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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hand of The Morningstar, volumes 1 and 2, published by Zondervan, in conjunction with Lamp Post, Inc., 160 pages, $9.99


It had been a while since I’d read a comic series about a superhero team that I was really invested in as a reader. A series with amazing, progressive characterization (that is, characters which evolve), tons of action that doesn’t act as a substitute for an interesting plot, and the overwhelming sense that something amazingly sinister is brewing just out of sight. In other words, an epic story. Yep, it had been QUITE some time since such a story came along.

Then, I found Hand of The Morningstar.

The Hand is a group of super beings who act on the will of a seemingly supernatural entity called..., well, the Morningstar. Dispatched globally, wherever a disaster is in the works, be it natural or man-made, the Hand appears to “care for the world,” as stated by team leader, Titan. But, is the Morningstar really a benevolent being, concerned only for the safety of humankind, or something entirely different?

This is the basic question posed by the series, and as of the end of volume two, I’m all in.

Writers Brett Burner and Mike Miller (also the artist of the series) have set up a wildly entertaining story line that involves insane action, great characters and that building sense of dread mentioned above. Specifically, readers get to watch as Titan, who comes across as shallow and self-absorbed, appears to become something more. Kudos to those fine gentlemen for developing sympathetic characters.

Miller kicks in another heavy contribution, as he super-charges Hand with an art style that is clean, dynamic, action-oriented and expressive to a fault. Miller knows his craft, and it shows.

Hand of The Morningstar is one of the best team comics offered today, and is recommended for all ages, but especially those who enjoy well-crafted superhero stories. Volume three is also available, with volume four expected in May.

Find it at online auctions, some online retailers, and at www.zgraphicnovels.com.

Mark Allen