Starlight is a brand new sci-fi series from Image Comics. Scripted by Kick-Ass writer Mark Millar and drawn by Goran Parlov, it has quite the enticing team attached. Millar has released some strong comics lately, but not all of his stuff has been universally enjoyed. So I was curious to see what he’d produced this time.
The story starts in a strange, unfamiliar world and judging by the cover of the issue, you would be forgiven for believing that you’re headed for a story set in outer-space, with flying spaceships and aliens galore… But that’s actually not the case. It’s very difficult to say whether this comic is set in the future or another world entirely. The characters have human characteristics, but they also have an otherworldly air about them.
One thing that’s apparent early in the comic is the overly sexed-up appearance of the female characters in this new world. All the men are wearing thick cloaks and full body suits, whereas the women seem to be wearing nothing but a thong and a see through cape. Surely this would be completely impractical for any character, they may as well go around completely naked.
The sections about the space world are always shown just before an alarm clock wakes up the main character into the mundane, modern world. The flitting in between waking up and this dream world leaves you questioning whether it was merely a dream or if it is reality re-lived within his dreams. I found myself growing unreasonably attached to the character in a very short period of time, as his wife has died and the thoughts he displays are so raw, it brought a tear or two to my eyes. It’s suggested in a very subtle way the reason that she died, considering that she has a very young appearance. This is something that I found very smart as it gives the reader insight without outright saying it, which makes it more realistic as it’s shown through the characters memories.
Due to his wife dying and his dysfunctional family, it’s still hard to say whether the other world is escapism or if it’s his memories on display. The main character believes it’s real but the tricks which the mind plays can often be believable. The scenes from the sci-fi world aren’t just the typical scenes you expect to see in space; there are also moments which seem surprisingly normal. This includes waterfalls, rivers and buildings, with a slight hint of dragon here and there.
The story is truly captivating and leaves you wondering about many different aspects. Is the world real? Is he hallucinating? Is he just trying to get away from everything? It’s all brought down to earth in this mind boggling cliffhanger, which left me wondering what the hell was going on, while eager to read more.
The artwork is straightforward, with a minimal amount of lines to making up every scene. Despite this, it’s perfectly suited to the story and even helps to bring out the fantasy landscapes, especially paired with the fantastic bright colours, which bring the whole world to life. The Earth scenes are dull and grey with a big focus on negativity, whereas the other world is bright and colourful with celebrations surrounding them, so it’s quite a contrast. I can completely understand why the protagonist would want to escape to such a beautiful world.
In conclusion, this is a very good comic. I would love to read the next issue and I am definitely going to purchase it. Realistic characters with a promising fantasy story brewing on the back-burner, it’s a comic that I would recommend to anyone. Sci-fi fans who prefer their stories with a human touch will find themselves falling in love with this comic, just like I did.