Guarding the Kosmos

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I first encountered Jim Starlin’s work in the pages of Marvel’s “Captain Marvel” as a young lad. His style was captivating to me as a young child and his work on “The Death of Captain Marvel” graphic novel in 1982 established Starlin as one of my favorite artists in the business. I still own the graphic novel and retain it in a lovingly sealed sleeve next to Alan Moore’s “Swamp Thing” run in my aged long box.

During the ensuing years, I continued to collect Starlin’s work on “Silver Surfer,” “Dreadstar” and “The Thanos Quest.” When “Dreadstar” departed to First Comics, however, I became enthralled with a young Dude named Steve Rude who gobbled up every penny I had as a young child in his epic collaborative series with an equally young Mike Baron. “Dreadstar” subsequently tanked, despite Peter David’s assistance, and I was on to following the artistic exploits of another brilliant artist.

Fast-forward to the present. The fine folks at Dynamite Entertainment have been nice enough to send me a brand spanking new copy of Jim Starlin’s “Kid Kosmos: Kidnapped” for review purposes. To be quite honest, I felt quite nostalgic seeing his name on the cover of a book after I had held his art in such high regard as a young boy.
I was eager to read and dived right into the story.

“Kid Cosmos” is a direct continuation of 2004-2005’s “Cosmic Guard” mini-series. Given the fact that I did not read the mini-series, I worried that I would not be able to connect with the characters or get into the flow of the story. Happily, my fears were unfounded. Any reader who picks this graphic novel up will be immediately immersed in

“Kid Cosmos” follows the exploits of Ray Torres, a 12 year-old orphan who has been chosen to become a cosmic guardian. With his station comes super-powers and the spirits of his predecessors who train him in his dreams to mold him into an effective cosmic guardian. Ray’s first mission is to gain credibility with our world and forge an alliance with the American government for the alien group that has anointed young Ray their hero: Sanctuary. Sanctuary is a group of misfit aliens whose intent is to join together with mankind to stand against an alien race called the Genociders; an alien race that eats planets. It shouldn’t be difficult for a super-powered pre-teen—right? Guess again. Ray is forced to face a seemingly all-powerful entity, a giant killer robot, battle Genocider warships and a saboteur if he is to successfully establish an alliance with our race to stand against the innumerable Genocider forces.

There is no doubt that Starlin is a masterful visual storytelling. His skill as an artistic narrator is on display for all to see. And he did it all on this book, folks: pencils, inks and colors.

The plot was exceptional and I really enjoyed how Starlin masterfully interwove intrigue into the story with the enigmatic Hyperion Mors. Is he friend or foe? Well—that question is not answered here and I wonder if the storyline will be continued in the future. I would really love to see how this plays out.

My one tiny complaint was Ray Torres’ dialogue. Starlin interjects several archaic colloquialisms such as “Radical” or “bogus.” My 11 year-old son asked me what the heck “radical” and “bogus” meant and, to be honest, I haven’t heard anyone make such an exclamation since high school. It’s impossible that the book takes place in the past because the President is very plainly shown to be George W. Bush. What you end up with is a 12 year-old that talks like a high school kid in the ‘80s. This point undermined the character in my estimation, but the story flows so exquisitely and the art is so fantastic that it’s easier to overlook this strange dialogue decision for a supposed 12 year-old boy.

This one minor issue aside, “Kid Kosmos” is an action-packed, fun, adventure that demonstrates why Jim Starlin is a comic book legend. I sincerely hope the storyline will continue at some point in time. It would be “bogus” for Dynamite not to do so.

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