COMIC BOOK REVIEW: STARLIGHT VOLUME 1 / AUTHOR: MARK MILLAR / ARTIST: GORAN PARLOV / PUBLISHER: IMAGE COMICS / RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 24TH
Starlight is the latest effort from comic book royalty Mark Millar, who this time teams up with Goran Parlov to deliver a delightful space adventure focussed on a one-time hero. Millar is best known for his work on the likes of Superman: Red Son, Marvel’s Civil War, and for co-creating titles like Kick-Ass, Wanted, and The Secret Service. And it has to be said, Starlight is up there with the best of those titles.
The story focusses on the wonderfully-named Duke McQueen, who once upon a time was an intergalactic hero who saved an alien race. Thing is, nobody believes Duke’s jaunt to a world far, far away actually happened. 40 years after his hero days, the elderly Duke is a widow whose kids are grown up and seemingly always have something better to do than spend some time with their dear old dad. He’s given up on telling people about his otherworldly adventures as he’s an object of mockery in the local community, leaving Duke as just existing from day to day with nothing to hold on to. When a young boy from the world he saved turns up in the present day in desperate need of the legendary Duke McQueen’s help, the old man ends up in the middle of one last adventure.
Make no mistake about it, Starlight is a wonderful, heart-warming book that is beautifully crafted and elegantly illustrated. The book is delivered with a certain romanticism, which fans of some of Millar’s grittier work may not be expecting. But it works. It really, really works. Yes, it’s a little cheesy at times but that kind of feels like some of the point of the book and takes nothing away from the joy of the adventure.
Starlight is a genuine feel-good story about a forgotten old man who gets one more day in the sun. There’s elements of Star Wars, Flash Gordon, James Bond, and dialogue that seems as if it’s been written purposely for Kurt Russell to devour, and it’s great to see this intergalactic adventure and all of its twists and turns unravel from page to page.
The storytelling is delicate yet impactful, the art similarly subtle but powerful, and the overall package makes for an engaging and enjoyable old fashioned adventure. Yes, comics are often gripping and heralded when drenched in realism and the dirtier aspects of life, but sometimes it’s just fun to throw yourself into something that’s simply a fun journey of one hero reliving his glory days and having one more chance at doing something spectacular.
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