on 16 July 2009
Now I have the entire run of Starman in single issues, and I have all the trade paper back collections as well, so why did I buy the Starman Omnibus Volume 3?
Was it a payday whim? No, there are lots of new graphic novels I want.
Was it the chance to have it in a hardcover collection? No, or I would of bought Omnibus Volumes 1 and 2.
The main reason I bought this collection was for The Shade mini series that is reprinted for the first time. The Shade is a character, who was a B-rated villain, until the beginning of James Robinson Starman series. Robinson fleshes out the character as a morally ambiguous Victorian era immortal who comes to mentor Jack Knight (Starman) out of a love for Opal City, and a need for a champion for the city.
The series starts after the Shade has just received his unholy powers of darkness and encounters the Ludlow family. I don't want to give any spoilers but the series follows the Shade from Victorian England to modern day and his various encounters with the descendants of the Ludlow family (who have sworn to destroy The Shade).
Gene Ha, J H Williams, Brett Blevins and Michael Zuli all portray the different eras and all are brilliant.
This collection is worth buying just for the Shade's series, so what about the Starman issues??
The collection covers Jack Knights encounters with Mr Pip, the mad bomber. His encounter with Batman and Alan Scott (Golden Age Green Lantern) while trying to save the soul of Solomon Grundy, and a Times Past tale featuring the 90's Starman Will Payton.
Also reprinted are two annuals which actually enhance the series rather than just been a sub par event like most of DC annual events. One story in the first annual ties in to my favourite issue of the Starman series.
On a yearly basis, Jack is visited by the ghost of his brother David, his predecessor in the role of Starman. David invites Jack to dinner with various dead Golden Age superheroes, who discuss their motivations for donning a mask and fighting the good fight. The heroes at the dinner include The Golden Age Atom, Golden Age Hourman, The Red Bee (remember him?), the first Black Canary (who admits to an affair with Jack's father), Zatara and others. Robinson's love for these characters really shows in this issue, I loved his portray of the bitter Red Bee.
The majority of the art in this collection is handled by Jack Knight co-creator Tony Harris. The art is stunning, also of note is guest artist Steve Yeowell (Zenith artist) who I believe is one of the most under used artists in comics.
So should you buy this book? Damn right you should. Fantastic writing with outstanding art, made this one of the most intelligent superhero series ever.
Buy this collection (and volumes 1&2) to experience one of the best series of the last twenty years.