New Comics This Week

Starlight, Jupiter's Legacy, and Moon Knight

It is time once again to review and make mention of the new comics this week, March 5, 2014. And coincidentally, there is a common thematic element in the titles of each of this week's comics. Moon Knight, Jupiter's Legacy, and Starlight all reference celestial bodies, but aside from that, these books From Image and Marvel comics cover a wide range of story content. There are some common themes, such as being shielded from consequence and danger, but each title has its own unique way of broaching similar topics of crime and tyranny. Two of this week's books are from writer Mark Millar, as part of his Millarworld imprint, with the last written by acclaimed author Warren Ellis.

Although Millar and Ellis dominated comics during the week of March 5, many other great issues of different titles were released. These include the premiere of the new volume of Wolverine and the X-Men, as well as the latest issues of Uncanny X-MenAction ComicsShe-Hulk, and the Batman-Superman Annual. There is also the long-awaited introduction of the Honorverse to comics with Tales of Honor issue no. 1. Overall, there is a great variety of new comics out for the week, with something for just about everyone.

Now, let's take a closer look at the featured new comics this week and exactly what makes them worth purchasing.


A Bright Start

If the name Mark Millar is ringing a bell, it might be because this comic writer has had a great deal of success in turning his comic creations into Hollywood movies, with the Kick-Ass films and 2008's Wanted. Another one of his titles, Secret Service is being developed as a feature film, and it seems likely that his more recent creations, Jupiter's Legacy and Starlight, will eventually find their way into production as well. In short, this Scottish writer has no shortage of creativity, even if his accent makes it difficult at times to understand him during interviews (see a clip of an interview he did for Kick-Ass 2 below).

The premiere issue of Starlight from Image Comics looks to continue Millar's trend of comic book hits. One of Millar's strengths in developing new series is that most of his books are easily encapsulated in a few lines, suitable for a movie pitch (and that quality certainly can't hurt when it comes to actually pitching these books for the silver screen), and Starlight is no exception, as Millar himself describes it as Buzz Lightyear meets Unforgiven. The main character, a test pilot by the name of Duke McQueen, definitely has a Clint Eastwood-like demeanor, but McQueen is involved in so much action in this one issue that when it comes time to cast the Starlight film, Hollywood will probably go for a younger actor to take this role.

The plot of Starlight takes place over many decades, as McQueen's past explorations of other worlds is juxtaposed with his present day circumstances as a lonely elderly man on Earth. This is a really stark dichotomy, but every scene is grounded by the clear and evocative art of Goran Parlov, one of the greatest comic book artists working today. The team of Millar and Parlov is a perfect match for Starlight, and hopefully these two will be working together for many years to come.

Jupiter's Legacy

Australian Edition

The other book from writer Mark Millar this week, Jupiter's Legacy, is up to issue no. 4 with this new release, but any new readers should have no trouble picking this one up and making clear sense of it. The story in this issue centers around a family with superpowers doing their best to remain unnoticed and live normal lives. It almost serves as the exact opposite of the story in Starlight, where a former adventurer forced into a normal life wants nothing more than to return to action. But this family's isolation from the greater terrors of the world is soon to draw to a close, thanks to the extracurricular activities of the family's Superboy-esque son, Jason. 

Also like StarlightJupiter's Legacy has some incredible art. Frank Quitely does the honors here, with a lot of fun sequences like Jason's soccer game and the discovery of a cloaked alien island.

Both Mark Millar books this week are excellent and highly recommended, but if you go with just one, Starlight is the (slightly) more appealing of the two.

Moon Knight

The Dapper Fist of Khonshu

Our final comic in review this week is not by Mark Millar, but another writer from Britain, Warren Ellis. Ellis and artist Declan Shalvey bring us the new issue no. 1 of Moon Knight, Marvel Comics' multiple-personality response to Batman. Except, as this issue reminds us, Moon Knight's previous diagnosis in absentia of Mr. Knight is now better known as dissociative identity disorder. Which, honestly, would be a fair approximation of most comic book characters' personalities, especially after more than 30 years of stories by dozens of different creators.

Even though there have been several decades' worth of Moon Knight comics, this first issue of the fifth volume of Moon Knight gives the readers a concise explanation of Mr. Knight's origin (he was resurrected by the Egyptian god of the moon to fight crime) before moving into the current status quo. Mr. Knight has forgone his cape and hood for a stark-white three-piece suit, so that our hero cuts quite the sartorial figure as he engages in solid detective work. And this detecting leads Moon Knight to the underground lair of a new villain that has, shall we say, a unique perspective on performance and fitness.

The overall atmosphere of Moon Knight's premiere issue is appropriately moody, and the underworld elements work both on their own and as a piece of the greater Marvel universe. Ellis and Shalvey are telling a story that is respectful of past interpretations of the character while not being constrained by them, and this new interpretation should appeal to fans both old and new.