Steven Universe: Fusion Frenzy #1 is a collection of short stories set in the Steven Universe... universe. The thematic link between each story is that they address the complexities of being a "fusion." Fusions in Steven Universe are what happen when two beings fuse into one, creating a new being that is a composite of the original two. This is used as an analogy for relationships, both platonic and romantic.
I've never considered how difficult it is to describe Steven Universe until writing this review. Ostensibly, it's about a half-human/half-alien boy named Steven Universe being raised by three aliens called "The Crystal Gems." The Crystal Gems are something akin to intergalactic freedom fighters locked in combat against their home world. But on top of that seemingly simple concept is an entire ecosystem of subplots about growing up, finding your own identity, gender issues, sex and race issues, forgiveness and acceptance, and just about everything else you can think of. Fusion Frenzy #1 focuses heavily on the theme of communication; each story addressing the complexity of the Fusion process (and by extension the complexity of healthy, stable relationships). The writing walks the balancing act of feeling unique while still being true to the characters in the show, as well. I felt confident that any of the stories in this comic could have taken place in the show's canon. The first three stories were particularly gripping. The later two weren't bad, but they definitely felt less nuanced and by extension were a bit forgettable for me which is a shame considering they utilized more minor characters from the show.
What lifts up the last two stories, and the book as a whole, is the artwork, which I can only describe as gorgeous. Each comic has a different style that takes a new spin on the pastel style from the show. These styles don't feel obligated to stay completely identical to the source material and take liberties to play with colors, perspective, and expression in engaging ways that make each story feel distinct from each other.
If you're a fan of Steven Universe, you should read this comic. Frankly, you should be reading all of the Steven Universe comics, but this also serves as a great point to jump in. Additionally, for those less familiar with the show, this is a good place to start. It drops you right into the action without overwhelming you with new terms. Steven Universe: Fusion Frenzy #1 does a phenomenal job of illustrating what is great about Steven Universe.
Creative Team: Anthony Oliveira (Writer), Jy Yang (Writer), Steve Foxe (Writer), Nicole Andelfinger (Writer), Sarah Gailey (Writer), Ver (Artist), Doki Rosi (Artist), Xiao Tong Kong (Artist), Mollie Rose (Artist), Maurizia Rubino (Artist), Cristina Rose Chua (Colorist), Jamie Loughran (Colorist), Mike Fiorentino (Letterer), DC Hopkins (Letterer)
Publisher: KaBOOM! (BOOM! Studios)
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