After a tease at the beginning of this past March in the Infinite Frontier special, kicking off the DC Universe's new era, Geoff Johns and Todd Nauck reunite for Stargirl Spring Break Special #1, bringing Courtney Whitmore and her stepfather Pat Dugan back in the spotlight. The oversized special issue has Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E. go on an epic team-up with one of the DCU's oldest superhero teams for a time-bending adventure that teases bigger things to come from DC's Golden Age legacy. And while some of the pacing in this issue is uneven, the issue as a whole is a thrill ride while providing a tantalizing sneak peek at what's on the horizon for Courtney and her friends.
Following Pat receiving a call for help from his old teammates on the Seven Soldiers of Victory, he and Courtney travel to Charleston where they reunite with the classic Golden Age team. This father-daughter outing collides with Green Arrow and mentoring his long-lost half-sister Emiko Queen as the group convenes to investigate the tragic mystery of the eighth Soldier of Victory as they embark on an adventure that pits the entire fate of the space-time continuum in the balance. And by the time the dust settles, the true stakes of this time-travel spring break trip are brought to the forefront as Courtney celebrates her spring break with her usual superhero derring-do.
At first glance, this special is a breezy primer on the history behind the Seven Soldiers of Victory from Courtney's perspective as she learns more about her stepfather's superhero origins. This means that there's a fair bit of exposition, even after the action kicks into high gear roughly halfway through the issue that might bog down the pacing a bit. Johns is juggling an extensive cast of characters here and he captures each of their voices well -- having previously written and/or co-created several of the more prominent heroes in this tale -- and there's a joy in seeing, more or less, the original Seven Soldiers back in action together but this is really a Stargirl story at the end of the day, as the title suggests.
Nauck, working with colorist Hi-Fi, brings some bombastic superhero action, with the artwork firing on all cylinders when it features all of the Seven Soldiers working together. There's some big, splashy set pieces throughout this special and Hi-Fi's choice in color palette makes some of the action sequences have a psychedelic quality as time is warped from this super-powered showdown to great effect. And in a brief back-up story, Bryan Hitch and Alex Sinclair team up for a postscript that is poised to have even bigger repercussions for Courtney and Pat moving forward as the DCU continues to embrace its Golden Age legacy.
The Stargirl Spring Break is both a fun return for Courtney Whitmore while serving as a prologue to a greater exploration of DC's Golden Age. The action set pieces are engaging and the Nauck's designs to the extensive cast of characters has a timeless quality to it. And while the Golden Age reunion noticeably is encumbered by exposition at times, there is a certain thrill in seeing the Seven Soldiers of Victory back together again after all these years to confront their own history as they face down a common enemy from their past as Johns tees up even more intriguing directions moving forward.