02 August 2005

Starman vol. 1 - "Sins of the Father"

I love superheroes, but I can see why a lot of people wouldn't. The average superhero wears a ridiculous costume, deals in antiquated, black and white morality, and solves all of his problems with violence. If that type of character does not appeal to you, then you should try Starman. In the first of 10 volumes that collect roughly 60 issues, James Robinson (writer) and Tony Harris (penciller) introduce us to Jack Knight, owner and proprietor of a collectibles shop. His father invented the cosmic rod ("Huh-huh, he said rod...") that gives a Starman his powers. When he retired, he passed the rod onto his son David so he could take up the role of Starman, which didn't bother Jack at all, since he finds the hero game to be a bit childish and silly. Fate has other plans for Jack, however, and he is forced to take up the rod and save his beloved Opal City.
Jack Knight is arguably the most realistic and complex superhero ever created. He doesn't wear tights, instead opting for a leather jacket, tank goggles, and a sherriff's star that he got from a cereal box. He doesn't always win his fights, and takes more than his fair share of brutal beatings. He often has to think and talk his way out of situations, although when he does have to throw down, he is more than handy with his cosmic rod (yeah, I know, it's immature, but it's funny).
Anyway, the series wasn't without its flaws. When I kept up with it from month to month, I would often get impatient, as it took a long time to get to the explodo. Reading it in collected form isn't nearly as frustrating. Also, when I had another non-comics friend from college read the book, he said that there were too many references to other comics, and that he felt lost.
I don't really agree with that, but I accept that I may not be fully divorcing myself from my fanboy nature, so I'll include his criticisms as a caveat.

Recommended for: people who wish superheroes were more realistic; collectors and hobbyists.
Not Recommended for: impatient people, people who like lots of explodo (it delivers, but sporadically).

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