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3.9 out of 5 stars
Rising Stars Compendium Hardcover
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2009
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I'm not going to review the actual content of this book. There are lots of other reviews out there in which you can learn about this great comic book series.

What you really want to know is: should I shell out for this or not?

If you are familiar with the paperback "Compendium" editions from Top Cow, this is exactly like those, except hardcover. That's a major improvement, as those compendium paperbacks were easily damaged. It is very thick, unlike the item displayed in the picture. The image content fills the pages: unlike Marvel Omnibuses or hardcovers, there are no borders at all. Also unlike the Marvel books, the paper is rather flimsy and thin, although glossy with good reproduction quality. In fact, the pages seem thinner than standard comic book paper used by most independent comic book publishers. The page size is exactly the same as standard comic book pages.

The reason to buy this book is to get all this content in one place, and there is a ton of that. They aren't kidding when they list 1000 pages. But other than that the book design isn't much. Unlike competing oversize editions published by DC, Dark Horse, or Image, these Compendiums are the size of standard comic books. That's a real let down for fans and a missed opportunity for the publisher.

Without borders around the artwork, some of it gets lost in the massive spine fold. The weight of the book makes it unwieldy, and easy to lose your grip on-- so the flimsy pages become a real liability--easy to damage as you fumble with the book in your lap. They also feel like they might tear if you turn the pages with any strength.

I am quite happy with this despite those complaints, as I didn't have any of this material in another format. For those who do have other versions of these issues, collected or otherwise, there's not much motivation to buy this, as it really is just a bunch of standard comics bound into a thick and heavy tome.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
As others have said the story is great. The binding on the book is already falling apart after ONE reading! The glue holding the cover to the spine of the interior pages has released. I skipped buying the hardcover because of problems people said they were having and find the soft cover has the same problem. This is inexcusable for a professionally produced book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a review of the physical product, not the story contained within. I want to make that clear because I think the Rising Stars story is fantastic and would give it 4 or 5 stars.

Unfortunately, this edition has the WORST craftsmanship of any book I have EVER read.

The first thing that happened when I opened the book was the cover falling right off the spine as the dry cheap glue let out a 'crinkle-snap!'. About a tenth of the way into the book, half the pages fell out of the binding. I thought the Amazon (and other) reviewers might be exaggerating about this product's defects. They were not.

I am very good with my books. I have an extensive collection of over 300 graphic novels and they are in PRISTINE condition. No matter how reverently you treat this book, it is IMPOSSIBLE to read without having it fall apart. It cannot be done.

STAY AWAY.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2009
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
There are certain books that take you on a journey and introduce you to memorable characters. The kind of books that are superior in writing and storytelling. Rising Stars is one of those books. And this Massive Hardcover is amazing. With over 1000 pages and with every single issue combine to create a unique read as you enter the world of the 113 specials and learn about their origins and their future. This is a Must read and for fans the comic a must have.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 14, 2009
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Let's keep this brief. The concept, the characters, the art, and the hardcover presentation are all absolutely fantastic. The first third is an absolutely brilliant set-up to tell the latter two chapters of the story. Part 2 opens promisingly enough with some very fascinating story arcs. Unfortunately, this is where the wheels fall off.

Right towards the middle of the book when you really get your stride and the rhythm is beautiful the story goes sideways. Instead of being creative and using metaphors or visuals the book turns into a piece of political soapboxing. It's not that the political positions are ones that I agree or disagree with, but that they're done so blatantly and with little creativity that it pulls one out of the book. The arguments made are also so naive and simplistic that they're insulting to anyone whose made it past jr. high school. *minor spoiler of little consequence* For instance, did you know that all the problems between the Jews and the Muslims could be solved if they just had enough land on which to grow food? Neither did I. But peace in the middle east is achieved by growing some crops in the book.*end spoiler*

It's sad to me that it took such an overt and creatively defunct turn. The set-up and characters really could have done more. The very ending and some of the third arc are pretty good once the preaching and brow-beatings are done. So, if you don't mind your comic books getting overtly political and preachy or are curious to see where the TV show 'Heroes' got some of its origin, this is a good read. If you don't like being lectured to then you may want to skip this one. All in all, not a bad read, but I doubt I'll pull it off the shelf a second time.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Not to make a pun here, but J. Michael Straczynski, of 'Babylon 5' fame makes an effort to create a game-changing franchise at the 'Watchmen' and 'Dark Knight Returns' level of re-invention... and he *almost* pulls it off.Straczynski tries to bat against the gravitas of Alan Moore's 'Watchmen' and Frank Miller's 'Dark Knight Returns and comes up just a little short.

Consider this Straczynski's first swipe at the superteam dynamics and shortcomings. It has already been done better in 'The Authority' and better by Straczynski himself in his re-imagination of Marvel's JLA-inspired 'Supreme Power'.

Quixotically, it is fairly clear that 'Rising Stars' was the inspiration for such shows as the USA Network's television show, 'The 4400' and NBC's 'Heroes', but 'Stars' is far more cohesive.

Recommended, but not essential.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This story is incredible. One of my favorite comics of recent memory. The problem that I had with it, is that by the time I got 1/4 through the book, the binding/glue started coming apart. I try to treat all of my books as treasures, I try to keep them in good condition, so that, in many thousands of years, when I, and the rest of the human race is gone, and aliens show up and dig up our histories, they will find my book collection in tact.

Unfortunately, this book will not remain in tact, at that time. Fantastic read though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The Rising Stars Compendium contains the entire story run including "Rising Stars 1-24," "Rising Stars: Visitations" (a one-shot), "Rising Stars: Bright" 1-3, "Rising Stars: Vocies of the Dead," 1-6 and "Rising Stars: Untouchable" 1-5. The package is the size of small a phone book and full of delights.

J. Michael Straczynski authored the story of a group of Special Kids in Pederson, Illinois. One night a bright flash of light hits Pederson while 113 embryos are IN UTERO; the light produces special powers and abilities within the children.

The "Specials" begin displaying powers during childhood ranging from super-strength to telepathy--and begin demonstrating emotional difficulties as well. Of course the government becomes involved and begins looking for a reason to justify taking control of the kids' lives. They send the children to a special summer camp (read GULAG) where they can be observed and eventually subjegated. The government gets its chance to do just that when Lee Jackson causes a camp counselor to spontaneously combust. It turns out he had good reason to do so, though that fact goes unacknowledged at the time.

As time goes on some characters become heroes, some villains. Others become businessmen and clowns. Some live in denial of their powers and wake up with curlers in their hair and eat their farina. Willie Smith floats off into the stratosphere not to be seen again.

Other complications arise when the 113 Specials reach adulthood and someone begins mudering them. One of the great plot twists is that many of their powers begin to wane as they get older. But when one dies his powers are redistributed to other Specials. Are the 113 killing each other? Is the increase of your powers at the expense of your peers a motivation for murder?

The art is in the finest tradition of Image/Top Cow, dark, life-like, and crisp. Pencilers include Ken Cha, Christian Zanier, Stuart Immonen and Brent Anderson. Inkers include Marlo Alquiza and Livesay (with Mr. Anderson also contributing some ink).

The one complaint I sometimes hear about compendiums is their large size; in most large volumes text near the inside edges can be a problem. I don't remember noticing that as much in this volume as, say, Spawn Volume 5. What I remember is a great story by Straczynsky, lovely art,and a large volume that kept a voracious reader busy for over a week.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The story and art is fantastic. It is wonderful to have all of the spin-off series in the same package as the original series.

That being said...the binding on this book the worst I have ever seen. I saw some of the other reviews talk about the binding and thought that I'd be okay if I just handled it even more carefully than usual. WRONG. No exaggeration: I am currently half way through it and pages are starting to fall out.

I honestly don't know what to tell anyone who's on the fence about buying this. I have all of the individual issues so I knew going in that the story was excellent and I just wanted it all together for the sake of convenience. It's good, but is it worth the price? I'm going to say yes. Even with the terrible bindings, it's still a good buy.

Just handle it carefully.

Story/Art/Content = 5 stars.
Binding = 1 star only because there isn't a 0 star option.
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on February 8, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I had read through Rising Stars before and wanted to get the Compendium to have a complete collection of the story. Let me just say that the it holds up very well and is pretty thoroughly fleshed out and planned straight from the beginning. There are a few characters and plots that seem to be thrown in towards the end because they needed a person to fit within that specific trait, but all fairly forgivable.

The art can be hit or miss, though, especially when compared to comics that came out more recently. It matches the Top Cow style of the era, as can be seen in titles like The Darkness, in that the guys tend to be big and muscly and the girls thin and beautiful.

The absolute worst part of this is the quality of the book itself. As in the physical product you hold in your hands. Top Cow must have cheaped out completely on the glue for it because it literally fell apart in my hands after a few hours of reading. I think the thing that really did it was this one part where you hold a page up to the light to see through it to read it properly. It was a pretty incredible gimmick when I first came across it. A book this size you can't do that and now I'm suffering for it.

It just makes me regret waiting to buy this big version just to have it fall apart as soon as I get it.

If you're looking for a collector's piece or library version, this should fit your needs. If you've read the story before and want to reread it, it should too, but be fore-warned, it will fall apart on you. If you haven't read it before, I highly suggest doing so, just probably not this version.
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