Kamen America: Stars and Strife

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Kamen America Digital Cover

Like Linda Low in Rodgers & Hammerstein's FLOWER DRUM SONG, young Carly Vanders enjoys being a girl in an era where girls are told they should like typical girl things anymore. That's the peek we get into her mindset during an introductory scene from her childhood, before launching straight into her adult life singing and dancing for the USO. Carly's a fashion designer who loves to make her own things, and she loves to make them feminine.

While finishing a show in Toepkekistan, she is caught in the explosion of a strange meteor which puts her in a coma, from which she awakens with strange electrical powers. She's offered a job with the armed forces, but turns them down in favor of going off on her own, which unfortunately she learns comes at the cost of selling herself to trademark media vultures who control her name and image. Branding her as "Warhen," they pit her against the various kaiju monsters who have begun to plague the Earth ever since the meteor shower that gave Carly her powers.

Carly bounces from battle to battle, until an act of kindness puts her on the outs with her representation, who own her name and costume. She strikes out on her own as Kamen America, because the first word was in a television show she liked, not realizing it was Japanese. ("Mask America" would seem to be the translation.)

With her new persona and costume in place, she finds herself heading back to Toepkekistan to put to rest a Russian insurgence that has resulted in the captivity of her friend's father. This puts her into direct conflict with her opposite number: Meteor Misha. And unlike Carly, Misha has been training since day one in the creative use of her powers.

KAMEN AMERICA Volume 1: STARS AND STRIFE is an American comic book done with soft manga sensibilities. Power usage is accompanied by colorful naming conventions you might expect from a Pokemon battle, and conflict resolution frequently involves a dose of humor and personal empathy. The artwork reinforces the manga feel, done in an overtly cute style. The adventure includes an epilogue that introduces Kamen America to another of creator Tim Lim's comic productions, BLACK HOPS, intimating a crossover is in the works. Also included in this Kickstarter/Indiegogo crowdfunded comic are character sketches and pinups.

It's a fairly uncomplicated story, with an all-ages sweetness one might expect from a product marketed to younger girls, with characters who have a more adult visual appeal, sexy without being sexual.

You can get your copy of KAMEN AMERICA: STARS AND STRIFE at Indiegogo while copies last.

Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0