Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Captain America=Starman???

James Robinson's "Starman" series from the mid-1990's was probably one of the best stories I've ever had the good fortune of reading. Notice that I didn't say one of the best comic book series I've ever read, but one of the best stories I have ever read, there is a big difference. Starman ran for 81 issues(#0-#80). From the first issue, James had a huge overall story in mind for this series. I actually read in one of the "Starman" tpb's that from day one, James knew exactly how he wanted the entire series to play out, from beginning to end. Think about that for a moment. James had a rough idea of how he wanted to end "Starman" from the first issue. That's why I consider "Starman" to be a great story as opposed to just a great comic series. The very first storyline in "Starman" was foreshadowing events that would occur almost 80 issues later. I read every issue of "Starman" from beginning to end over a couple of weeks and by doing so, I was able to fully appreciate exactly what James did in that series. Events that occurred early on in the series, such as the Shade misnaming the title of an Oscar Wilde book, that seemed to have no impact on anything, were actually huge hints James was laying out for the reader to discover. Connecting all of the dots James left throughout the "Starman" series made reading "Starman" incredibly rewarding.

So, why am I thinking about James Robinson's "Starman" series now? Because I'm starting to get the same feeling off of Ed Brubaker's excellent "Captain America" series that I got off of "Starman". Thus far, Ed has written 47 issues of Cap, and looking back on the entire series as a whole, not as a bunch of different storylines, I can begin to see the huge overall story Ed is weaving here, and I really like what I'm seeing. I'll be the first person to admit that I was absolutely mortified when Ed pulled the trigger(literally)and killed off Steve Rogers. However, the way he transitioned Bucky from evil, mind controlled Soviet agent, to sympathetic character, to Captain America has been remarkable. Ed also used the Red Skull in a somewhat similar way that James used the Mist in "Starman". For the first 40 issues of "Captain America", the Red Skull was basically the driving force behind every evil act that occurred in that comic. In "Starman", we learn towards issue #70 or so that The Mist was always behind the scenes, pulling everyone strings in order to accomplish his plots of revenge against Ted and Jack Knight. I'm guessing that Ed knows exactly how long he is going to write "Captain America", and that he already knows pretty much exactly how he plans on finishing Cap/Bucky's story.

Right now, James' "Starman" work is THE embodiment of what a comic book series should be. I think in another 2-3 years though, people will be talking about Ed's "Captain America" run as highly as "Starman" is spoken about now. Agree? Disagree? Want to argue? Don't know what the hell I'm talking about? Then please, post some comments, I'd be happy to talk about either one of these great comic book series and their incredibly talented writers.

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