Starman #2 (1988)

Starman #2 (November, 1988)
“Field Testing”
Writer/Co-Creator – Roger Stern
Pencils/Co-Creator – Tom Lyle
Inks – Bob Smith
Letters – Bob Pinaha
Colors – Julianna Ferriter
Editor – Robert Greenberger
Cover Price: $1.00

If I were to guess how long ago it was that we discussed Starman #1… I’d probably say something like… it was six-months ago.  Well… as it turns out, it’s nearing on two-years and six-months ago.

Time is certainly a weird and cruel S.O.B., ain’t it?

Well, let’s get to it!

We open with our man Will Payton revisiting the Rocky Mountain campsite where he was blasted with Starman-making-rays last issue.  He is surprised to find that he’s not the only interested party lurking the area.  From here we get a quick and dirty retelling of some of the events of last issue.  Will decides to leave, he’s late meeting his sister as it is… and doesn’t realize that one of the fellas on the ground noticed him… and even snapped a few pics.

He arrives a few moments later in the Arizona desert to meet his sis, Jayne.  She runs him through a few tests of endurance to ensure he hadn’t lost any of his Starmanniness.  He hasn’t!  She goes to check his heartbeat… and, get this… dude doesn’t have one!  What’s more, he hasn’t had to go to the bathroom since the incident!

We hop up to Utah, and meet up with Dr. Melrose… that guy who’s trying to create superhumans in a lab… the guy behind the satellite that inadvertently blasted Will while he was camping.  He is handed the photo that was snapped a few pages back… and he’s kinda ticked off.  After all, all the power that Will sucked up was being reserved for his team.  A staff member suggests hiring a freelancer to capture Starman.

We rejoin Will back in his Phoenix abode.  He’s flipping through the classifieds trying to find some work.  On the front cover of the paper he learns that there is a killer on the run… and also that the local police are looking to question Starman about stuff that happened last issue… this gives him an idea.  And so, a little while later, Starman pays a visit to the Phoenix P.D.

Captain Estevez busts in on the curious scene and pulls Starman aside.  When asked what he wants, Starman simply says… he wants justice to be done.  He suggests they team up to take down that on-the-run mass murderer.  He then… makes his skin tone a fair amount darker so he could go “undercover”.  Hmm… okay.  It looks like a coloring error… but, it’s not.

Suddenly, over the police band… we learn that the baddie has been spotted coming out of Yuma.  Before Phoenix’s Finest know it, Starman’s already headed thaddaway.  I’ve been to Yuma once… ate at a KFC that had a buffet.  Totally blew my mind.

Along the way, Starman comes upon a flipped over patrol car.  A female officer is knelt before her downed partner and is calling in for backup.  Will sets down to get a closer look… and the downed officer refers to him as “a brother”.  So, yeah… not a coloring error!  Anyhoo, turns out… they were hot on the trail of the mass murderer, when he… get this… threw a grenade at them!  Yeah, a friggin’ grenade!

A ways up the road, the mass murderer (and his hostage) cross into Mexico.  He then dumps her out on the ground… and prepares to shoot her in the head.

Lucky for her, Starman got there just in the nick of time!

The baddie unloads his gun into Starman’s chest… which proves to be rather the futile endeavor.  He goes to flee, but Will snatches him up… and delivers him back to Phoenix.  We’re going to assume he also returned the hostage to someplace safe too… but there’s no evidence of this having occurred.

So Starman’s a hero, and all that jazz.  That doesn’t mean Captain Estevez is quite ready to trust him though.  Back home, Will’s mom gets on his case about looking for a job… so, all’s well that end’s well.

We close out with Dr. Melrose meeting his new free-lancer.  Are ya ready for this…?  It’s… waitforit… drumroll please… budda-budda-budda-budda-buddaaaaaaaaah……… Bolt?!  Oh, c’mahhhn.

Another fun issue with our “everyman hero”, Will Payton.

It’s probably not a terribly novel take to suggest that Starman is very much a Marvel-esque hero.  Hell, I’m sure I’ve even made the “observation” a time or two before.  Will is… a pretty normal fella… when he’s not wearing his PB&J’s, that is.  Kind of a sad sack… still lives at home, can’t find work… trying to make a name for himself (on two fronts).  It’s a pretty refreshing thing to see coming out of this era of DC Comics.

So, whadda we got here?  It’s kind of a “layer adding” issue.  We learn a bit more about Will’s condition… he doesn’t have a heartbeat, and doesn’t need to use the bathroom.  We get a good look at Dr. Melrose… and a better understanding of why he and Will might be (unwittingly) at odds.  Also, some Phoenicians are fleshed out.  Good old-fashioned comics stuff.  It was a good time.

There were a few “eh?” moments though.  First… not sure why Will changed the color of his skin at the Police Station.  I gotta figure it was just to remind the reader that he can.  Still… came off as a bit weird.  Then, he rescues the hostage, right?  But… just leaves her standing in Mexico so he could fly the mass-murderer back to Phoenix?  Poor gal.

Overall… this was really fun, and I’d recommend checking it out.  Looks like this series has finally been made available digitally (which it wasn’t back in 2016 when we covered #1)!  We’ll just assume that we had a lot to do with that.  Ahem.  Sure we did.

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