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The Starman Omnibus, Volume One by James…
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The Starman Omnibus, Volume One

by James Robinson (Writer), Tony Harris (Illustrator), Wade von Grawbadger (Illustrator)

Other authors: Amanda Conner (Illustrator), Tommy Lee Edwards (Illustrator), Gary Erskine (Illustrator), Kim Hagen (Illustrator), Bjarne Hansen (Illustrator)6 more, Christian Højgaard (Illustrator), Stuart Immonen (Illustrator), Teddy Kristiansen (Illustrator), Andrew Robinson (Illustrator), Matt Smith (Illustrator), Chris Sprouse (Illustrator)

Series: Starman Omnibus (1), Starman

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» See also 3 mentions

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I've owned the first volume of Starman for five years now(!), but my desire to read it goes back even further than that-- I remember reading about it in Scott Tipton's Comics 101 column, which rated it as one of the very best comic books ever. Thankfully, that turned out to be exactly that. Starman tells the tale of Jack Knight, son of the original Starman, Ted Knight, and a young man who never wanted to be a superhero... but found himself forced to be one by circumstances... and found himself starting to like it.

That "liking" is a key part of what I find appealing about this book. Starman goes to dark places, both narratively and visually, but it's often enjoyable, often fun. This isn't a series about a grim antihero, but one about someone who likes being a hero. There's a sense of joy, of enthusiasm, of heroism to the events that happen here. This book doesn't ask, "Do we really need heroes?", it just gets on with the business of having them. But it's not a Golden-Age froth fest; this is a story about terrible things happening to good people... just thank goodness that sometimes the good people can stop those terrible things. This is the ethos I like from my superhero comics.

This was writer James Robinson's first real big break, I think, and it shows-- in a good way. This book bursts with new ideas and reworkings of old ideas: the O'Dares, the Shade, the Mist, Mikaal, the "Conversations with David" segments (where Jack talks to his dead brother), the evil poster, the evil circus, the mysterious Hawai'ian shirt. There's a lot going on, and little of it is generic superhero vs. supervillain theatrics. I like how Starman has a third-person narrator, one with a distinct voice and tone. I think this was Tony Harris's first big break, too, but he also shines here, with art that's purposefully a little rough, and perfectly suited to the task.

Like a lot of DC's Modern Age work, this retcons levels of personality and depth onto Golden Age characters that, quite frankly, was not there to begin with, just like in Sandman Mystery Theatre. Most blatant in this regard is "13 Years Ago: Five Friends," a bleak story of how a few members of the Justice Society reunited to take out a killer cult-leader. The JSA stories in Crisis on Multiple Earths were never like this! But of course, I like this, and I like this mode of going about; this is the kind of thing I think the best modern comics do: respect the past, use it as a foundation to build on, but not be overly beholden to it.
  Stevil2001 | Nov 22, 2013 |
I really can't say how much I love Jack Knight. He's a character I connect with on a deep level. His story is always compelling, and his supporters- particularly the Shade- are very interesting in their own right.

Since this is a repackaging of a repackaging, though, this review is more about the book than the story. Even though I already have some of the trades, this was well worth the money spent- I'm not sure I'd want to pay the full $45 list price, but it was definitely worth the $30 I paid. This is a particularly nice edition- good, heavy paper, excellent printing quality, none of the pages-falling-out problems the old trades have. I especially liked that Robinson's letter page essays were included- I'd not read them, since they were only in the single issues.

If you're a Starman fan at all, you'll want this. If you've never been introduced to the character, thirty bucks is not too steep for 450 pages of full-color comics. I can't wait for volume 2. ( )
2 vote imnotsatan | Jun 16, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robinson, JamesWriterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harris, TonyIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
von Grawbadger, WadeIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Conner, AmandaIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Edwards, Tommy LeeIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Erskine, GaryIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hagen, KimIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hansen, BjarneIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Højgaard, ChristianIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Immonen, StuartIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kristiansen, TeddyIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Robinson, AndrewIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, MattIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sprouse, ChrisIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

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"Jack Knight is a rabid collector, operating an antiques and collectibles store in the heart of Opal City. Despite being the son of Ted Knight, the Golden Age hero known as Starman, Jack is nothing like him. Rebellious, stubborn and disdainful of Ted's past, Jack is certainly no hero. That is, until a terrible tragedy strikes-- Reluctantly adopting his father's former mantle, Jack forges a path as the latest inheritor of the Starman legacy. But now all of Ted's enemies are determined to snuff out this newest star before Jack has a chance to truly shine. Can Jack overcome incredible odds to prove that he has what it takes to be a hero"--Back of dust jacket.… (more)

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