Starlight: The Return Of Duke McQueen

By Millar & ParlovStarlight
Publisher: Image
ISBN: 9781632150172

Mark Millar continues to impress with his personal take on particular genres and cliches, this time stepping beyond comics into the realm of classic sci-fi serials such as Flash Gordon. Millar sets his tale during the twilight years of Duke McQueen, and ex-Air Force pilot who once feel through a rift in space, had numerous adventures and saved a planet before returning to Earth. Beyond the rift he’s a hero, a legend, but on Earth he’s a crackpot and a joke, with no evidence of his extraordinary escapades. Rather than fight it he marries his sweetheart, raises a family and by the time we join the story he’s a lonely man burying his spouse whose sons are embarrassed by their father.

It’s all rather heartbreaking, until, one evening, a rocket ship arrives from planet he once saved, piloted by twelve-year-old boy who has taken it upon himself to fetch the legendary Duke McQueen to save their world from a new tyranny. Initially dismissive, Duke decides to embrace the adventure and rediscover the man he once was.

McQueen’s character is instantly sympathetic and engaging, harking back to a simpler era of daring-do and heroics, of sprawling possibilities and a rather Earth-like vision of alien life. It’s doing the right thing for the sake of it, and McQueen re-embraces this life with gusto. Millar’s choice of Parlov as his artist is perfect too, as Parlov’s style is reminiscent of Moebius, so synonymous with grand space opera, but different enough to allow his own voice sound through.

I wouldn’t mind reading more of these although I suspect it’s strength lies in its self-contained brevity. I’m sure you’ll love it.

And if you liked that: If you’ve not already, get yourself a copy of The Incal.

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