By: Mark Millar (writer), Goran Parlov (art), Ive Svorcina (colors) and Marko Sunjic (letters)
The Story: An aging former space hero finds life on Earth to be depressing.
Review (with SPOILERS): This was a really touching first issue. Back in the old days, I used to actually go on comic message boards. God, what a horrible experience. Fun at the time, but…. Ugh! Mark Millar was always an active discussion topic on those boards. Saying that you actually liked Mark Millar comics on a comic message board was like admitting that you picked your nose and ate the boogars. The intellectual minority of the minority of comic fans that go on message boards likes to deride Millar as being a hype-machine who is just interested in doing shocking things to get a reaction. I actually see a lot of experimental brilliance in his edgier works like Wanted, Kick Ass and Nemesis. Sure….Millar can be offensive sometimes, but I think he is just interested in exploring artistic boundaries – and when you rigorously explore the boundary, you will cross the line sometimes.
But, dismissing Millar as”hype-machine who writes exploitative comics” really discounts some of his other works. Did you ready Superior? There were some really touching moments in that story. How about Secret Service? All that stuff about how poor the main character grew up? That was pretty affecting. There are even some powerful moments in Kick Ass (the original series). Millar really can do a touching and heart-felt comic if he wants to.
I think Starlight is one of those more touching works. If you don’t enjoy the “extreme” Mark Millar…..you should definitely give Starlight a try because it is very different.
It tells the story of Captain Duke McQueen who once had a very John Carter-esque experience of being sucked through a wormhole to a very Barsoom-like place where he fought villains with swords, saved a kingdom, was honored by scantily clad princesses, rode dragons, etc……but gave it all away to go back home to Earth and be with his lady love. Only, when he got back to Earth, nobody really believed his story and he lived a mundane life with his wife. And he was happy because he loved his wife….
The issue picks up with a very sad story of how Duke’s wife dies. We only see her in flashback, but I love how Parlov draws her. Duke himself looks like an old American football player who has kept himself in shape: big, broad-shouldered, but still gray haired and wrinkled. His wife (in contrast) looks like one of those ladies who you first assume Duke has a trophy wife who is 25 years old, then you realize she’s just one of those ladies who has held onto her youthful beauty by virtue of hard-work, lifestyle and good genes. She’s like the idealized version of what you thought your mom looked like as a kid: beautiful, not sexy, just beautiful. And, since this is just Duke’s flashback memory, who knows if she really looked like that, or if she just looked like that in his mind because he loved he so much? It doesn’t really matter. Duke loved her and we get to see the moment where she finds a lump under her breast after a lovely evening out to dinner. It is really painful and touching because in just those few pages, you get the feeling that she was someone who was a special light in the world and didn’t deserve to die young.