A lighter action-oriented issue as Dreadstar and Company put some of the final touches on… PLAN M!
Dreadstar #5 (“The Commune”) by Jim Starlin manages to balance advancing the larger plot of the series with delivering a relatively self-contained, light action plot for the issue. As part of Plan M, Oedi, Skeevo, and Syzygy go to the Commune to purchase air time. The Commune began as a safe haven for scientists and other intellectuals who wanted to escape the war, but, by this point, had become a big TV network that both sides dealt with because… well, people like TV. It’s an absurd and utterly believable idea. It takes a slightly different approach to the war as the Commune functions both as a safe haven, a place outside of the war for Dreadstar and Company to make allies — but they’re also profiteers, willing to line their pockets and deal with both sides as thousands (millions?) continue to die senselessly, claiming there’s no other way.
Beyond that little germ of an idea, this issue is based around Cardinal Spydar, one the Lord High Papal’s men, taking a team after Syzygy, including the hulk on the cover, Tueton. While Spydar deals with Syzygy (and does quite well), Oedi and Skeevo must contend with Tueton. He’s basically a dumb brute that won’t stop coming at them… until he falls down a big hole. That becomes the running joke whenever the character pops up: he always gets taken out by falling off of something. Starlin having Papal use members of the Church to go after Syzygy is a smart way to call back to Syzygy’s past as a bishop in the Church. You could see certain people taking his defection personally and taking pleasure in bringing down this particular rebel. Spydar seems particularly enthused over the idea and enjoys his brief bit of dominance over the magician.
Of the issues so far, this one is the most plot-oriented, the one that happens on the surface the most. It’s notable for raising a few ideas or introducing characters for the first time (we see many of the Papal’s flunkies that play larger roles later), but not actually doing anything with any of them. They’re all just there. His art is fairly standard for him, nothing too special.
Tomorrow, I plan to make up for today’s shorter post with some extensive discussion of the issue that wraps up the first ‘storyarc’ (if you can call it that) as Plan M goes into effect.