Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. was one of the most underrated comic book series of all time.
You have no idea what I’m talking about and that’s fine.
It was the story of Courtney Whitmore, a high school student who, one day, finds out that her stepfather, Pat, was the sidekick of The Star Spangled Kid when he was younger. In fact, he still has the The Star Spangled Kid’s comic belt and she takes it and becomes the new Star Spangled Kid, her stepfather becoming S.T.R.I.P.E., her robotic armored sidekick.
The comic was nuts. It featured ninjas storming the school, giant wasps, and all kinds of silly things, but it also contained more. It featured characters growing into their own… Courtney going from a selfish teen to a person who willingly honored a legacy, grew to appreciate her stepfather, and went on to become a true hero.
It was a great series and was cancelled way before its time.
Long story short, The Star Spangled Kid inherited a Cosmic Staff and became Stargirl…. Stargirl became a television series.
And that’s why I’m here.
It’s basically the same story, though we’ve skipped the Star Spangled Kid era and went straight to Stargirl and the staff.
It’s a little hard to get a handle on how a series will proceed from its pilot episode, but to its credit, Stargirl sets its stage fairly quickly. It shows superheroes in comic book accurate costumes, it shows them using their powers, it shows super villains, and it shows fantastic comic booky gimmicks and ideas. Unlike something like, say, Arrow… Stargirl is showing us that it isn’t ashamed to be a comic book show.
I love superhero shows like Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, and Batwoman even though, in my opinion, they are usually timid or at least start out that way. With the exception of Legends of Tomorrow, most of them become bogged down in pessimism or self-pity. “Oh, poor me! I have amazing powers and can fly! Why can’t my life be normal!?” That kind of thing where you just want to reach into your television and just slap them.
Stargirl, however, seems to be swimming in joy. Sure, Courtney, the star of the show, has her teenage problems, but the introduction of her new powers are a source of amazement and wonder. I know other shows started out like this too, but it just feels like it’s going to stick this time… Stargirl feels light and bright. I hope nothing comes along to drag it into the shadows for a lengthy amount of time.
This series appears off to a good start. It honors the comic book while streamlining the story. Mike, for example, is already introduced as Courtney’s stepbrother instead of having him come in later. The Justice Society of America are out of the picture. Courtney gets her hands on the staff fairly early in the episode, so not a lot of time is wasted on dull exposition.
I dig it. It’s a good adaptation, the setting is bright and colorful, the characters are all delightful even if it seems like Luke Wilson isn’t that into the part.
Brec Bassinger, however, is a pitch perfect Courtney. She’s got all of the hallmarks of a miserable teenager, but never comes off as mean or horrible. You get a real picture of her frustrations and her sadness and, even though she’s sometimes unfair to those around her, it never comes from a place of cruelty. She remains someone you can root for.
I appreciate how this show made the cosmic staff a living thing with a mischievous nature. I didn’t think I would like it at first, but it grew on me and I do like how it pushed the story along.
I like the show so far. I hope it keeps its humor, heart, and optimism and I can’t wait to see Courtney in costume when she series really gets going.