This Character Needs a Comic: Starman (Part 1)
It’s difficult enough choosing which heroes or villains are long overdue for an ongoing comic book series of their own, but what happens when two heroes sharing the same name and legacy deserve a moment in the proverbial spotlight? Why, we break standard convention, of course! In this two-part special edition of “This Character Needs a Comic,” we’re giving due to two holders of the Starman legacy in the DC Universe: Jack Knight and Mikaal Tomas. You may or may not have heard of them, but after reading this article you might be convinced to seek out their collected graphic novel exploits. Today, let’s kick off part one with Jack Knight!
Who is Starman (Jack Knight)?
Jack Knight—and his older brother David—are the sons of the Golden Age super hero and Justice Society member Starman (Ted Knight). Once taking immense pride in his father’s legacy as a child, Jack’s admiration for him began to deteriorate as their relationship started becoming more abrasive over the years. While Jack quickly took to collecting antiques and other tchotchkes as a personal hobby, Ted left the Starman mantle to his eldest son, David—which, sadly, would be short-lived and would change the life of a reluctant Jack forever.
Ted’s longtime nemesis, the Mist, planned a grand scheme to not only come after him, but his entire family in an act of vengeance. The Mist’s children, Kyle and Nash, were dispatched to carry out their aging father’s heinous act, with Kyle managing to strike a serious blow against the Knight family by murdering David. With an elderly Ted in no shape to fight back, Jack was pressed to take on the role in his brother’s place and was presented with the Cosmic Rod. Like their forebears, Kyle and Jack clashed, with the latter walking away from the conflict victorious, even though it came at the price of having to kill his adversary (resolving to never do so again).
Seeing as how his home of Opal City was without a guardian, Jack agreed to carry on the Starman legacy, but, in keeping with his rebellious spirit, he did so on his own terms. He refused to wear the original costume and demanded that his father devote his scientific advancements to more humanitarian efforts. Fashioning the Cosmic Rod into a much more functional staff-like weapon, Jack took to the streets and beyond as the new Starman and even found a place among the Justice Society of America.
Why He Deserves His Own Series
DC Comics is renowned for adhering to the conventional super hero paradigm. Despite the sweeping changes made in their New 52 initiative, DC managed to maintain what makes a super hero iconic within their company and the public imagination. Having said that, reintroducing a reluctant hero such as Jack Knight into this rebooted universe would make for an interesting juxtaposition and perhaps entice discerning comic book readers who enjoy indie fare to pick up a title from a major publisher.
Not everyone enjoys a mainstream super hero title, but it’s not uncommon for someone with such inclinations to read a comic that instead parodies tropes from the genre or looks at them through the eyes of a character with a sensibility and attitude rooted in the real world. And those are perfect descriptions for Jack as he decides to play hero while forgoing elements such as a gaudy costume and the milquetoast super hero bravado in exchange for civvies and a somewhat jaded demeanor. And in our current spirit of the times partly accented by sarcasm and apathy, Jack may just find an audience that relates to his outlook.
If DC were to bring Jack into the rebooted fold, the best place to do so would be the ongoing series Earth 2. Why? First, the original Starman, Ted Knight, actually hailed from this alternate Earth (parallel to the main one that is home to the likes of the Justice League) before the reboot. So it stands to reason that this would be the perfect place to test the waters with the character. Second, Earth 2 is conveniently written by original Starman scribe James Robinson—the one writer that knows this character best! Robinson has already worked another famous and re-imagined character of his, Shade, into the New 52, lauded by fans and critics alike. If that’s anything to go by, Starman will surely roll his eyes and save the world once again (but only if he wants to).
Be here next week for part two: Starman (Mikaal Tomas)!