01 January 2014

Review: The Starman Omnibus, Volume Six by James Robinson with David S. Goyer

Comic hardcover, n.pag.
Published 2011 (contents: 2000-10)
Acquired January 2011
Read December 2013
The Starman Omnibus, Volume Six

Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Peter Snejbjerg
Colorist: Gregory Wright
Letterer: Bill Oakley
Co-Story on "1951": David S. Goyer
Additional Artists: Paul Smith, Russ Heath, Fernando Dagnino & Bill Sienkiewicz
Additional Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Additional Letterer: John J. Hill

Typing out the list of credits, one immediately notices that this is the most artistically consistent volume of Starman thus far. I liked Tony Harris, but there's something to be said for a unified artistic vision-- only three fill-ins! Peter Snejbjerg is on fine form, too; now that he's inking himself, his artwork looks utterly magnificent. There's a real darkness to it that's utterly perfect for Opal City and the story's climax.

And what a climax. I've said it before, but the thing that will always make the "comic book" superior to the "graphic novel" is its ability to weave a number of number of smaller stories into one huge one. It's the reason why Preludes and Nocturnes and The Doll's House were okay but Brief Lives and The Kindly Ones are magnificent; they build on what has gone before. So too does this volume, as almost all of the various heroes we've seen throughout the series come together against the worst threat that Opal City has ever seen-- apparently the Shade gone evil. It's absolutely perfect in every way. I initially felt a little disappointed that at times Jack seems like a bystander in his own story, but emotionally, he's always the center of this, especially that heartrending, amazing climax. What a way to go.

The "1951" story that follows this up is necessary, but less effective; I felt that learning who the Starman of 1951 had been would have been better if it had been the same person all along, not one person most of time and another for just a month. But seeing the young, distraught Ted Knight is touching and fitting.

Starman has been an interesting journey, with highs and lows. You can see its creators grow across it-- compare Robinson's deft plotting here to the jumpiness of Volume One-- and its characters, too. It has the occasional misstep, but it's a rewarding read through and through.

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