Welcome friends, to another comic book review! Today we will be looking at one of my personal favorites, Hero Cats of Stellar City! That’s right gang, we’ve got our paws (see what I did there?) on our very own copy of Hero Cats of Stellar City Volume 4: World Tour and so in classic fashion we are presenting a relatively spoiler-free review for your reading pleasure. Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s get started!
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Hero Cats of Stellar City, it follows the adventures of Ace, Cassiopeia, Rocket, Belle, Midnight and Rocco as they face dangerous foes and save the day with their awesome cat powers. Hero Cats of Stellar City was created by Kyle Puttkammer and is published by Action Lab Comics. The creative team varies a bit from issue to issue, but we will get into that later.
Hero Cats of Stellar City Volume 4: World Tour collects issues 10-12 and takes readers on, well, a world tour…ehem. We get to travel to the wild west, a jungle, and even to the far east with our furry, four legged friends. What this boils down to is a fun mixture of different adventure tropes, a bit of Indiana Jones, some Clint Eastwood and a dash of Seven Samurai.
World Tour centers around our heroes escorting “the princess” back home to Stellar City while encountering various obstacles, pitfalls, villains and dangerous and mystical powers. In the first installment, the Hero Cats find themselves stranded in the desert after their hot air balloon crash lands. After wandering for some time they discover a small town called “Coyote Canyon,” which greatly resembles the archetypal wild west town, complete with saloon, sheriff’s headquarters and a nefarious band of outlaws! Yes friends, even the Hero Cats aren’t safe from the law breakers of the wild west.
The big bad of this story is Billy “The Jackal” Jordan, and after he attempts to rob a passenger train it puts his gang on a collision course with the Hero Cats which leads to a fun little chase scene. Hero Cats of Stellar City consistently delivers in this department, and it is always entertaining to see the Hero Cats in action.
Next, the team crash lands in the jungle of the Misty Islands after thwarting a smuggler. It is interesting to note that each new issue begins with little to no explanation as to how the Hero Cats wind up on a hot air balloon, an airplane or what have you, but it really doesn’t matter since the book is so much fun to read. Besides, as a fan of cats in general I was pleased to see that we get to see the Hero Cats ride on some elephants in this next installment since I had always wondered what that would look like, but that’s just me.
Issue 11 deals with a man named Malo, who explains to the Hero Cats that a strange curse has fallen on the Misty Islands ever since his brother Kes had gone missing. After some deliberation, Malo agrees to help the Hero Cats find their way off the island if they in turn help him to locate his brother and solve the mystery of the curse.
Aside from all the mystical cursing and island tomfoolery, we get a couple of scenes in this issue that build upon the characters. It seems that Midnight has had just about enough of Belle’s constant complaining and tells her off, much to the rest of the group’s chagrin. Later on, Belle shows her more vulnerable side and snuggles up next to Ace when the team finds shelter. Scenes like this always get me right in the chest region where my heart would be if I had one, but I do not; for I was chemically man-made in a lab many years ago.
In the final installment of Volume 4, the Hero Cats find themselves stranded in a village somewhere in the far east. After the gang spots a house fire, it’s up to Ace, Rocket and Midnight to investigate. They meet a cat named Bamboo who explains that the Kaze Clan has kidnapped Sakura, a special cat that brings “luck and fortune” to the village. But wait, there’s more! The Kaze Clan also planted phony evidence to suggest that the Reza Clan is actually responsible for the fire. What a lousy bunch of losers!
We get some nice action in this issue that features the Hero Cats battling ninjas, which is something I have always wanted to see. Personally, I find that there are a lot of similarities between cats and ninjas, so this scene was particularly entertaining. Plus, if you ever wanted to see a cat wearing a kimono, now you can!
The creative team consists of Puttkammer, who writes each issue, Marcus Williams (pencils), Ryan Sellers (inks), Omaka Shultz (colors) and Shanon Butt (letters). For issue 11 Shultz takes on pencils while Julie Barclay handles the colors, and in issue 12 Brandon Page provides inks. While the team shifts around a bit from issue to issue, nothing ever feels disjointed. Each artist does have their own style, but there is a certain uniformity that is maintained throughout the entire collected volume. This may be due in part to Keck Stewart handling edits across all three issues, but one thing is for certain: regardless of who is doing what, Hero Cats of Stellar City always looks absolutely fantastic.
I can happily recommend Hero Cats of Stellar City to just about any reader. While it is geared towards younger fans, cat aficionados will also find it quite entertaining. One of my favorite parts of these books is how the creative team interacts with their fans, and there is always a small blurb at the end of each issue that features the Hero Cats’ real life counterparts or some cool fan art. For more Hero Cats action, visit HeroCatsOnline.com where you can get your own copy of Volume 4, back issues, and cool Hero Cats gear!
Will you be joining the Hero Cats on their world tour? Let us know in the comments section and on our Twitter page!