Stargirl: The Lost Children #1 review

Stargirl Courtney Whitmore hasn’t been a star pupil of late, skipping classes to join Emiko Queen, aka Red Arrow, on a quest. They’re out to find the lost sidekicks Courtney saw in a vision in the Stargirl: Spring Break Special. Mom Barbara isn’t best pleased after the school tells her about her bright daughter’s slipping grades, while stepdad Pat reckons she’s on a wild goose chase

Courtney’s resolve is strong. She thinks twice when Emiko turns up that night with a tip… then grabs her Stargirl duds and Cosmic Staff to investigate the home of Daniel Dunbar, aka Dan the Dyna-Mite, kid partner of TNT.

A mini-adventure from the Golden Age of heroes kicks off this issue, showing us the explosive duo at their brightest.

In fact, Dyna-Mite bookends Chapter 1, with the adult Dan making an amazing discovery in his own search for the missing sidekicks on the final page.

I was shocked when this issue ended after 20 pages. It seems writer Geoff Johns has been spoiling us lately, with extra-length chapters of Doomsday Clock, Flashpoint Beyond and last week’s The New Golden Age. Still, you couldn’t accuse him of stinting on story, with this first issue of six jam-packed with mystery, character and action. The opening is huge fun, who knew DC funny animals The Fox and the Crow were secretly bad guys? And Dan’s narration provides a fresh perspective on sidekicks. Courtney and Emiko make a good team… I’m intrigued by Pat describing Red Arrow as ‘a contrarian like her brother’ (I keep forgetting that the Spring Break book established that current day Ollie is the same GA who fought as one of the Seven Soldiers of Victory with Pat). What did she do to deserve that?

The mystery of the missing kids is gaining momentum nicely, and now we know the Child Catcher… sorry, Child Minder, is female. I wonder if it’ll be an existing DCU character – Granny Goodness might fit the bill.

Also, this panel is very intriguing.

That’s one of the lost children saying ‘… before we’re sold’, presumably. But to whom? And if they’ve been in their prison since the Forties, why the urgency now? I suppose time passes differently wherever they are.

As for what caused the radio to explode, well, look who’s on Dan’s Wall of Weird.

Only a guy with powers linked to radio waves – who’s to say he couldn’t summon a slew of electricity and explode himself out of prison, landing who knows where? Mind, Air Wave wasn’t a teen hero, he was a fully-grown man, a lawyer. And last we heard, Larry Jordan had lived long enough to hand the mantle onto his son, Air Wave II, who apprenticed with Green Lantern Hal Jordan – his cousin – and later became Maser. I can’t see massive GL fan Johns throwing out all that history. So what’s going on?

Artist Todd Nauck is back from Spring Break to draw this issue and he’s producing career-best work. The storytelling is fantastic, with excellent compositions, vibrant characters and lively movement. Our heroines look terrific – I especially like that despite having been at the hero game for a few years, Courtney can still get delightfully wide eyed. The DNA and Dan sequence is especially fun, with colourist Matt Herms evoking Golden Age books via a Benday dot effect. And Rob Leigh uses a variety of fonts and approaches to aid the storytelling, as usual going the extra mile to give us an appropriate story title design… I wish DC would give him some logo work

I haven’t a bad thing to say about this comic; the nearest I have to a complaint is the fact that there’s no mention of Pat’s son, Mike, a great character. Hopefully he’ll join the story soon.

Otherwise, from Todd Nauck’s marvellously busy cover to the suspenseful ending, this is DC Comics at its best.

11 thoughts on “Stargirl: The Lost Children #1 review

  1. You’re not wrong! This is a wonderful read from beginning to end. I’m looking forward to every issue of the mini and crossing my fingers that we’ll have more stories of Courtney after that.
    I’d love to see Lee Moder return for an issue or two at some point, although you’re totally right about Nauck doing a fabulous job with the pencils. Absolutely no complaints from me on that front… it’s just that I really loved Moder’s art and would love to see more of it.
    Red Arrow isn’t doing much for me, but I understand her role in the story. *Someone’s* got to fill the role of anti-Jiminy Cricket whose job is to poke at Courtney and push her into the adventure. I’m not sure that Emiko would have been my choice but I can see why Johns chose her. And maybe he’s find an angle for the character that catches my interest.
    I have to admit… I’m really interested in seeing how these lost Golden Age characters get folded into the DCU. It’s the kind of twist that ought to drive me round the bend and yet, I find it kinda charming. I suppose it’s all in the execution of the idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Red Arrow does seem very random, why not one of the younger JSA members? Or Mike as STRIPE? And I wonder if the kids will be integrating into the modern DCU, or going back to turn own times. Maybe a bit of both?


  2. Speedy II would have been a better choice than Red Arrow but Red’s more lethal so she can maim people to give Johns his wrier’s high I guess.

    It’s a good first issue but those are like the begining of Spring. Who knows if you’ll get sunny days after or storms or even a solid chill. Flashpoint, Doomsday Clock, and other recent projects has me much less enthused about Johns than I used to be. TBH, he has never been that high on my list of writers to begin with. Nauk is a bit of a turn off to my taste too. I won’t skip a property or eriter I’m interested in because he’s the artist but he’s not a draw without those.

    And boy does Dan get around good for being in his nineties.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Enjoyed “The New Golden Age” but now I’m kind of hanging back to see how this mini and the new Justice Society title unfold and whether I’ll want to buy them in floppies or trades or not at all. I just learned – at least according to DCs solicits – that the “Justice Society” is 12 issues, not an ongoing, which was never specified in the original online coverage of the book/Johns’ return to the team. I just have trepidation over all of this tying in to Johns’ corner of the DCU and his continuing “Flashpoint” and “Doomsday Clock” subplots. I wish these great characters could just stand on their own, without some sort of gimmick to prop up these relaunches. Maybe that’s what today’s market requires, but it’s disappointing. Also, if the end result is having a bunch of rejuvinated Golden Age sidekicks running around the 2022/23 DCU, I’m not sure it needs them given all of the other “legacy” characters that either have their own books or are sitting in limbo. But I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s Johns’ endgame here. A “Stargirl and the Young JSA” title or something. It’s funny, back in the late 1990s I was all about the JSA. But 20 years later even I feel a little like, “How, exactly, can they keep bringing these characters back? We’re getting farther and farther from WWII…” But then I remind myself about Captain America…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I imagine a Blue Valley ghetto is lovely so far as ghettoes go, but yeah, I also don’t want a Geoff Johns corner of the DC, I want revitalised, and new, characters to run riot through the DCU. I honestly don’t worry about the ages of the JSA relative to the war, as I get older my mind gets fuzzier and I’m always astonished when someone points out how far away the Second World War was!


    2. Cap at least was on ice until a moving fifteen years ago or so. The JSa needs that. Have Moore’s Captain Atom knockoff slice them and their supporting cast out of continuity in 1950 and plunk them back in 1995.


  4. For storytelling it gets an A+. For Continuity it gets a laugh! That’s not the writer’s Fault. The Timeline at DC has been fixed too many times already. Roy Harper has transitioned to Adult – so he’s not the team-up for A High School Courtney, … but I suspect that Red Arrow is seen as a younger version, more likely to have bought into Courtney’s vision.

    Anyways this all sets up a soft reboot for next year, with more of the kids taking over – Something DC’sbeen struggling with ever since Crisis On infinite Earths, back in the 80’s

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really do wonder how Dark Crisis is going to shake out. Maybe we’ll get a proper new Earth 2 reflecting how Earth 2 would be had the original not been Crisised away, and the retrieved sidekicks will stay there – there are more than enough young heroes on Earth 0. I’m not sure we’ve yet met everyone one was suddenly a Teen Titan post One Year Later.


  5. Oh! My! Word!
    I was so excited when this title was announced, and I was NOT disappointed.
    I’m a sucker for big casts, new characters and 1940s superheroes so I knew this would be right up my street.

    My copy of this issue is still sitting in my standing order at Forbidden Planet,so I was over the moon to find it on DRY Infinite. Genuinely couldn’t believe my luck.

    One of my favourite things about Johns’ writing is his obvious affection for DC’s history. It’s great to see the return of Dan the Dyna-Mite, and I think this might be the first time I’ve actually seen TNT in action.
    Also, the Fox & Crow reference completely flew over my head, so thanks for pointing it out, Mart.

    I agree with you about Nauk’s art. It’s a delight.
    He’s a master of the group shot, occasionally reaching almost Perezian levels with the number of characters he can squeeze into a panel of onto a cover. I’ve a feeling this series is going to play into his strengths.
    Anyone who enjoys his work should definitely hung down his Wildguard series, a superhero/talent show set-up from a few years back. It certainly highlights his skills in character design.

    It’s a joy to have Courtney back, and I quote like the use of Red Arrow as her partner i crimefighting. This issue definitely left me wanting more, and I can’t wait til next month’s instalment. I’m eager to find out more about these new characters, and to get reacquainted with a few old friends (Newsboy Legion, Secret, etc)

    While I love Johns’ use of history, I’m not as fond of his penchant for bloodbaths, and I really hope that these characters don’t end up as cannon fodder.
    However, Stars & STRIPE was always a more joyful example of his writing, so I have faith that we’re in for a fun ride.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Having now read the first new JSA issue I appreciate this even more for the sheer fun. It’s odd, the two new series are connected, with the returned characters and time mangling, but Stargirl was an immediate hit with me and JSA, not.

      Thanks for the reminder of Wildguard, Mike – I’ve heard of it, but not tried it, I should look it out.


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