By Mark Millar, Goran Parlov & Ive Svorcina
As stated in a few previous reviews, sometimes it’s great to go into a new series without any clear idea of what to expect or even what the story might be. Starlight #1 was a case in point. While not typically a big follower of Mark Millar’s various titles, this book was an amazing opening issue.
Let’s be clear: this book has a terrific concept. The first installment felt fresh and unique, despite a few similarities with older characters. Starlight #1 was a breath of fresh air in every respect. While there were minor aspects of the story that personally reminded me of the old DC Adam Strange character, this actually added a nice sense of nostalgia and made this fairly sad story fun. Furthermore, the overall organization of the story delivery was quite interesting. The reader is immediately thrown into what appears to be a pretty whacky tale of science fiction, which thankfully includes all of the relevant starting details through well-written character dialogue. This layer of exposition does not in any way bog down the flow of the story; neither does it provide an overabundance of detailed explanation which might interfere with the reader immersion. As the story cuts to what appears to be the present day, the overall tone takes a dramatic shift into a much more grounded tale of loss and sadness. There were some incredibly heart-wrenching moments in this first issue which were very effective. The characters and their dialogue feel sincere and realistic, which provides a perfect antithesis to the much more light-hearted sci-fi flashback sequences which appear throughout the book. Finally, the ending of Starlight #1 was very exciting and really seems to have set the stage for the future direction this story is heading towards.
While some aspects of the artwork in this book didn’t particularly mesh with subjective, personal tastes, it must be admitted that Starlight includes some excellent artistry. Given the classic science-fiction sensibility presented throughout much of this book, the fairly “Silver Age” feel of the visuals is quite well-suited to the story. The more fantastic scenes feature some excellent designs that also have a very classic feel. Goran Parlov is equally capable of working with the more grounded, real-world scenes of the present as he is with the futuristic, fantastic fictional elements in the flashbacks. The real-world panels feature some excellent realism and attention to detail in the background designs, while everything in the science-fiction scenes is brimming with creativity. Ive Svorcina’s colors also really enhance the stark contrast between the present and flashback elements with much more grim and earthy tones in the former and incredibly vibrant bright colors during the latter. While the color work feels slightly stiff with a lot of single-tone work, it is quite well-suited to the previously mentioned old school feel of this book.
Starlight #1 was definitely a pleasant surprise. This book has fun adventure while also retaining a strong sense of realism and emotion in terms of character interactions and development. If you’re looking for something that feels different from most other titles currently available, Starlight may be a good place to search.