Monday, January 23, 2012

Starman: Omnibus Vol. 1 - Review


The 90’s were a strange time for comic books. On one end of the spectrum you had the hyper-violent books from Image that were pushing the boundaries of just how gritty a superhero could be and on the other end you had the strange storytelling of B-list characters like Starman. In James Robinson’s run on the successor to Ted Knight’s Golden Age legacy as the cosmic caped avenger, Jack Knight quickly transforms from simple reboot concept into a whole different beast entirely.

The great thing about DC Comic’s B-list character is that each of them is just as complex as their A-list characters. With the right artist and writer these background and back up characters can be hurdled into the spotlight and can attain the level of respect they deserve. There are no bad characters when it comes to the right creative team, and Starman is the perfect example of that.

Robinson takes the concept of one of the more, in my opinion, goofy characters of the JSA (Justice Society of America) and makes his newest incarnation a much more complex individual while also adding depth to his father, the original holder of the Starman mantle. Jack has his own style and method of heroism that, even down to his costume, just makes sense. He tries to balance his work life with his new duty as a hero and even takes a much more practical approach to the equipment to get the job done. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want a Starman leather jacket?

The artwork by Tony Harris is also inspiring. Though many people argue that lots of books from that era were stale and all looked the same, I think that it was just the overall style of the publisher. It’s like how DC now is taking a somewhat more cartooned approach to characters as opposed to the more realistic style they had back in the 90’s. It just changes over time. And Harris was able to use the style at the time to tell an incredible story through Robinson’s scripts. Every panel makes me feel closer to Jack, Ted, The Shade, and The Mist.

If you’re a fan of Animal Man, Swamp Thing, or any superhero books where the character puts his own spin on what it means to take up the good fight, then this is a book for you. I give it 5/5 for introducing me to a character that I might have overlooked if I hadn’t come across this beautifully collected omnibus.


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