Review: Stargirl: The Lost Children #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Todd Nauck
Colors: Matt Herms
Letters: Rob Leigh
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Stargirl (Courtney Whitmore) and Red Arrow (Emiko Queen) are on the search for Wing, the supposedly deceased “eighth” Soldier of Victory. Their trail leads to the very-much alive Daniel Dunbar, formerly Dan the Dyna-mite.
Hot on the heels of last week’s The New Golden Age #1, Geoff Johns and Todd Nauck deliver the first issue of a six issue limited series that picks up on the set up from last May’s Stargirl Spring Break Special. While The New Golden Age #1 touched on some of the ideas, Stargirl: The Lost Children #1 deals directly with the idea that Wing, the Crimson Avenger’s sidekick is still alive. Wing’s death was originally depicted in Justice League of America #102 (October 1972). Like The New Golden Age, Stargirl: The Lost Children #1 relies on nostalgia, but it’s not the same nostalgia in the same dose or variety.
Courtney and Emiko track down Daniel Dunbar who was the sidekick of T.N.T., a lesser-known hero of the Golden Age. T.N.T. ran for 17 issues in Star-Spangled comics, but he and Dan got new life in the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths DC Universe by way of Roy Thomas’s Young All-Stars and James Robinson’s The Golden Age. Apparently, Dan is on the same track that Courtney and Emiko are concerning Wing’s death. John’s uses Dan in an interesting way, not only as a piece of the puzzle, but as a character to unlock a separate line of nostalgia. In The New Golden Age #1, we saw the “classic” JSA/ Golden Age legacy heroes. Following Dan allows Johns to remind the reader of some of the lesser-known Golden Age history and legacy.
Most significantly, Dan served with the Young All-Stars. This was a group of younger heroes who broke off from the All-Star Squadron in 1942. In the real world, Crisis on Infinite Earths had just finished, and Roy Thomas had to find a way to continue the wartime of adventures without focusing heavily on the main cast per editorial mandate. Hence, Dan the Dyna-Mite joined with original Golden Age character Neptune Perkins, Tsunami, who had appeared in All-Star Squadron originally as a villainess and newly created Iron Munro, Flying Fox and Fury. They had a very respectable run of 31 issues from 1987-1989. They didn’t have many appearances afterward, but we get a group shot of the team in this issue. It’s an interesting period for DC. This series is not a fondly remembered as the All-Star Comics run that features Power Girl and the Huntress, but it is nice to see the history of the Young All-Stars acknowledged. Johns even references the even more obscure Old Justice that saw Dan team up with Merry the Girl of 1000 Gimmicks amongst others.
Since “The New 52,” DC Comics has shied away from legacy and history. This is is something that’s integral to the Justice Society of America and the many Golden Age legacy characters that DC has. It gives a certain kind of connectivity. Jeremy Adams has been able to get some of it going in his run on The Flash, but it’s sorely missing from DC Comics as a whole. This issue adds some of that connective tissue back to the DC Universe. It builds upon what The New Golden Age gave us last week with the promise of a lot more to come in the forthcoming Justice Society of America.
In terms of history of DC Comics, let’s see how many readers have even heard of The Fox and the Crow. This is truly a new interpretation of them, much like Keith Giffen and Bilquis Evely’s reimagining of Sugar and Spike, but the reference alone is priceless.
It’s probably no surprise that Johns and Nauck are able to create a little synergy with the Stargirl T.V. show. We meet Courtney at the beginning of the issue as she is in the process of being scolded by her mom for her JSA duties taking away from her schoolwork. Nauck draws Courtney’s room exactly as it appears in the show, and I have to ask, is it wrong that I now hear Pat Dugan’s dialogue with Luke Wilson’s voice and delivery?
Courtney’s stories have always had a lighter tone, and this come through in Stargirl: The Lost Children #1 as well. There are serious stakes, but at the same time the reader is allowed to just have fun, much as Courtney and Emiko are reveling in the enjoyable aspects of being a super-hero.
I can’t find a true negative in this comic. Is it the best comic every produced? No, but what it does it does well.
If you liked last week’s The New Golden Age #1, then Stargirl: The Lost Children #1 is a perfect follow up. Fans of the Stargirl TV show will find something familiar, even if some aspects aren’t familiar, it’s hard to keep the spunky Courtney/ Emiko duo away from an intriguing mystery! The nostalgia for Golden Age legacy goes beyond the simple emotion that is evoked but adds something that’s been missing from the DC Comics comic book universe for too long, a tangible sense of history and interrelated characters and stories.