Wednesday, 12 March 2014

New Beginnings - Starlight #1

by Matt Puddy

Mark Millar is rapidly becoming a household name. Aside from gaining an MBE last year (even the Queen is a fan it seems), he has a back catalogue stretching over 15 years and his name is often seen in the credits of various films. Even before this week’s review comic, Starlight, was released we already knew he had been in talks last year with Fox to make it into a movie. Whether people realise it or not, Millar is everywhere in the media world, including his own Millarworld imprint too.

Starlight is a story that mixes a number of well known ideas. Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers black and white serials with added swashbuckling,  plus a touch of Clint Eastwood, both in his westerns and also Gran Torino. Older comic fans may recognise a healthy slice of Dan Dare in the mix too.

Imagine that you are a hero on a planetary scale. You’ve saved an entire alien race and as a result you are revered but your heart lies elsewhere, so you return home. You get the girl of your dreams for the rest of your life, but your greatest acts of bravery and valour are either unknown or not even believed. This is the life that our hero, Duke McQueen, has had to live for almost 40 years. He has his own family now, complete with grandchildren but it’s beginning to wear on him. He also has to let go of his love after tragically losing her (it's to implied to cancer).

Life is slowly overtaking him and not in a way that any man wants. The national press didn’t believe him when he returned and now kids ridicule him about his exploits. So would it matter if he did it again? This must be the thought running through his mind when a cloaked alien ship lands in his garden at night in the middle of a rain storm. It’s occupant has a purpose and knew where to find Duke.

It’s very easy to understand why Millar’s writing and story has picked up interest for another film. It's lighthearted and easy to read, with hints at what deeds actually took place in the run up to Duke deposing Typhon. Swordfights, dragon riding, laser pistols and flying ships cast a very diverse range of antics, although in this first issue details and history are quite sparse. You’re not quite sure how things have happened or why, but as a reader you happily press on. I can’t quite tell if future issues will delve into this further to reinforce the story moving forward; if not then this six parter may need something else to give it a little more depth.

Goran Parlov is not a favourite of mine (he is one of mine after Barracuda! Ben) but his work on this comic fits. With a story that is fairly retro in its concept, the more minimal approach gives it an aged feel, that compliments both the memories of days gone by that Duke is left with and also his present day.

It also provides a very different feel to the comic, setting it apart from things like Jupiter's Legacy (Frank Quitely), Super Crooks and Superior (Leinil Yu) and Nemesis (McNiven) which have a similar yet also distinct presence to their pages.

This is definitely another title for the Millarworld stable to grow with, and I can appreciate the Buster Crabbe thigh-slapping nature of it so I can see it’s good, however this isn’t a title completely to my tastes (I LOVED IT! Ben).

Matt Puddy was glued to the wheelchair curling at the Paralympics.

No comments:

Post a Comment