Once again because I felt like it, I'm doing another themed month of reviews - DC Archives Month! First up is the first volume of the Golden Age Starman Archives, reprinting his adventures from Adventure Comics #61 - 76.
Actually, no, scratch that - it won't be hard at all. I like them because they're fun to read. Plain, simple, goofy fun. And given how bleak, cynical, and depressing comic books have gotten over the past few years - not to mention how overly long storylines have gotten - it's nice to be able to just open this book to a random story and have a few minutes worth of good ol' fashioned heroics in all their over-the-top Golden Age glory. I'll readily admit a lot of comics from this time period can be problematic for a variety of reasons. The stories can range from being haphazardly put together to all out ridiculous. Plus, Golden Age comics sometimes reflect appalling racist and sexist attitudes that I in no way agree with or support. Still, these stories are the foundation of DC Comics history - and given the apparent disregard DC Comics has for its characters' histories and legacies these days, I feel now more than ever it's important to preserve these older stories, warts and all.
Our opening story is "The Amazing Starman" (Adventure Comics #61). The evil Dr. Doog, the leader of the Brotherhood of the Electron, is sabotaging electrical equipment from afar, and Starman is called in to assist with the case. A rather pedestrian story, but it's noteworthy for introducing us to the core cast.
The next story, "The Adventure of the Earthquake Terror" (Adventure Comics #63) would get you plastered in a Golden Age comic drinking game in record time. It's got pseudo-science earthquake machines, hidden civilizations populated by natives who talk like Hassan from the Bugs Bunny cartoon Ali Baba Bunny, a Nazi-in-all-but-name-because-we-weren't-at-war-yet villain behind it all, and our hero fighting a green horned tiger. Throw in fisticuffs, a damsel in distress, and a butler named Jeeves, and you can kiss your liver goodbye. Bonus points for this story establishing the relationship between Doris Lee and Woodley Allen.
"The Menace of the Invisible Raiders" (Adventure Comics #67) is probably the best story in this volume, courtesy of The Mist making his debut appearance. With his powers of invisibility, he's been stealing national secrets, and Starman has to take him down. He's a worthy opponent for Starman, and like I said earlier, he makes a lasting visual impression on the reader. This story was reprinted in DC's The Greatest Golden Age Stories Ever Told.
The Light appears for the final time in the next story, "The Invaders from the Future" (Adventure Comics #71). A scientist has found a way to travel to the future, and The Light steals it, using future inventions to cause havoc and become master of the world. This is an exciting story, full of great action scenes, suspense, and a worthy send-off for a recurring villain. We also learn that Starman's gravity rod has a weakness - it can only be recharged at night by being exposed to the stars.