Star’s End

Starman: Grand Guignol: written by James Robinson; illustrated by Peter Snejberg, Paul Smith, Tony Harris, and Andrew Robinson (2000): The career of second-generation Starman Jack Knight moves towards its close as his Opal City plunges into darkness at the hands of frenemy The Shade. Or is it The Shade? Writer Robinson takes 13 issues to tell the story of what is Jack Knight’s greatest battle, as he and his allies must face a veritable army of criminals, super-criminals, and whatever it is that the mystically powered Shade has become.

While there’s a certain amount of violence and death in this tale, Robinson manages to keep things from becoming overwhelmingly grim and gritty throughout. Peter Snejberg really delivers some fine superhero art here, clean and almost minimalist at times, with a lovely fluid line.

The battle for Opal City draws in a number of DC’s lesser-known heroes whom Robinson pretty much has carte blanche to play with. The space-faring Adam Strange may be the most welcome odd appearance, though Robinson also places a couple of DC’s long-ago Quality Comics purchases, Phantom Lady and the Black Condor, into Opal City.

Robinson even manages to make good use of DC’s company-wide crossover event of that time, Underworld Unleashed, to explain the return of some of the Golden-Age Starman’s (Jack’s still-living father) greatest foes. In all, this is a fine penultimate chapter to the Starman series. Highly recommended.

Starman: Sons of the Father: written by James Robinson; illustrated by Peter Snejberg, Tony Harris, and Andrew Robinson (2001): The saga of Starman Jack Knight comes to an end as loose ends are tidied up and a long-simmering mystery (Who was the Starman of 1951?) is finally solved. Obviously, the final Starman arc is best read by someone who’s already read the rest of the series. Snejberg’s art shines throughout, as do Robinson’s grasp of character and love of Golden-Age superheroes. Highly recommended.

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