Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but Starlight is my favorite Mark Millar comic. It’s just six issues. It’s Flash Gordon riff. And it’s so devilishly digestible that when you reach the end, you sense the decades of potential stories that are left untold, and you cry that the creative team hasn’t made this saga their mission in life.
Forty years ago, Duke McQueen saved the universe. Life went on and that life was painfully plain. He’s an older man, and his memories are a comfort, but they’re not enough. Then, his former star trekking life knocks on his door once more. The call to adventure is made, but will his bones carry him back to glory? As recently as April of this year, word was that Joe Cornish might finally make this tale into film. I’ll be first in line, but more importantly, hopefully, this means we could get Millar and artist Goran Parlov on a fellow-up book. Starlight comics, I need ’em.
MPH is another one of those stories where folks gain superpowers and do anything but save the day. In Motor City, a new street drug grants its users Flash-like speed. No bank is safe from their devious intent. Naturally, it’s not all fun and games as the nefarious entities that engineered the drug come calling. MPH is a gnarly book thanks to artist Duncan Fegredo. His pencil mutates anatomy but never breaks it from reality. Fegredo delights in propelling these characters to their biological limits, but he never falls into ghoulish depiction. He’s incapable of anything other than alluring. There are plenty of train wrecks within, but you never look away.
Well, if a gaggle of teens could get up to no good with a bag full of super-speed, then two privileged a-holes and a time machine could destroy the very fabric of space-time. Two genius bros attempt to build a reality show around their historical escapades, and everything that could go wrong does go wrong. Chrononauts has a little Inner Space in its veins as well as a little Animal House. The comic is sophomoric, in your face, and utterly bonkers. Its heroes are the so-bad-you-gotta-watch kind. You hope you wouldn’t behave with such power, but could you deny yourself a selfie with the Titanic sinking in the background? No way. That’s viral material and totally worth a few hundred followers.
Mark Millar + Batman (and Spawn)’s Greg Capullo! That’s an event comic right there. At first pass, Reborn appears to be an utterly psychotic story. On a second pass, yeah, still psychotic.
Where do we go when we die? Heaven? Hell? Nah. We travel to Adystria and the Dark Lands, two warring nations where dragons, demons, and other various monsters terrorize. When you arrive, depending on how you lived your life, you claim a side: Ancient Good vs. Ancient Evil. And yes, you do meet your loved ones who perished before you, and no, they may not be on your team. Millar and Capullo deliver a heavy metal comic that sure would look good on the side of your van but even better plastered on the largest movie screen you could find.
Sharkey the Bounty Hunter
Sharkey the Bounty Hunter feels the most like a comic Mark Millar would have written back in his 2000 AD Judge Dredd days. It’s irreverent. Angry. Tough. Biting. Silly. Joyous. Comedy and horror living side-by-side. The comic follows the exploits of a no-nonsense, working-class bounty hunter and his ten-year-old partner as they galivant across the galaxy, tracking down bodies for dollars. Their mode of transportation? A rocket-propelled ice cream truck. Why? Cuz, man. Cuz. If you gotta ask, you don’t get it.
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