Starman #42 (1992)

Starman #42 (January, 1992)
“Star Shadows, Part One: Sun Spots!”
Writer – Len Strazewski
Pencillers – John Calimee & Andrew Smith
Inkers – Roy Richardson & Alan Kupperberg
Letterer – Bob Pinaha
Colorist – Tom McCraw
Editor – Paul Kupperberg
Cover Price: $1.00

As mentioned yesterday, the most recent (as of this writing) Cosmic Treadmill is part of a collaborative effort Reggie and I took part in alongside several bloggers and podcasters to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of what might be referred to as the #BestEventEver, Eclipso: The Darkness Within.

The issues we covered for the occasion were the lead up to the even proper, which occurred in the final four issues of Starman (volume 1).  Now, being a fella who is still tied to the task of providing daily discussions, reviews, whatever it is I do here… I figure I may as well cover the Starman issues here as well, leading up to the blogs “Big” contribution to the event, which will hit on Friday.  It’s been awhile since I’ve done the whole “companion piece” blog bit… so let’s get to it!

By the by, keep scrolling past our “Interesting Ads” for links to the other great sites involved with #BestEventEver… all June long!

The issue opens with Starman, Will Payton in all manner of facial disarray.  He is with gal pal Carol Simon… who now knows of his dual identity.  Everything suddenly becomes clear to her… Will would blow off assignments and vanish from time to time, not because he was a flake, but because he is a super-hero!  She embraces him, and he pulls away… his face continues to change, and his body begins to overheat… also, we’re about to learn that there might just be another lady occupying his heart.

Perhaps one who works for S.T.A.R. Labs… where Will heads with the quickness!  Speaking of whom, we catch up with Kitty Faulkner as she meets with her new associate Bruce Gordon.  She just so happens to be reading over some Starman-related data when the man himself bursts through the wall… now wearing the visage of an old man.

When Will awakens he finds himself on an examination table.  Kitty explains what had just happened, and introduces him to Bruce.  I gotta mention, Bruce has a very ugly mullet for the first half of this issue.  Will sits up, at which time, Bruce attaches a… I dunno, plug (?) to his face.  Will don’t dig that, and yanks out the plug.

Kitty attempts to diffuse the situation by listing Dr. Gordon’s credentials… and also, transforming into the monstrous Rampage!  She does so by pressing a button on an amulet around her neck… which Bruce Gordon invented for her!  Maybe dude ain’t all that bad after all.  I still wouldn’t trust him, but whattaya gonna do?

At this point Will and Bruce make nice, and they exchange origin stories.  We’ve already seen Starman’s, out camping, struck by a blast of something or another, and woke up a time later with strange and super powers.  Bruce recounts his time “dealing with” Eclipso, and wraps his sad story with the revelation that his “dark half” has been destroyed.  Likely story, pal…

With Will’s trust earned, Bruce posits that he can conduct tests if they travel into an environment without any interference… which is to say, outer space!  Will is cool with it, and agrees.

But not before pulling Kitty Faulkner aside to spill the beans on both his secret identity and his true feelings for the Doc.  They lock lips to commemorate the event.  How nice.

With the hanky panky out of the way, Bruce loads into his Solar Jet and readies for launch.  Will acts as his, I dunno… propulsion unit… and flies them to the Moon… along the way, they (literally) run afoul of the Main Man himself, Lobo!

… and, oh yeah, Bruce Gordon changes into Eclipso.  [to be continued…]

Looks like we start with a bang!  Hmm, where was that sarcasm button again…?

Honestly, a pretty underwhelming start to Starman’s final story arc.  I thought it was pretty neat that Will and Kitty get to share their true feelings for one another, but that was probably the only “high point” for the issue.  Otherwise it’s kinda talky, and table-setty.  I suppose I can’t hold that against them… but it’s still not terribly interesting.  Boilerplate origin stuff… with a sometimes-mulleted Dr. Bruce Gordon.  Whatayagonnado?

And, the art… it’s inconsistent, and ya know… kinda rough.  In researching for the Cosmic Treadmill episode, we learned that John Calimee is pretty self-depreciating insofar as his artistic style during this time.  He didn’t like it… and, from what he says, many of the fans agreed with that sentiment.  I can’t say that I hated it… but didn’t much care for it either…

How’s that for riding the fence?

Anyhoo, I suppose I can tell ya… the action will ramp up over the next few issues.  Despite the slow start here, I couldn’t tell ya to avoid it outright.  If you are so inclined, you’re gonna be stuck getting your fingers dirty in the bins… this bugger hasn’t been collected nor made available digitally.

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The Darkness Continues…

2 thoughts on “Starman #42 (1992)

  • marksweeneyjr

    Huh, I never saw Calimee's art until I recently picked up these issues of Starman, but I kinda dug it – more so than the art in the 2nd half of this story.

    Your recent Treadmill episode has me wanting to check out this apparently appalling Alpha Flight work Calimee did.

    Great job – enjoyable read!

    • Thanks Mark!

      Yeah, those Alpha Flight issues… kinda rough. If I recall correctly, Alpha Flight during his time was printed on a different quality of paper… it wasn't like what Avengers or X-Men were printed on. It seemed like a sorta-kinda "New Format" paper stock… which lent to the art and coloring looking even less flattering.


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