosh is it long and gets a bit tiresome.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. By the time I finished this, I remembered why I ended up hating it as a kid. 1. Grievous plot hole: near the end, Poet reveals to the reader that the Specials can’t have kids. This is despite Patriot having had kids. Multiples! Blech. 2. There’s a character named Poet. 3. JMS’ biggest flaw is that he will ALWAYS use 4 issues where 3 pages will do. And not bc he’s being decompressed; no, his big themes and key phrases will just get repeated ad nauseum (and I do mean nauseum). Despite his famous no-e By the time I finished this, I remembered why I ended up hating it as a kid. 1. Grievous plot hole: near the end, Poet reveals to the reader that the Specials can’t have kids. This is despite Patriot having had kids. Multiples! Blech. 2. There’s a character named Poet. 3. JMS’ biggest flaw is that he will ALWAYS use 4 issues where 3 pages will do. And not bc he’s being decompressed; no, his big themes and key phrases will just get repeated ad nauseum (and I do mean nauseum). Despite his famous no-editors clause, he badly needs one to tell him that really, his 24-issue magnum opus would work just fine at 18 issues or whatever. 4. Man, the whole “superheroes in the real world” thing will never not read as horrendously tired, Watchmen and Ex Machina excluded. So apparently I have to do this to myself every once in a while and make sure that no, it’s as bad as I remembered. Also, the art’s pretty atrocious until they’re able to get to Stuart Immonen’s fill-in, followed by 10 issues of Brent Anderson.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chrisie

    As with most graphic novels, I had a bit of trouble getting into it. But it was a well thought out story (with an actual ending and explanation!) and the add-on stories for the characters were more interesting than I expected. And very thought provoking. What type of person would you be if you had powers? Why would you even want powers (it seems miserable!)? How can we make a better world (powers or no)? Who decides what a 'better world' looks like? Some books leave you the minute you close the bo As with most graphic novels, I had a bit of trouble getting into it. But it was a well thought out story (with an actual ending and explanation!) and the add-on stories for the characters were more interesting than I expected. And very thought provoking. What type of person would you be if you had powers? Why would you even want powers (it seems miserable!)? How can we make a better world (powers or no)? Who decides what a 'better world' looks like? Some books leave you the minute you close the book but I think I'm going to think about this one for a while.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Wade

    Really enjoyed Joe’s story. Best superhero comic I’ve read since Irredeemable and Invincible. This story felt very true to life. The characters were relatable and very human. Biggest complaint is that the artists didn’t make the characters distinct enough. I had a hard time figuring out who was whom when they were in civvies, especially in scenes where there were a lot of shadows. Also, don’t buy the hardcopy; the pages were separating from the binding for the first 10% of the book. Heartily recomm Really enjoyed Joe’s story. Best superhero comic I’ve read since Irredeemable and Invincible. This story felt very true to life. The characters were relatable and very human. Biggest complaint is that the artists didn’t make the characters distinct enough. I had a hard time figuring out who was whom when they were in civvies, especially in scenes where there were a lot of shadows. Also, don’t buy the hardcopy; the pages were separating from the binding for the first 10% of the book. Heartily recommended.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Barnes

    This was the first book I've read in a long time that had me eager to read in any moment available. It's meticulously crafted throughout and gives details away in the most calculated way possible. It absolutely belongs on any "must read" list for graphic novel fans. I believe it's good enough to create new graphic novel fans if given a proper chance. The moral of the story is - I need more stars to rate this book! This was the first book I've read in a long time that had me eager to read in any moment available. It's meticulously crafted throughout and gives details away in the most calculated way possible. It absolutely belongs on any "must read" list for graphic novel fans. I believe it's good enough to create new graphic novel fans if given a proper chance. The moral of the story is - I need more stars to rate this book!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nico Villalobos

    This is the 3rd time I've read through this and it hold just as amazing every time. I think this comic series is the best take on superheroes in a realistic setting, facing very human situations and adapting, or being overcome, by them. This is the 3rd time I've read through this and it hold just as amazing every time. I think this comic series is the best take on superheroes in a realistic setting, facing very human situations and adapting, or being overcome, by them.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Leigh Ann

    Loads of exposition. Loads and loads of it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    good story. good characters

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Story = 5 Stars Production value of product = ZERO - pages started falling out the first time i opened it

  22. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    If you loved the Wild Cards series, you'll love this. If you loved the Wild Cards series, you'll love this.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Richard Tran

    Rereading one of my favorite graphic novels of all time and it still holds up really well and hits all the right spots. Definitely a great read for anyone that likes the 4400

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    5 Star story but the binding on this book is atrocious with pages falling out as soon as I cracked it open.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Keith Irwin

    This is the very complete collection of an epic about a group of people given superpowers. First let's talk about the main series. It's a big story which contains many little stories. This has the opportunity to both tell a large epic, but also to really flesh out some of the stories of individuals. I don't feel like it really lived up to its potential. The little stories were a mixed bag. Some of them connected emotionally. Others felt trite. And the big story had some good parts, but so much of This is the very complete collection of an epic about a group of people given superpowers. First let's talk about the main series. It's a big story which contains many little stories. This has the opportunity to both tell a large epic, but also to really flesh out some of the stories of individuals. I don't feel like it really lived up to its potential. The little stories were a mixed bag. Some of them connected emotionally. Others felt trite. And the big story had some good parts, but so much of it was told in narration that it lost a lot of its punch. Plus some it got difficult to believe at parts. Obviously, it's reasonable for the author to expect the reader to accept the basic premise of the story and that requires a certain level of suspension of disbelief. But in the last third or so of the story there were some weird bits which relied upon things which seemed hard to believe. A couple of these were some dodgy science unrelated to the main premise. And in general, there were shadowy conspiracies at several points in the plot and the shadowy conspirators were all really good at being shadowy conspirators in a way that doesn't feel realistic. And the ending relies on a bunch of characters being way more trusting all of a sudden than they have been before then. I also found the main part of the ending pretty unsatisfying. So, on the overall, I liked reading the series. The action was easy to follow and it was an interesting take on the idea of superheroes. But I didn't love it. The collection also includes some bonus stuff like the #0 issue and the #1/2 issue. Most of this was pointless. There was one of them that I quite liked, but the rest didn't really seem worth reading. There were also three spin-off series which told the stories of particular characters in more detail. On the whole, I liked these. They were able to get more in-depth with several characters who hadn't been fleshed out as well in the main series. However, I did find that with two of the three that the time-lines from the original series and the spin-off didn't feel like they quite meshed. You had something which seemed like, say, a decade in the main series, but then it only felt like a couple of years in one of the spin-offs. I can live with that, but it was odd. In net, I quite liked all three spin-off series (although the Matthew Bright one less than the other two) and was glad they were included. In total, I liked the collection, but things just didn't come together in total quite as well as I would have liked. I felt like it had a little more potential than was actually expressed in practice. I sort of wonder if it would be better suited to be a television series where you could count on actors to help breathe more life into some of the characters via their performances and you could maybe have a little more time to delve into individual characters and their relationships.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Russell

    I read Rising Stars in its serial format years ago and always wanted to revisit it. Reading the Rising Stars Compendium was the perfect way to do so, because now I could read all of the extra series and issues along with the 24 issues written by J. Michael Straczynski. I've read a lot of JMS' work in comics (Amazing Spider Man, Supreme Power), but Rising Stars is my favorite. There is just something special about this story, something primal and hopeful and sad. It's also completely original, des I read Rising Stars in its serial format years ago and always wanted to revisit it. Reading the Rising Stars Compendium was the perfect way to do so, because now I could read all of the extra series and issues along with the 24 issues written by J. Michael Straczynski. I've read a lot of JMS' work in comics (Amazing Spider Man, Supreme Power), but Rising Stars is my favorite. There is just something special about this story, something primal and hopeful and sad. It's also completely original, despite some of the comparisons of other works in tv etc. This is the story of the Pederson 113, or the Pederson Specials, as they are more commonly referred to. It tells the story of 113 children born in Pederson, IL after a cosmic event hits their hometown while all of them are in-utero. As the kids grow up they begin to exhibit abilities, wide-ranging and amazing. Some can fly and have super-strength, some can speak to the dead, some can mesmerize people with their singing voice...and so on. Their powers are as varied and complex as the colors of twilight horizon at sunset. The story is told by one of the specials; John Simon...also known as Poet. His narrative begins with the backstory, but eventually leads to a crisis. Someone is killing Specials off, but no one knows who or why. He then embarks on a mission to unearth this mystery. Of course, this is where some Watchmen comparisons derive, but I think it's where they begin and end. The killer is revealed and then the terrible spiral of events begins in earnest for the Specials. You meet Ravenshadow: a crime fighter, Flagg: a superhuman who is a corporate figure-head, Pyre: a man who is composed of living flame, Clarence Mack: who can walk into your dreams and become part of them and Laurel Darkhaven: who has a special form of telekinesis that can only affect tiny objects, like a marble or smaller...but could be the most deadly of all of the Specials. There are many others as well, and JMS does an incredible job of showing you that although special, they are humans too, with prejudices, love and hatred. There comes and impasse, later in their lives and John convinces them that most of them have been wasting their powers. His message to humanity is this: Change the world, or we'll do it for you. The Specials invoke their power worldwide, and do amazing things, in part because one of them is elected President of the United States...but not all stories have a happy ending. However, sometimes they can still be filled with hope.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dovile

    A very interesting series, which quite obviously must have inspired TV shows Heroes and 4400. The art is great too and fits the series well - it's bright-colored and also dark, but not depressingly so. Apart from the complete main series, this volume also collects additional stories - Rising Stars #0, 1/2, Prelude and Initiations, and the stories written by Fiona Avery - Bright #1-3 (how Matthew Bright came to have his special policeman's costume), Voices of the Dead #1-6 (Lionel Zerb dealing wi A very interesting series, which quite obviously must have inspired TV shows Heroes and 4400. The art is great too and fits the series well - it's bright-colored and also dark, but not depressingly so. Apart from the complete main series, this volume also collects additional stories - Rising Stars #0, 1/2, Prelude and Initiations, and the stories written by Fiona Avery - Bright #1-3 (how Matthew Bright came to have his special policeman's costume), Voices of the Dead #1-6 (Lionel Zerb dealing with ghosts) and Untouchable #1-5 (Laurel Darkhaven's time as a spy/assassin), of which I liked Bright's story the best. My only problem with this book is that the paperback edition of the Rising Stars Compendium is very thick and heavy which makes it very uncomfortable to read, but, even worse, the glue used for this edition is of such poor quality, that it cracks and separates from the spine right away. My copy was brand new and I had to re-glue the pages to the spine before they fell out. As I saw from reviews on Amazon, other people had the same problem with their paperback copies. I don't know if the hardcover edition of the RS compendium has the same problem. My advice would be, if you intend to keep this series and reread them more than once, get the series in separate trade paperbacks - they won't be so heavy and hopefully won't have this binding defect.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joel Flank

    Rising Stars is a superhero story that's all about human nature. When a strange light bursts from the sky over the small town of Pedersen IL, all children in utero wind up having powers. Once the government finds out when they're young, all 113 of them are studied, tested, and isolated from the community. As they become adults, they each try their best to fit into a world which mistrusts and fears them. Some become heroes, some criminals, but most just want a regular life without persecution. Wh Rising Stars is a superhero story that's all about human nature. When a strange light bursts from the sky over the small town of Pedersen IL, all children in utero wind up having powers. Once the government finds out when they're young, all 113 of them are studied, tested, and isolated from the community. As they become adults, they each try their best to fit into a world which mistrusts and fears them. Some become heroes, some criminals, but most just want a regular life without persecution. When several of the specials start to be murdered, it sets off a chain reaction of events which change the course of history, and shows the best and worst of humanity, while forcing the Specials to find out if they can overcome the odds against them, and show the world they aren't the monsters and freaks which they are perceived as. J Michael Stracynzski does a masterful job in this comic book series to portray a realistic view of what a world with superheroes might be like, and how having powers doesn't change human nature, but it does give the chance to overcome prejudice and show what the next stage of evolution might be for mankind. The collection also includes prequel and spin off series that fill in the backstories of a few characters, further showing their humanity while exploring their history and unusual powers.

  29. 4 out of 5

    J.

    What a wildly mixed bag. The main series--by JMS--has a fascinating beginning and tons of interesting ideas, but it also just plods along at times, and has moments way too reliant on comic book tropes. However, it's probably still worth a read. The three back up stories, though, are all pretty bad. Bright's series is at least OK, but it doesn't add any depth to the character, and isn't a particularly interesting story. The second story--about the guy who can talk to the dead--also starts out in What a wildly mixed bag. The main series--by JMS--has a fascinating beginning and tons of interesting ideas, but it also just plods along at times, and has moments way too reliant on comic book tropes. However, it's probably still worth a read. The three back up stories, though, are all pretty bad. Bright's series is at least OK, but it doesn't add any depth to the character, and isn't a particularly interesting story. The second story--about the guy who can talk to the dead--also starts out interesting, but the pacing is really weird: it's a couple of what are essentially one shots, followed by a bigger storyline with more serious consequences, which then don't get fully explored because the last chapter is set 20 or 30 years in the future. This one started strong, then just sort of whimpered out. But it's still better than the last story, about which I have nothing good to say. Overall, it seems promising, but needs a lot more polish. Without checking, I'm going to guess that this was very early JMS. He's certainly gone on to do much better things.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Awa

    It starts out good id rate the first part of the story very highly the problem is the rest of it. Fairly early on all credible antagonists are dealt with and then it is just montages and time skips as the heroes fix the world. It just starts to get boring there are a few interesting ideas but it goes through so much time so quickly with so many characters it began to bore me I’ll admit I didn’t finish it I skimmed the last bit to see if an antagonist who wasn’t hopelessly out matched would show It starts out good id rate the first part of the story very highly the problem is the rest of it. Fairly early on all credible antagonists are dealt with and then it is just montages and time skips as the heroes fix the world. It just starts to get boring there are a few interesting ideas but it goes through so much time so quickly with so many characters it began to bore me I’ll admit I didn’t finish it I skimmed the last bit to see if an antagonist who wasn’t hopelessly out matched would show up but no such luck. Personally I only find a corrupt government/ politicians an interesting antagonist if they are powerful when they are completely helpless it just feels like an unsubtle heavy handed political commentary we get it Washington is corrupt that’s not new enough to make it remotely interesting on its own.

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