I picked up a copy of the controversial new DC Comics graphic novel "I Am Not Starfire" by current Detective Comics writer Mariko Tamaki and artist Yoshi Yoshitani. The release of this book is the downfall of all things DC Comics. The characters, including fan favorite Starfire, and by association all of the Titans, have been tainted by the woke, high-minded themes in this story. Just kidding.
Honestly, the book is not bad. It's targeted at a generally narrow audience (tween girls who read graphic novels), so most traditional DC fans aren't going to find it to their liking. That's fine. DC's rich characters lend themselves to these type of stories that can range from Stafire having a goth daughter to Batman hunting a serial killer on Halloween. The art is very good for this type of story and there were even a few DC Easter eggs throughout.
Here are my takeaways, both positive and not so much.
Starfire is very much from the mold of the Teen Titans Go! version. This is good, since many readers targeted here probably know the Teen Titans from that series.
Mandy reminds me of Roseanne Barr's Little Rosie character from the animated series of the same name. Even to the point that I could hear Roseanne's voice saying her lines. I would of made her less pudgy and taller.
I don't understand who, if anyone, we're supposed to assume is Mandy's father. The assertion out of a negative reaction by equally negative comic industry commenters was that Oswald Cobblepot aka 'The Penguin' was the dad. And in the beginning, Mandy's connection to her pet bird sort of leaned into that assumption. However, there is one panel towards the end that hints that maybe Dick Grayson himself is the father. I've not read if the author has commented on this, but I don't buy the Dick Grayson parentage. I see no genetic nods at all to the former Boy Wonder. Although I see very little similarities to her mother either, other than her red hair (she dyes it black) and her green eyes.
Nightwing's butt makes several appearances. I'll just leave that right here.
Mandy has a character arc that progresses and evolves from the beginning of the book to the end. I won't spoil it, but while there were obvious changes to the character, I just didn't buy it from a design perspective.
I didn't care for the added LGBTQ angle. It felt shoehorned in and just had an "after school" special subplot that didn't complement the main story. Perhaps if Claire had some connection to the DC universe, it would have had more impact.
Speaking of, I kept hoping that Mandy's friend Lincoln was going to turn out to be Lincoln March, Bruce Wayne's older brother from the Court of Owls storyline. That didn't turn out to be the case, but hey, one can wonder about the possibilities.
Why did they keep called Beast Boy "Beast"? Even in the captions. Hopefully, this isn't DC signaling they want to faux cool-ify Gar by just calling him "Beast". How about "Teen B" or "BB". Just kidding again.
The Titan's appearances were cool.
Don't "hate-read" this if you're not interested in any aspects of the story. But, if you like fun art, LGBTQ (mostly L) stories, are a Teen Titans completest or just want to see Nightwing's butt, check it out. It's 166 pages and $14.49 on Amazon.