Steven Universe follows the adventures of young Steven and the Crystal Gems as they protect their home, Beach City, its inhabitants, and the planet Earth from the monsters and other Gems that attack it. While Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl rebelled from their own race after falling in love with the Earth, the Homeworld Gems have plans to rule and conquer the planet. Taking place over two tv shows and a movie, the show’s monster of the week formula allows for comics like Crystal Clean to exist in-between the episodes of the show. This volume takes place roughly around season five, post episode “Raising the Barn,” as Peridot is back living in Steven’s bathroom while Steven is more confident in his powers and abilities.
On one of the hottest days of the summer, the Crystal Gems have decided to clean the entire house. As Pearl points out, it doesn’t matter whose mess it is; it just has to go! Eventually getting to the beach, Steven and the Gems are shocked to discover a slimy green substance covering everything. Agreeing to help clean the beach and find the culprit, the Gems task Peridot with building a new gadget to speed up the cleaning process.
I thought author Talya Perper brought each Crystal Gem’s voice to the comic pretty easily, with some standout moments for Garnet and Amethyst early on that I could practically hear in the show. The adventure Perper takes the Gems on also feels ripped from the show, with a focus on the Gems’ interactions with townspeople and having a moral in cleaning up after your own (or anyone’s family).
S. M. Mara’s art also nailed the stylings of the show, with the panels almost seeming like screencaps from the show. A lot of each character’s quirks were well represented in the comic, with Peridot having her nervous sweat marks or Steven’s concerned eyebrows. I’m not going to lie, but I hate when the comic art is different from the animated show it adapts, so I was happy to see a faithful art adaptation for this volume. This is also in part due to colors by Kieran Quigley, as each Gem has a unique color palette that fans would quickly spot if they were off.
This volume is not part of any ongoing Steven Universe series, and would fit into any juvenile graphic novel or comic collection. While the publisher’s website and the pre-published copy do not indicate an age range, Amazon states age 8 to 11 which is likely a good fit for this OGN. The close family vibe, sense of ownership in the community, and moral of cleaning up messes makes Steven Universe: Crystal Clean an easy purchase to recommend.
Steven Universe: Crystal Clean
By Talya Perper
Art by S. M. Mara
BOOM! Studios KaBOOM!, 2020
Related media: TV to Comic
NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11), Tween (10-13)