There Is a City

“There is a city.

A glorious and singular place. Old and yet pristine. Ornate and yet streamlined. A metropolis of now and then and never was…

And so Opal City stands glorious and singular.”

I was hooked on James Robinson’s Starman from the first page. How could I not be with an introduction like this?

Click to enlarge.

Those words hit me and I read them over a few times before moving forward. This page told me instantly that the city was just as important as our hero. I will give that to DC Comics – they have prime locations. Their cities are inherently cooler and more stylized because of the fictional aspect. Creators can take liberties with extremes; the locations can be grimy slums, sparkling beacons, and everything in between the two. I knew Gotham City, Metropolis, and now I’d get to know Opal City.

Sign me up.

Of course, it’s not just about the city. It can be a character but not the only one.

“The city had a champion. A gaudly-dressed “Quixote:” pure and true – but cursed with perpetual melancholy, as “Quixotes” often are. He used a device, this champion – a weapon that could drain power and light from the heavens and with this, he fought the bad and the wrong and kept his city free of fear.”

Well, as happens from time to time (but rarely with permanence), heroes fall. And the current Starman – David Knight – was assassinated not long after Robinson’s story began. His elder brother, Jack Knight, reluctantly took on the mantle that both inherited from their father, Ted. Jack is the quintessential rebellious type who fights his past and his father’s celebrity. But he comes around like those kinds usually do and makes it work in a way that suits him. He takes on the role of a the hero, but he does it with his own style and in his own way.

He doesn’t wear spandex; he sticks to jeans and a t-shirt. He doesn’t always keep track of the cosmic staff – a weapon and the source of his power. You’d think he’d keep it glued to his side, but he doesn’t always get (or doesn’t want to) the seriousness of his duties. In fact, he’s one of the most careless heroes I’ve met. Deep under it all though, there are seeds of potential.

I don’t feel like he ever welcomes the role, but I like that about him. Of the handful of DC Comics I’ve read, this seems like one of the few heroes where the person is just as important as the power he wields.

I prefer it that way. I can find a small part to relate to and latching onto the qualities of Jack (good and bad) makes me enjoy the story more. And I actually prefer Jack Knight to Starman. At the end of the day, Jack wants to be left alone with his collectibles, with history. He thinks it’s the opposite of “just stuff” and his real passion is being around them. It leads to him owning an antique and collectibles store.

I don’t know if he’s an introvert, but I get the impression he treats dealing with humans as a byproduct of living – a necessary requirement to get through the world.  I can appreciate that.

But now he’s responsible for keeping the humans of Opal City safe… the ones he’s never particularly embraced. It makes him a different person and witnessing his evolution is one of the shining parts of the the story.


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Welcoming the Future, Treasuring the Past.