Going in to this series as a big Jack Knight fan, I wasn't expecting to like Will Payton as much as I eventually did.
Roger Stern brings all his Spider-Man experience to bear on his #Starman run, creating a character who is likeable and believably heroic like few capes are these days. Channeling the 80s cape fad of salt-of-the-earth heroes, Stern's Starman makes its space oddity of a hero more convincingly grounded than many writers - and filmmakers - manage with their realistic, grim 'n' gritty masculinist fantasies.
Stern's Starman is by no means revolutionary - whether in its politics or in its storytelling - but Payton's thoroughly working class family (industrial worker single mother, schoolteacher daughter, copy editor son) and his concern for people on the ground - construction workers, cooks and store clerks, the disabled (and, sadly, a few cops) - makes the entire thing reverberate with a kind of ethics that has been missing in mainstream cape comics since Geoff Johns' #Flash run (outliers like G. Willow Wilson's #MsMarvel come almost close at times). Payton's - and Sterns' - Starman does not share the fondness for esoterica or the art deco energy that lent the Robinson/Jack Knight run much of its greatness. Payton is also a decidedly more bland character than Jack Knight - while he's much less of a white guy whiner, much less entitled, and thus much more likeable than Knight, this also means that he gets a much less well-rounded character arc. Nor is it an underrated or hidden gem in the same way as, say, Peter Milligan's #XStatix. But it is what it is - a familiar, comfortable, yet sometimes surprising and even wild ride that flows like the hazy cosmic jive of a David Bowie bassline, taking its lead to that haven for all great but forgotten legacy characters that Grant Morrison described - that hallowed ground where all the children boogie.
Look out your window, and maybe you can see his light.
#DC #DCComics #DCFandom #Superheroes #CapeAndTights #RogerStern #JackKnight #DavidBowie