is a comicbook, created by J. Michael Straczynski
, published by Top Cow Productions
The comic is written by J. Michael Straczynski. The prelude
and issues 0, 1 and 2 were pencilled
by Keu Cha
, but with issue 3, Christian Zanier
took over. The story
, spread over 24 issues and split up into 3 acts, is the story of the Specials
, as told after the fact
by the last one of them still living. The first act
, issue 1 through 8, deals with the introduction of the characters, the murder of some of them, and the growing fear of humanity against the Specials
. The second act
, which is currently being told, is about 10 years after the first act, and is about the war that is going on between the Specials
. The third and final act will be set even further in the future
, and tells about the aftermath
of the war.
The Rising Stars story begins in 1969, when a mysterious extraterrestial phenomenon impacts in the mid-western town of Pederson, Illinois, U.S.A. The Flash, as the event came to be known as, didn't have any discernible effects. Only until approximately five or six years later did the first effects come to be publicly known.
On a dark and stormy night, Pederson Elementary was holding their yearbook photo session. Apparently the storm caused water damage to the aging school building. A portion of a ceiling collapsed, about to crush a teacher. Matthew Bright moved underneath the falling debris and caught it, lifting it up with superhuman strength. The yearbook photographer took pictures of the incident.
The government immediately took notice. They swooped down on the town with an army of doctors and scientists. They performed batteries of tests on these Special children, determining their powers, if any. They determined that the children who were in utero, in their mother's wombs, at the time of the Flash, received enhanced abilities. Those ranged from super-strength to flying.
In the end, 113 children were affected.
Eager to continue surveilling the enhanced children, the government set up a day camp, named Camp Sunshine, where parents voluntarily brought their children in to be observed in a controlled environment away from the public. All of the children met each other, and shared information on their powers, and played games.
One night, Lee Jackson, a child whose powers hadn't appeared yet, was taken from his cabin by a camp counselor. This particular counselor had been sexually molesting Jackson for a while now. He didn't molest Jackson on this particular night, because the child had enough. His powers manifested themselves with deadly results.
The counselor was killed. The government, already paranoid about the fact that there were over a hundred super-powered children running loose, seized upon this incident as an excuse to take all of the children in custody.
Their parents fought back, taking the government to trial. The case went all the way up to the Supreme Court. The Court ruled that the children had the right to freedom. The Court also affirmed the government's beliefs that the children were a potential danger to the public.
A compromise was set up. A physician, selected by both the government and the parents, would observe the children until they reached the age of 18. The doctor chosen was Dr. William Welles. It was his responsibility to determine whether a child was a clear danger to him or herself and the rest of the public. If that happened, the government would have the right to take the child in custody.
As for Lee Jackson, his parents took him and went on the run. Jackson would not use his powers until many years later, with similar castrophic consequences.
The children grew up into adults. Some used their powers for good. Some used them for criminal purposes. Others, their powers were neligible, not even commercially viable. Some stayed in Pederson. Others moved out. Those who moved out were required to wear a bracelet identifying them as a Special. On the back of the bracelet was a phone number to call, if it were found. The bracelet was a means for the government to track the Specials as they moved about.
Some Specials went on to fame and fortune, while others lived in obscurity.
Then one day, a Special named Joseph "Joey" Drake, a low-powered Special also known as Shifter, was found dead. Cause of death wasn't clear. Several weeks later another low-powered Special, Peter Dawson, was found, clearly murdered. These two Specials were the first in a string of serial killings of Specials. John Simon, aka Poet, set out to investigate these murders.
In the end, sixty years after the Flash, all but one Special remained alive: John Simon. It is at this point in his life that he decides to tell the story of his generation, the story of the Rising Stars.