Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ford's Focus - June 29th 2009 to July 5th 2009

Written by: Ford Thomas


*Buffy The Vampire Slayer #26

*Batman And Robin #2

*Green Lantern Corps #38

*Justice League: Cry For Justice #1

*Locke And Key: Head Games #6

*Echo #13

*Chew #2

*Batman Confidential #31

*Greek Street #1

*Uptight #3

*The Perfect Planet and Other Stories TP

*Sleeper Vol.1: Out in the Cold TP (library)

*Sleeper Vol.2: All False Moves TP (library)

*Sandman Mystery Theatre: Sleep Of Reason TP (library)


*Oishinbo: Ramen and Gyoza TP

*Starman Omnibus Vol. 3 HC

*Blazing Combat HC

*Athena Voltaire: The Complete Web Comics TP

*Athena Voltaire: Flight Of The Falcon TP

*Superman: The Man Of Steel #90

*R.E.B.E.L.S. #1-4

*The Mighty #1-4

*Flash: Rebirth #1-3

*Blackest Night #0

*Final Crisis Aftermath: Run! #1, Escape #1, Dance #1, Ink #1

*everything ‘bought’

A new week brought more Starman for me. As I mentioned last week it has taken me a while to warm up to Starman in the omnibuses for a few reasons, mostly the gaps between reading them, but also the few years since my first experience with Starman. It shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise that the contents of volume three really hit home for me as some of my favourite Starman moments are contained within it, as well as Starman Annual #2, my introduction to Starman as the lead comic in the To Reach The Stars trade paperback.

The annual consists of three stories of ‘times past’ retold by Jack Knight to Sadie Falk’s (Jayne Payton) as their romance blossoms over different seasons of the year.

Volume three leads off with a four-part Shade mini-series; each issue featuring different artists and taking place in different times. It starts in the mid 19th century and ends in the late 90s where the Starman series was at the time the mini series’ publication. The strength of the series is in the singularity of each issue that when taken together creates a longer form story. I found this refreshing, after having read so much Starman lately I’ve become aware of the story meandering quite a lot. In small doses some issues can seem ordinary or at least until you hit an issue which really builds on the big picture, making you realise every issue has its reason and is a small part of a larger story that encompasses the entire series.

A good example of this is the story that kicks off the Infernal Devices arc in Starman #30 which builds on a few plot threads, and on the first page of #32 reads “six players gather on our stage…” Two of these players are Ted Knight and Solomon Grundy, both major players in the series but who aren’t featured in the previous two issues except for a couple of pages of Ted. From these lines we are given a clear sense that the story was written as a serial. While it could have been more effective to spend a little more time leading into where Solomon Grundy is placed as character, this can be forgiven by the end of the issue where we see Grundy’s greatest character moment and a high point in the series. These issues lead into two issues which contains cameos from Batman, Sentinel (the gold age Green Lantern) and Floronic Man but drops the villain The Infernal Dr Pip from the Infernal Devices issues, leaving his story partially unfinished. Both stories get wrapped up and tied together in #35. The highlight of this issue for me was when Batman revealed Crime and Misdemeanors as his favourite Woody Allen movie.

Issue #36 is a ‘time past’ story featuring the Will Payton the fifth Starman, which works a nice precursor to the revelation at the end of Annual #2. Next up in #37 is Talking With David, ’97, David is Jack’s deceased brother and the prior Starman who pays annual visits to Jack. The Talking With David issues are great for many reasons; they give Tony Harris’ art a chance to shine through in ‘colour’ palette of black, white and grey used in these issues where David is the only character to appear in colour. Each instalment takes place in a different setting, which fosters the growing affection between Jack and David who weren’t the closest of brothers while David was alive as well as a platform for Jack to receive some ‘hero tips’. #37 features seven dead heroes other than David, most of who were a part of the Justice Society, all of who have a nugget of hero-ing knowledge to pass on to Jack. #38 stops in with the new Mist as she nurses Jack and her baby while recounting a recent adventure that sealed her villainy status. The volume finishes up with Secret Files #1 and a story titled Talking With Ted… Talking With Jack… where Ted tells Sadie about Jack and Jack tells his tattooist about Ted. This is a nice cap to volume three because Starman is essentially a story about a father and his son.

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