Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Starlight

 Professional blowhard Mark Millar tackles Sci-Fi, with a stutlifyingly dull Flash Gordon pastiche entitled STARLIGHT....


 The book is an odd mixture, combining two-fisted Sci-Fi/Fantasy with the "I'm getting too old for this shit" vibe of LETHAL WEAPON and THE EXPENDABLES, with a dash of GRAN TORINO thrown in for good measure. Millar is basically telling a "What If...?", wondering what would happen to Flash Gordon as he settles into old age. Flash, known here as "Duke McQueen", is a recent widower in the twilight of his life....Neglected by his grown children, and ridiculed by the world at large, thanks to his outlandish tales of being whisked away to a strange alien world in his younger days, McQueen is given another chance to be a hero by a young boy from Tantala, the planet he rescued from a ruthless warlord as a younger man.

Tantala is once again under the thumb of a ruthless despot (The unimaginatively named "Kingfisher"...), its people desperate for a hero...Enter McQueen, who joins up with the pitiful remains of the rebel uprising in a last-ditch attempt to overthrow Kingfisher and his conquering hordes.

 Despite the vaguely promising idea of a way-past-his-prime hero, Millar undermines his own premise by not going anywhere with it. McQueen constantly professes his age, but he whomps the fuck out of everyone he comes into contact with, so it's really no different than reading a story about Flash Gordon in his prime. Millar usually delivers an engrossing read, but this one just left me flat...I was constantly counting the pages, trying to determine when the book would end. This is probably the blandest, most vanilla Mark Millar book I've read...In fact, if his name wasn't plastered all over it, I would have a hard time believing that he wrote it.

 The art, by Goran Parlov, is decent enough, a kind of mish-mash of Joe Kubert, Eduardo Risso, and Moebius. It was nice-looking, but didn't seem particularly suited to this type of grand Sci-Fi space opera. Flash Gordon is a quintessential American hero, and an artist in the Al Williamson vein would have knocked a book like this out of the park.
  
 STARLIGHT is a story that I was looking forward to reading, but it's an oddly boring tale, and one that held no surprises for me. As much as I'd like to, I just can't give it any kind of recommendation

 Image Comics provided a review copy.