Much of the fun in traditional superhero stories is that they lean into their quirks. The characters are campy, the plot lines goopy. Simultaneously, these stories frequently deal tackle concepts that have real stakes — political unrest, economic decline, classism, poverty — especially since we, as readers, don’t consume media in a vacuum. Dean Haspiel‘s Ringo Award-winning The Red Hook series contains all of these elements, set against an unexpected background: a sentient Brooklyn protected by a reluctant, eponymous hero with a complicated and notorious history as a talented thief. In Starcross, the newest installment, this world is pushed to the brink.
We’ve previously covered The Red Hook here on The Beat, so this might all sound familiar. This series is really interesting and frankly, quite fun. Of course, it also has its flaws. The Red Hook’s attitude toward heroism shifts significantly after the death of his girlfriend, Ava, which perpetuates that Woman In the Fridge trope that seems almost inescapable in pop culture, especially comics. In the second volume, War Cry, she is resurrected as a human of mass destruction hosted by a teenage boy, creating an odd gender dynamic, among other things.
Now in its third volume, Starcross, War Cry’s presence takes on even steeper meaning. Here’s the full synopsis: “Starcross finds New Brooklyn on the eve of an ice age that will make all life on earth extinct. The only way to save the planet is for The Red Hook to ally with Sun Dog, find and rekindle romance with War Cry, confront the Omni-Gods, and give birth to a new dawn where only love can save the world!”
From the jump, Starcross is action-packed as it takes the reader into space and then crashing back to Earth. It also continues developing these characters and this world in unique and unexpected ways.
Image Comics also published the first volume as a trade paperback in June of 2018 and the second volume, War Cry, hits shelves October 9. To keep up with Haspiel and his current projects, follow him on Twitter.