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Rising Stars Compendium Volume One (2009)
Fiction Review by The Gravedigger

Rising Stars Compendium Volume One (2009) written by J. Michael Stracczynski

artists: various

It begins in the 1960's, when a huge fireball strikes Pederson, Illinois. All of the children who were in utero at the time develop superhuman powers. They are referred to as "Specials" and the government keeps them at a special camp, where they can be and studied. A doctor named Wells is granted the task of monitoring them all--and he eventually becomes their ally, a father figure to many of them. The first issue starts on a cryptic note as we see a glimpse of the future and that all of the Specials are dead, except for one, who is telling the story.

Once they are adults some of the specials become "superheroes" and others, like the pyros, become "villains". A few just try to blend into the regular populace. But there are times when the American public is convinced by the government and media to fear them, and there are conflicts.

The main crux of the story is that someone is killing Specials, the ones with the lesser powers at first. This has an unexpected effect--their power is released and distributed to all of the other specials, so as there are fewer and fewer Specials their powers rapidly increase.

The first half of this massive 1000 page book is the main story, which has a definitive ending. We find out what the ultimate purpose of the Pederson fireball, which is a satisfying conclusion. The second half of the book consists of the in-between stories of some of those characters and how they used their abilities, for good or evil.

RISING STARS is better than the television shows HEROES and THE 4400 combined. If there's only one graphic novel you pick up within the next year, this is it. It is simply amazing.

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