Thursday, December 15, 2011

80-Page Thursdays: Starman 80-Page Giant!

Every Thursday, for as long as I can keep finding them, we'll look at an 80-page comic! Not 64, not 100 pages, 80-pages only! Today, from 1999, Starman 80-Page Giant #1. Written by James Robinson, with art by John Lucas, Mike Mayhew, Wade Von Grawbadger, and more.

While I liked the issues I read, I didn't stick with Starman to the end for some reason. Maybe because the supporting cast just grew and grew as the book went on--Bobo Benetti, the entire O'Dare family through history, and an increasingly-convoluted Starman legacy. Maybe because I didn't like Jack Knight's girlfriend Sadie, who started dating him with an ulterior motive. Maybe because Tony Harris left the book...I don't remember.

But, this issue finds Jack preparing to open his new collectibles shop, and hanging out with Sadie, when the O'Dares arrive to give him a head's-up on the return of Ragdoll, who has committed four murders already. (This issue spells it "Ragdoll," while some sources prefer "Rag Doll.") Visiting his dad, original Starman Ted Knight, Jack is told this couldn't be the original Ragdoll: he died some years ago, possibly by the hands of Alan Scott, Jay Garrick, or Ted. (While he doesn't think any less of him, Jack is pretty sure his dad killed Ragdoll.)

Doing some basic detective work that the cops should've, Jack finds the murders aren't random. The four men were all in a band in their college years. Jack tracks down a surviving band member, suspecting him of being the next victim. Instead, he was Ragdoll's employer, and Jack is left under the knife, as Ragdoll is about to kill him with an African ceremonial blade. (An avid collector, Jack is dismayed to realize how much he's checking out the knife even as it's coming at him.)

Before Jack's story wraps up, the rest of the special follows the knife through different times, starting with the Shade and Scalphunter. Ted Knight sees it in action in a blackmail attempt by the Mist, but not in the way he would have expected; then super-strong bank robber Bobo Benetti swipes it in a safety-deposit box heist, but apparently loses it escaping from the mysterious Starman of 1951. Matt O'Dare gets it as a kid, then it's stolen by a friend of the alien Starman, Mikaal Tomas, with tragic results. (Tragic results that read like a really hamfisted 'just say no' PSA, but even so.)

Cool as the knife may be, Jack isn't about to let 'Ragdoll' stab him with it; and this isn't the original Ragdoll or the one that would be in the Secret Six. Jack has to chase him down, before he kills the last of the band members, then save him from drowning, since he doesn't want another dead Ragdoll on the Starman legacy.

1 comment:

SallyP said...

Oooh, this WAS good. I have to admit that I came rather late to Starman, but once I discovered it, I went nuts for it.

But I agree, I didn't like Sadie all that much.