Doctor James Robinson had always been a dreamer who looked to the stars for inspiration. An astronomer by inclination and a physicist by training, his theories regarding a cosmic energy called para-radiation got the attention of an American government that needed an edge in the atomic arms race and they thought Robinson’s theory of a para-zone that could be tapped for infinite energy was an avenue well worth exploring. With their financial backing, Dr. Robinson was able to prove his theories correct and soon had the money he needed to move his wife and son out of their crumbling tenement apartment and into a proper home… but it wasn’t enough.
This being an age of heroes and with a war going on, James Robinson did what any patriotic red-blooded American man would do – throw on a costume and get ready to start punching Nazis. He found further fame and thrills as the mystery-man Doctor Star… but he would go on to lose far more than he gained.
I suspect it is impossible for me to give Doctor Star & The World of Lost Tomorrows #1 a fair and unbiased review. While this mini-series is a spin-off of Jeff Lemire’s acclaimed Black Hammer series, which pays tribute to the superheroes of The Golden Age of Comics (i.e the late 1930s to mid 1950s), it is also a tribute to a very special and specific comic series – the 1994-2001 Starman series by DC Comics. This series happens to be a personal favorite of mine and the source of my nickname, for those who care to know.
For those who haven’t been exposed to it, let me sum up – Starman came about because writer James Robinson (note that name!) had an idea for establishing a common mythology between all of the previously unconnected superheroes that DC Comics had created that used the codename Starman. This included a scientist from the 1940s, an alien warrior from the 1970s and a cosmic prince from a one-off story tied into Crisis On Infinite Earths. At a time when the comic industry in general was abandoning its tights-and-capes history in favor of superheroes with big muscles, bigger guns and tiny feet, Starman embraced its lineage. It subverted the values of The Dark Age, presenting a sneering, tattooed hipster hero in the form of Jack Knight – son of the first Starman, scientist Ted Knight – while deconstructing and ultimately reassembling the classic values of traditional comics as Jack went from a reluctant hero to an honestly good person.
Thankfully, while the tribute to Robinson’s work is clear enough (even ignoring the main character’s name), Doctor Star & The Kingdom Of Lost Tomorrows #1 stands just as well as a story on its own terms. Lemire’s script does a fantastic job of establishing the character of Dr. James Robinson and the setting for the benefit of those who haven’t read Black Hammer. The artwork by Max Fiumara (with colors by Dave Stewart) proves a perfect partner to Lemire’s writing, capturing the pulp-fiction aesthetic of the tale. If you enjoy tales of weird science or retro-superheroes as much as I do, this series is a must read!
Doctor Star & The Kingdom Of Lost Tomorrows #1 releases March 7, 2018.
Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.