by Mark Millar, Goran Parlov and Ive Svorcina
A sort of homecoming takes place in the third issue of Starlight, Duke McQueen returns to a different Tantalus then the one he left over 40 years ago. Millar and Parlov usher in some action and set the stakes for the returning hero. Duke’s supporting cast on Tantalus and the tyrant that brought Duke out of retirement is revealed.
Starlight continues to be a straightforward adventure book. Missing is the angst and darkness that could weighted down a midlife action hero tale. The book is a worthy heartfelt fresh retrospective of the dashing adventure tales it draws its inspiration. With each new issue, Duke McQueen’s character is optimistic, reflective and even apologetic without the angst or brooding. McQueen doesn’t dwell or commiserate his flaws; instead he acknowledges them and takes action. This is the ingredient that makes this series such a delightful and exciting read. Duke returns to Tantalus and is debriefed on what’s in store for him. The heartbreaking homecoming and action sequence give the book a faster pace than the previous issue. Duke rallies and is rejuvenated back to action in response to the current troubles that are plaguing the planet that he helped liberate 40 years ago. Lord Kingfisher’s (Tantalus’s occupying tyrannical dictator) introduction as the book’s antagonist is in step with the classical cinematic tone of the book.
Starlight reads as an intelligent summer action matinee. Duke McQueen is a likable, humble and charismatic character. Millar gives the reader a hero who feels the sadness of nostalgia that his best days might have passed him by, but without wallowing in self pity. Millar is crafting a story of hope and courage despite age or past accomplishments. Millar is not creating a storyline that is too dark and depressing nor is it too optimistic and saccharine. This is the key that makes Duke relatable and Starlight such a wonderful comic.
Capturing all the feeling of the returning hero is done by the beautiful art of Goran Parlov and the colors of Ive Svorcina. The world of Tantalus is given a familiar yet fresh look through Parlov complex yet simple designs. Parlov continues to illustrate detailed expressions on character’s faces that match the tone and dialogue perfectly. The background details are expressive as well but not overpowering. Parlov puts on page a comical but serious action sequence. Much to his credit, Parlov uses the art to move the story, add emotional depth but not as a means to create meaningless effects or shock value.
Starlight picks up the pace this issue with promise of more action to come. Character development continues without unnecessary dramatics and readers finally get to see Duke McQueen in action. This book has the perfect balance of being introspective and retrospective. Continuing it’s cinematic, science fiction serial look and feel, Starlight is a heart warming and rejuvenating read.