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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Rising Stars Key Comic Books Part 2

Alright, we are going to wrap up this Rising Stars key comic books series. Once again, 1st full appearances have question marks next to them.

I do not know whether these books are even worth Overstreet or CGC's effort to contemplate 1st brief or 1st full appearances or not. I even asked myself this question while reading and writing this up.

In the end, I decided it didn't hurt to try for some. A 1st appearance I did not note in Part 1 was the 1st appearance of David Paulson in Rising Stars issue #1. I am not sure if he also appears in the Wizard Preview.

He is the government official in charge of the Specials when they were kids. He ends up not being a good guy. Let's get this one over with, but if you missed Part 1 just click that link to go back.

1st appearance of or as Critical Maas

Stephanie Maas and her backstory is revealed in this issue. She had a cameo appearance issue #1, but I don't think she pops up again after that.

It's revealed in this issue that Stephanie was an abused child by her father. In order to cope, she developed multiple personalities and one that was much stronger.

This issue shows this dark personality and even gives herself the name of Critical Maas. She was detained by the government because of the lies Jason, Pyre, and Joshua told them, so we first see her in a jail cell where Doctor Welles finds her.

Issue #9 sees that Critical Maas has fully taken over Stephanie's psyche and escaped. She wages complete destruction in Chicago. Issue #9 is weird and is told through news reports by Mediaweek.

Estimated print run or North American comic shop sales is 48,128 for this comic. Cover date is June, 2000 and there doesn't seem to be a variant for Rising Stars #8 that I know of or care to investigate further.

1st full appearance of William Corealis?
Death of Cathy Jean

I'm not sure just how much Willie Corealis shows up in the Wizard Rising Star Preview #0 or at all, and he shows up briefly here and there in the other issues but not a whole lot. This issue, he is definitely a supporting character, and it's finally revealed that Willie was a bullied kid because he was overweight and stammered when talking.

This issue also reveals that the only person who stood up for him was John Simon as kids. With little confidence as a kid, he could only fly a few feet off the ground.

The page below shows Jason bullying him, and once again, Jason hair is colored dark and not blonde.

When pushed too far, Willie "snaps" as he puts it, and just floats away. He is the only child of the Specials to have escaped from the life of government monitoring and tests and lived life as a normal person.

Once he entered the world outside of the Specials, he changed his name to William Smith. In the  issue prior, John Simon is killed by the goons that are under Critical Maas control who has taken over Chicago.

Willie takes John Simon's dead body to Cathy Jean. However, they are found by the goons of Critical Maas and the police or government agents. Cathy Jean is shot, but revives Simon back to life before she dies in this issue.

Critical Maas would try to denote a nuclear weapon to destroy the Special's team assembled by Poet which included Ravenshadow, Chandra, and a few other unnamed Specials. They would face Patriot and Mathew Bright in which it is revealed in issue #13 that Critical Maas seduced Jason Miller and took complete control of his mind.

Mathew Bright learns of this and the two fight. Under the control of Critical Maas, Patriot whomps Mathew Bright, but when she commands Patriot to finish him, Stephanie's personality breaks out for a moment.

Jason has learned of what he did to Mathew, freaks out and flies off. Feeling Critical Maas trying to regain control, Stephanie jumps off the building and kills herself (issue #13).

Mathew Bright ends up being in critical condition at the end of this issue. Rising Stars #11 has the cover date of November, 2000. Estimated print run is 51,086.

Death of Doctor Welles

This comic is very much a turning point in the series. It's after the events of Chicago and here's where the comic series starts to shift to something entirely.

Doctor Welles dies. The character is an important one as he was given the task by the government to monitor and report and help the Specials cope with their newfound abilities as children.

John Simon has figured out that the powers they received was not by coincidence and that they were given these powers to change the world and make it a better place. At the funeral, he convinces the rest of the Specials including Pyre or Jerry Montrose about this plan.

Jason is there and he makes amends with the other Specials. Poet has become their unofficial leader by this issue and begins to hatch the scheme of "changing the world". This comic becomes a lot more of a social and political beast here on out.

Jerry starts taking out Colombian cocaine plantations and Jason Miller resigns as Patriot and starts to disarm the world's nations of their nuclear weapons by issue #15. Randy Fisk returned to vigilantism and is cleaning up the streets while other Specials take on a few corporations.

Rising Stars #14 has the cover date of May, 2001 with an estimated print run or North American comic shop sales of 51,900.

1st full appearance of Laurel Darkhaven?
Death of Laurel Darkhaven

Once again, taking a stab here and this comic series may not even be important enough for CGC or Overstreet to consider a brief vs full for these characters. Laurel Darkhaven only showed up in 4 panels and on one page in Rising Stars #4 when Cathy Jean is talking about her in flashback.

In this comic, she is definitely in it a lot more, and it's a lot more than 7 panels across 4 pages. In this issue Darkhaven comes to John to tell him about how she can contribute to making the world a better place.

Her plan is to destroy the religious icons of Isreal and Palestine in order to unite them. Poet dissuades her from doing so and convinces her to use her life force to cover the desert with fertile soil that can provide for all in the hopes that this will eliminate the need to wage war of land.

So she dies in this issue doing so, and, of course, it works. She redeems herself as a shamed and former government assassin. 

Rising Stars #16 has the cover date of September, 2001.

1st appearance of Brody Kempler

Although Brody never exhibited any kind of special power as a child, it turned out he was wicked smart, a mad genius that was a Special who had the intelligence of the top 10 smartest people all rolled into one.

Maybe even more since quite a lot of Specials died before and during the Chicago event. This issue sees the 1st appearance of Brody Kempler, who invents new alloys that's light and extremely durable, new sources of energy to make gasoline obsolete, cures for diseases and more.

Jason visits him to see if Brody can find a way to bring Matt out his coma. Also, he reveals that he is getting nuclear poisoning and his family died from it.

Rising Stars #17 has an estimated print run of about 51,156 and the cover date of January, 2002.

Death of Specials

A little rewind here of the events that happened prior to this issue. So Randy Fisk runs for President of the U.S., and after several times, he finally wins.

However, there are those in the government who fear the Specials are a threat, of course. They enact a plan to set off a nuclear weapon at a speech that Fisk is giving and the weapon takes the lives of the remaining Specials except for John Simon or Poet. 

Pyre or Jerry Montrose died in issue #18. Jason Miller dies in issue #20 and Mathew comes out of his coma in that issue as well.

Rising Stars #23 has the cover date of December, 2004.

Issue #24 is the last of the series, and I thought it was pretty hokey to be honest. If there's a movie, I think the ending could very well be different. Actually, I wonder how much they'll deviate from the source material.

It is an interesting read, but the artwork degraded as time went on. Apparently there was a whole lot of trouble between J. Michael Straczynski and Top Cow, and the comic series was troubled by unscheduled artist changes and shipping delays.

Funny how a comic company that was formed by those seeking better artist's rights turn out to be just another corporation trying to screw it's artists or employees. Straczynski claimed he was cut out of the loop for a possible movie.

Later, Top Cow confirmed this with an open apology and gave full rights to the anthology comic, Dream Police.  

Once again, this was requested. I am not endorsing any of these comics nor recommending them as good or bad speculation buys, and I do consider them purely speculation comics at the moment. The most I recommend of any of these comics is a somewhat entertaining read.

The last 3 issues don't have a large print run. Issue #24 is estimated at 30,996 while issue #23 is estimated at 32,911. Issue #22 has an estimated print run of 33,535.


  1. Big up by Quasimodo! Thanks for delivering so fast! These cover variants are quite confusing. Looks like for every issue there is a gold foil variant. Just want to ad one thing. There is also a Rising Stars 0 - where does that one fit in? Did it come out prior to number one? Anything important happenin' in that one?


    1. The Rising #0, not preview or anything else, but the straight #0 issue, doesn't really have any new important characters introduced. They are kids and are introduced to their new home (the camp) by some clown. It's uneventful, but it's to show the lies the government was willing to produece for the Special kids.

      To be honest, I think it was a waste of a story.

  2. Yo Mayhem,

    props from your man Rebo for this bodacious report. Learned a lot and
    will start to invest wisely in those Rising Stars...

    Max Rebo

  3. Hey pardner,

    do you know which issue of wizard the 0 preview came with? I bet there are still a few flying around, so I smell a bargain here...


    1. Wizard's Fathom and the Top Cow Universe Special.

  4. ALERT! ALERT! STRANGE TALES 130! STRANGE TALES 130! Buy immediately! Sell your mommas house if necessary! STRANGE TALES 130! It features the main badboy from the upcoming Doc Strange flick. Don' t say Mr. Snag didn' t warn ya...

    Mr. Snag