me jazzed because I just found a new series of trade paperbacks
to waste my hard earned cash on!
remember Zero Hour, the only DC crossover besides Final Night
in the last ten years that didn't completely suck? The events
in Zero Hour spawned a slew of new titles, all starting at
issue #0, and among the crap-tacular titles that were produced
(Fate, Manhunter, and Xenobrood to name a few), only Starman
survived. Well, the reason it survived was that it is just
such a damn fine book.
Robinson writes the story of Jack Knight, antique junk dealer
by day antique junk dealer by night. Jack is no superhero
and has no desire to be, which has always grated on his father
Ted Knight, DC's Starman, now retired.
Age aficionados will tell you, Starman used to run with the
Justice Society of America, and his powers of flight and energy
blasts were derived from the "Cosmic Rod" (no, not
the cheap 1970's porno by the same name) Ted Knight created.
But Ted has given up his mantle for astronomical pursuits,
and Jack's older brother David is the new Starman. Well, he
is for about two minutes, and is then promptly assassinated.
off Starman: Sins of the Father, (the first volume
collecting issues 0-5) where an old enemy from Starman's past,
The Mist, has decided that the Knight family and Starman need
no longer inhabit Opal City. Jack must reluctantly step into
his role as inheritor of the Cosmic Rod, and bring his brother's
killer to justice.
Robinson writes a superhero who is not only reluctant, but
downright obstinate in the act of becoming a hero. Jack Knight
could care less about going on patrol and joining the JLA;
he just wants to sell old PEZ dispensers and trade in for
some art deco napkin holders. Jack isn't even sure why he
picks up the rod and goes flying about until he confronts
the man who killed his brother, where Jack has flashbacks
to his childhood that help him to understand some fundamental
facts about family: you may have to love your family, but
you don't have to like them.
there is a writer out there that does better foreshadowing
than Robinson, tell me who and I will make him or her my new
God. Robinson inserts seemingly innocuous and pointless scenes
that have everything to do with future plot points. In one
such scene, we are treated to a woman getting sucked into
a poster, and a bald, absurdly mustached man taking said poster.
This has absolutely nothing to do with the plotline in Sins
but is a semi-major point in Starman: Night and Day,
the second volume collecting issues 7-10 and 12-16 (a nine-issue
trade, that's only $17.95? DC has gone mad!).
Sins gave us a great origin story, Night is
where Robinson shines. While it begins with brief, two-issue
story about Jack finding a freak show who's freaks are imprisoned
by a demon, the rest of the volume focuses on Jack's first
test as a hero, as The (New) Mist launches a crime wave that
leaves a bloodstains all over Opal City, and worse yet, Jack
is already in her clutches.
about Starman is that, while it is a book about the superhero,
it's also about Opal City itself and the myriad of people
that inhabit it and touch Starman's life. Characters like
the creepily helpful Shade, an ex-villain who has lived in
Opal City long enough to enjoy two U.S. centennials, provide
such interesting background to the story, as well more suspicious
foreshadowing (Shade keeps making references to "a lawman
in the 1900s" and "the Indian," the latter
of which is glimpsed in Night). We also get treated
to a heavy does of Jack's father Ted, and are introduced to
the O'Dare family; a family of cops dating back to before
Opal City was Opal City.
we're here, let's not forget the art on this book. In one
word: freaking awesome (oh wait, that's two ). Tony Harris
does the pencils while Wade Von Grawbadger inks them, and
the result is fine looking book. Opal City looks alive and
vibrant, like a place that should be safe and secure, but
still carries that shadow quality that makes you sure that
something is hiding, waiting to jump out at you and devour
style is clean and moody, which suits this book just fine,
and as a bonus, Tony designs the covers for each issue, which
are included in the gallery in each collection. The covers
are a treasure; beautifully rendered and graphically captivating.
They are what could arguably be called some of the best comic
book cover art ever done.
there are two books being reviewed here is that, like black-tar-heroin,
reading good comics is addictive. If you read Sins,
you will automatically be inclined to go back to the comic
shop, or to your nearest Borders, and buy Nights.
you'll want the third volume you see? Just like heroin.
has been nominated for multiple Eisner Awards, so it's not
just me trying to separate you from your money; it's the entire
comic book industry. Go out and buy these books, and enjoy
the intellectual high a good comic provides. The upside is
that comics are a lot cheaper than large quantities of mind-altering
drugs, so you're actually saving money by buying the trade.
My, aren't we frugal.