Starman #2 (December 1994)

Mercy



Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Tony Harris
Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: Gregory Wright
Letterer: John E. Workman Jr.
Editors: Archie Goodwin, Jim Spivey
Part of: Sins of the Father storyline
Reprinted in: Starman: Sins of the Father, The Starman Omnibus, Volume One
Art by Tony Harris, image fro the Grand Comics Database

Page One
Panel Two – note the skull and crossbones on Jack’s shirt – yet more piratical foreshadowing.
Panel Six – the various badges:

  • The star badge is the traditional sheriff or marshal’s badge – you’ve seen it in a hundred westerns.
  • The head in the upper left corner is that of the Shadow, one of the first costumed mystery men, appearing in the pulps that predated comics.
  • Mickey Mouse is in the lower right corner.
  • On either side and slightly below the star are what appear to be two different designs of bat pin.
  • In the upper right corner is what appears to be the handle of a baseball bat.

Page Two
Again we see the badges, but also a poster for The Mummy – most likely the 1932 version with Boris Karloff in the title role (certainly the poster looks like him). Jack is once again wearing his Ragdoll t-shirt, and there is what appears to be a complete set of Dante’s Divine Comedy trilogy (of which Inferno is the first volume). Finally, it appears that Jack has no particular loyalty to any cigarette brand, but that Camel is one he does like.

Page Three
The Shade and the Mist, face to face.
Panels four to seven – the Shade’s quote is accurate, as his attribution and interpretation of the lines, although the full name of the play is Much Ado About Nothing.

Page Four
Panel One – Wildcat is a non-powered hero who was a member of the JSA alongside the original Starman. He was (and is) basically a boxer in a cat suit, and trained, among others, Batman, Catwoman I & II and Black Canary II in hand to hand combat. His first appearance was in Sensation Comics #1, published in January 1942.
Panel Two – The Invisible Hood first appeared in Smash Comics #1 in August 1939. Smash was a Quality Comics publication, but the Quality Comics characters were later acquired by DC and have since been incorporated in the DC Universe. The Invisible Hood appeared in 32 issues of Smash Comics – this is the first mention of his death.
Panel Four – The Icicle was a supervillain with cold powers who fought the JSA (notably, alongside the Shade at times). He first appeared in All-American Comics #90, in October 1947.
Panel Seven – this is the first mention of the Shade’s immortality.

Page Six
Panel One – Neon the Unknown, Stormy Foster and the Human Bomb were also all characters from Quality Comics who were later folded into the DC Universe. Neon first appeared in Hit Comics #1 (July 1940), the Bomb in Police Comics #1 (August 1941) and Stormy is so obscure that no source I could find lists his origin.

Page Seven
Panel One – a scent that we will become all too familiar with.

Page Eight
Panels two and three – the source of the scent appears in shadow, weilding a deadly sword.
Panel Five – and Nash returns.

Page Nine
Nash and Jack make a deal that will come to haunt them both.

Page Ten
Panel three – “Fortunes and Forbidden Tales” the shop that Jack noticed earlier.

Page Eleven
Introducing yet another member of this growing supporting cast, Charity the fortune-teller.

Page Twelve
Panel Five – “Forbidden Tales of the Dark Mansion” was a DC anthology series that ran for 15 issues between 1971 and 1974. Charity was the “host” of that title, first appearing in issue #7 in October 1972. Her revival by Robinson here is highly reminiscent of Gaiman’s adoption of various other such “host” characters in Sandman.

Page Thirteen
Panel five – the tale of Dead Turk County, and how it got its name, is one that (to the best of my knowledge) has yet to be revealed.

Page Fourteen
Almost everything predicted here by Charity does come to pass in the course of the title’s run, other than the meeting with the winged man (Hawkman of the JSA) and the trip to the Far East, which Robinson still plans to tell someday.

Page Sixteen
Panel One – the reference to 1950 glancingly touches on the events of Robinson’s Elseworlds mini-series The Golden Age, which he repeatedly tried to sneak into the mainstream continuity. For the purposes of these annotations, it is considered to be a part of things, and will be covered in its turn.

Page Seventeen
I find amusing the repetition of the page number in this page’s dialogue.

Page Twenty-Two
Panel one and three – Matt O’Dare, injured in the Shade’s attack.
Panel Five – that’s Kyle, not the Shade, next to his father. The glasses and haircut are the giveaway.

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