Do you ever buy a comic with low expectations and then find yourself blown out of the water? That’s what happened with this latest DC tie-in to the WB superhero shows. I saw publicity for the first couple but was put off by the cover art; also, they’re tying into the TV show continuity and I’m at least a year behind on most shows…
… but not Stargirl. I love the show so much that I’ve made sure to keep up, so why not give this a try? Then I opened the book, having paid no attention to the surnames on the cover.
Jerry Ordway! Why did no one tell me a new book was coming out with visuals by one of the most masterful superhero artists even to pick up pencil and ink? And what’s more…
James Robinson! The masterly writer behind Starman, the Golden Age and co-writer of early issues of the turn of the century JSA series. And here he’s co-writing again, with Paula Sevenbergen, one of Robinson’s fellow scribes on some TV show called Stargirl. Things were looking good!
And indeed, this is a wonderful comic book; true to the TV show’s sensibility while tapping into the aforementioned seminal Starman series. Every page sings with gorgeous illustrations and clever moments of storytelling.
Stargirl Courtney Whitmore is on a summer holiday in the wilds of Wyoming with mother Barbara, brother Mike and dad Pat (I’ve put the steps away, they’re a rock solid family, no modifiers necessary).
So it’s into the woods for Courtney and Pat while, back in Blue Valley, someone comes looking for the former Stripesy at his garage, where pal Zeek is holding the fort.
That would be foreboding, folks. Needless to say, the mystery man tracks down Pat and tells him a story.
And that’s as much recap as I’m giving here, because if you’re a fan of Courtney, Pat, the All-Star Squadron or any of the creators I’ve mentioned, you’re likely sold by now. I gift you the opportunity to discovery a wonderful story for yourself.
This could well be my favourite comic book of the year so far. Robinson and Sevenbergen’s script is confident, smart and full of heart. It melds the modern sensibility of Courtney’s world with the rich comic book heritage of Pat. The mystery man has been gone from comics for so long that he almost qualifies as a new character, and it’s his story that gave me the patented Starman glow.
The regular characters all sound like their live action versions and, thanks to Ordway, look and move like them too. As a writer himself, Ordway knows how to sell a story, as brilliantly demonstrated by a page showing the passage of time in prison.
What’s more, the Road Trip – that’s the name of the tale – allows Ordway the excuse to get lyrical with lovely scenes of the Great Outdoors, all gorgeously coloured by the ever-excellent John Kalisz. The glow of the skies, the greens of the flora, it’s all very easy on the eyes. The only colouring decision with which I disagree is the dulling down of the pallete for the All-Star Squadron sequence – it’s echoing the TV series approach to flashbacks, but for a comic book I’d prefer garish primaries to better evoke the Golden Age.
Tom Napolitano’s letters are excellent – sharp, friendly, nicely placed on the page. And while Kim Jacinto’s cover isn’t my cup of tea, that doesn’t mean It’s bad.
You don’t have to be a fan of the Stargirl series to enjoy this. Fans of the Stargirl show won’t need to have read this to enjoy the coming Season 3. They complement one another, but this is a truly stellar standalone.