“When you were but a year old, you never wished to nap, no matter how much you needed it. And I would have to sit next to you and hold you down as you kicked and writhed until after an hour or so, you would collapse and snore. My child, you’ve been fighting since the day you were born. But to me, you’ll always be ‘just’... Kalla.”
And, so, we begin to return to familiar territory. Fans of Dreadstar would obviously want to see the original cast in this series. It was done only three years after the previous volume ended and there were no doubt many people wondering what had happened. But, I don’t know... I think I would have rather just seen the adventures of Kalla Dreadstar with the Lord High Papal and Teuton with no appearances by any of the other previous characters. As I said yesterday, that feels more like what Jim Starlin was doing at the beginning with The Metamorphosis Odyssey, The Price, and Dreadstar. This seems like a nostalgia trip rather than something new. But, that’s because that’s what it is.
The Skeevo bits are just gags. Skeevo was always a one-note character when Starlin wrote him and Peter David did a little bit more with him through Junior, but, here, he’s reverted back to almost nothing. He owns a planet, he’s rich, he’s skeevy... He’s thrilled to see Kalla and Teuton and even the Lord High Papal. When the Papal describes him as “not trustworthy. He’s a manipulator, a scoundrel, a rogue who would try to use you for his own ends,” he’s not wrong but he’s not right. He’s more talking about himself without knowing it. If anything, he gives Skeevo too much credit, because, while Skeevo can manipulate things to wind up with his own planet, that’s about as far as his own ambitions take him. Anything where Kalla would be of use is beyond his purview.
The Kalla/Papal relationship is what works best in the issue, because it’s still not clear what exactly that relationship is. Papal has raised her and cares for her, but also thinks nothing of smacking her across the face or shrugging when she almost dies, saying he warned her to stand clear. Chalk is up to parental style if you want, but there’s definitely a mixed message of sorts. He’s her non-biological father, basically, but both know that he’s not. He’s also something different. Not an uncle, not a mentor, not a father, not necessarily anything definable. He is the Lord High Papal and we have no idea what he wants. That’s the key mystery to this comic.
What we also learn that’s related is that Kalla is indeed Kalla Dreadstar and that she appears to hate her father. Why we don’t know. It could be because the Papal has poisoned her against him; it could be because he’s not there. But, she is indeed a Dreadstar and, by right, the Sword of Power is hers.
Tomorrow: what happened after Dreadstar #64.