Galaxy: The Prettiest Star

DC Comics. May 2022. 208p. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781401298531.
Gr 9 Up–Sixteen-year-old Taelyr (Taylor among the humans) lives a boring, normal life in a small, quiet town. That life just so happens to include being on the run, hiding from the Vane, aliens who attacked Taelyr’s home world Cyandii in an intergalactic war six years prior. Taelyr was a princess in Cyandii, but on Earth she is forced to live under the radar as an ordinary boy, in a family unit consisting of other survivors, disconnected and unhappy, but alive. Taelyr’s life is upended when she meets new student Kat and, for the first time on Earth, feels safe enough to reveal her truth. The illustrator employs a retrofuturistic art style that uses stunning layers of vibrant interplay among sharp angles, long curves, and silhouettes, making for a visual feast. Adding to the artistic depth is the use of texture, mimicking splatter, as well as sponging, dynamic linework, and the incorporation of the lesbian and transgender flag colors when Taelyr transitions. Trans writer Axelrod crafts an honest, relatable story that delves into issues of feeling out of place in one's own body, and relationships strained by transitioning, but also contains hope and joy. Bullying, queer slurs, and anti-Black sentiment are present, and the majority of human characters are white, though Kat is Black. There is a wide range of body types and sizes. While part of the DC universe with a few brief mentions of Superman, readers won’t need traditional superhero knowledge to thoroughly enjoy this story.
VERDICT An effervescent and poignant tale about discovering and embracing your truest self against all odds; a must buy for teen collections.

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