Review Brew: Starbrand and Nightmask #1
Writer: Greg Weisman
Artist: Domo Stanton
Cover by Yasmine Putri
I have to say, if you’d asked me what my favorite comic this week would be: I wasn’t expecting it to be Starbrand and Nightmask. That’s not to say I didn’t expect it to be a good comic, it’s hard to argue with Greg Weisman who’s been behind some of my favorite shows like Gargoyles, Spectacular Spider-Man, and Young Justice. It’s not as if I don’t like Starbrand or Nightmask either, I’m an avid fan of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers run, but could I have conceived of this being a perfect match, I would have been in a bit of disbelief, but here we are. Weisman trades the multiversal expanses of the duo’s previous adventures and fairly immediately grounds them back to Earth, and while it’s easy to ask why it makes sense to ground two godlike beings in normalcy, it turns out to be just what the characters needed.
As much as I love Starbrand and Nightmask in Avengers, neither of them get particularly much time to undergo broad character development. Starbrand moves fairly quickly from being a normal college student, to a planetary defense system, and then dead with Nightmask moving along a similar track. The decision to put them into a regular life that their superpowers aren’t the focus around was a wise one. In addition, while this is my first introduction to Domo Stanton, he’s a perfect choice for the tone of the comic. While Nightmask and Starbrand are both drawn a bit younger than when they were introduced (or I suppose older if you want to count Nightmask being 3 and turning into a baby when he died), the emphasis on them not being quite adults yet really helps to ground the immaturity of this comic. And it’s great in avoiding a stylistic sameness that can happen occasionally in comics.
Overall the comic encapsulates just what defined Marvel in the early days. Great power, great responsibility, fallible heroes, and a sense of normalcy that defined it against square jawed superheroes. What distinguishes Starbrand and Nightmask is the greater scale that Kevin and Adam play on. Both in their heroism and the mistakes they’ve made, from the cosmic multiverse-saving heroism, to Kevin Connor’s lingering guilt over the deaths of the people in his previous school during the White Event. While the story may seem looming in light of Secret Wars, this is definitely a comic worth getting if you’re looking for a smart, and classic superhero story to get into.
4 out of 5 White Events
Reviewed by Slewo
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