What happens when your Mom is a superhero but you don’t have any of her powers? Read on for a full review of the I Am Not Starfire graphic novel by Mariko Tamaki.
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Starfire aka Koriand’r is a DC superhero and in the I am Not Starfire graphic novel, we get to meet her daughter Mandy. Starfire is one of my favorite DC characters so I was interested to see where author Mariko Tamaki was going to take the character. Starfire comes off as a concerned but loving parent with a normal teen who is trying to connect and understand why her child isn’t interested in college. Where Starfire is confident in her powers and personality, Mandy struggles to find her place in a world where she doesn’t have superhero powers. Add in being overweight and queer, and you have a TEENAGER who is nothing like the people that surround her mother (aka The Titans) and so of course it’s hard for her to relate to anyone or anything except for her personal struggle.
In this graphic novel, I realized right away that Tamaki crafted a modern take on a mother-daughter relationship. There are a few winks toward Mandy’s alleged father and although I did not appreciate the deadbeat dad shade towards him, Nightwing does make several appearances. We do get to see some of the Titans being supportive (Raven as a tutor!) and I loved that Mandy’s best friend truly cared about her feelings.
My favorite part of the graphic novel I Am Not Starfire was easily Yoshi Yoshitani’s gorgeous illustrations. The colors are bold and they just jump off the page! While it was hard for me to connect with Mandy and her many issues, I did like that towards the end of the book mother and daughter come to a satisfying compromise.