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COMICS-Starman #38 (September 1991)
Writer: Len Strazewski
Pencils: John Calimee

Around comic book fandom, there are pockets of support for seemingly every cancelled title since 1972. Darkhawk, Doom Patrol, Xero, Night Force, Slingers....even, *choke* the steaming pile known as the New Warriors... all have their fans. Even if they only number in single digits.

But Staman? Oh, you mean the mid-90's series that was such an inspiration to dorks in high school honors English classes, featuring a reluctant hero with a trenchcoat and goggles? Naw, not that one. Oh, then you mean the short-lived Jack Kirby creation that ran in "Adventure Comics" in the late 70's, landed a cameo (and action figure) on "Justice League Unlimited" and is apparently THE greatest fringe hero in history because he had the name "Kirby" attached to him? Naw, not that one either.

Well, obviously you mean the original Golden Age hero who was a part of the JSA, had a fin on his head and whom DC is constantly trying to make relevant, rignht?! No, not that one, either. I'm talking about the late 80's/early 90's hero named Will Payton, who had a mullet and lived in Arizona. Strangely enough, his title actually lasted longer than some of those aforementioned publication purgatory dwellers.

Yet despite running for 45 issues from 1988 to 1992, this Starman is mostly forgotten. Maybe it was the mullet. Or maybe it was his early pink and yellow costume?


Or maybe it was the fact that his stories stunk and were basically leftovers from the writers of the Superman titles? Or maybe the lack of interesting villain (as we'll see in this issue), with guys like Plasmax or Computron? In fact, I believe the only supervillain to stick around DC from "Starman" was a guy named Deadline, who is basically canon fodder whenever an army of supervillains is called for in a big crossover. Or it could have been the mullet.

Starman mullet

Yup, that's the STAR (get it? "star"?!! Whoa, I slay me!) of the book, right there. Rockin' the look that made Rick Springfield a hearthrob in 1982... only in 1991. But hey, I really shouldn't complain, as I sported a similar 'do until 1994 or so. So...wow, here I thought this book was completely worthless, but now I'm re-reading, years later, and I'm finally relating to the character on a personal level with his lack of a decent haircut! A character that transcends decades!

Anyways...as great American filmmaker Marty DiBergi once said: enough of my yappin', let's rock! This issue features a team-up between Starman and all-time skimpy clothing heroine, Phantom Lady. A chick who's spent the last 75 years either getting tied up or as a cheesecake shot. But like Will Payton's Starman, this particular Phantom Lady was also forgotten. She's a broad named Dee Tyler and her power was.... well, basically to run around in a skimpy bikini. I'm sure she could jump or do other stuff (she even had a "dakrness laser ay" or some shit), but the bikini was her primary power. Sure, we're dealing with Starman #38 here, but I think we need to cite the cover of issue 37:

Phantom Lady

So this issue kicks off like all superhero team-ups...at a modeling shoot. Yup, Phantom Lady's in her civilian ID, filming a Greek-inspired fragance ad for "Helen" perfume, "the fragrance that launched a thousand ships". Just like her role as Phnatom Lady, her job is basically to sit there and look hot. But fortunately a DC Crossover Event was happening in the neighborhood! The equally-forgotten "War of the Gods" event. I won't explain it...it had something to do with Wonder Woman..but basically it brought all the old Greek gods and Titans to Earth to have picnics and rummage about. Which explains why the Greek god Achilles suddenly appears on the scene, hoping to score with "Helen".

Yeah, that's the plot: horny Greek god wearing small articles of clothing wants to bang Phantom Lady.

Achilles tries to shag Phantom Lady

As a result, there's a LOT of skin in this issue. Nothing cheescakey; rather Achiles runs around in nothing more than a towel and sandals, while "Helen" is in a skimpy dress and then her Phantom Lady bikini. Of course, Starman objects to Achilles' advances and a big rumble occurs. He springs into action with perhaps THE most threatening line ever muttered by a guy in spandex and a mullet:

Starman watches Pro Wrestling!

Look out...dude used to watch Pro Wrestling! So while the ref's back is turned, Starman might smack Achilles with a steel chair! Well, that would be kinda' fun, but it obviously doesn't happen. Instead, we get about 10 pages of a big knockdown, drag-out between Starman and Achilles, with a little Phantom lLady thrown in. Halfway through, both guys get zapped by a random lightning bolt. Both are suddenly powered-up, while Achilles gets the added bonus of getting some gold undies, a helmet and some weapons.

Starman comics

Aftr a big struggle, Achilles suddenly vanishes. Starman freaks out and thinks he just "killed" the guy. So he runs off to his kinda'/sorta' girlfriend, STAR Labs' Dr. Kitty Faulkner. Faulkner gets a transmission from Antarctica, where all sorts of weird energy stuff is happening. The story ends with Starman flying off to Antarctica, while noting that all of his powers have mysteriously increased from that lightning bolt. Of course, we're left to track down "War of the Gods" to find out what happens next. Next issue will feature.... Plasmax!

So this was basically a random filler story to support a company-wide crossover that revolved around frickin' Wonder Woman. I can imagine the geniuses at DC were thinking: "hey, all 9 readers of Wonder Woman have been clamoring for more! Let's have a big company-wide crossover based on her...and then tie it into Starman! We might end up with the additional THREE readers of that title, too!"

Yeah, not hard to imagine why everyone ignores this Starman.

Summary: Big rumble at the modeling shoot
Cover price:1.00
Rating: .25

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