Sera has traveled further from home than she could have imagined – all the way to the Underworld, land of the Dead. Will she be able to find a way back to the waking world? Find out in Sera and the Royal Stars #4!
Writer: Jon Tsuei
Artist: Audrey Mok
Colorist: Raul Angulo
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Vault Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 23, 2019
Previously in Sera and the Royal Stars: Sera now has two Stars traveling with her. They meet Anahita, the Lady of the Water, to get permission to cross. She recognizes Sera for who she is and warns her of her adversaries’ approach. They jump into a small boat as two dragons appear in the sky above them. The dragons capsize their boat, and Sera finds a small cave that feels somehow wrong to Aldebaran. It’s their only option and on entering, they plummet into the underworld where Sera is spirited away. She confronts Daevas, who try to break her spirit, and meets the spirit of her brother, Jahar, as she tries to find her way back out, or at least to her companions.
A COOL VARIANT ON THE JOURNEY TO THE UNDERWORLD
Sera and the Royal Stars #4 opens with a bombshell – as Sera goes back to her friends, Jahar informs her that he has not seen their mother in the Underworld. And Sera now has a new companion, Fomalhaut, of the Southern Fish. This book is a subtle education in constellations that have bright stars in them, and it’s a fascinating way to provide a theme for their characters. So even though Sera went through a portal to get here, they are all still in the Underworld.
There is a Council of the Dead there – the Gods of the Underworld – and we’re off on a fascinating journey through a different cosmology, where everything was created through dreams. The first dreamer dreamed of the stars; the stars dreams of planets, moons, and asteroids. Ra, the sun, dreamed of life on the planets around him. This is such an interesting concept.
At the base of an enormous old tree, another fabulous metaphor, they are granted the way into the Council, made up of a variety of gods from several different cultures. They rapidly discern that Sera is human and didn’t get there the traditional way (that is, dying), and as she tries to get a word in edgewise, her presence becomes their big concern. They also observe that she carries a Lord of the Sky within her. She interrupts them long enough to ask if it might be possible for her to dream her way out of their realm. This may just be possible.
Someone or something knocks loudly on the chamber door, and at the same time, the force inside Sera’s chest asks to be set free. The door cracks open, and Rastaban and Eltanin, the stars of Draco, enter, ready for a fight. Sera asks to be put to sleep so she can find a bridge to the waking world for them all. But she’ll have her own fight even as the Stars battle in the Council chamber.
FABULOUS CHARACTER DESIGN
I really, really love the art of Sera and the Royal Stars #4. Every one of the Stars we see has design elements that speak to their constellation. They’re all different in temperament, color choice, facial design or decoration. They’re wonderfully imaginative with a great style that looks as though it would be at home in classic artworks. I particularly like the Stars of Draco. Their violet, gold, and black is very striking.
The imagery of the Underworld is rich with color. The “outdoor” part is a moonlight mix of blues and violets in a world of stalagmites and giant mushrooms. The giant tree is gnarled and twisted, reaching out with broad roots as though it has been growing for ages. The Council chamber within is just as gnarled and overgrown, looking as though it and the Gods (and Goddesses) it houses have been there since time immemorial.
BOTTOM LINE: CLASSIC MYTHOLOGY FROM A NEW ANGLE
Despite some very classic roots, Sera and the Royal Stars #4 feels fresh and new. The setting and style are brilliant. I like that Sera, despite being a heroine on her own, holds close ties to her family. I also like the way the problems at the cosmic level affect the world at an everyday level.
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Sera and the Royal Stars #4
The stars are powerful, but not all-powerful. Sera’s ingenuity may save the day!