31 December 2013

Review: The Starman Omnibus, Volume Five by James Robinson with David S. Goyer and Geoff Johns

Comic hardcover, n.pag.
Published 2010 (contents: 1998-2003)
Acquired October 2010
Read November 2013
The Starman Omnibus, Volume Five

Writer: James Robinson
Co-Story on "Stars My Destination": David S. Goyer
Penciller: Peter Snejbjerg
Inker: Keith Champagne
Co-writer on Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. #0: Geoff Johns
Additional Pencillers: Steve Yeowell, Craig Hamilton, Chris Weston, Lee Moder, Steve Sadowski, David Ross, Tony Harris, John McCrea
Additional Inkers: Wade von Grawbadger, Steve Yeowell, Ray Snyder, Dan Davis, John Stokes, Andrew Hennessy, Tony Harris, Chris Weston, John McCrea
Colorists: Gregory Wright, John Kalisz, Craig Hamilton, Tom McCraw, Carla Feeny, Tony Harris
Letterers: Bill Oakley, Craig Hamilton, Kurt Hathaway, Ken Lopez

Volume Five returns the narrative energy to Starman; having launched into space, it's one zippy adventure after another. It's a very different tone to previous Starman stories: despite now being set in space, it's a much lighter set of stories, especially at first, as Robinson and Goyer use the new setup to revisit a neverending series of classic DC space characters. Which I love, of course, as the only thing better than sci-fi or superheroes is sci-fi and superheroes. I love Jack and Mikaal's visit to the future, and especially the three tales of Starman related by the Space Cabbie and his buddies, each of them more ludicrous than the last.

I also really enjoyed the final story arc, set on Throneworld and tying together a number of diffuse strands of the Starman mythos into a single story: Prince Gavyn, Will Payton, Mikaal, and Jack, all together in one story. (Gavyn returns in Rann-Thanagar Holy War and Strange Adventures, but I don't think those acknowledged his dual identity as Will.) Jack's complicity but attempt to abstain from revolutionary violence makes for an interest subcurrent in what might otherwise be a fairly simple space opera.

Meanwhile, on Earth, there are some interesting goings-on with the Starman of the 853rd century, not to mention an appearance by one of my favorites, the Elongated Man! A pleasant surprise, to be sure. (As was the appearance of the Dee Tyler Phantom Lady; I didn't realize she'd ever appeared again after her debut in Action Comics Weekly.)

Peter Snejbjerg didn't click for me at first as the artist in this volume, but as it went on, he got better, I think. His dark illustrations for the Throneworld issues in particular really shine. This isn't the best of the Starman volumes, but I think it succeeds perfectly at what it sets out to do.

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