Saturday, December 5, 2009

Reach for the Starman


The Starman Omnibus, Vol. 1
DC Comics

Real emotion. Real emotion is a rarity in any sort of fiction. One of the things that separates a classic story from merely a popular one. It's a double rarity for said fiction to create living, breathing characters who nearly step off the page and speak to you. James Robinson and Tony Harris's Starman is one of these rarities.

The mid nineties were a bleak time to be a comic fan. Over muscled mono-syllabic buffoons carrying guns the size of a small Balkan nation were the rule. Some of the leaps made in the eighties by cutting edge books like Sandman and Watchman had catapulted the medium into the public eye, but speculation had reared it's ugly head and pumped hundreds of vapid "collectible" comics into the market.

This glut, while ultimately very harmful for the industry also ushered in a handful of truly remarkable titles that probably wouldn't have been released in the previous decade. James Robinson and Tony Harris set out to revamp a third string hero, A Justice Society of America old timer named Starman. However Robinson and Harris's Starman was much different than his Golden Age counterpart, who just happened to be his father.

Jack Knight had absolutely no ambition to become a hero, a fact that he makes plain throughout the entire book (which collects the first seventeen issues of the comic). Jack just wants to run his junk shop and leave the heroic exploits to his father and brother ( David Knight, who took over the mantle of Starman after Their father Ted retired). Unfortunately, Jack's idyllic existence isn't meant to last and David is assassinated while patrolling Opal city and Ted Knight is attacked and hospitalized.

Jack Knight may not want to become a hero, but unfortunately he IS one. He has to wield a backup cosmic rod as necessity to save his own hide and gradually falls in to becoming a full time hero. Much like Peter Parker before him, Jack is a real person with real motives and problems. Also like the Webslinger, he has an amazing cast of supporting characters that nearly jump off the page.

James Robinson's dialogue is whip sharp and Tony Harris's beautifully realistic and expressive art brings a wonder to the series that is not present in comics very often. Starman is a fantastic series and I give it my highest possible recommendation.

The Specs
I think I like the format of this book a bit more than the behemoth Absolute editions that DC has solicited for a couple of years now. This volume adheres to more of a standard Hardback size while retaining the high quality paper and color separation that makes the artwork really pop off the pages. The price is also considerably lower than the absolute editions which is also a big plus in my book. The standard DVD style extras are also included with sketches, a cover gallery, and commentary.

All in all a quite superb package.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Site Meter
Science Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory