The Starman Chronicles Part Three

Adventure_Comics_Vol_1_469Adventure Comics 469
“Death In A Dark-Starred Void!”
Written by Paul Levitz, Art by Steve Ditko & Romeo Tanghal

“At last! The origin of Starman!” exclaims page one and it’s a doozy! Merria passes out from the shock of seeing our hero alive and we’re then treated to a flashback explaining how all of this came about. On page two we finally learn that Starman is actually Prince Gavyn, one of many who has a claim to the Imperial Throne. Since the Emperor was fairly young and healthy, Gavyn never seriously thought about ascending to the Onyx Throne and instead focused on competing in Gravity Ball tournaments.

Until… he discovered that the Emperor was dead. Under Imperial tradition, the council votes to pick one of the heirs to take the throne. The rest are executed to prevent any chance of civil war. Gavyn and his sister, Clryssa, talk about the old traditions and Gavyn promises that if he is picked, he will change the laws and spare his sister’s life — of course, we already know from pervious issues that Clryssa is about to named Empress, so that promise won’t come to pass.

We also learn that Gavyn and Merria are lovers, which explains why she was so moved by his return from the dead.

Back in the modern day, Merria revives and begs Gavyn to not fight his sister for the throne. He laughs and says “The stars really are mine now, more than they’ll ever be Clryssa’s — even if she is Empress.” He is here to protect his family, not battle them, it seems.

In more flashbacks, we see that when the council picks Clryssa to rule the empire, Gavyn begs her to do for him what he had promised to do for her — save his life. She refuses, citing the traditions of their people. In the aftermath, Gavyn rejected a chance to lead a rebellion, choosing to remain faithful to his sister. He is then jettisoned into space, where he is obviously supposed to meet his demise.

But… something happens to prevent that. We’ll learn what it was in our next installment.

The basic premise of the series is fascinating to me — that all other heirs would be killed and that his own sister would be unmoved by the loss of her brother. I suppose she’d grown up in this society and had always known it would be a possibility. Gavyn, though, seems a bit more soft-hearted.

Merria is okay at this point but hardly exciting — she’s very much the “Silver Age Girlfriend” that we’re all familiar with. Clryssa is more interesting to me, if only because of her willingness to throw her sibling into space to uphold tradition.

Not a whole lot of Mn’Torr here, though more will be coming in future issues…

Solid story and art — the creative team is finding its groove.

I mentioned in part one that DC was really pushing this series in its marketing — this issue has TWO ads for Adventure Comics. A half-pager that promises “The senses-shattering origin of the solar sentinel Starman begins here!” and then a full-page ad that offers a subscription to Adventure Comics. Starman, Plastic Man and editor Len Wein all appear on the ad, with Gavyn proclaiming “Adventure Comics is finally available via star-spanning bonus subscriptions!”

Good times. A 12 issue subscription would cost you only $4.00.

Plastic Man dominates the cover but Starman looks great in the lower right corner!

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