Tag Archives: goran parlov

Underrated: Starlight

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Starlight.



starlight_cover 1.jpgConceived by Hollywood darling Mark Millar (with art by Goran Parlov), Starlight was a six issue miniseries that was released beginning in March of 2014 and ending in October 2014. Telling the story of the superbly named Duke McQueen, an Air Force pilot who went to space and saved the alien planet of Tantalus from tyranny forty years ago, before returning home and raising a family instead of staying to rule the planet. His exploits, sadly, were written off as the ravings of a attention seeker, and Duke became a joke to all but his sweetheart.

Now, with his wife dead, his family not giving him the time of day, and people still treating him as a joke, a spaceship arrives to take the old man on one last grand adventure to save the planet Tantalus once again.

One of the less Mark Millar-y comics that have come from his keyboard in the last half decade, this mini series had none of the hyper violence seen in things such as Kick-Ass, Wanted and Kingsman. Surprisingly Starlight is a sentimental yarn about a former hero redeeming himself in his own eyes and saving the planet from a tyrannical despot once again.

Starlight is a pleasure to read. Although criticism can be levelled at the sudden change as Duke McQueen goes from couch-bound crank to crack aimed space hero over the course of only a couple of issues, for me that misses the spirit of the book. Think not of Starlight in terms of the modern, more realism based stories we’ve become accustomed to, and instead fall back into the nostalgia of the classic stories of yesteryear as Millar embraces the straight forward nature of the story – almost against type, as McQueen battles against an antagonist who doesn’t measure up to the rich and deep characterization of the hero; Kingfisher is a perfectly adequate villain, but make no mistake, Starlight is a redemptive story for Duke McQueen.

Perhaps in seeing McQueen struggle against overwhelming odds, himself, and the reputation he had been given, we can find hope and inspiration in our own lives. Not quite the lesson I expected to take from a Mark Millar book.

 

I had forgotten how much I loved Starlight until I saw a tweet mentioning the series a few days ago that inspired me to dig the comics out and reread them.  It’s a love that I genuinely believe you’ll share when you give the series a chance – it’s an underrated gem that you wouldn’t typically expect to come from Mark Millar.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

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Preview: Punisher: The Platoon #6

Punisher: The Platoon #6

(W) Garth Ennis (A/CA) Goran Parlov
Explicit Content
In Shops: Feb 21, 2018
SRP: $3.99

• The end of Lt. Frank Castle’s first platoon.
• The beginning of the Punisher?

Preview: Punisher Platoon #5 (of 6)

Punisher Platoon #5 (of 6)

(W) Garth Ennis (A/CA) Goran Parlov
Explicit Content
In Shops: Jan 31, 2018
SRP: $3.99

• The Platoon goes on a devastating mission that goes from bad to worse.
• Viet Cong soldier LY QUANG has been after Frank and his men for months. Her chance to get them has arrived.

Preview: Punisher: The Platoon #4

Punisher: The Platoon #4

(W) Garth Ennis (A/CA) Goran Parlov
Explicit Content
In Shops: Dec 27, 2017
SRP: $3.99

• Frank Castle arranges for his platoon to spend some R&R in Saigon, but that can’t be all Frank has planned there, can it?
• If NVA General Letrong Giap’s plans succeed, Frank and his crew may not have a base to return to…

Preview: Punisher Platoon #3

Punisher Platoon #3

(W) Garth Ennis (A/CA) Goran Parlov
Explicit Content
In Shops: Nov 22, 2017
SRP: $3.99

• During the Tet offensive, death surrounded Lt. Castle’s platoon on all sides.
• How far would Frank go to protect his men? Especially when the danger came from the indifference of his commanders?
• And while Castle was engaged in the grind of war, a kindred spirit on the enemy’s side watched and waited.

Preview: Punisher: The Platoon #2

Punisher: The Platoon #2

(W) Garth Ennis (A) Goran Parlov
MAX/Parental Advisory
In Shops: Oct 25, 2017
SRP: $3.99

By the time the Punisher was born in Vietnam, Frank Castle had already become a dark legend of the battlefield. Stories about him were told in whispers, if at all. Now the legendary Punisher team of Garth Ennis and Goran Parlov (PUNISHER MAX, FURY MAX) brings the first of those stories to light: the tale of Frank Castle’s first command, and his first kill. Don’t miss this epic new series!

Review: Peter Parker Spectacular Spider-Man #1

Spidey definitely has the jokes in the new series Peter Parker Spectacular Spider-Man #1 from one of comics’ greatest comedy writers Chip Zdarsky, stellar and steady artist Adam Kubert, and colorist extraordinaire Jordie Bellaire. (It rhymes on purpose.) Instead of trying to tell some epic, interweaving crossover story or as a vehicle for his Batman fan fiction, Zdarsky and Kubert focus on the humorous and relational sides of Spider-Man. In this issue, he stops a mugger, basically goes on a date with Johnny Storm, sets up a date with a new character which he will probably miss, and there’s a soap opera ending. Sure, there might be one or two too many guest stars, but a little bit of comedy covers a multitude of gratuitous superhero cameos.

In its page layout, Spectacular Spider-Man #1 evokes the art of late 80s/early 90s “hot” artists Erik Larsen and Todd McFarlane, who tried to make every double page spread a poster you wanted to throw up on your bedroom wall unless you were one of those Goth kids that liked Sandman and Sandman alone. Except Adam Kubert is a hell of a storyteller, who kicks off the issue Manhattan style with an aerial shot of Spider-Man and his (boy)friend Human Torch eating shawarma on a New York rooftop after a frenetic opening page that both retells his origin and pokes fun at the incessant retellings of his origin in both comics and films. In his art style, Kubert strikes a balance between the cartoonish goofiness of, say, Erica Henderson and the strong superhero work of Andy Kubert. There’s punching, web swinging, and size changing when Ant-Man pops up, but Kubert leaves the page open for Zdarsky’s banter with bright pops of color from Bellaire, who is operating in happy superhero mode.

Chip Zdarsky and Adam Kubert spend most of the time with Spider-Man in costume because his weak Breaking Bad puns as Peter Parker either fall flat or work as excellent “your parents just spent a weekend binging Better Call Saul and didn’t answer any of your calls” jokes. Plus it sets up excellent sight gags like Spidey trying and failing to do a good cop/bad cop routine when he investigates a hacked phone in Chicago. (His costume is too damn bright.) Kubert brings the iconic splash pages while Zdarsky brings Spidey back to Earth with awkward phone conversations with Aunt May about the copyright friendly version of Tinder or freaking out about his powers when it was really just Ant-Man lending a helping hand.  Spider-Man is still about power and responsibility, but Zdarsky and Kubert show him struggling with his web fluid (This leads to so much dirty subtext if your mind’s in the gutter.) and freaking out whether to call or text back a standup comedian named Rebecca that he rescued earlier. Spidey is back to protecting ordinary people, being awkward and funny, and occasionally geeking out about science until Zdarsky pulls the proverbial rug out with a couple reveals in the last few pages.

And like a post-credits sting that stands alone as a complete narrative and adds a certain level of intrigue to the main plot, Chip Zdarsky, Goran Parlov, and Nathan Fairbarn cook up a one one one battle between Spider-Man and his fellow arachnid themed superhero, Black Widow. Zdarsky gives Spider-Man all the goofy, pleading dialogue he can handle while keeping Natasha silent and stoic until the final couple pages. She’s there to kick Spider-Man’s ass, and Parlov’s return into interior art is a true tour de force of action choreography. Spidey isn’t as good of a martial artist as Black Widow so he focuses on his speed, agility, and Spider sense as he dodges kicks that would incapacitate any ordinary person. However, his powerful figures aren’t lost under the speed lines, and you can see every move as the fight progresses. The backup makes you wish that Marvel would let Parlov draw an action-driven comic featuring any Marvel hero. Hell, he could even make Stilt-Man look badass.

If you want a Spider-Man comic that reminds you of flipping through comics with big, open layouts by John Romita Sr, Todd McFarlane, or Mark Bagley and still has a quirky, clever, and occasionally adult sense of humor, then Peter Parker Spectacular Spider-Man #1 is the book for you. Chip Zdarsky is truly the king of comedy featuring iconic pop culture characters with his playful, sometimes encyclopedic, and joke-a-minute approach to the webslinger just like he did with Jughead for Archie.

Story: Chip Zdarsky Art: Adam Kubert Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Backup Art: Goran Parlov Backup Color: Nathan Fairbarn
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Drifter Casts Out New Story Arc

Writer Ivan Brandon and artist Nic Klein will launch a new story arc in their ongoing dark sci-fi series Drifter this April.

Previously in Drifter, Abram Pollux barely survived a crash landing on Ouro, a lawless backwater planet, only to end up on the wrong end of a bullet. What started as a struggle for survival quickly became a journey to the very edges of what it means to be human, as Pollux searched for answers among the ruins of this forgotten world. When he crossed the grey line to the dark side of planet Ouro—where humanity has no place—mysteries began to unravel.

In Drifter #10, Abram Pollux returns to Ghost Town, determined to even the score. But the rules have changed. New alliances are drawn, old friends become new foes, and each step closer to the truth brings Pollux that much closer to hell.

Drifter #10 Cover A by Nic Klein (Diamond code: FEB160518) hits stores Wednesday, April 13th. Drifter #10 Cover B by Goran Parlov (Diamond code: FEB160519) will also be available Wednesday, April 13th.

DRIFTER #10 2

Mark Millar and Wilfredo Torres reveal early artwork for Jupiter’s Circle

Now that the first chapter of Mark Millar and Frank Quitely’s bestselling Jupiter’s Legacy has left readers with a shocking conclusion, Millar reveals early preview pages from the prequel series with artist Wilfredo Torres that will keep Millarworld fans on the edge of their seats: Jupiter’s Circle.

In Jupiter’s Circle, the most celebrated superheroes in mid-century America seem to have it all—fame, riches, adoration—but tensions simmer beneath the glossy surface, threatening to crack open the secrets behind their public AND private exploits. Jupiter’s Circle has been described as Mad Men meets Super-Friends… a grown-up take on the private lives of superheroes. Before the family dynasty in Jupiter’s Legacy began, there was Jupiter’s Circle—a story about a team whose personal dramas collide with super-powered spectacle!

Jupiter’s Circle is set to launch April 8 and will feature covers by Frank Quitely (Cover A: Diamond Code FEB150472, Cover B: Diamond Code FEB150473), Bill Sienkiewicz (Cover C: Diamond Code FEB150474), and Goran Parlov (Cover D: Diamond Code  FEB150475).

JUPITER’S CIRCLE Cover

Preview: Starlight #6

Starlight #6

Story By: Mark Millar
Art By: Goran Parlov
Cover By: John Cassaday
Variant Cover By: Cliff Chiang
Price: $4.99
Diamond ID: JUL140577
Published: October 22, 2014

Duke, Space-Boy, and their rebel friends face off in their final, defining battle against the Brotean regime. But there’s been a traitor in their midst, and their plans aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. It’s not only their lives in the balance, but the future of the entire planet Tantalus. MILLAR and PARLOV’S space epic concludes here!

Starlight06_CoverA

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