Overview

Starborn #3

Review

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Starborn #3

Credits

  • Words: Chris Roberson
  • Art: Khary Randolph
  • Publisher: BOOM! Studios
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Feb 9, 2011

How many aspiring science fiction writers are out there right now, laboring away in mundane jobs that hold no interest beyond a paycheck, dreaming of a life more special, more rich in imagination? Odds are that none of them would like to be Benjamin Warner. He’s just like them, only he gets to live his dream—and not only is it dangerous, it’s awfully familiar stuff.

Starborn is one of several new creations of Stan “The Man” Lee that have been farmed out to the talent of Boom! Studios. In concept it sounds interesting enough, but as it moves into its third issue it could be any number of other things we’ve seen before. The one novel twist is that the killer aliens and robots that are chasing Benjamin and his shape-changing martial artist dream girl, Tara, are the products of Benjamin’s own imagination. They’re right out of his stories, suggesting that his works of unpublished fiction are actually memories. “Living the dream,” indeed. There’s an alien glove weapon called “The Gauntlet” that only Benjamin can use because he has the proper (alien) DNA, there’s a backstory about Benjamin as a child learning he was adopted and dreaming that he was actually rocketed to Earth from another planet, there’s the discovery that he is in fact not of this Earth that turns out to be his “call to adventure,” there’s the gorgeous girl he loves who turns out to be both his romantic fantasy and his Obi-Wan Kenobi. And you just know Benjamin has some special heritage beyond just being extraterrestrial; he’s probably a Prince on that other planet. You know the drill. It’s everything you’ve seen from Superman to Star Wars, just mixed differently.

The creations of Stan Lee were once revolutionary. Now Stan has accomplished so much and had such a far-reaching influence, and so many other innovations have followed his, that what Stan is doing now just seems like more of the same. That’s no reflection on the man who gave us The Fantastic Four and Spider-Man, though. It’s just that there’s only one revolution to a customer, and Stan has had his.

The art of Khary Randolph gets the job done in terms of storytelling, but has a sharp-edged, angular harshness to it that makes one wish for a more attractive-looking style. Perhaps it’s an unfair comparison to Stan’s classic works, but it’s not exactly John Romita, Sr. or John Buscema. It isn’t bad. Perhaps the best word to describe it is just “modern.”

However, the affection for Stan Lee still lingers, and the book is only three issues old. While Starborn is familiar, one hopes to see if Smilin’ Stan can take familiar ideas to new places.

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