Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Goran Parlov
Publisher: Image Comics
Previously: STARLIGHT #1
We pick up right from the previous cliffhanger. Duke is startled to see the familiar spaceship landing in his front yard, and then out steps a young boy with purple hair who introduces himself. He says his name is Krish and he is from Tantalus, the alien world that Duke liberated from a brutal tyrant 40 years ago. Krish is surprised to see how modest (& alone) Duke is, as he still thinks of Duke as a living legend. He tells Duke that another alien race called the The Broteans, lead by a warlord called The Kingfisher, have invaded and conquered Tantalus, which was prepared for the attacked after so many years of peace. Krish stole the spaceship and came to Earth to take Duke back to lead the rebellion and free Tantalus again. Duke initially refuses, due to being an old man, but after a night of thinking he decides to go for it. So the next morning he and Krish get into the spaceship. At first, Duke flies around the city to get the hang of flying a spaceship again, and encounters a couple of Air Force jets. Then they hit warp speed and the next thing you know he’s back over the skies of Tantalus…
Another surprisingly good issue. I say surprising because it was pretty a much a “talking heads” comic. Not that much action until the flying at the end, it’s all mostly dialog between Duke and Krish, filling in the backstory and details. But it works. And it’s all played straight, there’s none of Millar’s usual snarkiness or vulgarity. Krish speaks with earnest sincerity, he’s convinced that just the sight of Duke McQueen in his old space uniform again will frighten the Broteans and inspire the citizens of Tantalus to rise up. While Duke on the other hand is convinced that his time has passed, and it’s too late for him to be of any help. Even the names like Kingfisher somehow sound normal in the context of this story. This is an ode to old 50’s sci-fi after all. But there are no winks and nods like “look how silly this stuff is,” which is a trap that Millar could have fallen into. Parlov’s artwork continues to amaze. He does such a good job with these mundane scenes of a man and boy talking in a house, that I can’t wait to see how it looks when he gets the chance to draw some space-age action. Great job by this team.