|Perfect-bound comic, n.pag.|
Acquired and read August 2017
Writer: Elliot S! Maggin
Strictly speaking this isn't a DC Comics space story-- it's a graphic novel published by DC, but it's not set in the DC universe, as it's a licensed story based on Atari videogames! As you might expect of a space adventure story from 1983, it's very Star Wars: it opens with a space battle over a desert planet, there's a hotshot pilot, a wise old man, an evil empire, a heroic resistance, and cute alien animals. The basic premise is that the insectoid Zylons control the galaxy; the pilot (Jed) and navigator (Tomorrow "Tommy" Hardtack) of a star cruiser come to a devastated planet where they find an immortal librarian (Zeke) and an old spaceship, the Star Raider. Jed and Tommy repair the Star Raider with Zeke's guidance, recruit more rebels, and have a couple run-ins with the Zylons. (There's also a bit of Battlestar Galactica in it, I guess.)
It's fun enough. Jed arguing with Zeke is a little overdone, and everyone goes off half-cocked and has to be rescued by someone else at some point. I liked Tommy (a riff in name if nothing else on the DC character Tommy Tomorrow of the Planeteers) the most; she's sublimely 1980s-- just look at those shoulderpads and that hair band-- and feels the least like a Star Wars character. The beautiful art by José Luis García López is probably the real selling point of this book; this story didn't deserve art this good, but it got it anyway! The only thing to not like about it is that Jed and Tommy's original ship has a confusingly similar design to the Star Raider. (But I would guess this has something to do with the original videogame on which the graphic novel is based.)
The set-up is good, but the ending feels rushed-- a significant connection between a minor character and the Zylon queen comes out of nowhere, allowing everything to be wrapped up easily. It felt like Maggin was setting up an ongoing series (there are a number of characters introduced who end up not doing much) and had to swerve to wrap everything up in twenty pages at the last minute. Still, if you want some 1980s spectacular space action, this is a quick, enjoyable read. Too bad there's no more adventures for these characters, because I'd read them.