Kadyn is found by Dalla the Despised, a Zzaztec who wants to take him to her home planet. Kadyn’s dad, Gil, has already crashed on this planet and is running for his life. Coincidence or no? Find out in Sea of Stars #4!

Sea of Stars #4 ReviewSEA OF STARS #4

Writer: Jason Aaron and Dennis Hallum
Artist: Stephen Green
Colorist: Rico Renzi
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Will Dennis
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 2, 2019

Previously in Sea of Stars: Young Kadyn has acquired virtually magical powers and drags his new-found companions, the space-monkey and the space-whale, along on his impetuous adventures. He gets bored and decides he wants to see a Quarkshark, calls out for one, and it arrives. It tries to eat him, and we discover that Kadyn’s new-found powers are terrifying. Gil, still arguing with Kyle the Drone, crash lands on a planet and discovers he can use the plant-monster to supplement his oxygen. He sets out on the planet and finds that it is populated by a race known as the Zzaztek. Meanwhile, the alien that has been tracking Kadyn finds him, turns out to be a Zzaztek, and claims to know what is happening to Kadyn.

IS THE COINCIDENCE TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?

Sea of Stars #4 opens with a Zzaztek flashback, which I found helpful. Space is a big place to keep running into random wandering aliens. The Zzaztek who found Kadyn is a woman named Dalla, now Dalla the Despised, who did something, possibly accidentally, that has caused her to be banished from her people, who are praying that their Lord Quasarro will return to them.

Now Dalla has caught up with Kadyn, and she calls him Quasarro. She speaks to him in highly poetical language. He responds like a kid, slightly randomly, and tells her he’s from Earth. Dalla then quizzes him about how he got his powers, and of course he has no clue. She mentions something in passing about Quasarro’s sunwood war club, and the space-whale tells Kadyn to ask Dalla if this club has a name. She speaks it, and suddenly the war club is there, tearing into Kadyn’s chest.

Back on the Zzaztek home planet, Gil is being hunted and trying his best to run away while Kyle informs him that he’s in bad shape and outnumbered. The Zzaztek do not speak English (which raises the question of what Language Dalla and Kadyn are communicating in), and none of Gil’s tech, including Kyle, speaks Zzaztek. In this particular chase, the plant monster saves the day.

Kadyn gets to thinking about his dad, and suddenly he’s back to being a little, confused, lost boy. The club is no longer in him, but he remembers seeing it before. It was on his dad’s ship, and it was the artifact he touched right before everything happened. Dalla talks him into coming with her back to the Zzaztek planet, but tells him that he cannot bring his friends with him. But Kadyn insists they come along.

Gil and Kyle reach a truce as Kyle realizes its own chances of survival are better of Gil survives. They hide out from the Zzaztek and Gil decides to go on the offensive. But first he wants a star map brought up in his helmet display, showing Kadyn’s homing beacon.

Dalla heads toward her home planet but talks things over with her sunhawk. She doesn’t want the other aliens there – she wants Kadyn under her control when she arrives with him and with Quasarro’s warclub. Plainly there is more to her past.

Gil continues on his rampage with success until suddenly Kadyn’s signal blinks off. The computer cannot find him anymore. Without this one slim hope driving him on, Gil surrenders.

ALIENS WHO AREN’T VERY ALIEN AFTER ALL

There are a lot of lovely space scenes in Sea of Stars #4, and the coloring is out of this world. The book is visually interesting enough that it wasn’t until a second or third read that I started wondering about all the little space islands that keep cropping up all over the place, which are cool for the art, but a space perspective are a little too magical.

Oddly, what disappointed me the most in this book, which has been rich with alien creatures, is that the Zzaztek are plainly human or very, very close to human. Not only that, but their name – Zzaztek – sounds rather close to “Aztec.” And they wear face paint, braids in their hair, furry robes over their futuristic skin suits, carry spears, and shoot arrows. When they are in their helmets, they look more alien, and the details don’t immediately seem as heavily borrowed from Native American culture. But as soon as you see it, you cannot unsee it. And it gives me pause. I will be extremely disappointed if they turn out to be either two-dimensional “savages” or “noble savages,” two stereotypes that have been done to death.

BOTTOM LINE: STRONG ARE THE TIES THAT BIND

As Sea of Stars #4 works toward its conclusion, I do like the connection between Gil and Kadyn, especially when Kadyn gets a break where he is more a little boy and less a boy with godlike powers. The overarching plot makes a little more sense now that we find out that it involves an artifact that was on Gil’s ship. Part of me wonders if this isn’t just a bit much story to try to compress into the number of issues available.


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Sea of Stars #4

60%
60%
Too Much Story?

Father and son find themselves caught up in a larger, mystical space plot.

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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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