REVIEW: Starlight #6 – Not Your Grandfathers’ Retirement

Writer: Mark Millar Artist: Goran Parlov Publisher: Image Comics $4.99
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Goran Parlov
Publisher: Image Comics
$4.99

This over-sized final issue of Starlight isn’t going to surprise dedicated readers nor is it going to win over new ones. However, the result should please those with an appreciation for classic comic book story-telling. Goran Parlov nails the art again for this campy sci-fi romp, even if the extra pages forced some of the layouts to show signs of an overburdened artist.

It’s been awhile since it seemed like Mark Millar penned a comic series fitting my sensibilities, but he captured that magic with Starlight. This finale is filled with cheesy dialogue, a last minute heroic effort, lots of action and some tender character moments. There’s not a ton of originality to be found within the scripting of this story, it relies on Parlov for something that you can’t find anywhere else, but the story and the characters are good enough to rise above their somewhat pedestrian origin.

As you flip through this behemoth of an issue it becomes clear that the strain on Parlov began to affect his layouts. Up until “Starlight #6” his art was damn near flawless, but, the longer this issue got the more the visuals started to waver. Take that criticism with a grain of salt but a step below amazing is still great and that’s exactly the kind of quality Parlov brings to the table.

The creators rely quite a bit on heart to carry this book. Your emotional attachment to the characters and in particular, the personal plight of the protagonist, Duke. Millar and Parlov make it pretty easy to care for the wily, disenfranchised veteran and his ragtag group of allies. Once you have formed a bond with the cast it’s pretty easy to ignore the short-comings in the story.

“Starlight #6” isn’t a tense comic and it isn’t meant to be. There’s little doubt that the good guys will carry the day and that the villains will be defeated because of their arrogance and self-assuredness. Convenient kill switches are flicked as the pages dwindle to allow the creators to put a bow on this story, making the finale less a tense climax and more a revelation we’ve all seen coming for quite some time, now.

Verdict:

Its lack of originality really holds the story back. Recycled ideas are heaped on top of recycled ideas but Millar manages to infuse enough heart into the characters to allow the reader to empathize with them, making this worth the read. Parlov’s art is really the major selling point for this series and it has been from the very first page. There’s simply nothing like it in the comics market and its unique style hearkens back to a yesteryear that made many of us fans of this medium in the first place.

“Starlight #6” earns 7.7/10