By Abdulkareem Baba Aminu
"I feel like an idiot," began the first issue of Mark Millar and Goran Parlov's Starlight, and that's exactly how I felt, realizing I wrongly imagined the comic to be a Flash Gordon clone (Let's face it: Early marketing positioned it as one). Published by Image Comics, it tells the story of an ageing, retired space adventurer who loses a loved one and tries to adjust to life unsuccessfully. He pines for his past, fantastical life and by the end of the issue he just might've found an escape.
The writing is well-nuanced, especially when showing the more ordinary aspects of protagonist Duke McQueen's life. Here, Millar conjures up a quietly powerful set of characters in McQueen's kids, wife and even random kids in a grocery store. It shows that Millar has grown as a writer considerably and here it seems like he's some kind of cross between a blockbuster movie director and an indie auteur.
The art by Parlov is beautiful and the expressions needed to tell the kind of tale Millar wove are clinched perfectly. He invokes Moebius, Mignola and a flavor that's all his own. The fantastical, off-world set-pieces (yes, that's what they seem to me) are fully-realized and back me up in my own personal realization as I reach the end of the issue: this comic is a rising star.
I honestly picked up Starlight out of curiosity and also because of the great art it hinted at in Previews, but boy, am I glad I did. If this first shot is the taste of things to come, then the book is on its way to being an inter-stellar hit and I'm definitely strapping up for the ride.
Abdulkareem Baba Aminu is a BleedingCool contributor, newspaper editor, award-winning journalist, cartoonist, comic book creator, painter and poet. The Nigeria-based writer has reviewed comics, novels, movies and music for a variety of platforms. He is currently the Editor of the Saturday edition of the Daily Trust, one of the most influential newspapers in his country. You can follow him on Twitter @KareemReal