Graphic Novel Review: Starfighter Ch. 1 by Hamlet Machine

Abel gets his assignment as a navigator in a space army only to find out his partner in his navigator-fighter team, Cain, is a dominant, possessive jerk... whose dominance is as sexy as it is insufferable to Abel. Cain might be able to give him the things he's only ever fantasized about, if they can get through all the dangerous space missions and shady machinations they have to deal with.

Book Cover - Starfighter Ch. 1 by Hamlet Machine
Title: Starfighter Ch. 1
Book Number: Chapter 1
Pages: 47
My Rating: 2 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Webcomic


Originally I was just going to share my thoughts for each chapter in this webcomic, but my thoughts for the early chapters don’t do the series justice. (My rating for Ch. 1 is 2 stars, but my rating for the series is more like 4 stars.) So I’m gonna start with a series review, and then I’ll give my thoughts for Ch. 1 specifically.

It’s funny because there was no part of me that would’ve guessed when I first started this comic that I would kind of love it by the end.

This story started out with a problematic and kinda dubcon relationship, it was all about the sex, and Cain was a jerk. (None of which makes a story bad, it just wasn’t what I was expecting and wasn’t working for me.) But it evolved into a great story—if you can get past the premise of a space army full of hot, young, horny gay guys—that wasn’t just about sex, with characters I really cared about and sweet relationships I totally shipped!

It took me a while to understand the premise with the war and fighting, but honestly, you don’t need to fully understand that. The focus is on the relationships and the lives of the characters.

All the main characters seemed to have some sort of growth that made me love them by the end, even if I disliked them at the start. And I loved that Cain and Abel weren’t the only interesting characters. Cain was dominant, violent, and arrogant, but he was also desperate and just wanted a way out. Abel was quiet and steady but firm in his convictions. Deimos was sneaky and quiet but not as meek as he appeared. Keeler was compassionate and determined, desperate in his own way. Encke was strict and by-the-book but had a good heart. The author/artist made me interested in all of them.

This story had a nice mix of elements. There was romance. There was a lot of very explicit and steamy sex. There were some fun action sequences with space battles or characters fighting each other. There was a bit of a mystery.

There was even some disability rep among side characters. Praxis was missing an eye, and Keeler had some sort of invisible disability related to body modifications.

The art started out a bit rough but really improved over the course of the series. I have mild complaints—it was hard to tell flashbacks from the present, and pages could’ve been organized better sometimes—but the art itself was great. The use of color was cool too, with just some things having a bit of color, sometimes bold and noticeable, sometimes only a subtle hint. The artist also paid a lot of attention to facial expressions and always made them so expressive.

Altogether this story is 400-something pages, but it felt shorter. I think it was a pretty a quick read. Some things could’ve been explored a bit more in-depth or a little less rushed near the end, but I know comics are a lot of work to make, especially for free. I just wanted more because it was good!

Overall, I really enjoyed this in the end, both the story and the artwork, and became really invested in these characters!

*I’ve read this comic multiple times. This review was written after my 2nd read.*

*This review is based on the webcomic. Other formats may have differences I am not aware of.*

1st Read Thoughts (Ch. 1):

What did I just read? The first thing Cain did was tell Abel that he (Abel) was his (Cain’s) bitch now and bite his lip in order to mark him. And Abel just kinda let him. Then they went on a mission to blow up an enemy base, and Cain jacked off in the ship on the way back. Then they got back to their shared room and I had a brief moment of happiness when Abel stood up to Cain, but boy was it brief because immediately after that they started getting it on. I mean, I didn’t mind the naughty bits, but I would’ve liked a story that made sense and maybe some believable characters to go with the naughty bits. Is this how all yaoi is? Maybe it’s just not my thing. But anyway, it’s free, so I can’t complain too much. And the art style is a little rough at times but good. If you just want some explicit, sexy, erotic drawings, I think you’ll find this satisfactory. I’ll keep reading because it’s free and pretty to look at and maybe it’ll get better.

*Rating: 2 Stars // 1st Read Date: 2017 // Source: Free Webcomic*

2nd Read Thoughts (Ch. 1):

Chapter 1 was mediocre. Kinda dubcon, though actually not as bad as I remembered it being since Abel did consent and ask for Cain to fuck him. It’s just that Cain was pushy about it at first and could’ve been more considerate and gentle. Also, Cain was a complete asshole, and my first instinct is to say I don’t understand why Abel would choose him of all people to sleep with for the first time. But, when I think about it, I guess I can understand. It was something he really wanted but had never had, and here it was being offered, and Cain was so dominant and forceful that it would’ve been hard for him to say no when he did kind of already want it. But this chapter was definitely about the sex more than anything else.

*Rating: 2 Stars // 2nd Read Date: 2020 // Source: Free Webcomic*


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  1. Greg

    Glad this turned out so good! Sounds like a lot going on in this one but the relationships manage to stay the focus.

    I love the idea of webcomics, there’s something about a continuing story that is so fun.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! I actually usually prefer getting to just read a whole story at once lol. But following one or two, as long as they do get completed, commenting and stuff along the way, can be fun!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Haha I remember chatting about this years ago! Idk if you’ll see this response, I might have to tweet at you lol, I was wondering if you ever finished it now that it’s complete??