Mark Millar and Goran Parlov’s “Starlight” #4 kicks the story up a notch with a prison break, a revolution, and a cliffhanger betrayal. Though Duke McQueen finally embraces his legacy and role in the revolution, he and his newfound forces may be no match for a devastating betrayal.
The strength of “Starlight” (other than the stunning visuals) are certainly in Millar’s handling of Duke McQueen, an over the hill hero who has found that he’s still very much needed, and still has that hero of his youth still inside him. His acceptance in this issue of his role and his simple but moving speech calling the revolutionaries to arms is a great moment that holds the whole issue, and perhaps the entire series, together. There is some unfortunately clunky and convenient work with Space Boy as he first refuses to talk and then immediately spills his guts to McQueen about the death of his parents, but otherwise the issue is smooth, smart and engaging.
Parlov’s work is gorgeous throughout. It’s a spare loose style in many ways, but it’s exactly as detailed as it needs to be and the slightly rough edge is a great tonal fit for both McQueen and the strange world of Tantalus. Parlov’s storytelling and character acting are wonderful and he paces the story expertly. He drops out backgrounds to maximize negative space with expert precision and yet never skimps on the grand details of Tantalus or fine character work.
While the issue has some solid and exciting action, the single flashback panels of Mcqueen’s past adventures on Tantalus — The Robot King, The Ice-Apes, The Undersea Peril, and The Plant Masters — are absolutely mouth-watering in their potential. They leave a reader hoping not just to see more of the same, but to someday see those past adventures brought fully to life. Colorist Ive Svorcina is an exceptional match for Parlov, keeping colors simple and flat, the palette muted and lovely with just the right pop.
So far, “Starlight” is a fantastic adventure with a ton of potential. It revels in its nostalgia but also promises to mine new territory in exciting ways.