Starhenge #1 blasts us to a distant future where a machine-based race has discovered humanity and promptly decides on our eradication. To combat the threat, the Ur-Queen has commissioned knights who wield magic to confuse the machines. However, the knights disappear and are forgotten, and the Ur-Queen’s (and humanity’s) last hope is for her to send her son back to the past where magic still exists. As a herald from the future emerges in the past, one young witch-obsessed woman from the present finds herself in the middle of a time-spanning war.
If you can’t tell from that description, there’s a lot that happens in this first issue of Liam Sharp’s Starhenge. Given the nature of this sci-fi/high fantasy crossover, there’s a heavy amount of exposition necessary to catch you up to speed. The pieces of the puzzle are presented by Amber Weaver, our present-day heroine, but it takes a bit of patience to allow the full picture to take shape. The pacing is quite bumpy as you’re trying to familiarize yourself with three different timelines and how they all relate, and even with Amber’s promises of it all making sense, not all the threads are connected by the end of the first issue. Additionally, I didn’t quite find Amber’s voice all that convincingly genuine; her “young person” vernacular seemed forced and unnatural.
While the storytelling elements of Starhenge are a little wanting, the artwork is quite the spectacle that almost makes up for it. The dreamlike sequences present a soft, sci-fi-y glow to Sharp’s untethered imagination. While we’re trying to make sense of the different timelines, the consistency and the beauty of the art–as trippy as it can be–keep us grounded in the convoluted series of events.
Starhenge #1 is nothing if not ambitious, and while there is much to digest in this first issue, there is much more promised that will bring this sci-fi, Arthurian epic into focus. While some readers might not have the patience to stick it out, there are sure to be spellbound fans eager to summon the following issues into their collection.