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Comic Book / Zodiac Starforce

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By the power of Astra, Starforce lights the way!

Zodiac Starforce is a Magical Girl comic published by Dark Horse Comics, written by Kevin Panetta and with art by Paulina Ganucheau. Part of a long line of mystic defenders, Emma, Kim, Molly and Savanna are Gemini, Taurus, Pisces and Aries, an elite group of teenage girls with magical powers who are sworn to defend our planet against evil creatures. Two years ago, they battled the evil goddess Cimmeria, but since her defeat, the team has split up. Now, monsters have begun reappearing...

The series later received a sequel entitled "Cries of the Fire Prince" which follows up on the reveal that there are more members of Zodiac Starforce out there.


Zodiac Starforce contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Kim's parents are constantly badmouthing her and trying to guilt trip her into a getting a job at the same factory her dad works in. It's implied Josh's parents are almost as bad when Kim says "They're garbage too."
  • Alpha Bitch: Diana is every bit the stereotype, being a bully and gathering her own Girl Posse. And interviews with the creators imply that she may be the Big Bad.
  • Amazon Brigade: Zodiac Starforce, par for the course for a magical girl team, are composed entirely of young girls. Subverted when it turns out that it's just Emma's team that happens to be all-female; the British Starforce Zodiac team is comprised of two guys and three girls.
  • Arm Cannon: Molly wields one while transformed.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Emma does this to the monster in the first issue, pointing out that the glowing gem seemed pretty obvious.
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  • Big Beautiful Woman: Kim is the chubbiest of the team and just as attractive.
  • Black Boss Lady: Capricorn is the leader of the British team, and is significantly older than any of the other members.
  • Blade on a Stick: Savi's weapon while transformed.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The teens in Diana’s coven.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: “By the Power of Astra, Zodiac Starforce lights the way!” (The tagline hasn’t changed in thousands of years.)
  • Child Soldiers: The other side of the series’ premise.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Though the Zodiac forms are predominantly light blue and white, each member of Starforce has their own colour scheme: Kim is blue, Molly is red, and Savanna is green. Emma takes the cake, since her uniform is almost completely pink and red.
  • The Corruption: The first monster that appears infects Emma with dark energy that causes her to black out and have strange visions, and which Astra says will eventually lead to her death.
  • Disposable Intern: How Cimmeria regards Diana, much to Diana’s distress.
  • The Dreaded: Cimmeria is dangerous enough that Astra won't risk allowing her access back into our world, even if it means Emma will die.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Alice in the sequel series, having gone from a brainwashed lackey to willingly trying to bring back Cimmeria and do whatever it takes to have power again.
  • Dual Tonfas: Lily’s weapons.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Nicole, the last surviving member of Diana's posse besides Alice, becomes increasingly distressed with how far Alice is going to have power and starts openly expressing her disapproval when Pavos kills Darren with Alice's consent.
  • Evil Former Friend: Alice Waters was originally Lily's best friend before she appeared in Diana's posse. It seemed as though Alice was brainwashed until the sequel series revealed Alice is now evil by choice.
  • Evil Makeover: Alice when she appears as a member of Diana's Girl Posse.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Alice Waters after the brainwashing wears off.
  • Fallen Hero: Diana was leader of the original Starforce, but turned to Cimmeria when Astra refused to bring her friends back to life. Diana's spent centuries trying to destroy Astra and every new version of Starforce that emerges, aided by the brainwashed, zombie versions of her old teammates.
  • Five-Token Band: Emma appears to be darker skinned. Kim and Savanna are white, Molly is Asian, and Lily is black.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • Pavos, the flame-wielding, life-drinking villain of Cries of the Fire Prince, was originally a male erotic dancer in Cimmeria's court who fell in love with Cimmeria and asked for her hand in marriage, for which she locked him in a dungeon for 500 years. When released, he becomes a casually murderous monster.
    • Alice, upon being depowered at the end of the first series, returns desperate to reclaim power in Cries of the Fire Prince. She murders one of her former team-mates in a blood offering that brings Pavos to Earth, and then allows him to suck the life out of her then-boyfriend, Darren, because she thinks Pavos is more useful.
  • The Ghost: Scorpio is unaccounted for
  • Girl Posse: Diana and her followers, which Josh describes as "a coven of mean girl witches".
  • Gone Horribly Right: Molly tries to open a portal to Nephos, the darkness dimension, in order to reach the source of Emma's corruption and destroy it. At first she doesn't think it worked, until Savi points out the giant hole in the sky.
    Savi: I think it worked a little too well.
  • Good Parents: Savi's mom is more than willing to let Kim spend a few days at their home if she needs help and only asks that Savi discuss it with her first.
  • Hates Being Alone: A possible reason why Diana keeps her zombified teammates around after thousands of years, and why she brainwashes groups of teens in the present day.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Emma/Gemini is the team leader, and her weapon is a sword.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Josh for Kim, and Lily for Savi. Later in the sequel series, Emma for Jack, the Leo of the British team.
  • Huddle Shot: Used when the volleyball team is fighting during their big match.
  • Human Sacrifice: In the very first issue of the sequel series, Cries of the Fire Prince, Alice murders her fellow ex-coven member of Diana, Leigh, by stabbing her with a dagger and offering her blood in an effort to make contact with Cimmeria.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: In the sequel series, Cries of the Fire Prince, Alice is not taking it well that she was depowered after Diana was defeated in the last issue of the first series. So much so that she's willing to kill one of her former team-mates as a blood offering to get that power back.
  • In Harm's Way: Kim misses everything about the days they fought Cimmeria's forces, but especially the monster fights. Savi is a little nostalgic about it too.
  • Kid Detective: The girl who was spotted spying on the team by Kim turns out to be part of the high school's Detective Club, which has been following Zodiac Starforce's exploits for years and have been gathering information to help them if needed. They've got information on Diana and her minions and even reveal they know about past versions of the group, as well as the other Starforce team revealed at the end of the series.
  • Killed Off for Real: Cimmeria is finally killed at the end of the first series. During the second one, Darren's murdered by Pavos for an energy boost.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Emma is the leader, and has a uniform that is mostly pink and red compared to the mostly light-blue uniforms of her teammates.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: In Cries of the Fire Prince, Molly immediately presumes the British branch of Zodiac Starforce kidnapped her and gets into a fight with their leader Capricorn, not helped by her discovering they have Diana imprisoned.
  • Love at First Punch: Downplayed. Whilst Emma is beating on a punching bag to vent her frustrations over Molly's injuries in issue 3 of Cries of the Fire Prince, Jack offers to spar with her. The fierce match ends with the two of them making out, which only ends when Molly and Capricorn burst through the wall at the start of issue 4.
  • Love Redeems: Savanna is able to break Diana's hold on Lily by declaring she loves her, and as the two kiss Lily is transformed into Libra.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Kim has a shield while transformed, and can use it to reflect attacks.
  • Magical Girl Warrior: The Zodiac Starforce prefer brute force attacks with swords and the like.
  • Missing Mom: Emma's mother is implied to be one of the casualties of the girls' battles with Cimmeria.
  • Neck Lift: At the climax of issue 4 of Cries of the Fire Prince, Pavos grabs Molly by the throat and hoists her - and Emma, who she was preventing from falling to her doom at the time - aloft with one hand. He then starts sucking her lifeforce out.
  • The Needs of the Many: Astra’s response when the girls try and ask for her help with healing Emma’s corruption.
  • Nightmare Face: Emma sees one on a girl at Colleen's party when she bumps into her, possibly as a side-effect of the corruption she received.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Pavos, the villain of Cries of the Fire Prince, has a strong vampire motif to him, with a design that invokes Vampires Are Sex Gods and the ability to feed on Life Force. He's unaffected by daylight, and his powers include Playing with Fire and secreting an inky slime that can possess machines and turn them into bestial mooks.
  • Power Glows: The Starforce girls' weapons, which glow to the point that they seem to be made of light.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Kim really wants to do this, even though as far as the rest of the team is concerned they're done fighting monsters.
  • Recruit Teenagers with Attitude: The Zodiac Starforce, who were all fourteen when they started out two years prior to the series' beginning. The first issue implies it will be a deconstruction, as Emma points out that they experienced some fairly traumatic things and even witnessed the deaths of people close to them when they were fighting Cimmeria.
  • Refusal of the Call: When Emma turns down Cimmeria’s offer of power and resurrecting her mother.
  • Sequel Hook: The end of the last issue reveals some shadowy organization has intel on another Starforce team that's currently active. Said team has a version of Libra whose file is stamped "Deceased," which raises questions about how Lily got her powers and if there's any connection with the previous Libra's death.
  • Shoujou: Catered towards this genre, it features lots of magic, sparkles, bright colors, and kissing.
  • Shout-Out: Emma has a Sailor Moon clock in her room. Fitting.
    • When Lily becomes Libra, her hair turns purple and suddenly she resembles Shana from Jem.
    • A girl in the café is wearing a shirt with BB-8 on it.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Kim and Josh can be like this. Molly thinks they're disgusting, Savanna thinks they're adorable.
  • Sketchy Successor: Virgo of the British team is immediately hostile and openly bitter towards Lily the moment they meet, because the former Libra died fighting Cimmeria. Virgo even refers to Lily as "Some American cosplaying Libra."
  • Stalker with a Crush: Played for laughs with Pavos, the titular villain of Cries of the Fire Prince, immediately becomes infatuated with Molly upon seeing her and declares his intent to take her as his concubine in the same breath as he vows to destroy Zodiac Starforce.
  • Star Power: The source of the Zodiac Starforce powers; Astra is (presumably) the manifestation of stars.
  • Stout Strength: Kim is physically the biggest of the team, being noticeably heftier than Emma and the others.
  • Tainted Veins: Emma gets these after her crystal gets corrupted.
  • Tomboy: Kim, with her Peek-a-Bangs, tattered vest, and Boisterous Bruiser personality. Her Zodiac form even has spikes on it.
  • Understanding Boyfriend: Kim's boyfriend Josh is much more nicer and supportive compared to how Darren treats Savanna. Kim also told him about Zodiac Starforce, so he knows to call and check that Kim's alright when the monsters begin invading and also let her know he's okay too.
  • West Coast Team: It turns out the main team functions as this to the other one, as Emma's group is in the United States while the team led by Capricorn (which has been around for much longer) is based in England.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Kim and Emma can't figure out why Savanna is interested in jerkass Darren. She eventually breaks up with him and starts dating Lily.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Diana disappears at the end of the series following Cimmeria's defeat, with no mention as to whether or not she was still alive. The sequel series revealed she's been detained by the British team for months.
  • Who Wears Short Shorts?: One difference from most Magical Girls (with the exception of Subaru Nakajima) is that the girls wear shorts instead of skirts.


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