Monday, July 16, 2007


(A Distant Star)
by Van Allen Plexico
White Rocket Books
311 pages

I generally wait at least a month before I return to a particular series. Whereas I had so much fun reading (& reviewing) the first book in this superhero saga, I decided to forego the usual hiatus and jump right into volume two.

A Distant Star does take up where When Strikes the Warlord left off. Earth’s mightiest heroes, Ultraa, Esro Brachis and Pulsar, are dealing with the aftermaths of their first encounter with the Warlord. The Warlord is a powerful entity from a parallel universe set upon the conquest of our universe. He almost succeeded but for the bravery of the Sentinels in a battle that took the life of one of their members. The team was also left with a sentient robot warrior calling itself Vanadium. Bachis, the genius scientist of the group, is still trying to unravel the mystery of this powerful alien machine man.

Immediately they find themselves in the middle of an Earth-side space war. A race of advanced spacefarers known as the Kur-Bai have come to Earth to save it from utter destruction at the hands of a giant killer robot called Xorex. No sooner has the battle started then Xorex attempts to flee and one of the Kur-Bai soldiers, a beautiful red-skinned fighter named Mondrian, flies in pursuit in Kur-Bai shuttle accompanied by armor wearing Esro Bachis. They are instantly thrown into a wormhole and vanish.

Meanwhile Vanadium, who supposedly is an ally of the Sentinels, found itself completely immobilized at the sight of Xorex. It becomes functional only after the threat has ended, much to the chagrin of Ultraa and Pulsar. And if all these issues weren’t enough to keep our heroes busy, the government agent, Jameson, has secretly begun assembling a new group of metahumans to replace the Sentinels.

A Distant Star is more space opera than superhero adventure and I appreciated the shift. It is also the second part of a trilogy, so I didn’t expect a neat wrap up at the end. Still, there are way too many subplots involving various godlike beings throughout the book that became confusing. Too many enemies, as the movie people discovered, can be a bad idea. The book works best when Esro and Mondrian take center stage as they attempt to escape a fantastic space station upon which they have become trapped. Their interaction and budding romance is humorous and made up for the multiple subplots. Still I’m hoping with book three, Plexico will clean house a bit and eliminates some of those unnecessary plot elements.

It would be difficult to enjoy this volume without having read the first, but again, it is a solid continuation of that mega story and lays the ground work for what looks to be an epoch making climax. Bring it on, Sentinels. I’m ready and waiting.

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