Writer: Jeremy Sorese
Illustrator: Coleman Engle
Over the past couple months I have grown to love the stuff that Kaboom! has distributed. They’ve been fun comics for all ages. At first they may appear to be geared towards kids. This is true in a sense, but there are references that lead to their books being ones that adults can enjoy. I find this appealing as someone that is a kid at heart. Upon reading this book I had high expectations; now that I think about it, they may have been too high. I walked into this thinking I could compare its quality to Lumberjanes. I even thought I could compare it to Adventure Time or The Amazing World of Gumball. Well, I can and did compare it to those books. The end result was me finding this book to be lackluster.
Steven is focused on a boy who has befriended some non-humans. I’m still not sure what they are if not human. The book never clarifies this for me. I’m assuming they’re celestial beings of some sort. This is just one of the confusing aspects of this story. It’s like there should have been another issue before this one. Sorese has written this story so that Pearl is trying to get a task completed and Steven is more concerned with going to the beach. Seems like a pretty straightforward story, but after that it stops making sense. While I’m used to the random story telling in Adventure Time, this was not a story I could follow easily. There are minor disconnects that lead me to believe an extra text panel here and there for context would be an improvement.
Coleman Engle’s artwork was enjoyable. It’s fun and colorful, which I think is necessary in this type of book. I like how some of the action words are part of the panel outline. They’re easy to read this way since the words stay white with a bold black outline. All of the other text is bold and easy to read, some of it in different colors based on the character speaking. Engle plays around with line weight and the texture of the lines. Some of them looked like they were heavy markers and some like crayons or chalk. It adds an element of interest that you don’t see in many other books.
Next we come to the part of the book with mini stories. I’m a fan of the mini story just because they’re short, sweet, and to the point. The first one was Lars and Sadie. It was written and illustrated by Raven M. Molisee. It had a layout that reminded me of one of my favorite Calvin and Hobbs strips. The only real difference is that this was two people and it was all black and white. An unexpected change after several pages full of color. After that we had Kali Ciesmier’s
“Steven Chewniverse.” I expected this to be a play on Image’s Chew, but it went in a different direction. This was probably my favorite page in this issue. I could see Hannah Hart replicating this in one of my My Drunk Kitchen videos, only a little less kid-friendly and a little more intoxicated. Lastly was Josceline Fenton’s “Birthday Bake Off.” This revisited black and white art for a few pages. I’m pretty sure the moral of this story was to never let non-humans bake a cake.
As #1s go, this book was lacking some context for me. The parts I enjoyed most were the mini stories at the end. They had a clear and concise storyline that made me want to read more. As for the main part of Steven Universe, it’s not really for me. I will read the next issue to give it another chance, but in the long run it won’t be a book I continue to follow. If you’re a fan of the show I would recommend the comic to you. Those that watch the show may have a better understanding of what’s going on in the book, or at least know the backstory of the characters. I think Sorese should have written this book in a way that would engage readers that have never watched the show and in some cases have never heard of the show. In a world where most people have internet and cable access, this is still a possibility.
“Steven Universe #1” earns 6.5 / 10