Today’s Super Comic — Starman #72 (2000)

This late in the series, I can’t really review without spoilers, so consider this your warning if you intend to read this series for the first time.

Okay, then in that case…

We get a major development in Starman #72 as the original Starman (Ted Knight) dies a heroic death saving Opal City from his longtime foe, the Mist. His ending is fitting, and it ties back nicely to this series’ first storyline.

What’s most impressive is how before the start of this series, Ted Knight was a nonentity, just another old member of the Justice Society of America. Writer James Robinson built him up into an adventurous scientist, the sort of superhero who lights the darkness rather than casts darkness, one who has retained his heroic edge well into old age even as he’s turned over his Starman identity to his son Jack. In previous issues, flashbacks have colored in his backstory, and he no longer feels like just a part of a lineup. Rather, he’s an integral part of DC’s Golden Age.

In another other important development, Jack Knight meets his infant son. So he becomes a father and loses his father in a single issue. It’s thematically on-the-nose, but appropriate.

Writer: James Robinson

Artist: Peter Snejbjerg

Cover: Andrew Robinson

Publisher: DC Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Comixology; included in Starman Omnibus vol. 6 (HC)

Appropriate For: ages 14 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Starman #12 (1995)

starman_vol_2_12Starman has been a hard series to put down. It evolves with every issue, building on itself almost like a novel. Previous events are never forgotten—they enrich later issues.

Issue #12 opens by addressing a major event in an early issue, when the new Starman killed a bad guy but promised himself he would never kill again. Well, that’s certainly a nice sentiment after the fact, but he still killed a guy and the law has to do its thing. The judge clears Jack of any wrongdoing, and it’s nice to see that Jack’s legal innocence doesn’t entirely clear his conscience. It’s a great weight off, though, and the high point of a day that ends up with him trying to escape a new super-villain without his cosmic staff or any clothes.

The new villain plays nicely into the book’s generational theme, giving us the daughter of Golden Age villain the Mist vs. the son of the Golden Age superhero Starman.

Writer James Robinson employs an interesting technique in this series every now and then, one that wouldn’t normally work in monthly comics. In narrative captions, he flat-out tells us what will happen in Jack’s future. In this issue, we learn Jack will have a daughter years later, he’ll receive a gift from his dead brother, and he’ll visit outer space. Without any specific details, these tidbits tease future stories without really spoiling anything, and they give the sense that Robinson has an exciting grand plan mapped out. And I believe him.

Hmm…sleep, or keep reading…?

Writer: James Robinson

Artist: Tony Harris

Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger

Publisher: DC Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Comixology; included in Starman Omnibus vol. 1 (HC)

Appropriate For: ages 14 and up