Sunday, January 18, 2009
Justice League America #64 (July, 1992)
To summarize: Starbreaker first appeared in Justice League of America #96 (February, 1972). Bloodwynd didn't have a copy, so he used otherworldly means to glean the basics. "Silence, Blue Beetle. I am using my magics to probe Starbreaker's mind-- in hopes of finding his weakness. Spirits of the dead-- grant me strength. Strength enough to pierce this creature's mind-- and soul, that I might defeat him. Contact.
Superman was correct. Starbreaker embodies evil. His power is potentially beyond description. His is the ability to absorb limitless amounts of energy and release it in a variety of ways. He begins by conquering a planet, terrorizing it, actually feeding on the fear he generates in the populace. Once the emotions have empowered him, he actually moves the planet into the gravitational pull of the nearest sun-- and absorbs the explosive energy that results from the ensuing collision. He is, in effect, a cosmic vampire feeding off the energy of others."
Starbreaker got really upset about, "An intruder-- in my... mind? NOOO! I said... OUT!" Bloodwynd went all "ARRRGH!" and "Can't... can't..." I guess this meant he had a headache, and can't... finish... exposition...!?!
Starbreaker could, though he had clearly changed since the '70s. He'd lost a little weight, grew out his hair, and started talking like Gil Kane. Perhaps he had a touch of amnesia, as he couldn't immediately recall the hero in the "scarlet cape," or perhaps he was just being coy. "You're the Kryptonian! The Superman! You were one of those who imprisoned me all those years ago..." The Satellite Era League had to join forces with the Guardians of the Universe, who then sealed Starbreaker in stasis to float in the void of space forever and ever and ever... until some random space freighter picked him up. Didn't they have Sciencells in the Bronze Age?!? That infinite void of space crud never pans out.
Starbreaker just happened to be released near Almerac when Warworld was passing by, sucked up ambient energy, and started making with the ballyhoo. In one of the most depressing nine panel grids in comic book history, Dan Jurgens depicted hanging suicides, mothers burying stillborn babies, sewage plants running over with human waste, and more of that lighthearted action folks expect from super-heroes. Whatta spectacle of misery, and I'm just talking about the dialogue. For instance, Booster Gold drops such groaners as "Star-Booger" and "Starboner." Maybe the real reason Green Lantern Guy Gardner ran off was he read his dialogue for this issue, and left it to Booster, always hungry for face time? As falls Almerac, so falls our writing proficiency.
So anyway, Starbreaker kept calling people "dear boy," and similarly dandy expressions, then split into three and beat everyone up. Bloodwynd tried to be all "I understand only the necessity of rendering you helpless," but got socked out for being so lame. Starbreaker ate all of Fire's fire, which is pretty much the story of her life. Quick-- name a story where Fire ever saved the day?!? Okay, how about one where she's doused with water, suffocated, blown out, absorbed, etc. etc. etc? A lot quicker answering that second question, dear soul!
The defeated heroes were picked up by Mechanix, which used to look like insects, but were now inexplicably Starriors. Where the heck did those come from, anyway? eBay? I thought Starbreaker just got loose? Does he blow his nose and Mechanix come out? Is that where that awful "Star-Booger" line came from? So yeah, the Mechanix walked off with the Justice League, but conveniently forgot Maxima. You remember, she's the queen of this planet, the first hero Starbreaker defeated today, and the one that set upon him solo? I guess if Superman slips your mind, even though he was directly responsible for your decades long imprisonment, Maxima's no big deal. Psst-- Bloodwynd? Starbreaker's weakness is early onset Alzheimer's. Pass it along to your friends.
Maxima may disagree about the convenience of her being left behind, since she seemed to be starving, thirsty, and nigh powerless. Her brutalized people took that as an opportunity to smack their queen up for letting her biological clock doom their entire civilization. Is it just me, or does that sound like the plot for a Sex and the City sequel?
In a completely unwarranted one page digression, Maxwell Lord IV griped to Oberon about the team's unauthorized away mission, and Superman's uppity attitude. Obie had other concerns. "Speakin' of problems, take a hard look at Bloodwynd! There's somethin'... weird about him, Max! I'm still tryin' to figure out how he got to be a member! I mean-- I hope it wasn't a mistake lettin' him join!" Seriously, can anything good come from anything referred to as "Bloodwynd?" A hard look? Something weird? Y'think? Oh, and someone you're not supposed to know is the Atom yet talked about "penetrating the defenses" of the League's new pad, which I hear can also lead to Bloodwynd if you don't lubricate properly first. "Hang on to your hats, boys and girls-- I'm comin' in."
Because we haven't done enough Bloodwynd foreshadowing yet, let's see what happened when Starbreaker tried to siphon some of Bloodwynd's energies: "BY THE GREAT NEBULA! I can sense the enormous power you embody! It exceeds even Superman's! What manner of creature are you? The energy I steal from you-- will more than account for your insectoid comrade's lack of such." He was referring to Blue Beetle, who thought, "Wow! I never realized Bloodwynd packed such a punch!" *snort!* "Then again, it's not like he's ever told us anything about himself! If we ever get out of this fix-- I'm going to solve the Bloodwynd question once and for all!" Full disclosure: No he didn't. Ted Kord will instead get shot in the face, while the Bloodwynd question is still up in the air over *choke* fifteen years later. The Max Lord question, on the other hand...
In closing: The three Starbreakers absorbed all the League's power, then fired it into Almerac's planetary core, starting a chain reaction that could destroy the world. Maxima looked like she was going to be executed by her own people for letting this happen. The now powerless Superman got tossed into a pit leading to Almerac's molten core. Ice contributed nothing but licking Superman's boots. You now feel very old, because this comic came out before Miley Cyrus was born. We've all lost something this day.
"The Revenge of Starbreaker" was by Dan Jurgens and Rick Burchett. Dan was on quite a rip this issue. I don't know if he or the inker are to blame, but the art was as simultaneously sketchy yet overwrought as the script. Lots of cheap Image shortcuts were used to cover dubious anatomy and unreferenced faces. Worse, Jurgens still tried to be funny at times, to remind people just how awful his book was when compared to the previous Giffen/DeMatteis run.