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The Starman Omnibus, Volume Three by James…

The Starman Omnibus, Volume Three

by James Robinson

Other authors: Dusty Abell (Illustrator), Bret Blevins (Illustrator), Mark Buckingham (Illustrator), Mitch Byrd (Illustrator), Robert Campanella (Illustrator)16 more, Wayne Faucher (Illustrator), Stefano Gaudiano (Illustrator), Drew Geraci (Illustrator), Gene Ha (Illustrator), Tony Harris (Illustrator), Phil Jimenez (Illustrator), Chuck Kim (Introduction), Norman Lee (Illustrator), Richard Pace (Illustrator), Ray Snyder (Illustrator), Dexter Vines (Illustrator), Wade von Grawbadger (Illustrator), Lee Weeks (Illustrator), J. H. Williams III (Illustrator), Steve Yeowell (Illustrator), Michael Zulli (Illustrator)

Series: Starman Omnibus (3), Starman, Starman [volume 2] (Omnibus 3)

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822224,695 (3.96)1
"Jack continues his transformation into a real hero as he works with Batman and the Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott to save the monstrous Solomon Grundy"-- Back cover.



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Volume Three was the weakest installment of Starman for me thus far. Not that it's bad or anything, but that I felt there was a little too much Shade, not quite enough Starman. Throughout the series, I've felt that maybe James Robinson likes this character more than I do-- he strikes me as someone best used in small doses, but we lead off with a large one: four issues of "The Shade" miniseries, plus some diary excerpts, plus the Shade intervenes (yet again) at the end of a story in order to resolve it when it gets out of Jack's control. All of this is a shame, though, because "The Shade" miniseries, about the Shade's recurring rivalry with an English family, is actually very, very well done, especially the issue with the Flash. It's just that when you bundle the whole Starman series together, "The Shade" feels like a mistimed digression.

The first actual Starman story, "Infernal Devices," is only okay, which exacerbates the problem. The stuff with Solomon Grudy is fine, and I loved the appearances of Batman and Alan Scott, but there didn't feel like there was enough of a personal connection for Jack. (I did really like the Woody Allen movie metaphor, even if, unlike Batman, I have actually never seen a Woody Allen movie.)

Thankfully, a number of the one-shots are strong. "Stars in My Eyes!", where Jack tells his girlfriend three tales of superhero romance, was excellent: I liked the story of Scalphunter, but as a big Black Canary II fan, I was really pleased to see her mother's relationship with Jack's father fleshed out and expanded on, following on from two Silver Age tales where the characters team up. It's an oddly bittersweet story about fidelity and trust and truth. This year's "Talking with David," where Jack has dinner with the dead members of the Justice Society, was good too.

On the other hand, the issue where the Mist kills off Justice League Europe just to prove how badass she is is the most crass, cynical kind of superhero storytelling. "Oh, these characters are in limbo-- let's brutally murder them!" I expected better of Robinson (though maybe I shouldn't have, given he'd go on to kill kids to prove the situation was serious in the awful Cry for Justice).

Thankfully, that bad taste is leavened by the final story, the parallel "Talking with Ted..." and "...Talking with Jack...", where Ted tells Jack's girlfriend about Ted while Jack tells his tattoo artist about his dad. If Starman has an emotional core, it's the father-son relationship between these two, all the respect they can't bring themselves to say, and the parallel narratives here develop that beautifully. Jack might struggle with his father's superheroic identity, but we all struggle with our parents' identities. The final page, especially, got me right in the heart. Brilliant stuff, even if the volume as a whole seemed to tread water a bit.
  Stevil2001 | Nov 22, 2013 |
After reading the first three installments of James Robinson's Starman series - Sins of the Father, Night and Day and A Wicked Inclination - in trade paperback, I switched over to these hardcover omnibus editions, beginning with volume two, which was mostly a recap. This third omnibus volume is therefore the first new Starman material that I've read in some time, and I enjoyed it immensely!

Here we learn more of the history of that morally ambiguous villain-hero, The Shade, and are introduced to another past Starman, Will Payton. The O'Dare family makes an appearance, as does Jack's dead brother David, who, in Talking With David, '97, brings him to a banquet of fallen superheroes. The ghost of a hanged pirate, determined to clear his name, a mad bomber terrorizing Opal City, the dying Solomon Grundy, and the psychotically vengeance-focused Mist, all appear in these pages. But like the previous entries in the series, it is the father-son relationship between Ted and Jack Knight - the Starman of yesterday and today - that gives the work its real emotional power.

Robinson continues to build upon that relationship here, and although the widening story arc (as well as the afterword) make it clear that there are momentous events in the offing, the volume closes with a poignant scene - in which father and son, though apart, share a moment of connection - that focuses our attention on the familial drama. I continue to enjoy the Starman series - its characters, story, and art - and am looking forward to the release of the fourth omnibus volume, sometime later this year. MUST have more! ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jul 17, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Robinsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Abell, DustyIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blevins, BretIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buckingham, MarkIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Byrd, MitchIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Campanella, RobertIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Faucher, WayneIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gaudiano, StefanoIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Geraci, DrewIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ha, GeneIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harris, TonyIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jimenez, PhilIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kim, ChuckIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lee, NormanIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pace, RichardIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Snyder, RayIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vines, DexterIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
von Grawbadger, WadeIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Weeks, LeeIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams III, J. H.Illustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yeowell, SteveIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Zulli, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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