Graphic Novel Review: I Am Not Starfire by Mariko Tamaki, art by Yoshi Yoshitani

I Am Not Starfire by Mariko Tamaki, art by Yoshi Yoshitani. DC Graphic Novels For Young Adults, 2021. 9781779501264. 184pp.

Mandy’s mom is the superhero Starfire, the ass-kicking, “bikini”-wearing member of the (Teen) Titans from the planet Tamaran, which makes people think they know Mandy. Her mom gets her all kinds of attention she doesn’t want, which sucks because Mandy sees herself as the opposite of Starfire. Mandy has no powers. She’s short and round and likes to dye her hair black so that she doesn’t sparkle. Her best friend Lincoln doesn’t care that Mandy’s mom is a hero, and is trying to help her navigate the Starfire groupies at school as well as her crush on Claire. Mandy gets a bit freaked out when Claire invites her over to work on a school assignment, but then gets mad when she asks about college — Mandy isn’t planning to attend one, and she does not want to talk about it. It’s pretty clear Claire is interested in friendship with Mandy, and maybe more…and then Starfire’s evil sister Blackfire shows up to demand that Mandy fight her to the death for the Tamaranian throne.

The art is great, the dialogue is realistic, and as a Teen Titans from way back it’s nice to see that DC green lit a book like this, one from such an unexpected narrative angle.


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