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Inkspot Fancy

Comics and fantasy and sci-fi, oh my!

Currently reading

The House on the Borderland
William Hope Hodgson
Dust and Light: A Sanctuary Novel
Carol Berg
The Dead
Jen Hickman, Robert James Maddox
Deadlands: Dead Man's Hand
David Gallaher, Jeff Mariotte, Jimmy Palmiotti
Ghost Hunt 2
Shiho Inada, Fuyumi Ono
Devil Survivor 1
Satoru Matsuba
The Starman Omnibus, Vol. 1 - James Robinson, Tony Harris, Wade Von Grawbadger I came to comics, or at least mainstream comics, pretty late. My first comic was Crimson, the Wildstorm vampire story with Humberto Ramos on the art, and it wasn't until more than eight years after that that I finally delved into the worlds of DC and Marvel.After getting used to the idea of issues and superheroes and continuity for about a year, I decided to check out some of the "greats" of comics. I read Hush and adored it. 300 was not my thing. V for Vendetta was better, and Watchmen was the firs tof these classics I truly enjoyed, even though the grim tone made it unlikely I'll read it often.Then I got the first Starman omnibus. And I found what I was looking for. Starman combined the disillusionment of Watchmen with the hope of mainstream comics. The hybrid sort of hero we got in Jack loved aspects of being a hero - he loves doing the right thing, and he embraces the ability to protect people. But at the same time, he finds a lot of the trappings silly. He doesn't wear a costume. He won't go out and patrol the streets. He doesn't fight the bad guys on principle, but on action (One of my very favorite bits in this book is when a man is hired to get a shirt that's said to be a "doorway to heaven". He comes in brandishing a gun, but when David makes it clear he's not going to let himself be robbed without a fight, the guy just *buys* the shirt and leaves without any further fuss on either side.)Part of me wanted to get down on the ranking because of the pacing. It can be a little all over the place. High action chapters can be followed by one that's almost exclusively people talking and remembering. But taken as a whole, it doesn't really affect the story. The slower chapters help develop not only the characters but the world, and I found those among my favorites.I also love Jack as a hero. He's trying his best to do the right thing, but unlike so many superheroes, this isn't presented as incessant internal lamenting about his inadequacy. He's practical and pragmatic much of the time, but succeptible at times to nostalgia and romantic ideas. He's very live and let live, but fiercely protective of his family, both blood and chosen. the supporting cast varies. Hi father and brother are large presences in his life and choices, and to a lesser extent his mother, who's departed before the story starts. I found them interesting. Of less interest were the O'dares - they're meant to have a large part, it's clear, but they just sort of drift in and out of this volume. I do hope a few of them get larger roles and distinguish themselves in the next volume. The villains are colorful and suitably odd. Oh! Another great thing about this book? The interconnectivity. The arcs don't feel like individual, compartmentalized things with only a fact or two carrying over. Threads can be started and not picked up again for issues and issues and issues. It gives the city a much more organic feeling, like it's more of a place and less of a setting, if that makes sense. The art is okay, sometimes a little weird, but mostly crisp and strong and most of all, clear in the fight scenes, which can tend toward cluttered in comics, especially 90s comics.Overall, if you like comics and don't mind things being a bit dark, read this. It may not be your thing, but if it is, you'll be glad to have given it a chance, and even if not, I suspect you'll find things to love in it.