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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 102

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today, before I take a look at the Sins of the Child arc in Starman, I think the one-off issue in Starman #11, A Tale of Times Past: 13 Years Ago – Five Friends, deserves some special attention!

Retroactively adding “darkness” to older characters is a tough tightrope to walk, as it is very easy to come off as hokey/trashy, but I think James Robinson did a good job on it with this story, where Ted Knight (Starman) is forced to go to his former Justice Society of America teammates to help him with a particularly vicious supervillain.

The whole issue is narrated by The Shade…

Matthew Smith’s Mike Mignola-esque artwork works beautifully in this issue.

What especially works in the adapting of these fairly light heroes to such a dark tale is the amount of RESPECT Robinson affords these characters. It is quite telling (and always odd to me when Robinson then writes newer characters with considerably less respect) and awesome.

See this little sequence where we see Robinson capture the humanity of these heroes, who are trying to adjust to a new, darker world, but also we see how Robinson shows that these are pure heroes who shine in CONTRAST to the darkness…

However, this villain might be a bit too much for even their goodness….

I won’t spoil the ending, but suffice to say that it is handled well.

And it sets up the next arc beautifully, which I’ll get to soon!


Daniel O' Dreams

April 13, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Same basic premise as Gay.. err… Cry For Justice, but handled infinitely better.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

April 13, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Though the nostalgia rings a bithollow when you read the GA stories and realize how murderous the villains really were. The Gambler, to use the example mentioned above, was a stone killer: in one 40s story, he ruined wealthy people with rigged games and then forced them to commit suicide to keep his racket a secret.

Seriously, Jay Garrick stone cold kills people in his first appearance. It’s almost like a transplant of the Silver Age ethos onto the Golden Age characters.

This is one of the best issues I’ve ever read. Really gave a modern-flavored “mystique” to the golden age heroes that I’d never felt before.

always thought the story proved the rag doll was not just a two bit villain but more the lines of close to the joker. though less nasty

Tom Fitzpatrick

April 13, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Oooooh, that was a good issue. I pretty much enjoyed all of Robinson’s A Tale of Times Past one-shots, and in the end all were tied in nicely at the end of the series.

Still waiting on the SHADE mini. Any word?

Ya, the GA stories were actually much darker than people realize, but the retconned GA characters basically stand for a “brighter, better time” regardless of what their original stories were actually like.

@Tom Fitzpatrick: DC does have a Shade project coming up, but it isn’t a mini. They are giving Robinson the green light to launch a Shade regular series set in Opal City (where else?).
Unless, of course, you meant he original Shade mini, in which case you can find it collected in Starman Omnibus Volume 3.

Don’t forget, Batman used to carry a gun and tossed some guy off a roof in his first appearance.

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