Wildly creative, legendarily prolific, the architect of the Marvel Universe… But what might Jack “King” Kirby create if left to his own devices? Your Major Spoilers (Retro) Review of Silver Star #1 awaits!
SILVER STAR #1
Writer: Jack Kirby
Penciler: Jack Kirby
Inker: Mike Royer
Colorist: Janice Cohen
Letterer: Mike Royer
Editor: David Scroggy
Publisher: Pacific Comics
Cover Price: $1.00
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $5.00
Previously in Silver Star: Entering the young comic-book industry in the 1930s, Jack Kirby worked for several publishers, working on characters like the Blue Beetle before changing the comics industry forever (for only the first time!) by co-creating Captain America in 1940. Throughout the 1950s, Jack and partner Joe Simon made their way through the industry, helping to define Green Arrow as more than a Batman-clone, pioneering DC’s endless series of characters named “Manhunter”, and even created new genres of comics, as the first practitioners of romance comics. By the 1960s, Jack was the cornerstone of upstart Marvel Comics, but even that success didn’t slow his creative spirits. At DC, he created Darkseid and The New Gods; at Marvel, he created Devil Dinosaur, Machine Man, The Celestials and more. And when the independent comics boom of the 80s hit, Kirby was at the forefront, ready to once again blaze creative trails with Silver Star. That’s where things get a little… Well, I guess the best way to describe it is, “things get a little bit Kirby.”
As our young girl (who we learn is named Tracy”, continues to sing, we cut to what seems to be a contemporary battlefield, where one soldier in particular stands out from the rest.
Particularly when he picks up a tank and hurls it by hand into the forces of his attackers…
If the soldier hears her, he makes no sign of it, leaving young Tracy worried, especially since the person to whom she’s projecting her thoughts is about to have a birthday, and that birthday is one of the things that their father worried about. As for her location, even she seems to be unsure of what’s happening…
In the combat zone, after discovering his ability to sling heavy artillery like a frisbee, young Morgan has been taken to a combat hospital, where a particularly clever doctor has responded to his abilities by covering him an a special silver fabric. He likens it to the lead shielding around a nuclear reactor, protecting Morgan as much as his surroundings…
As the doctors and secret military types watch, Morgan falls into a strange coma, and someone remarks that he’s not shutting down, so much as his body is present, while his mind is “elsewhere…”
Tracy and Morgan finally reunite in their strange mental landscape, where his adventurous spirit frightens his younger friend. With the silver suit seemingly helping to control his abilities, Morgan shapes a quiet, pastoral landscape where they discuss what has happened to him…
While Morgan talks, asking Tracy to send a message to his dad, he is unaware that a strange man is somehow overhearing their conversation. Worse still, the army brass, having seen his abilities, begins to discuss ways to make him into a weapon of war, revealing his origins (Papa Miller genetically modified him before birth, creating the first of a wave of “Home Geneticus”, creatures more powerful than mere man) and their worries about what his might means for the continuation of baseline humans. That’s when his dream adversary attacks!
While fighting in his mindscape, Morgan’s real body responds, growing to massive size and nearly crushing everyone present. His foe introduces himself to Morgan as Darius Drumm, promising to save him for last before escaping his mind, leaving Miller to awaken, where he receives his new nom de guerre (and gives us a title!)
As with so many Kirby first issues, there’s so much going on, and so much thought built into the concepts that it’s clearly only the barest hint of what’s to come. Jack’s evolving art style wasn’t always to my taste in the 80s, but this issue’s Mike Royer inks make for a lovely art job. Pacific Comics would go under before Silver Star’s tale was complete (not the first time this would happen with Kirby’s creator-owned 80s books), but there have been a couple of more recent revivals that bring Morgan back and show the potential inherent in this concept. Silver Star #1 owes a bit to X-Men, a bit to Kirby’s New Gods and really deserved more pages, but still manages to entertain, puzzle and intrigue (and look good) for 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. In these few pages, Kirby addresses the pointlessness of war, the ethics of genetic manipulation, the role of the superhuman and more, making one wonder endlessly what this comic book could have become…