Posts tagged ‘Romeo Tanghal’

Adventure 472 – A tense day for Starman

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I like the cover to Adventure 472 (June 1980), as it sort of shoves Plastic Man to the side in favour of Starman, much like I am doing in this blog.

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Starman comes across the wreckage of the Empress’ ship in this story by Paul Levitz, Steve Ditko and Romeo Tanghal, and is distressed to discover only one occupied life capsule on it.

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As both the Empress and Lady Merria were aboard, Gavyn assumes one has died, and is fearful to open it and find out.  But he gets doubly good news when it turns out Merria was in the capsule, but saw the Empress taken alive before she got in.

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Still, that means he has to find her, but his powers prove useful, and lead him to an unusual craft that appears to be cojoined bubbles from the outside, and trippy hippy decor on the inside.

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The craft was keeping the Empress safe, but Oswin has tracked it and presumes it a threat, and prepares to attack as the story comes to a close.  Meanwhile, Clryssa meets Starman, but completely fails to recognize that he is her supposedly dead brother.  Considering that the costume largely covers his head, and she has no reason to think Gavyn might be alive, I can accept this.

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Adventure 471 – Starman vs Captain Krydd

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Another split cover on Adventure 471 (May 80), showing Plastic Man saving Woozy Winks from Brickface, and the story I am going to talk about instead.

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Lord Protector Oswin has become obsessed with Starman, seeking to learn the secrets of his powers.  He also sends his forces under Captain Krydd to attack Akademe, a training world for merchant spacemen.  If those two things are related, it’s not clear how.

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Jediah Rikane is now living with Starman and Mn’torr on the asteroid, and knows he is really Prince Gavyn.  He seems content to take the sidekick role in the story.  Mn’torr alerts them to Oswin’s assault on Akademe.

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So after a few issues of backstory, we get one of action, as Starman faces not only the normal soldiers, but also the massive Captain Krydd.  Not that it proves much of a difficulty to him.  Jediah does get briefly captured, but also gets saved by Starman.

 

Adventure 470 – the origin of Starman

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The flashbacks continue as the origin of Starman concludes in Adventure 470 (April 1980), by Paul Levitz, Steve Ditko and Romeo Tanghal.  And look, he almost gets the cover all to himself!

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Mn’Torr rescues Prince Gavyn, and brings him to his bizarre little asteroid.  He informs Gavyn that he was not, in fact, dying, and gives him the bracelets that allow him to channel his power.  Gavyn learns little of Mn’torr, or how he knew all this.

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Mn’torr also provides Gavyn his Starman costume, and trains him in the use of his powers.  Starman makes his first outing protecting a mine colony from a space beast, which looks much cooler on the cover than in the issue itself.

With Lady Merria all filled in, the trio return to Throneworld to see Clryssa safely crowned.  Gavyn no longer has any interest in the crown, and stays in the background, content with his new life, but also determined to protect Clryssa from Lord Protector Oswin’s schemes.

Adventure 469 – Starman dies

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Plastic Man fights an albino assassin called Pinkeye in Adventure 469 (March 1980), but that’s not the story I’m going to talk about.

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Much of this issue’s Starman story by Paul Levitz, Steve Ditko and Roneo Tanghal is told in flashback, as Prince Gavyn unmasks in front of Lady Merria.

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We learn that Gavyn is Clryssa’s brother, both heirs to the crown of Throneworld.  Gavyn was a bit of a playboy, and Merria’s boyfriend, but also had plans for reform.  Primarily, he wanted to get rid of the tradition that, upon the crowning of a new leader, all other heirs are put to death to prevent rebellion.

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When Clryssa is chosen to become Empress, he is distressed to discover that she does not share her views.  Clryssa promises to adopt Merria into the royal family as compensation for Gavyn’s death.  Though this seems callous, in fact it was probably an extremely considerate gesture on her part.  One would expect Merria to be executed or exiled as well in that culture.

Gavyn is taken aboard a spaceship for his execution, and when offered the chance to survive as a pawn, fights for the honour of his sister and Throneworld.  There’s a true hero for ya!

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The story ends with Gavyn being shunted into space, and dying.  Obviously it continues next issue.

 

Adventure 468 – Starman unmasked

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Plastic Man fights a killer ballet dancer in Adventure 468 (Feb 80).  Look, there he is on the cover.  No need to say anything else.

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Starman heads to Throneworld, the central planet of the Empire, in this story by Paul Levitz, Steve Ditko and Romeo Tanghal, in hopes of preventing Lord Protector Oswin from assassinating Empress Clryssa.

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He deduces that the crown itself must be part of the assassination plot, and as he fights to obtain it, Mn’torr shows up to help, displaying even more mysterious abilities.

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Starman prevents the guards from fulfilling Oswin’s plans to turn the crown into a weapon, but Lady Merria, who comes to retrieve it, is far from thankful, even when he unmasks.

Although his specific identity is not made clear, there are two intriguing hints.  Firstly, he has the same forehead tattoo as Clryssa, which Merria got as well in this issue, referred to as the sign that one is a member of the imperial family, and Merria’s statement that Starman has a claim to the throne!

Adventure 467 – Plastic Man and Starman begin

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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.

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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.

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In this story, he is assigned to protect an informant, Carlton Canary, from mob killers.  Which he does.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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