The fourth issue of Mark Millar and Goran Parlov’s Starlight shows that this is a series that could shine for a long time. I’ll admit to being biased against the series when it was originally announced. I haven’t been the biggest fan of Millar’s recent work and I checked out this series with a healthy dose of skepticism but I like to think that I also kept my mind open as well and Starlight really gripped me from the first issue.
Now that we’ve seen that the debut wasn’t a fluke, it’s time to dig a bit deeper into the world of Starlight and determine what kind of animal it really is. And more importantly, how good of a comic book it can be.
Starlight succeeds in really making us feel like we’re reading one of the great Silver Age science-fiction comics. There’s an undeniable tie to that history not just in Parlov’s phenomenal art which evokes all of the right things about that era while also bringing a modern sensibility to the visuals, but also in the overall story Millar is telling. A hero finds himself on an alien world and fights to liberate its people from their oppressors, thereby deifying himself in the eyes of those he has saved. Sound familiar? It should, it’s a genre trope when it comes to cape and cowl books but as Millar is able to do so well. He puts an interesting spin on the formula by taking that hero back to the world, after he has lost all ties to his own, and by forcing him to free that world from a dictator once again.
Duke McQueen is a tremendous character. Millar has given him a compelling back-story that has been revealed and paced in an expert way, exactly what you would expect from a writer as tenured as Millar. He doesn’t press too hard on any one note and thus creates a well-rounded and easily likable hero. McQueen might be old and used, but he’s far from washed up and with the cliff-hanger ending to this issue, Millar has guaranteed some interesting plot twists and action set pieces are still to come.
I can’t get over how amazing Goran Parlov’s art is. He was the perfect choice for this kind of Kirby-esque science-fiction romp. Aside from modern advances in colouring, his style looks so much like how they did things in the Silver and Golden Ages that it’s uncanny to fathom this is a brand new book in 2014. There are times when old styles don’t work, but this isn’t one of them. Parlov has cemented himself as the strongest selling feature this series has. As the action gets ramped up and we get to discover more of the world you can expect more jaws to drop and hit the floor in the coming months.
Starlight has far exceeded my initial expectations and has become one of the many new comics that I really look forward to. There is something timeless about this kind of story when it’s told with a distinct Kirby/Kubert style of art. Millar and Parlov are definitely onto something with this series and I can’t wait to see how things shake out as McQueen and the Resistance battle the formidable forces of the Kingfisher!
“Starlight #4″ earns a 9.0 / 10