Starman #45 (April, 1992)
“Star Shadows, Part Four: Starlight, StarBRIGHT!”
Writer – Len Strazewski
Penciller – John Calimee
Inker – Roy Richardson
Letterer – Bob Pinaha
Colorist – Tom McCraw
Editor – Paul Kupperberg
Cover Price: $1.25
Last stop before #BestEventEver! Tomorrow’s piece will be the blog’s “official” offering to the crossover, and we’ll be checking out one of the Annual tie-ins… actually the only one I bought off the racks during the Summer of 1992.
But that’s for tomorrow… Today let’s focus on putting Starman to bed.
We pick up with the arrival of the Solar Jet at S.T.A.R. Labs where a confused Kitty Faulkner looks on. She watches as her new associate Bruce Gordon de-boards… and de-helms, revealing himself to be, ya know… Eclipso! She frantically tries to get away, even resorting to transforming into her Rampage persona. Her hulk-out is short lived, however, as Eclipso nails her with some black energy.
A little ways away, Will careens back to Earth… splashing down in (I assume) Metropolis… bay? harbor? gulf? a body of water is what I’m trying to say. He crawls out of the drink and drags himself to a pay phone to contact the Justice League Embassy in… France? Not sure why he wouldn’t call the domestic league, but whattayagonnado? Maybe they’re still salty at him for turning down membership.
Back at S.T.A.R., Eclipso has Kitty shackled to a wall… which makes me wonder why S.T.A.R. has wall shackles in their labs to begin with. He reveals that he’s wanting to use Starman as a storage device… which, I thought we already knew… Oh well, I guess “Part Four” wasn’t going to write itself. Kitty ain’t keen on hearing the news, and reacts accordingly.
After some more threatening small-talk, Starman finally arrives… putting yet another hole in the wall of S.T.A.R. Labs. This, sigh, actually messes with Eclipso’s plan, as it was reliant on Will entering… through the front door. Ay yai yai.
Starman blasts the Black Diamond out of Eclipso’s hand and breaks Kitty free of her bonds. The Black Diamond winds up under a table, and so we get to watch… Eclipso, God’s vengeance… or something, crawling under a table to retrieve it. Not his best look my friends.
From here, our battle resumes… Will and Eclipso each get some good shots in. Kitty foolishly grabs Eclipso by the arm… and gets back-handed for her troubles. Will yells “Kitty! Stay Back!” about three panels too late… she’s already kayoed. It looks as though everything is coming up Eclipso, until…
… Power Girl (and her bouffant) arrives! I know we joked about it on the podcast, but ho-lee cow, I’m not sure how she fits through a door with that hairdo. It’s a good thing Will put that giant hole in the wall. Anyhoo, after complaining that the French JLI Embassy staff speak… French… the fight continues… Eclipso blasts Power Girl, Kitty recovers and blasts the baddie with a conveniently-wall-mounted gun… then, Starman and Power Girl play “volleyball” with Eclipso’s limp body. Oof.
Now with the upper hand, the heroes start thrashing ol’clipso. The battle ends with Starman appearing to thrust his… midsection in Eclipso’s direction and nailing him with light. The moon-face vanishes from the Gordon visage.
Time passes, and Bruce Gordon recovers. He’s back in his lab coat… apparently still in the employ of S.T.A.R. Labs, for whatever reason. It’s revealed that Will’s problematic power is due to… “Super-Hero Puberty”. Yup, really. Power Girl is quite tickled by the thought, and razzes poor Will about his pending acne and body-hair growth.
Kitty don’t take too kindly to Power Girl’s “flirting”, and tries to refocus the discussion. Power Girl quickly grows bored, and takes her leave. Not before giving Will a peck on the cheek though.
With Power Girl gone, Will turns his attention to his… girlfriend (?) Kitty Faulkner. She immediately pulls away and jumps down his throat. She says there’s no way she can compete with a woman like Power Girl… totally not getting that Will Payton isn’t anywhere near being in Power Girl’s league.
Will finally gets through to her that he’s in it for the long haul, ya know, unless he gets killed sometime within the current calendar year… and the issue… story… and series (!) ends with the couple in a loving embrace, and what I can only assume to be a Beavis and Butthead style laugh.
Out with a bang, am I right?
Now, this whole chapter just feels “off”. I can’t say that this feels like it was rushed toward cancellation, because the story is anything but (excepting the final scene, but more on that in a bit). As a whole, this story feels like it should have filled two issues. I’m completely talking out my backside now, but it’s almost as though the Lobo and Power Girl asides were just stuffed in to keep the series going to cancellation.
Eclipso’s plan to use Will as a storage vessel for energy…was less interesting the second time around. The fight was pretty pedestrian. If Will just needed to use his gilded pelvic thrust to defeat Eclipso… why did it take him so long to try it? Seems so anticlimactic. I feel like Strazewski was struggling to get through this… almost as much as I’m struggling to get through this review!
It’s not to say this story was outright bad… just uninteresting… and a pretty poor way to close out the volume. Speaking of “closing out the volume”…
The ending with Will and Kitty hashing thing out… oh boy, that felt tacked on. It’s like they finished up a few pages short… and needed to throw in this odd little aside. Kitty flipping out on Will because she didn’t “measure up” to a super-powered friend of his… eh, maybe if it wasn’t so out-of-nowhere it would have read better… but, it really did feel like it didn’t quite fit. It felt unnatural… especially with how quick Will was able to diffuse the situation. I know I can’t be the only one who has had arguments with a significant other… if I had a dime for every time I was able to “fix” things with a couple of sentences… I’d have no dimes.
Overall… this really isn’t a story you need to read. If you’re a fan of Will Payton (or Eclipso… or Lobo) you’ll probably get something out of this. Otherwise, you’d be perfectly fine letting this one pass by under your radar.
Letters Page (and Farewell):
The Darkness Continues…