Mark Millar and Goran Parlov’s Starlight came out in 2014 just as the new wave of Guardians of The Galaxy was cranking up and Marvel’s famed kill off of the DnA Cosmic era was all but complete. It was a “dark era” for Marvel stuff for me.
I’ve always been mixed on Millar’s work. Ironically, some of his best work was done during one of the “Golden Era”s of Marvel comics circa 2006-2008. I really enjoyed all the Ultimates (I and II) work he did, though I loathed the delays. I was very wishy washy on Civil War as I felt the solid story was overshadowed by mischaracterization, sloppy force fed continuity, and contrived narrative. I’m a huge New Warriors fan, so I was a bit miffed his deconstruction of that team as a gimmick was not matched by an eventual reconstruction. I’ve only ever seen the film for Wanted, though I enjoyed the movie.
However, in Starlight Millar tackles a sci fi genre and pulp feel I had otherwise not known he was capable of. Through the trade, he does manage to deliver a solid story and tale that really shows his range as a writer.
In short, Starlight forms a decent outing for Millar. The plot is basically a take on “A last Flash Gordon” type tale, or the zillion spin off pastiches of such a character. As he shows us the world of Duke McQueen, Millar crafts a worthy saga of redemption, loss and finding oneself that nearly anyone can identify with.
Fans should know, this doesn’t re-invent some comic book wheel. Much of what I said about Dark Horse’s Dark Matter could also apply here. Yet, instead of a Ridley Scott inspired angle, here we have the clear Flash Gordon 30s pulp territory. The source material is proudly derivative, nothing intensely original. Yet, like Dark Matter, readers will feel, at least some sense this material belongs right with the source inspiration. (IE not hollow pastiche, but welcome homage) It all works, never comes off clunky and was very enjoyable.
Parlov’s pencils throb brilliant lines on the page and Millar’s words enrich the content to a very solid level. Everything here flows fast and works really well. You could almost smell the popcorn cooking as you read this. Certainly, the work has film potential.
All in all, I highly recommend.