Steven Universe Vol. 1 TP

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Posted July 17, 2015 by Kierra Prince in Comic Books

Written by: Jeremy Sorese

Art by: Coleman Engle

Publisher: BOOM! Studios

Steven Universe has gained a remarkable fanbase for being a cartoon that appeals to both kids and adults alike. It’s equal parts adventure and heart and isn’t afraid to tackle serious topics like love, loss, grief, and growing up. Once you jump into the world of titular character Steven, it’s not hard to fall in love. Thankfully, the comic captures all of that magic and BOOM! Studios has kindly collected all issues into one amazing collection.

If you haven’t jumped into the world of Steven, Steven Universe essentially follows a young boy named Steven who is half human and half Gem. As we soon find out, Gems are extra-terrestrial beings characterized by a gemstone embedded on their bodies that also seems to give their magical powers and special abilities. Since Steven is both a human and a gem (and thus a unique individual with unknown abilities), he ends up being raised by three other Gems who can help him realize his powers and teach him more about Gem culture and Gem history.

This collection collects issue #1-4 of the comic and it’s a great place to start if you’ve never picked up the comics, are new to the franchise, or flat out just want something to hold you off in between the Steven Bombs.

For fans of the cartoon, this comic is a great addition to your library as every single story within is new and unique. As someone who can’t get enough of Steven Universe I found myself unable to put the collection down and was happy to see that it was absolutely packed with content. I was also happy to see that plenty of characters also make appearances. While we could definitely all be certain that Greg (Steven’s dad) and the 3 Gems raising Steven (who are named Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl) would make an appearance; I was surprised to see that Connie (Steven’s best friend) gets a large amount of page time and the rest of Beach City’s citizens are sprinkled throughout the series in ways that add to the stories instead of feeling like cheap cameos.

Most of the collection is made up of longer stories done in full color broken up by shorter stories done in black and white. The longer stories tend to mirror episodes of the cartoon by focusing on one large topic or event that gives everyone ample opportunity to grow as a character. And while Steven often remains central to these stories, there’s a large amount of attention given to Greg as well as the Gems.

The art is beautiful

The art is beautiful

The shorter stories were often nothing more than quick jokes but these were surprisingly some of the most enjoyable parts of the collection. It’s here that writer Jeremy Sorese really shines as many of the jokes rely entirely on the characters themselves and he wastes no time in proving that he really understands the characters and what makes all of them unique. Some jokes rely on Amethyst’s juvenile and fun-loving attitude while others rely on a character named Ronaldo who is determined to let the world know all of Beach City’s weird secrets.

The fact that Sorese has no problem writing any of these characters (or making them funny) means that he ultimately understands what makes Steven Universe so good rather just imitating stuff we’ve already seen.

To round out the collection, there are a few great single page ideas that involve a special recipe by Steven and an appearance of Stevonnie that’s sure to please fans. There’s also a great two page spread of Beach City and it’s citizens that acts as a Where’s Waldo like search for the main characters of the series.

That being said though, there are a few stories that are merely OK or seem oddly out of place if you are a fan of the show. For example, while I can certainly understand why the Gems could be hesitant about letting Steven join a bike race; the cartoon has already moved way beyond the Gems fearing that something as simple as a bike race could seriously endanger Steven.

The artwork is gorgeous to look at and the color comics makes use of being color by being bright and wonderfully colorful. Artist Coleman Engle brings his unique approach to the comic version of Steven Universe so fans of the show are going to notice right away that the art is different from that of the show. I personally didn’t mind as Engle’s art seems perfectly suited for the comic format. It’s a little bit more dynamic, a little more cartoony, a little but messier, and has thicker outlines. Purists may be upset but I found the change refreshing, especially for a comic.

The characters are just as good as they are on the show

The characters are just as good as they are on the show

A large amount of the shorts are also written and illustrated by other creators so the art will end up shifting throughout as well. While all of the art does indeed look great, it also makes it slightly distracting to see characters/style shift around throughout the pages and then make it’s way back around to a certain creator (whether it’s Engle and Sorese or someone else who was a re-occurring guest). This may be the only downside to a full volume collection as opposed to single issues because the desire to finish the collection in one go means it’s easier to notice than if you had breaks in between.

To finish out the comic, we’re treated to gorgeous full page artwork of all the individual covers for every issue. On top of the standard covers, each and every variant is also featured. I absolutely loved this because each of the covers is gorgeous in its own way and there were a surprising number of ones I had never seen (largely due to them being con specific variants).

There’s also plenty of funny little nods to characters throughout which also make a fun little plus for existing fans. Onion in particular is one character that I think ALL of Steven fans are confused about and it was funny just seeing him in a few panels that told us just a tiny bit more about his character.

For people who aren’t fans already, this is as good a place to start as any due to most of the comics being pretty light and humorous. However, there are definitely going to be a few confusing comics (such as the pet contest one and pretty much all the Lion ones) that depend on knowing the characters. But, where the show tends to have really heavy episodes that explore the characters and their relationships with each other, the comic tends to be similar to the lighter and fun episodes which makes it better for people who are curious about the series.

Altogether this is one of my favorite collections to release recently and seems a must for Steven Universe fans, especially during a time when we’re all eagerly await the next Steven Bomb and the hiatus to be over. It’s a perfect extension of the Steven universe and gives a bunch of adorable and adventurous tales features Connie, the Gems, and even Lion. All of the Greg comics are also handled particularly well and I’m happy to see the comics exploring the complex father/son relationship this series has.


About the Author

Kierra Prince

Was born with a controller in her hand. Fan of all things nerdy and has a tremendous amount of love for RPG's, anime, and anything horror. She secretly wishes to be a mash-up of Catwoman and Sailor Moon.