Thursday, 30 March 2017

Bibliophilia: Starlight: The Return of Duke McQueen by Mark Millar

Starlight: The Return of Duke McQueen by Mark Millar

The always reliable Mark Millar, with art duties handled by Goran Parlov, gives us a really fun romp. 

The heroically titled Duke McQueen is a barrel chested, square jawed he-man. As a young air force pilot, he found himself transported to the planet Tantalus, where he led the fight against the tyrant Typhon. Revered by the people he helped liberate, he turned down their offer to be their king so he could return home to his beloved. Forty years later, he’s an old man and a widower. No one (except his late wife) believe his stories of his daring exploits. His two sons view him as a pathetic figure. But at his lowest point, an envoy from Tantalus arrives, pleading with him to return to help them fight off the invading Brotean empire. Can this tired old man rise to the challenge and help his old friends fight off this new threat?

Campy good fun, even if the ending felt rushed. (It feels like this may have been envisioned to run for more issues than it did.) It’s reverentially nostalgic for a simpler time. Unabashedly inspired by the likes of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers and Dan Dare, and probably a few lesser known 30’s, 40’s and 50’s pulp space farers and adventurers. It’s admittedly formulaic, and feels very familiar, but Millar handles it deftly. The terrific art by Parlov has a bit of a Moebius feel to it, and suits the story perfectly.

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