I Am Not Starfire By Mariko Tamaki

So, I only knew this existed until recently because of all the hooplah over it. I thought the artwork looked nice so I wanted to give it a try. What I found was an alright graphic novel that has some flaws in it's structures that made me scratch my head a little. All in all I think it's a 3/5.

I Am Not Starfire is about Mandy, the daughter of the famous alien warrior princess Starfire from Teen Titans. Much like in real life, Starfire is beloved by many and considered beautiful. However, over the years, Mandy who looks and acts very differently to Starfire, hated being in her mother's shadow. Soon those differences drove a wedge between them that her mother tries to bridge.

After reading this, I still like the art. I think it's cute and some of the action pages could be pretty dynamic, not anything blockbustery but still nice. There are a few times where some background characters look flat, but it's just a few times. I actually really like how Yoshi Yoshitani drew Starfire and Mandy each time and how their looks contrasted with each other. Seriously, Starfire's fashion was impeccable. Everyone else was good too, but the two central characters here shined the most.

However, I felt conflicted about Mandy. I understand that she hated being in her mother's shadow, but her treatment of her mother and her decision to not go to college felt a little forced. Starfire never acted cruel to Mandy, she just wanted her to have a good future, but Mandy just kept being utterly bitter toward her. Also, Mandy just kept reminding us that she was the anti-Starfire. We don't need to be told this in a graphic novel, we already see it. Mandy, along with her anarchist friend Lincoln, is also sometimes unnecessarily rude and mean to some of her classmates. Sometimes it's justified because they're being jerks and fat-shaming her, like Claire's two friends; but other times, like when Titans and Starfire fans just want to ask her a few questions and to tell her they love her mom, it's just unnecessary.

On the more positive side, I did enjoy Mandy's crush and romance with Claire. It was genuinely cute and when they finally kiss toward the end the page is beautifully drawn. Although, I question what the initial attraction was about since Claire was kind of like Starfire and Mandy clearly disliked Starfire's persona. Additionally, when Mandy lashes out at Claire for taking a selfie with the Titans it felt a bit forced as well and as if she was being unnecessarily mean to her. Still, I'm glad they resolved things and hit it off.

Eventually, Blackfire, Starfire's sister, shows up and wants to fight Starfire and Mandy both because she believes their mere existences challenge her claim to the Tamaran throne, a plotline that has been explored with Starfire solely in the traditional comics before. And here's where the story gets a bit messy. I'm going to the rest of this part of the review under spoilers. In the end, Mandy realizes she can still be who she is, but can also change in other ways.

I overall felt that this was a very okay graphic novel. It's fine. I felt it would have been stronger if it wasn't attached to Teen Titans or any other established super hero team and was it's own thing. It could've been like another version of Faith, Volume 1: Hollywood & Vine.

This is neither the most terrible thing DC Comics has put out, nor is it the greatest thing. Mariko Tamaki After Reading:

I mean this is not without its flaws but holy shit the hate for this was so overblown. I might write a full review because I do have a lot of thoughts, but this seriously is not as bad as everyone thinks or is making it out to be.

Before reading:

All the hate for this is so annoying. If you aren't interested in this title just don't read it. I've personally been a big fan of Tamaki's work and I loved her Harley book so I'm interested to see how this one turns out. Could be good or could be awful, it has been a gamble with these DC Ink books but lets just wait and find out when its released. Alright? Alright. Mariko Tamaki i find it mind-boggling that in year 2021 there are still adult men who get satisfaction out of shitting on media about teenage girls!!! wow!! the negative reviews on this one are so nasty and shallow.

but anyway. this is a cute and heartwarming coming-of-age graphic novel. the sapphic romance is tentative and sweet, and mandy's mix of jaded indifference and unhappy self-doubt is spot-on.

i do wish her complicated relationship with her mom was more fleshed out, and it all feels a bit rushed. it's not as emotionally raw as some of tamaki's other work. but it's still a fun read, and something i would have adored as a teenager! Mariko Tamaki There’s been a lot of hate directed towards this book, and I think it’s unreasonable. I just finished an advance copy, and I was pleasantly surprised! This is definitely a book for teens that are familiar with the Teen Titans cartoons— and that’s okay! If you’re not the target audience and this doesn’t look like your thing, you can ignore it and move on. And if you’re mad because it’s not the canon you’re used to: this book is an AU, like so many other recent titles, specifically the YA ones. But so many younger people are going to love this! And I really enjoyed it too. Surprisingly, I think it’s easily the best YA DC stand-alone they’ve put out. The tone was fun and meta, the art was beautiful and colorful, and the themes of exploring generational differences between immigrants through a literal alien were handled well; all the while, this felt like a genuine teen voice too. The queer representation was also very casual, and I liked that; it wasn’t made out to be a big deal. If you grew up on the Teen Titans cartoon, this is a spiritual successor I think you should check out, especially if you like YA. 4.5/5 stars. Mariko Tamaki WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS??!!


It's like DC is telling us they WANT to die. Mariko Tamaki

From New York Times bestselling author Mariko Tamaki (Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass) and artist Yoshi Yoshitani (Zatanna and the House of Secrets) comes a story about Mandy, the daughter of super-famous superhero Starfire, and her desperate attempts to get out from under her shadow.

Seventeen-year-old Mandy Koriand’r is not her mother. Daughter of Starfire and high school outcast, Mandy is constantly trying to get out from under the shadow of her bright, bubbly, scantily clad, and famous mother. Dyeing her bright orange hair black and sticking close to her best friend, Lincoln, Mandy spends her days at school avoiding Teen Titans superfans and trying to hide her feelings for the gorgeous, popular, and perfect Claire. And while Mandy usually avoids spending too much time with her alien mother, she’s been particularly quiet as she’s keeping one major secret from her: Mandy walked out of her S.A.T.

While Mandy continues to tell Lincoln her plans of moving to France to escape the family spotlight and not go to college, she secretly hides a fear of not knowing her identity outside of just being the daughter of a superhero and who she will become. But when she is partnered with Claire to work on a school project, their friendship develops into something more and a self-confidence unknown to Mandy begins to bloom. Claire seems to like Mandy for being Mandy, not the daughter of Starfire.

But when someone from Starfire’s past comes to disrupt Mandy’s future, Mandy must finally make a choice: give up before the battle has even begun, or step into the unknown and risk everything. I Am Not Starfire is a story about mother-daughter relationships, embracing where you come from while finding your own identity, and learning to be unafraid of failing, if it was even failing in the first place. I Am Not Starfire

Why does DC keep hiring these untalented hacks? Are we gonna forget starfire and nightwing had a daughter named nightstar in Kingdom come? Who is the father? The daughter sounds like a wrist cutter who hates her parents for no reason. She hates Starfire but is in love with a popular girl?
I remember when comics used to be fun and had adventures. Idk how Jim Lee could sign off on this. He lacks the managing skills his Image brother Todd Mcfarlene has. Mariko Tamaki This is getting review bombed :( Dear adult men angrily 1 star reviewing this YA graphic novel: have you considered... it's not for you? Mariko Tamaki Update now that I've finally gotten a chance to read it:
*3.5 stars (rounded up, as usual)
This was pretty fun! Angsty and humorous in the right places. Not my favorite of the new DC ya graphic novels, but still enjoyable.
I also really liked Yoshi Yoshitani's illustrations; I think this was my first book of Yoshi's, so I'm pleased!

Original post:
Want to read mainly because I love Mariko Tamaki and superhero comics, but also because fuck toxic, AnGeRy comic fanboys. Mariko Tamaki Seems super pander-y self-insert-y etc., This is definitely not Nightstar. Mariko Tamaki Thanks to DC & NetGalley for the early copy in exchange for an honest review. Now, I will concede I have been a long-time Teen Titans fan so it's fair to see my review as biased, but hear me out! I have a ton of qualms about this book, unfortunately. I love Kami Garcia's Raven & Beast Boy series as well as the other Young Adult-geared Graphic Novels that DC has been pumping out lately, but this one is the worst I've read by far for a multitude of reasons.

The art: It kept flip-flopping at some points. Kory was perfectly drawn in every panel and the eventual villain (no spoilers) was drawn very well too! Everyone else was kinda...off. Especially Mandy, but it might just be I don't like her hairstyle at all, ha. Sometimes she looked outright terrifying in the art, not sure why.

Mandy: Uh...I'm going to be as nice as I can but Mandy is an outright mean person. Now, I can understand her being frustrated by idiot kids always harping on about Starfire's popularity, but except for one kid, everyone was pretty chill. They were usually saying stuff like Hey, please tell your mom thanks for saving Chicago! As a result of people asking her about her mom, she decided to be mean to every single person she meets. I know she's a teen and all but...like...why be mean to everyone? There's a reason she only has one friend in this entire book...she's nasty to everyone else. It's not fun to read about a really mean protagonist that thinks it's cool to hate everyone. I really haven't read such an awful protagonist in a while, so this was hard to get through...

Starfire: Really sweet much like her cartoon counterpart, I didn't really have any complaints about her. I absolutely loathed how mean Mandy was toward Starfire, she was a pretty decent mom throughout the book but Mandy acted like she was terrible. Not to mention, Starfire is dating since she's a single mom and Mandy is really mad at her for that but it doesn't get expanded on and her own daughter slut-shames her as a result. So lovely to read about for one of my favorite superheroes....I say, dripping with sarcasm.

The writing: Mandy's frustrations are understandable but never really...expanded on throughout the book. She doesn't want to go to college. She tries taking the SATs but gets so nervous she leaves. It seems like she has anxiety about testing in general, not necessarily the SATs specifically? So, toward the end, she ends up studying for an SAT retake anyway.....I thought she didn't want to go to college? The core point of her conversations with her girlfriend and best friend involves her choice to not go to college but it seems like she does a heel face turn and decides to study anyway? There were decisions throughout the book that really confused me logically because of how it was presented earlier in the book.

The romance: It was sweet at some points but it was really hard for me to believe because like I said before, Mandy's a total jerkwad. Mandy's only likeable with the girlfriend which is sweet but it's hard to appreciate the LGBTQ+ elements when Mandy is an extremely unlikable protagonist. The girlfriend didn't have much depth either, so that didn't help.

In conclusion, I would just recommend reading DCs other graphic novels such as Kami Garcia's Raven & Beast Boy series for the Teen Titans crumbs and Poison Ivy: Thorns for the better LGBTQ+ rep, not to mention, all three of these titles have a more likeable protagonist that is far more fleshed out compared to Mandy.

This book was absolutely disappointing and it's a shame considering Starfire/Koriand'r is a fantastic hero and Teen Titan, how in the name of X'hal is Mandy related to her? Mariko Tamaki


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