Archive for Starman

Friday Night Fights: Starmen and Tigers and Bears!

Alright, people, it’s Friday again, and that means it’s time to get your weekend started off the right way. No, that doesn’t mean you get to play canasta, or paste up new wallpaper, or learn how to line-dance. It means we start things off with… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle comes to us courtesy of March 1942’s Adventure Comics #72 by Gardner F. Fox and Jack Burnley. I know James Robinson’s 1990’s “Starman” series would have you think that Ted Knight, the Golden Age Starman, was a bit of sensitive scientific genius, but back in the ’40s, Starman tended to unleash some really serious whupass. How much whupass? Well, how about fighting-bears-and-tigers whupass?

How ’bout you? You ever used a tiger to club a bear into unconsciousness? No? Maybe you’d better try it this weekend.

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Hell’s Angels

I’ve finished up all my regular reviews early so I can devote this week to reviewing a few of my favorite horror-focused graphic novels. Let’s start with something that came out very recently…

Hellboy: Masks and Monsters

This one reprints the “Batman/Hellboy/Starman” miniseries from 1999 and the “Ghost/Hellboy” miniseries from 1996. For some of you fanboys out there, that’s all it took for you to get on the horn to your local comic shop to reserve a copy. Both of these series have been out-of-print for ages — if you wanted them, you had to be prepared to spend a few hundred dollars on eBay. So this collection is very good news for comics fans.

We start out with “Batman/Hellboy/Starman,” with writing by James Robinson and art by Mike Mignola. Golden-Age Starman Ted Knight gets kidnapped while attending a conference in Gotham City. Batman tries to stop the kidnappers, a bunch of spell-slinging neo-Nazis, but they make their getaway. Hellboy soon shows up to offer his aid — the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense has identified the kidnappers as a Nazi organization called the Knights of October. A little detective work lets them track them down, but can they keep them from getting away? In the second half of the story, Ted Knight’s son, Jack Knight, the then-current Starman, travels with Hellboy to South America, where the Knights of October have their secret base. They plan to use Ted Knight’s knowledge of astronomy to raise a monstrous cthulhoid monster to lay waste to the world. Can Hellboy and Starman stop them and rescue Ted Knight?

In the “Ghost/Hellboy” story, written by Mignola and pencilled by Scott Benefiel, we start out with a great sequence from 1939, where a mobster axe-murders a guy, then calls in the local egghead occultist when he can’t get the guy’s ghost to stop laughing at him. And then he kills the occultist, too. Flash-forward to the present in Arcadia City, where Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. try to recruit Ghost, a murdered reporter-turned-spectral vigilante. But she gets tricked by an underworld demon into fighting Hellboy so the demon can carve off Hellboy’s Right Hand of Doom and use it to end the world. How long will it take the two supernatural do-gooders to wise up and start helping each other?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The “Batman/Hellboy/Starman” story is a special thrill because it’s something I never thought I’d actually get to read. It’s incredibly cool to have a comic that features Mignola artwork of both Batman and Starman and the Joker. It’s got Nazis and Things Man Was Not Meant to Know and retro-pulp action and buckets of all that Hellboy-style goodness. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the “Ghost/Hellboy” story — it’s deliciously creepy and fun.

The whole thing was released just this month, so even if your local comic shop doesn’t have this in stock, they can still order it for you. So go get it already!

Today’s Cool Links:

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People Who Died

We’re gonna look at a trio of the old canceled comics that DC has resurrected for “Blackest Night”…

Starman #81

This is the one I think everyone was nervous about. James Robinson’s “Starman” series was one of the best comics of the ’90s — or any decade, really — but his recent DC work has been pretty unimpressive, to say the least. There was a lot of fear that he’d tarnish the “Starman” legacy with some badly-written garbage, but as it turns out, he brought his A-game to this one.

Jack Knight, the Starman from the ’90s series, doesn’t appear, and neither does his dad, the Golden Age Starman who died at the end of that series. The villain here is the zombified David Knight, Jack’s brother, who was very briefly Starman before Jack was. While David slaughters cops in Opal City, we learn that the Shade, immortal darkness-controlling former villain, and Hope O’Dare, lone distaff member of a large family of police officers, have become lovers. With the Black Lantern Starman threatening to wipe Opal City off the map and track down Jack Knight to kill him, is there any way to stop him? Especially after he tears out the Shade’s heart?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This was a huge relief — and I’m glad Robinson was inspired enough by the return to Opal City to put out a great story. It’s a great Shade story, a great O’Dare story, and we even manage to catch a few glimpses of the glorious Opal City architecture. My only disappointment: they got James Robinson back to write it, they got Tony Harris back to do the cover, but I wish they could’ve arranged for Peter Snejbjerg to come back to do the pencils. At any rate, Fernando Dagnino takes care of the art, with Bill Sienkiewicz inking, and while it’s a different look, it looks pretty good.

Catwoman #83

Catwoman tangles with the zombified Black Mask, a gangster who she killed after he tortured her sister. In fact, when he realizes he can’t terrify her, he decides to track down her sister in an insane asylum and finish the job. Selina enlists the aid of Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, but will they be able to stop him before he kills Catwoman and her sister?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good story, good art, decent characterization, and they even tossed in some set-ups for future stories… if there are any future “Catwoman” comics…

The Power of Shazam! #48

A bit of an odd one here, as this story focuses on a character who wasn’t even around until long after this series was cancelled — namely, Osiris, the young counterpart to Freddie Freeman in Black Adam’s “Black Marvel” family from the “52” series a few years ago. Osiris is resurrected with a Black Lantern ring, but he doesn’t have the murderous attitude of the other Black Lantern zombies. In fact, he doesn’t even know he’s dead, doesn’t understand why everyone is so afraid of him, and successfully resists all of the black ring’s influences. Unfortunately, Sobek, the evil crocodile monster who killed Osiris has also come back from the dead, and he’s still very, very hungry…

Verdict: Thumbs up. It was weird to have a story where one of the Black Lanterns wasn’t evil, and it was weird to have a Captain Marvel comic where Captain Marvel only appeared in civilian guise on a single page, but I liked it anyway. Osiris was a cool character, and it’s nice to get to see him again, even if he’s all withered and rotten…

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Friday Night Fights: Jack Attack!

Bahlactus declares that Friday Night Fights is back in business! But there’s a twist for this next 12-week round — all fights have to be in black-and-white! Why? Because BAHLACTUS SAYS SO, THAT’S WHY!

So let’s kick things off with one of the most thoroughly film noir-ish superhero comics of the mid-1990s, James Robinson’s glorious Starman. Here’s a bit from the climactic battle between Jack Knight and the Mist’s son, Kyle, from what I’m thinking is the third issue of the series.


Hmm, loses a bit without the color. Still, Tony Harris sure could draw a dandy fight.

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