In the debut issue of Starlight (Image Comics, $2.99), Mark Millar pulled off something that is a rarity in the world of comic books: he tugged at our heart strings, and deftly took just a handful of pages to do it. The man who brought us the ultra-violent Kick-Ass and the deliciously decadent bloodbath that was Nemesis decided to shift gears, and tell a story that was completely devoid of dismemberment and four-letter words. And it was a thing of beauty.
Simply put, Starlight #1 tells the tale of a man who lost everything. Duke McQueen is a senior citizen who, nearing the final chapter of his life, is struggling just to stay afloat. He grieves the loss of his wife, he struggles with depression, he tries to maintain a relationship with his adult children who are too busy to take his calls – it’s heart-wrenching. And Duke’s suffering is punctuated by the fact that in his youth, he was a hero on a distant planet, and no one here on Earth believes him.
McQueen’s journey picks up in issue #2 when, one rainy evening, a space craft lands on his front lawn. He’s confronted by Krish Moor: an eighty-six-year-old man who looks like he’s twelve and a half (you know, space and stuff…slower aging).
It’s been forty years, but duty calls to the grizzled pilot. The planet Tantalus has fallen to a brutal warlord, and it’s people are once again in need of a hero. After glimpsing the final page of issue #2, I got the sense that things are about to get kicked into hyper-drive – and I can’t wait to go along for the ride.
Punisher MAX artist Goran Parlov renders Millar’s world with space crafts and architectural designs that feel like they could have been featured in a 1950s issue of Popular Science that previews the “world of tomorrow.” The aesthetic is modern, but with a retro-quality that perfectly set the tone for the series. Complimented by simple yet striking colors from Ive Svorcina, this is one of the most uniquely beautiful books on the shelves right now.
Add this to your pull list – Starlight is truly an “event” title, and is not to be missed.
Check out the first six pages of Starlight #2 below, and pick it up at comic stores everywhere on Wednesday, April 2.
All images © Millarworld Limited and Goran Parlov
Blake Northcott is an author, Twitter-er, and occasional Slayer of Vampires (only the ones that sparkle).You can follow her on Twitter or pick up her best-selling sci-Fi/superhero book Arena Mode over at Amazon.com.
Blake previously interviewed YouTube sensation ComicBookGirl19 in She Makes Geek Chic and proved cosplay is on the rise with The Five Hottest Trends of the Summer Fan Conventions.