[B5JMS] Attn JMS: (SPOILERS) new Rising Stars convert here

b5jms-admin at cs.columbia.edu b5jms-admin at cs.columbia.edu
Tue Feb 6 04:22:24 EST 2001

From: richardbarrett at my-deja.com
Date: 5 Feb 2001 19:18:04 -0700
Lines: 82

I seem to come to everything you do a bit late in the game. I didn't
start watching Babylon 5 until midway through the 4th season, and it
was just lucky that I had a friend who was more than willing to catch
me up on all of the previous seasons with his videotapes. When I heard
about Rising Stars, I basically thought, "That's cool, but I haven't
bought a comic book in years." (Of course, in the years when I bought
them, I bought everything.) Well, but then I started buying a few trade
paperbacks here and there. A friend turned me on to Gaiman's Sandman.
The premise of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was interesting
enough that when the hardcover collection came out, I bought it and
read it in one sitting. So, when the Rising Stars tpb came out, I
figured, what the heck, and drove out to the comic book store. They
also had issues #0 & 9-12, and I decided I may as well get them if I
was getting the paperback of 1-8, so why not. (That's the thing about
collecting. It's insidious that way.)

Started with issue #0 not really knowing anything about the story
except that it had to do with children who grew up with powers due to
an asteroid crash or some such. My initial impression was, "Hey, this
visually is kinda Watchmen-ish," mostly brought on by the panel of
Matthew Bright's bloody face - "And Matthew, who was the best of
us..." - reminding me a ton of what we saw of The Comedian's murder.
Plus, Flagg's costume I felt bore some similarities to The Comedian's
costume (particularly the shoulder armor).

Got through the first three or so issues in the TPB and thought, "Wow,
this is really Watchmen-ish. Lone vigilante investigating the murders
of his own kind." Got through the end of the TPB and thought, "Hm,
maybe this isn't really like Watchmen after all." Read 9-12 in one
sitting and thought, "This bears absolutely no similarity to Watchmen
in the least." You have a way with tweaking expectations.

There are some subtle things going on that I really like. For example,
the title of the first arc, "Born in Fire," connects to the storyline
in at least three places that I can tell - the asteroid, when Lee
Jackson kills his molester, and then when he kills himself. (By the
way, we're told in issue #1 that Lee Jackson uses his power twice. In
issue #3, when Randy is telling Lee's story, we see both of these
incidents but then see a character who could either be Lee Jackson or
Pyre running from a fight with Flagg. Can you clarify what's happening

The fact that you've established at the very beginning that John is the
only one left alive is very typical of your storytelling style - it's a
seemingly small detail that could mean anything when we first learn
about it, but by the end of issue #8, it carries with it a ton of
implications about what John's powers must be like, and also brings up
questions screaming to be answered - did he have to kill the second to
last one himself? Who was it? What kind of a knock-down, drag out fight
would it have to have been? I guess we'll find out over the next year
and a half or so.

A few general comments - for whatever reason, the whole thing seems to
read a little better the second time through. The payoff with Joshua
didn't really make sense until the second time around, for example. On
a larger level, maybe it worked better upon rereading it because I held
some incorrect assumptions going in about what it was about - for
example, that it was a superhero book. It's not a superhero book. You
don't really see a lot of people going around in costumes in this
story. Their costumes and masks are basically irrelevant, because
everybody knows who they are anyway (which begs the question, why do
Ravenshadow and Patriot bother?). Or that it was Watchmen-esque - and
it really isn't. The second time through, when I let it work on its own
terms, it was entirely more satisfying. (Although, I will say that the
way this story is playing out so far, it's very much along the lines of
how I would expect the Telepath War in B5 to have gone, based on the
little hints you gave us about said War.)

Also, I don't always understand exactly how you determine what to show
us and what to tell us. Willie's story, for example, seemed an odd one
to just tell via John's written exposition. The payoff later worked
(and I suspect there's a lot more to come) but it seemed strange that
you would save the "show" version of the story until later in the
series. Dunno, that's just me.

Anyway - that's all for now. Thanks for a really good story so far -
I'm having a lot of fun with it!

Sent via Deja.com

From: jmsatb5 at aol.com (Jms at B5)
Date: 5 Feb 2001 22:23:30 -0700
Lines: 20

Thanks.  I'll probably address the specific questions a bit later, but they're
all good points.  

(One aside...the next issue of Rising Stars comes out this Wednesday.)

Like you, a lot of folks thought it was kind of like Watchmen, until it got
deeper in the story, then as you say, it became nothing like it.  

It's a fun book to write.


(jmsatb5 at aol.com)
(all message content (c) 2001 by synthetic worlds, ltd., 
permission to reprint specifically denied to SFX Magazine 
and don't send me story ideas)

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