Stargirl Courtney Whitmore and Red Arrow Emiko Queen are trying to find out whatever happened to teen superhero sidekicks from the 1940s.
Emiko has a link to the so-called Golden Age in the form of brother Oliver Queen, Green Arrow, and his partner Roy Harper, Speedy, who spent an extended period fighting crime in the Second World War. They’re back now, but their old HQ has something that will help the girls find an island they suspect is linked to the assumed disappearances of the likes of Wing, Cherry Bomb and Quiz Kid.
They commandeer the Arrowboat, a craft strong enough to survive a sudden electrical storm in the Pacific Ocean… an electrical storm whose lightning forms a rather familiar face.
Washed up on the mystery island they theorised exists, Stargirl and Red Arrow encounter some rather comical figures.
Comical, but dangerous.
The second part of this Geoff Johns/Todd Nauck six-part mini-series is loads of fun, digging deep into DC history, from the chapter title – ‘More Fun’ – onwards. The pared-down core cast of Courtney and Emiko gives writer Johns room for the odd cool character moment, such as Courtney’s realisation as to why the quest means so much to Emiko – it speaks to the vulnerability beneath Emiko’s tough cookie character and reminds us of Courtney’s empathy.
And of course, there’s action aplenty, showcasing Stargirl’s athleticism and Red Arrow’s marksmanship. Meanwhile the mystery as to who’s behind the vanishing sidekicks deepens, with hints they can affect a person’s memory, and the sight of mysterious gnarled hands.
Any ideas? There must be some Golden Age baddie who could mangle minds? Hmm, an hourglass… Old-time heroes seemed to be forever getting trapped in giant egg timers, and if you look back at that group shot of Seven Soldiers of Victory waxworks up top, they’re standing in front of just such a thing. That would be a reference to this issue.
The villain of the piece was The Dummy who, you may recall, murdered Seven Soldiers member The Vigilante’s young ally Stuff, so he’s not a fan of sidekicks…
It’s fun to have a mystery on which to ponder, so kudos to Johns. Congrats, too, to illustrator Todd Nauck for knocking it out of the park in the visuals department. His expressive stylings are perfect for teen heroes – remember his long run on Young Justice? – so it’s great that he’s signed up for Stargirl’s comeback mini. The Arrowcave, which Emiko might usefully have pointed out to a mocking Courtney predates the Batcave, looks terrific, I’d like to see it back full time when Green Arrow returns to a regular series (he’s vanished again!). Nauck also deserves a nod for not stinting on props and backgrounds, giving our heroes a convincing world to inhabit.
Colourist Matt Herms works well with Nauck throughout, especially where special effects are needed – one missing hero makes quite the entrance. And Rob Leigh adds extra fizz with his lettering choices.
Nauck draws and colours the cover, and the result is spiffy, with the roiling waters especially attractive. Well, not to Courtney and Emiko…
Two issues in and this mini-series is proving a real treat; I wonder how many copies we need to buy to get an ongoing.