Written by: Mark Millar
Art by: Goran Parlov
Starlight is essentially a love letter to classic science fiction and science fantasy. It’s a very traditional story, in a very traditional setting, and even the modern sensibilities are kept to a minimum. As a result, Starlight isn’t your typical Mark Millar comic. It’s very, very different from pretty much everything else he’s ever worked on. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a good thing, as it shows that Millar can actually break away from the superheroes living in the real world story that he’s been telling in most of his books. That being said, Starlight also suffers as a result of it being a traditional science fiction story. It isn’t a high concept story, and that provides a steep barrier to entry, since everything ends up being fairly predictable.
This is a problem that is quite prevalent in this issue, since the ending can be seen from a mile away. There isn’t a thing that happens in Starlight #5 that isn’t predictable, and that’s a real bummer. It lacks any sort of suspense or excitement, and science fiction is a genre where this is especially important. It’s easy to stop caring about a book when there isn’t excitement lurking behind every page. There’s no reason to turn the page in this issue, really, because anyone with any degree of familiarity with the genre should be able to predict the next plot twist. The lack of excitement just makes Starlight kind of a bore to read at times, which is a huge issue for the book.
That isn’t to say that Starlight does everything wrong, in fact, it gets a lot right. It isn’t always boring, in fact, it’s possible to have a little bit of fun with Starlight. It has almost no originality, that’s for sure, but it does have a little bit of heart. It’s not a dark or gritty comic, and it doesn’t always feel like it’s meant to be taken 100% seriously. It has a lot of 70’s and 80’s sensibilities, and for that reason, it could provide some nostalgia for some readers, and even those who don’t get the nostalgia could get a kick out of it. Even the plot is very rooted in that era of science fiction movies, seeing a hero from Earth leading a resistance against a brutal dictator. It’s a great opportunity for social commentary, which is squandered, but that really isn’t the purpose of this book.
At the end of the day, Starlight is just a very simple, fun science fiction comic. It may not be the most exciting thing ever, and those looking for really smart, high concept comics should definitely be looking elsewhere. Fortunately, Starlight knows what it is and what it isn’t, and Mark Millar just rolls with that. This is a comic built for a very specific audience, and if you’re a part of that audience, you’ll love Starlight. If you aren’t, then you probably aren’t reading Starlight at this point. But if you’re looking for a fun science fiction comic, this is it, and it’s only five issues in. In that case, this is definitely something I would recommend.