Matt, Lily, and Benji have been abandoned by their parents and are here on earth, trying to fit in, trying not to be found out. But they also have superpowers – how long can they hide them?

SupersSUPERS: A LITTLE STAR PAST CASSIOPEIA

Writer: Frédéric Maupomé
Artist: Dawid
Publisher: IDW Publishing (Top Shelf Productions)
Cover Price: $14.99
Release Date: January 16, 2019

Previously in Supers: Three siblings, Matt, Benji, and Lily are not from around here. They are trying to make it on earth, far from their home and their parents. To further complicate things, they have superpowers, and are trying to keep these hidden too. Life isn’t always easy, and sometimes family is all you’ve got.

ORPHANS, IMMIGRATION, AND GROWING UP

Supers: A Little Star Past Cassiopeia starts out in an apartment building that’s on fire. Three kids in black balaclavas are searching the building for people. Lily, the girl, thinks she hears someone, opens the door, and the fire explodes outward.

Then we cut to four days ago at the local school (probably high school). A new boy arrives and is trying to find his first class of the day. Thanks to another kid, who thinks it’s funny to send him the wrong way, he arrives a little late. He gets a little pale filling out paperwork, and Jeanne, the girl sitting next to him, offers to help him study.

We start suspecting things are a little unusual at lunchtime – he has no money on his cafeteria card. He makes a quick call to someone called “Al,” and suddenly his card works. This is Matt, one of our main characters. He trips a bully (Frank) in the lunchroom and makes friends with another kid, Lou. After school, he goes to the elementary school and picks up his siblings, Lily and Benji. There’s some talk about how they’re trying not to be noticed, even though they already know everything they’re supposed to be learning.

Before I get too much deeper, I should mention that this is a European book, French translated into English. This is not the 28-32 page book we are used to seeing; it’s a full 116 pages and it takes time to tell us a full story. It’s a little different of a system, but it is really nice to have a full arc in your hands and just be able to enjoy it. It also lets the story unfold bit by bit, and you can revel in it.

Even this early in, it seems like their parents are never around. Matt signs for a grocery delivery which is all canned ravioli and chocolate. Then we see little Benji handling the heavy bags like they were nothing. We learn that Al is a little robot. And then we find Lily hovering in the air to put the groceries away. Matt is frustrated with them – they’re supposed to be hiding their abilities.  Shortly after this, we find out that their parents are gone, and they don’t know if they’re ever going to see them again. Then we learn that they aren’t from Earth at all – they’re from a planet that orbited a little star near the constellation Cassiopeia. So they’re very alone, and very far from home.

A lot happens as the story progresses – that’s the luxury of having over a hundred pages. Jeanne is Frank’s girlfriend, but she also makes friends with Matt and Lou. There are some poignant moments where the kids see other kids with their moms, doing things that moms do, and you can see that hint of loneliness and feeling left out. Frank, with a couple of his buddies in tow, runs into Matt and beats him up. He takes it – he can – but he also has to hold Benji back. Benji later goes out at night, finds Frank, and beats him up so badly he ends up in the hospital.

There’s a very sweet exchange when Benji wants Matt to tell him more about their mom. Matt doesn’t remember, much, and Lily remembers just a little. And Benji says, “You can make the rest up. I don’t mind.” It’s a beautiful moment. They’re a family, and all they’ve got is each other, and it’s hard in this day and age to hide the fact that you don’t have parents. Even so, they have their conflicts. Matt is trying to be the parent, to protect them, to hide them. Lily and Benji are tired of being restricted and they want to use their powers to be helpful and do the right thing.

Then one day they’re on their way to school, and they see an apartment building on fire. That’s a background thread in the story – buildings have been set on fire. Benji and Lily want to help, but Matt calls it into the fire department. They keep going to school, but the fire truck gets into an accident and will be delayed. Matt agrees that they can help, and Lily just happens to have balaclavas in her backpack. They fly up, break down doors, help people out to balconies, will them to forget what happened, and carry them downstairs. And by the next day, everything seems back to normal. Except someone got a picture, and that picture is in the paper.

RICH WITH HEART AND CHARACTER

The art in Supers: A Little Star Past Cassiopeia is illustrative, clean and simple in line, but rich in color and background detail. It is a pleasure to look at. Several scenes have little or no dialogue, because there is simply no conversation and the art makes it so clear what’s going on. I’m assuming this is a French book, and the scenery certainly looks French to me. I like how the people are depicted – there are a lot of them here, not only characters, but several in the background. There is good variety among them.

The colors are also quite lovely. Everything has a somewhat muted quality like watercolor. Most of the tone is quite warm. Considering our three main characters all have distinctive red hair, this also fits them as well. It is a cozy-looking book, which makes some of the nighttime scenes, or scenes when our main characters are more alone, look all the more lonely.

Matt’s memories of their past are done in a different style, painted and without inked lines. I like this because it gives his memories a little bit of a dreamlike quality, hazy, patchy, the way memories are for us. And in those few pages, we get quite the impressions of the missing parents – it seems the police were after them, and their mother put them into a small ship and sent them off on their own.

BOTTOM LINE: WELL WORTH THE READ

Supers: A Little Star Past Cassiopeia is a great, all-ages take on the idea of someone from another planet (immigrants, if you will) who have come to our planet and who happen to have superpowers. It’s also a look into growing up without parents and trying to grow up on your own. I really like that these kids react like kids even while they’re plainly very smart and are trying hard to fit in.

Supers

100%
100%
Well Worth The Read

Supers: A Little Star Past Cassiopeia is a great, all-ages take on the idea of someone from another planet (immigrants, if you will) who have come to our planet and who happen to have superpowers. It’s also a look into growing up without parents and trying to grow up on your own. I really like that these kids react like kids even while they’re plainly very smart and are trying hard to fit in.

  • Writing
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  • Art
    10
  • Coloring
    10
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About Author

By day, she’s a mild-mannered bureaucrat and Ms. Know-It-All. By night, she’s a dance teacher and RPG player (although admittedly not on the same nights). On the weekends, she may be found judging Magic, playing Guild Wars 2 (badly), or following other creative pursuits. Holy Lack of Copious Free Time, Batman! While she’s always wished she had teleportation as her superpower, she suspects that super-speed would be much more practical because then she’d have time to finish up those steampunk costumes she’s also working on.

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