[personal profile] thelazyreader posting in [community profile] scans_daily
How many people remember the late, great Starman series by James Robinson? Regarded as one of the greatest comics of the 90s, but relatively obscure these days, the series tells the story of Jack Knight, the son of Ted Knight, the Golden Age Starman. Robinson turned what was one of DC's dime-a-dozen C-list legacy characters into a believable, three-dimensional character that I could identify with and enjoyed reading for much more than his superheroics.

Halfway through the series, there was an arc where Jack went adventuring in space looking for Will Payton, his girlfriend's brother. Problems regarding boom tubes and wormholes caused the trio to become lost in space and time, and among the places where they landed was Krypton, decades before its destruction.

Jack and co jump out to explore the Kryptonian surface and are immediately greeted by none other than...

Far from the near-mythical figure in Superman history, the Jor-El here is an enthusiastic teenager with a hobby of exploring the unknown. Jack and his crew decide to show him around their ship.

By the way, the blue guy is Mikaal Tomas, a bisexual alien who briefly held the Starman mantle, and the old man in the suit is a hologram of Ted Knight created by a Mother Box computer that's been programmed with his personality(It's a long story).

Jor-el is curious about Earthlings, and Jack tries to explain his reason for undertaking his journey.

Quaint. But this is the hyper-advanced, sterile society of John Byrne's Krypton, where emotions have been largely suppressed in favour of efficiency and perfection. Jor-el is something of a rebel who wants to break away from societal norms. He's not the only one, and the suspicious Kryptonian authorities soon arrest Jack and his crew, suspecting them of being affiliated with an organised rebellion.

So Jack finds himself in an isolation chamber being interrogated by the talking head of Seyg-El, Superman's grandfather.

I love Robinson's riffing on the fact that most aliens in science fiction look completely human aside from the odd difference in skin colour.

Jor-el breaks out and breaks Jack out, and they make their escape. Meanwhile, the Mother-Box-programed-as-Ted-Knight runs circles around Seyg-El in pseudo-scientific and philosophical debates.

After fighting off a shit-ton of security droids they make it back to their ship. And now comes the answer to our question, and a key moment in Superman's history.

So Jack Knight(a relatively minor character in the grand scale of the DC universe) was directly responsible for the creation of Superman, one of DC's flagship characters. Ironic.

To my readers, I highly recommend you buy the collected trades of the Starman series even if you didn't find this story particularly enjoyable.

Date: 2011-01-15 01:32 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jlbarnett
of course the key point there was "if." They didn't really offer those things persay. "We promise to raise him as a great warrior." It just gave Jor-El an idea of what to expect. With Thomas and his "I'd raise him if he were my own," Jor-El really got the idea there were people who cared and would be willing to accept him.


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