Sera And The Royal Stars #2 by Jon Tsuei Comic Review

Sera And The Royal Stars Issue 2 by Jon TsueiSera And The Royal Stars #2 by Jon Tsuei, Audrey Mok (Artist), Raúl Angulo (Colorist), Jim Campbell (Letterer), & Tim Daniel (Design)

Publisher: Vault Comics

Release Date: August 28, 2019

Pages: 28

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository: Sera And The Royal Stars Vol. 1

Summary: After rescuing the Eye of the Bull, Sera returns to Parsa, only to discover it is no longer her home. Just when it seems war has stripped Sera of everything she holds dear, a surprising ally emerges. Together they set out to turn the tables on her uncle Shaheen’s invading forces. 

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Sera continues her quest to restore the Royal Stars in the page-turning Issue #2! Delving into even more of the politics, mythology, and familial ties of this series, Sera’s adventure takes her back home with a new ally!

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, then you’d know that Sera And The Royal Stars is the main comic series right now that has literally taken over my life!

Words can’t describe how this story just sweeps me away with each issue from its detailed artwork, expansive world (inspired by Ancient Persia), gripping story and phenomenal cast of characters! Sera is inspiring and wonderful― though I’m only 2 issues in, I feel I already know so much about her! I’m incredibly excited to see where her journey takes her next.

As we learn in Issue #1, Sera has been tasked with breaking “the bonds that bind the Royal Stars…” Which means she must find the deities of her country’s past and awaken them to allow the seasons to turn once again. Only then, will the Empire Of Parsa and its people no longer suffer, even as they undergo a civil war. The first deity she’s tasked with finding, is the Bull and makes her way to an old temple, where a mysterious old man can’t seem to remember who he is!

Issue #2 picks up right where it leaves off with us figuring out the old man is in fact the Bull! Starting off with an action scene that pulls you in, Sera and the Bull are in the middle of fighting of hordes of lizard monsters in the temple.

Once the battle is done, the Bull (also known as Aldebaran) tells her that the temple has been “lost to time” and at one point “all people worshiped” the Royal Stars!

Delving further into the mythology of the world, Sera gets more insight into the other Royal Stars she’s meant to find and awaken (scorpion, fish, and lion so far). Also if they don’t act fast, they may lose the chance at getting the seasons turning again.

As Sera heads home, she realizes the aftermath of her uncle’s surprise attack on the kingdom! He’s taken over and her brother Jahar is nowhere to be found!

Family is an intricate and important element of this series and those ties are explored a bit more in Issue #2. From confronting her cousin (now prince) Nima, her uncle, and reuniting with her father and sister Roya. Even getting more background to Sera’s mother (who we already know was given the same task of restoring the Stars). I really appreciate the layers and complex ties of family that are being explored so far in this series! I’m looking forward to seeing how these threads continue to evolve over the future issues.

The scope of the world does seem to be more centralized in this particular issue and that’s mainly because of its focus on the royal family and Sera’s quest.

Luckily, as Sera finds herself reaching home and getting to continue her quest, she and Aldebaran are not alone! It turns out, the Scorpion is finally awoken!

The full page of Scorpion (Antares) being transformed/awoken in the palace’s throne room was one of my favorite pages! Her outfit is detailed and she is such a fierce deity I can’t wait to learn more about (also you have to definitely appreciate her friendly banter w/ Aldebaran)!

The setting immerses you from the very beginning and as with the previous issue, where your swept away into the hidden temple, tension of the throne room, and outskirts of the empire! I’m really looking forward to seeing what else there is to explore in this vast world that’s being set-up! Sera And The Royal Stars as single issues really balances the world-building, plot, and character-development in a fantastic way where it always leaves you wanting more after the last page!

As with Issue #1, Audrey Mok’s artwork continues to be an absolute highlight of this series! Similar to my thoughts with the first issue, its colorful, detailed, especially when it comes to character introductions, clothing, and landscapes. Again, probably one of my favorite pages was Scorpion’s intro (the detail on her spear, her long white braid, and her epic outfit!), also the trail of red smoke that symbolized her entrance just added a whole other layer to the issue!

I think my only minor critique is that was a slower-paced issue, where its focused on more on a couple of the core themes already established. It delves more into the complex familial ties/politics, and mythology, which puts the plot on a bit of a slower pace. But, I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens in Issue #3 as Sera’s journey with the Royal Stars continues!

Sera And The Royal Stars is an epic fantasy adventure that follows an arrow-wielding princess whose sent on a quest that could turn the tides of her country’s civil war! Issue #2 takes time to develop on the politics, lore and mythology, alongside the familial ties that were introduced in Issue #1! If your looking for a fantasy tale filled with ancient prophecies, great cast of characters, set in an immersive world as shown through the great artwork, then you should definitely pick up this series!

 

Graphic Novel & Comic Recommendations Featuring Women Of Color

This past weekend it was D23 (an expo to showcase/celebrate Disney properties + announce upcoming Disney projects)! One of those projects that had many (including myself) incredibly excited was that there is now a live-action series for Ms. Marvel in the works for Disney+.

To celebrate that announcement, I’m sharing a list of comics and graphic novels featuring women of color! A lot of these series are ones that have really stuck with me with their immersive stories, wonderful artwork and above all, feature inspiring female leads!

831. Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona (artist)

Publisher: Marvel

Release Date: October 28, 2014

Summary: Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she’s comin’ for you, Jersey! 

I remember when I first getting back into graphic novels, this was a series I picked up in my early days as a book blogger (2015) and fell in love with it! Not only was it the first female-led superhero series I’d ever read, but also I loved that it had a diverse lead (Muslim & Pakistani-American). Also, after looking at my Goodreads, I really need to catch up on this series! I can’t wait to see how the Disney+ series turns out, looking forward to seeing Kamala on screen! ⚡❤

Sera And The Royal Stars Issue 12. Sera And The Royal Stars by Jon Tsuei, Audrey Mok (artist), Raúl Angulo (colorist),  Jim Campbell (letterer), & Tim Daniel (design)

Publisher: Vault Comics

Release Date: July 17, 2019 (issue #1) & Jan. 2020 Vol. 1

Full Review: Sera And The Royal Stars Issue #1

Summary: Civil war rages in the Empire of Parsa, and famine has struck. As the seasons refuse to turn, Princess Sera receives a vision from the deity Mitra telling her to find the Royal Stars and restore them to the heavens. Despite her kingdom and her troops’ need of her command, Sera embarks on a quest to find the fallen stars-now trapped on earth-and save her people from dearth and death.

Its been such a long time since I’ve found myself reading comic/graphic novel series and keeping up with them regularly, that is until, I discovered Sera And The Royal Stars! The first issue introduces colorful and detailed artwork, the world of Parsa is expansive, and I can’t wait to see where Princess Sera’s epic journey takes her next as she embarks on a quest at the height of her country’s civil war! This is a fantastic series and I highly recommend picking it up if you love fantasy tales with ancient prophecies, epic journeys, immersive world-building, and more! 💖💫

goldie-vance-vol-13. Goldie Vance Vol. 1 by Hope Larson (writer) & Brittney Williams (artist)

Publisher: BOOM! Box

Release Date: October 11, 2016

Full Review: Goldie Vance Volume 1

Summary: GOLDIE VANCE IS ON THE CASE

Sixteen-year-old Marigold “Goldie” Vance has an insatiable curiosity. She lives at a Florida resort with her dad, who manages the place, and it’s her dream to one day be the hotel’s in-house detective. When Walter, the current detective, encounters a case he can’t crack, together they utilize her smarts, skills, and connections to solve the mystery…even if it means getting into a drag race, solving puzzles, or chasing a helicopter to do it!

If your looking for a fun, 1960’s-set graphic novel filled with mystery and featuring a diverse cast (biracial, queer, & Black rep!) pick this series up! I’ve only read volume 1, but I really want to get back into this series again because I love mystery stories! 🔍🌟

M.F.K. by Nilah Magruder4. M.F.K.: Book One by Nilah Magruder (author & artist)

Publisher: Insight Comics

Release Date: September 26, 2017

Full Review: M.K.F.: Book One

Summary: A fantastic adventure following the story of Abbie, a deaf girl with a mysterious power, who is traveling across a vast desert to scatter her mother’s ashes.

In a world of sleeping gods, a broken government, and a fragile peace held in the hands of the corrupt, one youth must find the strength to stand up against evil and save humanity.

This story is not about that youth.

It’s about Abbie, who just wants to get to the mountain range called the Potter’s Spine and scatter her mother’s ashes. But the way is filled with sandstorms, wild beasts, and rogues that wield inhuman powers and prey on poor desert dwellers. When one of these rogues threatens the town where Abbie takes refuge, she must choose between running, or unleashing her own hidden power to meet danger head-on.

Journeys are hard on the social recluses of the world.

This is one of those graphic novels that in my opinion, is highly underrated! It has a lot of diverse representation within its main cast (featuring brown-skinned characters and Abbie, the MC, is deaf). I fell in love with this incredibly unique and moving story about Abbie who’s trekking across the desert alongside her giant pet bird, to spread her mother’s ashes! The artwork is beautifully illustrated and introduces so many different elements from some sci-fi/fantasy and is incredibly character-driven as she finds refuge in a small town and makes new friends! I remember reading MFK: Book One back in 2017 and was so excited to pick up the next volume, I haven’t heard much about a continuation recently but I do hope to one day see another installment of this wonderful series! 💖🏜

The Avant-Guards Vol. 1 by Carly Usdin

5.The Avant Guards Vol. 1 by Carly Usdin (writer), Noah Hayes (artist), Rebecca Nalty (Colorist), & Ed Dukeshrire (Letterer)

Publisher: BOOM! Box

Release Date: September 3, 2019

Summary: When Charlie transfers to the Georgia O’Keeffe College of Arts and Subtle Dramatics, she struggles to find her feet, but winds up exactly where she belongs…in the school’s (terrible) basketball team.

As a transfer student to the Georgia O’Keeffe College for Arts and Subtle Dramatics, former sports star Charlie is struggling to find her classes, her dorm, and her place amongst a student body full of artists who seem to know exactly where they’re going. When the school’s barely-a-basketball-team unexpectedly attempts to recruit her, Charlie’s adamant that she’s left that life behind…until she’s won over by the charming team captain, Liv, and the ragtag crew she’s managed to assemble. And while Charlie may have left cut-throat competition in in the dust, sinking these hoops may be exactly what she needs to see the person she truly wants to be.

I’ve heard so many wonderful things about this upcoming series and I’m counting down the days until its release! I’ve also been wanting to get into more sports-related stories and this one looks fantastic- not only does it feature a diverse cast, but its also about a women’s basketball team, and has a lot of queer representation! The Avant-Guards looks incredible and I’m hyped to read it when its finally out on shelves! 🏀🎉

And that’s my list of comic and graphic novel recommendations featuring women of color! I highly recommend checking out all of these wonderful female-led series and adding them to your TBR if you haven’t already! 📚❤

Are any of these on your list? Do you have any other recommendations you think I should check out? 📚✨🎉

Sera And The Royal Stars #1 by Jon Tsuei Comic Review

Sera And The Royal Stars Issue 1Sera And The Royal Stars #1 by Jon Tsuei, Audrey Mok (Artist), Raúl Angulo (Colorist),  Jim Campbell (Letterer), & Tim Daniel (Design)

Publisher: Vault Comics

Release Date: July 17, 2019

Pages: 28

Available For Pre-Order Through The Book Depository: Sera And The Royal Stars Vol. 1

Summary: Civil war rages in the Empire of Parsa, and famine has struck. As the seasons refuse to turn, Princess Sera receives a vision from the deity Mitra telling her to find the Royal Stars and restore them to the heavens. Despite her kingdom and her troops’ need of her command, Sera embarks on a quest to find the fallen stars—now trapped on earth—and save her people from dearth and death.

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: Sera And The Royal Stars #1 is a must-read epic fantasy-adventure comic! The detailed art, page-turning story, alongside its rich and expansive world, all come together to deliver a great introduction to what I know will be a fantastic series! Princess Sera finds herself embarking on a quest to save her kingdom and its people during the height of a civil war!

Sera And The Royal Stars is a comic series I’ve been waiting to read for months since I’d heard about it earlier this spring! I’d already been following the publisher for sometime,  I just hadn’t read any of their comics yet. I’m SO filled with joy that I finally did because I’m even more excited to read more of Vault’s comics on my TBR shelf!

This is the kind of story that swept me away without realizing it, allowing me to connect with its rich world, phenomenal characters, and immersive story and before I knew it― I’d reached the last page.

Sera And The Royal Stars is the type of story that roots you into its fascinating world (and doesn’t let go for one single second), as seen through a brave and valiant princess who’s willing to trek across her war-torn land to save her country and its people!

In the western territories of Parsa the story opens up with Princess Sera alongside her brother and sister (Jahar & Roya), who’ve come to collect the fallen soldiers as they continue on to fight a civil war across their dying land.

But Sera finds herself, in the midst of battle, summoned by the deity Mitra! She’s told that she’s been chosen to “break the bonds that bind the Royal Stars…” Once she does, she can save her people who have been suffering. With one more visit from Mitra, the deity replaces Sera’s heart with a special crystal and her journey quickly begins! The crystal seems to guide her along her journey and I’m interested in learning more about it.

The empire of Parsa is vast and within this first issue we get just a glimpse , but it leaves so many pockets of this world open to exploring―places, characters, the mythology, and the royal family!

What I loved about this first issue is how we’re thrown right into the action and already established story threads! We’re given all of these detailed bits of world-building to learn more about the story itself in a layered way! For example, Sera states that she’s already aware of the visions she’s had, but Mitra was the first to actually speak! Additionally we learn more about the queen, Tara who wasn’t able to complete the mission of restoring the dimming royal stars.

The layered and subtle details allow for the reader to build on this vast world with each turn of the page!

I’m also a big fan of royalty in fantasy stories and I appreciate how this first issue layers the complexity of the royal family, above all showcasing the importance of family (seeing Sera and her siblings fighting together)! I also love how the mythology and lore of Parsa are such driving forces in Sera’s journey to find a solution to this war–it allows the reader to get a glimpse into the on-going conflict and history of the world.

Sera is an incredibly dedicated and brave princess who’s love for her country and its people that pushes her to embark on a heroic quest!

Sibling dynamics are often overlooked in fantasy, but its clear Sera And The Royal Stars wants to explore it in more depth as future issues are released. Within issue #1, not only do we see Sera, Jahar, and Roya together on the battlefield, but also the conflict between family as the presence of war continues.

As Sera prepares to leave for her journey, her brother Jahar offers figs and feels confident in Sera’s abilities to find the answer. However, her sister Roya still carries the grief and anger of being abandoned by their mother all those years ago–just wanting Sera safe and staying home to fight!

I’m really interested in exploring more of the wonderful sibling dynamics that were introduced, in future issues.

Now onto the story–just wow! There’s so much that happens within this first issue and sets up even more as the series continues. After Sera’s vision on the battlefield, she heads back and we’re introduced to the king and quickly learn that the civil war is against Shaheen, Sera’s uncle!

We also learn that the queen was also called upon a similar mission to Sera’s but couldn’t complete it. As Sera is sleeping she’s contacted by Mitra and learns if she doesn’t break the bonds of the royal stars, not only will the seasons continue to remain unchanged, but her people will be led towards a horrible fate. Sera wastes no time leaving for her journey which starts with being directed east to find the Bull.

As she embarks on her journey, back home outside Parsa’s city walls, Shaheen is readying his forces to attack the kingdom! With Sera being the best tactician, the kingdom is left without her intellect.

After a few days of traveling she reaches a local village that directs her to a temple filled with ancient magic! She meets an old man who can’t remember who he is, until we realize he is the Bull–and the issue ends there!

Alongside Sera’s uncle, there’s a mysterious brother and sister duo who know quite a bit about the deities, the figure known as the Yazata, and are determined to rule, in time!

There’s a very present theme of war and its impacts on the people of Parsa from famine, to death, alongside mysterious forces at every turn. The plot though dark in its themes, presents resounding messages of hope and resilience!

“My earliest memories of family all revolve around war…”

Delving more into the mythology of Sera And The Royal Stars, the world seems to lay a large foundation on the deities and astrology! According to an interview with writer/creator Jon Tsuei over at Comics Pit, Tsuei was inspired to build this world around ancient Persia and wanted to focus on mythology from non-Western (specifically Asian) cultures:

” [The idea of the Royal Stars] seems to have originated through the Zoroastrian religion, which started in ancient Persia…It led me to sorcery and also led me to astrology…”

The setting is incredibly immersive, expansive and leaves so much to explore in future issues! The world of Parsa is vast from its rocky canyons of the Western Territories to its capital city, villages far from the outskirts of the kingdom, lush forests, and magical temples! There’s so many locations explored in issue 1 and not once did I feel lost in the world–I was excited to learn more and see what else lies in the expansive Kingdom of Parsa!

I’m also interested in exploring more of the politics of the different parts of the world, royals, and the war as the series continues!

The themes, world, characters, story, etc. all come together in such an incredible way to deliver an such a complex and layered story that’s easily my new favorite series!

Audrey Mok’s artwork is another highlight of this series! Its colorful and detailed, showcasing lush backgrounds, various styles of clothing, detailed characters, and the vastness of the world itself. As for the paneling, its done extremely well– the pacing of the story is great, each panel offers something important to the story and offers more insight into the world.

Also, every moment filled with action, shined through Mok’s detailed art and brought each scene to life!

I had such incredibly high hopes for this start to the Sera And The Royal Stars series and I was not disappointed, in fact I was left surprised and everything about it continued to exceed my expectations–I loved every moment and I can’t wait to read the future issues!

Sera And The Royal Stars #1 introduces an expansive fantasy world in the middle of war! Sera embarks on a heroic journey to save her people, while dark forces loom close by! If you love fantasy tales filled with epic journeys, ancient prophecies, royalty, heroic princesses, immersive world-building, and stunning artwork, don’t miss Sera And The Royal Stars, its a phenomenal start to a new comic series!