What Is It
Shattered Starlight is the second comic by Nicole Chartrand, who also makes Fey Winds. It has been updating once a week, and is 78 pages long as I write this. It stars Farah, a grumpy 20-something with a food services job and a rabbit sidekick. Farah is a magical girl who doesn’t really want to be. The comic came out nearly a year after my own series, Legend of the Hare, and contains enough superficial similarities in premise that I presume that’s part of why I was asked to review it and I should mention it, even though the two comics aren’t really that similar.
The art is phenomenal. The environment feel like real places that actually exist. More importantly, they’re environments that the characters live in, rather than flat backgrounds behind them like you’d see in Questionable Content. Just this one page conveys a massive amount of information about the Cafe Le Dead End. I’m particularly fond of the giant poster with the faux-deep expression, but I also really like the old and patched stools. This level of background detail recurs constantly, as well. We get panels that look like this
And even though I just read this comic once today, I know from memory that if Farah needs to pee, she should turn to her right and walk ten feet or so, and then the bathrooms will be on the left, just before to the entrance to the kitchen.
By comparison, I’ve been reading Questionable Content since I was in high school, and I don’t know if the Coffee of Doom has a bathroom at all, or even how big it is. A lot of comics have background-as-wallpaper, but Shattered Starlight’s environments are so good they make me think of Octopus Pie.
The story is weighted down by unnecessary exposition, most egregiously in a four-page scene explaining what a magical girl is right at the beginning, that could probably be cut entirely. One of the advantages of using a well-known concept like “Magical Girl” is that the audience already knows what it is, so this explanation is unnecessary. It’s actually doubly unnecessary, since the critical information is shown during the scene immediately following the narration, and there’s another, more motivated, infodump when the magical girls explain things to Lily. I think generally the comic has a bit of an issue with telling something and then showing it.
Little stuff, like Blue’s line here. We see Farah’s house a bit later, and we see that she lives alone with the three-legged cat named Tripod. It kind of makes sense for Blue to be bringing this up to needle Farah, but I think it’s a panel that can be cut. That kind of stuff is picking nits, though, and the only “bad” part of the comic is the narrated 4-page infodump, which at least has some interesting and foreshadowy visuals.
Shattered Starlight has excellent art, and a story that’s a little bland but also it’s only in its first act. I give it 6 cough drops out of a teaspoon of mucinex.