STEVEN UNIVERSE #2
Written by Melanie Gillman
Art by Katy Farina, Whitney Cogar, & Mike Fiorentino
Published by BOOM! Studios
Release Date: March 22, 2017
It’s not always easy to get into a kids’ movie.
Connie and Steven want to see The Unfamiliar Familiar, only to be stopped by the age restriction, and Stevonnie doesn’t get them access. Even with their troubles, they find a new adventure with Kiki, preparing for prom. Though this dynamic duo faces a different dilemma, they find a way to enjoy the dance and keep everything calm.
Steven Universe #2 is a wonderful look into a part of Beach City we know using a new perspective. Stevonnie adds a new layer for the story by not only addressing Steven and Connie’s barriers to adventure, but also looking at the relationship of Kiki with her town and of Stevonnie with those around them. This endearing story gets the need for childhood fun, adolescent relationships, and the complexities of gender without throwing people under the bus and with a care and deliberation that is not easy to portray.
Melanie Gillman writes a trans analog into the story with Steven and Connie figuring out how to discuss the reality of Stevonnie with Kiki. There are many questions that come up which I have never had to consider as a result of my privilege, and the way this situation is approached touches on the reality of discussing being trans with potential partners.
Without stepping too far out of my lane, I recognize that Steven, Connie, and Stevonnie’s dilemma is one which is vital for trans and nonbinary people that can also be tinged with danger. While it’s handled differently via a half-half Gem fusion, it does raise important questions not only for Stevonnie themselves, but for many people who may read this comic.
Things end well (spoiler?), though Steven Universe #2 gives readers a glimpse into a circumstance which can be a linchpin in the intimate lives of trans and nonbinary people. It’s important to see their perspectives on this and understand the multifaceted and nuanced perspectives on disclosure, gender, and dating.
Katy Farina and Whitney Cogar grasp the youthful tone of the story while still addressing its emotional depth. Crafting the art for an established series never looks easy, so I appreciate when a team is able to use a style similar to other media while also keepings it charm in visual translation. Farina and Cogar deftly create the world of Beach City with imagery that is firmly enmeshed in the larger mythos, from form to background tone.
Steven Universe has four seasons of animated media behind it. To see that the second issue of this comic takes the subtleties of the cartoon to heart, addressing important issues at its forefront, is beyond inspiring. Stevonnie is always amazing, and we get to see Kiki in a new light, taking these characters and the world around them and putting a context into a story beyond interstellar minerals.
This issue is a wonderful discussion point for fans of Steven Universe, regardless of age and gender, and provides more than enough material to address gender in the context of this universe and ours. Steven Universe is a grand series for all ages and it deserves its spot in your mind, on your shelf, and tucked away in your longbox.
The Verdict: 10/10