So uh, it’s been a while since I’ve written about anything geeky, eh? Well, blame that on a nearly year-long break from actually reading comics. I think a little bit of depression mingled with a need to keep up with course reading really stymied me.
But hey! Course is over, I’m feeling pretty good, and one of my friends has sent me a few comics to check out! And I thought this is a great opportunity to start writing about comics again!
James gave me a copy of Starlight #1, written by Mark Millar and art by Goran Parlov, so to dip my toes back into the reviewing world, here are my thoughts on it.
To be honest, I was a little unsure whether or not I’d enjoy Starlight, Millar isn’t one of my favourite authors and he’s not exactly known for writing the kind of thing I like best. However, I was pleasantly surprised by Starlight #1! I thought it was an interesting take on a relatively common trope in SFF and it had a real depth of emotion.
Starlight #1 introduces us to Duke, who once was a swashbuckling hero, fighting aliens and having statues built of him. Now, he’s a grieving widower who no one takes seriously – not even his sons.
The comic opens with a flashback to Duke’s previous life, with obligatory super sexy alien queen giving him a medal. This didn’t really hook me into the comic, if I’m honest. I like space, I like heroes, I even like space queens, but this seemed like a tired idea with typical cheesecake art. Seriously? This alien queen is a white humanoid in high heels, wearing a bikini and a huge butt apron?
Luckily, we skip pretty quickly to current Duke. Where the space angle didn’t grab me, the day-to-day life of Duke did. Parlov’s art will probably never be my favourite, but I think he does great work with the humdrum and mundane world. Ive Svorcina’s muted colour palette also helps create a great atmosphere, especially in contrast to the brighter flashbacks.
As we move through the issue, we begin to understand the lonely, isolated world Duke lives in. The callous attitudes of his sons, the derision from his local community, the scene of the set dinner table… Man, Millar and Parlov really inject emotion into this. Duke is deeply missing his wife and trying to reach out to his sons, trying to live a life with some pretty serious holes in. I’m actually very impressed with how well Millar created this emotional response without going too far – we have real pain, instead of overwrought manpain.
The issue ends with a space ship appearing Duke’s yard – setting us up for the adventure to come.
Overall, I did enjoy Starlight #1! It had emotional depth and the premise is more interesting than a straight earthling hero saves universe (although natch, Duke is a [probably] straight white man and I don’t think I spotted any characters of colour, even in the backgrounds). Parlov’s art is acceptable, although his women are sometimes too cheesecake-y for my liking. I found the domestic aspects a lot more interesting than the space stuff, and since that seems to be where the story is headed, I don’t think getting the rest of Starlight’s six issue run is a priority for me – but when I do have some spare cash, I would be interested in seeing where this goes.
If you like numerical reviews, I’d give this 7.5/10.
Have you read Starlight? What did you think?
Thanks to James for sending me this! I’d never have picked it up myself, but I’m glad I read it!