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Dreadstar December — Dreadstar #24

Jim Starin doesn’t draw this issue!

Dreadstar #24 (“Violation!”) by Jim Starlin and Jim Sherman is the only issue I’ll be discussing that Starlin writes but doesn’t draw. It’s also a visually-driven issue, making the lack of Starlin a bit of a gut-punch. Why couldn’t it have been one of the boring issues? Why, Starlin? In this issue, Monalo goes after Willow and we get a mindwar. That means trippy environments, weird character shifts, and some crazy-ass shit. Sherman’s style is more illustrative, a little more detailed and, yet, his characters have a flattered, more simple look to them. His style is a little stiffer, not as fluid or natural as Starlin’s. He definitely brings a different flavour to the issue. One panel of Monalo laughing like a maniacal clown just seems out of place — despite looking good. It doesn’t fit with how Monalo behaves… at any other time. Otherwise, Sherman does a great job at capturing the uneasy, weird feeling of the mental battle, colouring his own art, too. That really pays off in a later scene where Willow thinks she’s killed Monalo and Vanth appears, confessing his love for her and, as he holds her, he becomes he father and is coloured in an extra-creepy way.

The entire issue is Monalo doing his best to break down Willow’s mind by assaulting it. He makes her think her body is decaying or shows her her mother who then rips her head open and a bunch of insects come out. Or, he transports her to a hellish landscape where her reflection is a rotted corpse. Plus, the stuff with Vanth/her father. Monalo uses her own insecurities and issues against her, playing upon her greatest desires and fears. She ultimately breaks and Monalo stands triumphant, the issue ending with the Lord High Papal snuffing the final candle.

I wonder how this issue would have looked if Starlin did the art, but I’m ultimately satisfied with what we get here. Starlin’s writing is loose and, yet, logical. Monalo is methodical in tearing Willow’s defences down, leaving her a broken husk by the end of the issue. It’s like a twisted retelling of Willow’s past. Not much actually happens, but it’s a very strong depiction of this fight.

Tomorrow: the trial!

7 Comments

Starlin draws the book up to # 32, with inks by Sam Grainer, but on # 31 — is all by Starlin.

So, we get 31 out of 32 issues drawn by Starlin, and 40 issues written by Starlin (not counting the Cross-Roads issue, Annual, Graphic novel, and Epic Illustrated serial).

Not a bad run, eh?

Issue 32 is one I don’t completely count as a Starlin-drawn issue… partly why I’m stopping at 31 (also because of 31 days in December and it being a natural stopping point, the big story finished).

Makes sense, especially if you consider # 31 as an epilogue to the 30-issue saga, and # 32 as an prologue for issues # 32-40 (for the Brave New World storyline) thus ending Starlin’s run as a writer.

Is it safe to assume that you will follow-up on # 32-40, Cross-Roads # 5; and the PAD stories # 41-64, Dreadstar (Bravura) # 1-6 at another time?

The Starlin-penned stuff, yes. The rest… maybe. None of it in an issue-by-issue format, though.

Nah, that’ll tire you out from doing random thoughts!

Yay to continuing past #31, it’s been a blast seeing the series through yr eyes/head :-)

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