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Dreadstar December — Dreadstar #12

Vanth Dreadstar gets a new outfit… and Starlin doesn’t even put it on the cover.

Dreadstar #12 (“Slasher!”) by Jim Starlin is something of a nothing issue. He tries to work with the new status quo of the Instrumentality ruling the galaxy, but doesn’t do anything too interesting. Vanth tries to talk the Commune into siding with the rebel forces, Starlin makes a Star Wars joke by having the crew go as Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewie to disguise themselves, and Tuetun returns… only to fall off a building and crush a serial killer that Starlin begins the issue with. It’s an uneven issue that doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do. As such, I’ll handle this one bullet point style:

* Vanth gets a new costume, one more befitting a superhero. He immediately mocks it and I see this as Starlin hating the idea, but Marvel requesting it to help bolster sales somehow. After all, if he looks more like a superhero, people were bound to buy the comic, right?

* Oedi’s leg injury isn’t healing properly, which is an excuse to introduce Doctor Delphi, a man from Willow’s past and new addition to the crew. He’s in love with her and makes an alright addition.

* We see what looks to be another member of the Lord High Papal’s father’s race. Weird.

* Starlin’s art is really fucking good here. Nice, fluid line work, dynamic compositions. He’s clearly enjoying himself just having a fun little story.

* Tuetun is Starlin just taking the piss out of the Hulk and it’s funny at times. Like when Tuetun lunges at Skeevo and yells “TUETUN GRAB!”

* Skeevo saves the day accidentally. And brags heavily about it. He’s such a fun scamp.

* Despite this being a fun issue with some developments, it doesn’t feel like one that ‘matters’ or offers anything beyond the surface. I guess after last few issues that’s understandable, but, still, a little disappointing.

Tomorrow: something with more substance.

11 Comments

Y’know, insoasmuch as I’ve enjoyed the Dreadstar run, I HATED that new costume. I really did. I’d preferred the darker one with the hoodie. It made Vanth more menacing.

The only time I liked that “new” costume, is when Kalla (Vanth’s daughter) wore it and that suited her better in the Dreadstar series (BRAVURA), but that’s a story/review for Chad to go over another day as this falls under PAD’s reign of Dreadstar.

Anyway, it was always funny to see Tuetun again, and again.

Man, I really WISH that Starlin would get Dreadstar up and out of the mothballs again. One of my favorite comics of all time. Immense appreciation for both runs by Jim and PAD !!

I’m reading this for the first time along with your posts and until this issue I never knew Vanth had a different costume. Every image I’ve seen of him in the past it is his former costume he is wearing. It’s clear which one is more memorable in the eyes of the fans.

Also real quick I wanted to thank you for introducing me to such an amazing series. I’ve read some of Starlin’s Marvel cosmic stories and I knew he was the master in that realm but I had never read Dreadstar. So far it’s been a real blast.

Since nothing much is happening this issue, I thought I’d point out that some of the commenters on the letters page in the original comic were taking issue at the time about Starlin’s use of the Catholic Church’s structure and appearances as an evil and corrupt organization. I think at some point either Starlin or the editor responded that Starlin was using those terms because it was a structure he’d known and experienced. Or maybe it was just a bit lazy.

@ Nugent69: There was a mention that Starlin was going to do a new Dreadstar series called: Dreadstar: Class Warfare, but that was quite a few years ago and nothing since.

I agree with your sentiments, tho.

Trey, Glad to be of service.

Ganky, I haven’t been reading the letters pages. For some reason, they don’t interest me really. But, I am glad that others like you are so you can drop the odd tidbit of knowledge about what’s going on there.

I keep wondering about Aldo Gorney and Hanover. Far as I can tell Aldo Gorney was _only_ seem in a cameo in a group shot in #4 and a second feature in #5 (I may have the wrong numbers), while Hanover is never seen at all, only mentioned by the President in Aldo’s story and by Tuetun here.

Have those characters ever been seen elsewhere? They look loke a bit of an in-joke.

I remember this was the point where I dropped the series. I loved Metamorphosis Odyssey and the other lead-in graphic novels, but the regular series just seemed like a step down. Too much lame humor, too super-hero-y, and the garish coloring (compared to the moody painting in the earlier installments) really turned me off. This “nothing much happens” issue was the last straw. I should probably give it another look, since so many people rate it highly. Has this material been collected at all?

@Luis – Hanover Fiste was a character in Bernie Wrightson’s “Captain Sternn” strip, which ran in Heavy Metal magazine, and was one of the stories adapted in the 1981 Heavy Metal movie.

Well, I read those letters pages over 20 years ago actually. Not that they made that much of an impact on me or anything, but reading these recaps dredged up those obscure memories thanks to you!

I miss letters pages. And thought balloons!

God, Vanth’s second costume was just about the worst ever! Yellow and light blue? He looked like a too-old cosplayer dressed up like a third-string Legionnaire! Willow was right to tease him about it. Of course, there might be some explanation or lame defense of it by Starlin in the upcoming letters pages, but I guess we’ll never know… ;-)

Tueton also makes a joke about beating Skeevo into grape jelly. Ahhh racism . . .

IIRC this was the first I issue I got during a local store’s quarter bin clearance so I have very fond memories.

the strory starts with a creepy guy following a girl in a crowded street. The narrator explains how no one ever appreciated his special brilliance, his unique humor, his own form of masculinity but now they would learn from THE SLASHER.

Then we never see him until the last page.

Where Tueton falls from a roof and squished him flat.

I thought it was a cute bit and it hooked me leading to to track the entire run one summer.

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