Two new series begin in Adventure 467 (Jan 80). Plastic Man gets his first ongoing series since the cancellation of his own comic in 1977, and though it was hugely popular and I admire it, I never enjoyed it, and likely will not write about most of the stories. The Starman series is an entirely new character, despite having the same name as two former heroes, which I loved so much as a teenager that I bought this book despite Plastic Man.
I do have to admit, the series do compliment each other in a way. The Plastic Man stories are all pretty much self-contained, while Starman runs as one long serial.
Len Wein and Joe Staton provide the story and art on Plastic Man, and I have to admit, Staton is perfect at capturing the frenetic and humourous look of Plas and his sidekick, Woozy Winks. This story briefly recaps Plastic Man’s origin, as hoodlum Eel O”Brian gets wounded in a shootout and doused with chemicals. He is rescued and tended by monks, discovers his new abilities to stretch and reshape his body, and begins to fight crime instead of committing it.
He works for the National Bureau of Investigation, the NBI, which his sidekick Woozy longs to join as well.
In this story, he is assigned to protect an informant, Carlton Canary, from mob killers. Which he does.
Far more interesting to me was (and is) the debut of Starman, byPaul Levitz, with art by Steve Ditko and Romeo Tanghal. The story begins mid-stream, with the mysterious masked figure rescuing Jediah Rikane, who is being tortured by Lord Protector Oswin.
Despite being set deep in space, there is a very medieval quality to this series, both in terms of the feudal structure of the society, and also the costumes and weapons. We briefly meet the new Empress, Clryssa, as well as Lady Merria, her lady-in-waiting.
Starman is considered a dangerous rebel, so Rikane is surprised that he fights against Oswin, who plots to take the throne. Starman’s identity remains a secret, as do the full nature of his powers, but he is capable of surviving unprotected in space, and has bracelets that emit intense heat, and force blasts.
After rescuing Rikane, Starman brings him to his asteroid home, where we meet, again briefly, Mn’torr, whose name pretty much assures the reader that he is Starman’s mentor.