Star Raiders (1983)

DC Graphic Novel #1 - Star RaidersIf it weren't for the José Luis García-López art, I'm not exactly sure what Star Raiders would have going for it. But Raiders isn't "just a comic," it's the first in DC's line of graphic novels and the art is spectacular. García-López's alien worlds, space battles, everything else–it's all fantastic.

Unfortunately Elliot S! Maggin's script is awful. Raiders is a sequel to the Atari Force comic, only to a small part of it. It's a tie-in to the Atari video game and it does about as well as any video game adaptation does. Terribly. Only Maggin's structure is the big problem.

Let's see if I can break it down. Introduce character A, introduce characters B and C, follow all three, introduce characters D through H. Follow character E. Bring back character B, then immediately revert to character E. Repeat six times. Not really six; maybe twice. But the intermediary events are either lovely set pieces or boring expository things. Maggin's approach to science fiction is a heavy dose of Star Wars and then just some silly ideas–immortal old men, for example. Why immortal? How else can you have someone find out about something six hundred years before?

Then there's the very small scale finish for the biggest battle the galaxy has ever seen. Pretty much everything conceptual about the story is nonsense. There isn't a single good moment in the entire thing, if you forget about the art. With the art, every moment's good. They're just really, really, really dumb.



Writer, Elliot S! Maggin; artist, José Luis García-López; letterer, Orzecody; editor, Andrew Helfer; publisher, DC Comics.

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