Behind Amanda Conner’s nice homage to the 1974 issue of Superman which introduced Vartox, himself a homage to Sean Connery in Zardoz, is another smile-inducing issue of DC’s most delightful superhero title.
We begin with a flashback to the day space pirates made the population of Valeron, except its protector, Vartox, infertile. That explains his quest this month to persuade Power Girl, the only woman in creation deemed worthy of ‘the Hyper Man’, to be his woman. So it’s away to Earth, armed only with interstellar headship, seduction musk-rifle and interstellar pornstache. The clash of personalities between the insanely arrogant Vartox and the rightly incredulous Kara makes for a fabulous romp. And while there’s a credible threat thrown in for the sake of drama, the amusement never wavers.
‘Lust in Space’ also features a treat for old Wonder Woman fans in an appearance by a new version of Byrna Brilyant the Blue Snowman, and for JSA boosters with Dr Midnite playing damsel in distress.
Writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti give Peege the straight face that makes the ridiculous situation Vartox creates all the funnier, though she can throw a barb with the best of them. And as usual, Conner’s art has personality plus. Her depiction of Vartox’s Seventies throwback world is a hoot – it’d be a crying shame if we never saw Chancellor Groovicus Mellow again – but likewise she knows how to make a monster scary, aided by the fine colourwork of Paul Mounts. And letterer John J Hill makes the words look good too.
The story is continued next issue but given this creative team’s niftiness with recaps, it’s a sure thing you could buy that without reading this. But read this anyway, it’ll make your life better. Vartox says so.