In last week’s two-part special edition of “This Character Needs a Comic: Starman,” we highlighted the immensely popular Jack Knight, the reluctant heir to the Starman legacy. For the second and last installment, we’re taking a look at Jack’s alien compatriot and eventual successor: Mikaal Tomas. Mikaal may not have garnered the same devoted following as Jack, and it’s more than likely quite a few people may not be familiar with him, but the fact that he’s underrated shouldn’t deny him the chance to have his own comic book series.
Who is Starman (Mikaal Tomas)?
Mikaal Tomas made his obscure debut in the short-lived series from the mid ‘70s entitled 1st Issue Special, alongside forgettable characters like Lady Cop and the Green Team: Boy Millionaires (I wish I was making this up, but I’m not). Mikaal hailed from the planet Talok III, home to the Talokians: an unrelenting warrior race bent on the conquest and subjugation of other planets. Mikaal was assigned the conquest of planet Earth, but he quickly abandoned his mandate after discovering that his lover, Lyysa, was killed by her own people for showing compassion when she attempted to warn Earth of its impending fate. Resolving to be Earth's protector, Mikaal adopted the name Starman—in an unofficial capacity—and went on to defend his new home time and again.
Unfortunately, Mikaal didn’t exactly live a charmed existence and soon spiraled into a world of drug abuse and sex in a vain attempt to sate his race’s natural yearning for the thrill of battle. It was also at this time Mikaal met Komak, a fellow Talokian conqueror that suffered a similar fate when he succumbed to Earth’s wiles upon turning his back on his order to conquer the planet. Knowing that his time was short, Komak wished to honorably uphold his mission’s directive before death—starting by killing Mikaal. Mikaal was able to overpower and defeat his would-be killer, but this did not spell the end for the tragedy in his life.
For years Mikaal was caught in the ebb and flow of pain both physical and emotional, finally finding himself an amnesiac and an attraction in a sinister circus freakshow. Rescued from his imprisonment by Jack Knight, the two formed a lasting friendship. Upon Jack’s leaving Opal City, Mikaal decided to become the city’s champion and took on the Starman mantle—albeit without the Star Rod and, like Jack, the costume—upon his initiation into the Justice League of America alongside heroes such as Batman (Dick Grayson), Supergirl, and an unlikely friend in Congorilla.
Why He Deserves His Own Series
If there’s one thing Marvel Comics is known for, among others, it’s their large and ever-growing community of LGBT super heroes and heroines. While the media and fans alike are quite aware of this, not many people realize that the DC Universe hosts a diverse LGBT community as well, although it is smaller than that of their marvelous competition... and esoteric heroes such as, say, Tasmanian Devil don't exactly make headlines. The much more famous Batwoman has, since her debut, been representing the lesbian community of comic fans for the past few years, but if the gay community is searching for a super powered representative from the DCU, they need not look further than Mikaal.
Even though he was in a relationship with Lyysa prior to leaving his home planet behind, Mikaal identified himself as gay and was even in a relationship with a man named Tony—the victim of a tragic assassination orchestrated by the villain Prometheus. Despite relapsing back into destructive habits as a coping mechanism, and feeling as though he’d lost sight of who he was and what he stood for, Mikaal works to get his life back on track and manages to do so by keeping the memories of his time with Tony close to his heart (and getting some spiritual support from Congorilla).
It is this story of tragedy and redemption that makes Mikaal stand out as a character. His sexual orientation wasn’t used as a novelty but rather as an important plot element that allowed him to evolve as a character and better himself as a hero. And the fact that his story of loss is relatable is another reason that Mikaal should star in his own series. Throw this deep level of characterization and progressive thinking onto a cosmic setting rife with epic storytelling opportunities and you've got a surefire winner in the eyes of comic readers.
Would you read a Starman (Mikaal Tomas) series?