Barry Reese

Pulp Writer Extraordinaire

Adventure_Comics_Vol_1_468Adventure Comics 468
“Uneasy Lies the Crown”
Written by Paul Levitz, Art by Steve Ditko & Romeo Tanghal

We return for the second Starman adventure and this time around we get to see our hero depicted by Jim Aparo on the cover! Very snazzy.

Once again, Starman’s real identity is not named. We do finally get to see his unmasked face, though — on the very last page of the story!

In this one, Starman is headed towards Throneworld, a “fabulous floating palace,” where the lords of the realm have gathered for the coronation of the new Empress. We’re told that Starman has a “subconscious sense of direction,” though it doesn’t always work the way he’d like. Starman also spots the Empress, Lady Merria and Lord Oswin, all of whom are present for the festivities. The royal family has the imperial mark tattooed on their forehead and when we see Starman without his mask, we can’t help but notice that he shares this mark… Hmm!

Oswin has a plot to control the Empress by attuning the crown jewels to the modifications he’s made to the crown itself. Starman wants to keep this from happening and this requires him to break into the protective Well of Gravity. Mn’Torr arrives to help him with this and we learn that Starman draws his powers from the stars themselves. He also absorbs the energy that is fired at him by the guards and transforms it into his own power.

Mn’Torr’s role as Starman’s teacher and confidante is reinforced here — we still have no clue about an origin, mind you, but things are slowly coming together.

At the end, Starman meets Lady Merria face-to-face and when she demands to know why he’s addressing her in a familiar manner, he responds “I of all people have that right, Merria–! It seems we meet again in a lifetime that I thought we would never share!” Then we have Starman push his mask off, revealing a handsome face with the imperial mark.

Merria’s shock is almost palpable. She exclaims “By the lost homeworld! It’s YOU!! You did it — You’ve come back to claim the throne!”

Quite a cliffhanger! So now we know that Starman has a claim to the throne and that everyone assumed he was dead. Clues, people! Levitz was sprinkling them throughout. Once again, I’m impressed by how much story is crammed into 8 pages. The art is more “Ditko” this time around and it looks quite good. This series is some of the last Ditko art that I really loved, to be honest.

Next time around: the origin begins!

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