So often when we come to a story’s end we think to ourselves, “Yeah, but what happens next?” Mark Millar seeks to sate our inquisitive nature with a new series called Starlight — which follows the story of a man who 40 years prior went to another planet and defeated a horrible alien dictator. Now in his twilight years, can the man take on a new adventure? Is it good?
Starlight #1 (Image Comics)
Right out of the gate I was impressed with the idea that this is a slightly veiled homage to Flash Gordon or John Carter and I don’t think that’s by accident. Our hero, decked in some classicly styled hero costume, fights aliens on a distant fantastical world, saves a sexy alien who wants him to be her husband and plenty of retro looking technology. The book quickly shifts gears though, on an old man who wakes up alone, lights a cigarette and sits blankly after hitting the normal looking alarm clock. He goes about his day, the day of his wife’s funeral and laments losing her. As the story progresses we learn how important this wife was and how the world, although somewhat sarcastically, knows he was this space hero 40 years prior.
Every day is exactly the same.
This is the first book in the Millarworld universe and frankly I like what I see. The story is versed in reality, but has the promise of a magical and unreal world right just beneath the surface. Starlight #1 cuts back and forth between Duke McQueen 40 years prior when he was a young spry adventurer and today, an old yet still strong man who just lost his wife. The death he’s dealing with crushes him and makes him realize his life has little meaning, especially with his kids grown and moved out. It’s a revelation most parents face everyday and keeps this story very much closely aligned with the human condition. In fact most of this issue lives in McQueen’s sorrow with only a few flashbacks. The pacing is so damn good you won’t be bored and if anything you’ll want to learn more about this interesting fellow.
Well if you insist.
Artist Goran Parlov does a bang up job capturing the wonderment of the alien planet in the flashbacks. His line work is very purposeful and helps solidify it as a testament to an older time. The use of colors that pop on the alien planet, mixed with said lines, strengthens the solid nature of the fantastical. The present feels real and lived in for the same respect. A lot of his panels have a cinematic flair to them. There might be a close up for instance, that shows McQueen’s head taking up only about a fifth of a long horizontal panel, with not much going on in the background, but draws the reader into this characters face. It helps imbue their emotion and carry the humanity of the story along.
Now that is an epic opening page.
Is It Good?
This is an incredibly strong opening salvo to what could be the best new series of the year. There’s a lot of promise when it comes to the emotional side of the story and even more when it comes to the science fiction aspect. The premise is sound and should capture audiences young and old. Recommended.