Starman v2 #50

Starman v2 #50 cover


February 1999


“Lighting the Way: Then, Now and Yet To Be!”
(Cover Title: “Lighting the Way!”)


James Robinson / David Goyer (Story [Plot]) • James Robinson (Words [Script]) • Peter Snejberg (Pencils) • Wade Von Grawbadger / Keith Champagne (Inks) • [Shane] Oakley (Letters) • John Kalisz (Colors) • Peter Tomasi (Editor) • Archie Goodwin (“Guiding Light” [Inspiration, original editor]) • Tony Harris (Cover)


Jack, Mikaal, and Ted’s hologram meet Star Boy, and discover they are on 30th century Xanthu, which is being engulfed by a cloud of darkness.  They visit the only member of the Uncanny Amazers to escape the cloud, and are then joined by Umbra, who reveals that Mikaal is from Talok III and will be an eventual savior of Talok VIII.  Venturing into the cloud, Jack, Mikaal, Star Boy, and Umbra travel for several days, fighting darkness-spawned demons as they go, and find several unconscious Xanthuans, including Uncanny Amazer Insect Queen.  At the core of the cloud, they find the Shade, held captive by his own power.  After freeing the Shade, the cloud’s power is broken, and he reveals how he got trapped in the cloud.  The Shade also reveals bits about the futures of Jack and Star Boy, including that the latter will become Jack’s successor; this worries Star Boy because he knows the details of that Starman’s death - and thus his own.  The Shade eventually sends Jack, Mikaal, and Ted’s hologram back in time, to pre-destruction Krypton.


Date of Change
Content of Change
Updates continuity placement
Tracking updates from Legionnaires #78
Unified to a single file
Tracking updates from Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #122
Tracking updates from Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #123
Name corrections
Tracking updates from Starman v2 #73
Typo correction
Tracking update from Starman v2 #79
Added Appearance Counts and Notes items pertaining to them
Footnote revision
Notes updates to 34:1-5, 36:2/36:5, 36:3, and 37:5
Correct tracking note

Tinted cells and text indicate missing or incomplete information.

Character and Object Tracking



Previous Appearance

Next Appearance


Star Boy (Thom Kallor) Starman v2 #49 <Legionnaires #68>
Brainiac 5.1 (Querl Dox) No appearance; mention only
Umbra (Tasmia Mallor) <Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #110> <Legionnaires #71>
Starman VII (Jack Knight) Starman v2 #49 Next Legion appearance:
     Starman v2 #73
Starman III (Mikaal Tomas) Starman v2 #49 None in Legion books
Starman V (Will Payton) No appearance; mention only
The New Gods No appearance; mention only
Atmos (Marak Russen) < > Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #123
Insect Queen (Lonna Leing)
< > Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #123
Radion (real name unknown) Legionnaires #< > Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #123
Starman VIII (“Danny Blaine”/ Thom Kallor) (footnote #1) Appears only as a hologram


One-shot or Untracked Villains:
     Dark Colossus demons

Supporting Characters

Mother Box’s Ted Knight hologram (footnote #2) Starman v2 #49 None in Legion books
The Shade I (< >) (footnote #3) (30th century version)
     (also appears as the Dark Colossus)
Starman v2 #49 None in Legion books
Ethu (figure from Talokian legend) No appearance; mention only
One-shot or Untracked Characters:
     unnamed Science Police officers (6)
     unnamed Xanthuan citizens and dignitaries


Xanthu (and a moon) Starman v2 #49 Legionnaires #78
New Genesis No appearance; mention only
Talok VIII No appearance; mention only
Talok III No appearance; mention only
Krypton (1922) None in Legion books None in Legion books
medical center, Xanthu None None to date
Shadow Cave, Talok VIII No appearance; mention only
spaceport, Xanthu None None to date
One-shot or Untracked Locations:
     unnamed city on Xanthu

Alien Races and Creatures

<canine race that Lori Morning offended> Legionnaires #< > None to date
One-shot or Untracked Races:
     green race with whiskers


Starman’s spaceship Starman v2 #49 None in Legion books
Mother Box Starman v2 #49 None in Legion books
Omnicom <Legionnaires #67> <Legionnaires #68>
Mikaal’s star crystal (behind the scenes) None in Legion books None in Legion books
One-shot or Untracked Items:
     Science Police officers’ guns
     robot doctor
     travel rations
     robot waiter

1. Although Starman VIII and Thom Kallor have been shown to be the same person, the details of the path between Star Boy and Starman is unknown, and they are thus tracked separately.

2. Although technically a piece of Technology, Mother Box is sentient, so the hologram is a Supporting Character.

3. The Shade’s traditional role has been that of a Villain, and since he cannot quite be listed as a Hero, he continues to be listed as a Villain.


Analysis Notes

General The inhabitants of the 30th century speak Interlac rather than the English Jack Knight is familiar with.  While Star Boy’s flight ring has universal translator capabilities, the 20th century characters interact with several non-Legionnaires in this issue.  Mother Box must be doing the translating in most of the group shots; while in the Dark Colossus, the flight rings are sufficient.
It is not clear from this story just when it fits into Legion continuity.  The story was published the same months as Legionnaires #67-68, shortly after “Dark Circle Rising” concluded.  Star Boy’s powers began to fluctuate soon thereafter, so the best placement for is between Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #10 and Legionnaires #67.
All of the “Shade’s Journal” bits and appearances by the Dark Colossus and its demons count as appearances/dialogue for the Shade.
1:3 None of these officers is the one seen last issue.
Star Boy is unfazed by a question of the year, due to his exposure to Brainiac 5’s time travel experiments.
The furry Science Police officer is presumably from the same race that Lori Morning offended in Legionnaires #< >.
2/3 Based on 5:6, it is an art error here for the hologram’s ear is pointed.
4:7 A lot of information about the 20th century’s heroic age (and other earlier eras) was lost in the intervening millennium.  Sporadic bits of in depth, even trivial, knowledge was preserved, while other areas are completely missing or even twisted beyond all hope of accuracy.
5:1 In the preboot, Star Boy’s name came from ability to draw mass “from the stars” and use it to increase the mass of other objects.  Now it would appear that he took the name as part of a legacy, either in tribute to the Starman line of the past, or perhaps because he is a direct descendant of one of them.
Ted Knight is Starman I.  Danny Blaine is Starman VIII, seen in Kingdom Come.  Patricia Dugan would be a descendant or relative of Pat Dugan, the Golden Age hero Stripesy (sidekick to the Star-Spangled Kid) and the mind behind the late 20th century robot hero S.T.R.I.P.E. (partner of Stars).
5:2 Jack may be being intentionally coy.  He met several of the members of Team 20 during The Final Night and Genesis.  Via the vagaries of time travel, though, Jack cannot be sure whether he is meeting Star Boy before of after Team 20 got trapped in the 20th century.  By not naming members not from the 20th century, he dodges the risk of affecting the makeup of the Team 20 group and thus possibly changing the past.
5:3 Maybe he just seems familiar because of Umbra’s presence in the Legion, given Mikaal’s blue skin.
5:5 Up until DC One Million, “cosmic energy” was always something rather nebulous.  It would appear that the harnessing of it is what enabled the construction of hyperspace drives, which have only in the late 30th century begun being supplanted by stargates.
Star Boy is unfazed by the hologram of Ted Knight.  Between 30th century technology and his interactions with teammate Apparition, this should be no surprise.
The reference to Brainy’s visit to the 20th century helps to settle Jack’s concerns about revealing the Legion’s “future” to Star Boy.
6:4 The Dark Colossus may have been present near Xanthu for years before it suddenly started to grow, and hence raised no special concern.
6:5 “Devouring” is presumably something of an exaggeration; however, it would indicate that the Xanthu scientists are unable to detect the planets, which is something of a concern since they can tell that the center of the Dark Colossus is organic.  Perhaps such sensor recording dates to before the Colossus started to expand.
7:2 Coloring error: the short Science Police officer should be brown, and the floor between its legs is uncolored.
8:1 This presumably should have been a Probe; they have been seen in a number of medical roles.
That Atmos managed to escape probably indicates a disconnect between the source of his powers and those of the Shade.  On the other hand, he could have been too powerful for the Dark Colossus to absorb, or the Shade could have ejected him in an effort to get others to enter, in the hopes of freeing him.  From the repeated conversation, it does not appear that Atmos ran away.
Jack’s Cosmic Rod (here and throughout the issue) is not considered as separate technology.
8:3 Radion has not been seen to be a members of the Amazers up to now.  The last time he was seen, his contract with McCauley had been bought out by Brande.  It is possible that he has emigrated to Xanthu and joined the Amazers, or that he is a Brande representative on Xanthu and was recruited to help stop the Dark Colossus.  (More cynically, this was probably initially intended to be Atom’X, but then it was remembered that he was killed by Mordru.)
9:1 A “stanmet” must be a unit of volume, despite sounding like a contraction of “standard meter.”
9:4 Mikaal’s image must be incredibly well preserved in the Talokian system.  Compare Tasmia’s reaction to the reaction other sentients have to M’Onel (aka Valor), who allegedly helped settle many worlds.  Those planets must have nothing more than the religious icons that have been seen on Cargg.
10:1/2 Mikaal’s “Wondering” comment was probably supposed to be a question, a misunderstanding of what Tasmia spoke.
This is the first we’ve heard of Talok III.  Talok VII is also know to be settled.
10:3/4 Thirteenth tribe?  Erk.  Must we insert Judeo-Christian mythology into everything?  (Okay, it could be just a coincidence, but please!)
Tasmia’s knowledge of exact years, especially given the relatively primitive nature of her society, is a little bit peculiar.  Perhaps the Talokians have a very precise means of tracking years, and if Mikaal’s deeds are as close to a religion as Tasmia makes out, is has become important to her race to know the year in United Planets terms.
10:5/6 So Mikaal is an ancestor of Tasmia’s.  That implies that he will sire children before his dies valiantly, despite his current human male love interest.  However, “ancestor” could be in terms of powers rather than genealogy.
No one willing to risk the Shadow Cave would seem to imply a less than glorious end for Darkstar (Lydea Mallor).
10:7 That is one of the themes of this issue, the collision of the knowledges of the past and the future.  Star Boy will later learn of his future.
11:5 What a grim, brooding face.  (Not especially inappropriate, though, if Thom thinks the Amazers are all dead.)
11:7 By “matrix,” Ted means the hologram proper.  The Dark Colossus probably cannot damage Mother Box itself.
13:3 Second word balloon is from Umbra.  To any of the other characters, black is black is black, but only Tasmia can comment on the quality of the blackness.
14:3 Note that Umbra says she has created a bubble rather than a sphere; the bubble is semisolid, but not filled, and hence the absence of either her darkness or the Shade’s.
15:1 Although Star Boy appears to be firing a blast of energy at the demon, that is a power he has never possessed.  He is actually applying his mass power on it, as indicated in 15:3.
16:5 Wondering where the snotty attitude of the Umbra seen in the pages of Legionnaires went?  Here it is!
17:1-3 This confirms that this story occurs prior to Legionnaires #73, when Thom lost his space whale-caused powers.
17:3 With Thom’s invulnerability being an “always on” power, it is somewhat easy for him to forget, since he never has to think about using it.
17:5 “Ethu” obviously takes on a deity or demigod role for Umbra and other Talokians.  Given their culture’s ancestor worship, Ethu is possibly a legendary ancestor of all Talokians; compare to Abraham in Judeo-Christian mythology.
18:1 Insect Queen’s full name is “Lonna Leing,” a tribute to the Silver Age Insect Queen, Lana Lang.
18:4 And since Lonna isn’t already dead, she is probably not being further harmed by the demons now that she is unconscious.  If the team succeeds, they can recover her and the other Xanthuans on the way out.
19:4 Umbra has apparently left Lonna in one of her darkness bubbles.  How long she can maintain the bubble once they leave it is unknown, but probably not for an extended period.
20:1 The feet are (left to right) Mikaal, Thom, Tasmia, and Jack.
21:2 Whether destroying these demons violates the Legion’s code against killing is uncertain.  While it was clearly done in self-defense - and Star Boy and Umbra would support each other - were they even truly alive, or just extensions of the Shade’s darkness?
22:2 The Omnicom must not be able to measure distance inside the Dark Colossus.  Indeed, maybe it isn’t true distance to the Shade at all, but a “mental” distance which must be covered.
23:1 Richard Stark is the pseudonym of author Donald Westlake; Parker is a professional criminal.  The first novel was published in 1962.  Here is the order of publication: The Hunter, The Man With the Getaway Face, The Outfit, The Mourner, The Score, The Jugger, The Seventh, The Handle, The Rare Coin Score, The Green Eagle Score, The Black Ice Score, The Sour Lemon Score, Deadly Edge, Slayground, Plunder Squad, Butcher’s Moon, Comeback, Backflash, and Flashfire (due in 2000); several were reissued under alternate titles, and six have been made into movies.  (Special thanks to the developer of “The Parker Novels by Richard Stark” website.)
The first bit of “The Girl from Ipanema” (written by Jobim/Gimbel/DeMoraes, sung by Sinatra [among others]) is:
Tall and tan and young and lovely,
the Girl from Ipanema goes walking and
when she passes each one she passes goes - ahhh...
Visit this site for the full lyrics.
Captain Action was a 1960s action figure (boy’s doll), featuring a number of different outfits of superheroes and other action characters, including the Green Hornet (visit this page for a picture).  The Green Hornet started on radio and went to TV, accompanied by his Asian sidekick, Kato (played by Bruce Lee); he was also the great-nephew (or great-grand-nephew) of the Lone Ranger.  “M.I.B.” stands for “Mint In Box.”  Prices of such figures on EBay were in the $15-20 range in July 1999, probably below what collectors would expect to spend at Jack Knight’s shop in Opal City, but the toy company Playing Mantis has rereleased the figure (and many other classic action figures of the sort).
Captain Blood was a 1935 pirate movie.  Alex Raymond is best known as the artist on the Flash Gordon comic strip.
The jurors in The Twelve Angry Men (1957) are: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, E.G. Marshall, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam, John Fiedler, Jack Klugman, Ed Binns, Joseph Sweeney, George Voskovec, and Robert Webber.
Fire-King was a brand of glassware from the Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation for cooking and serving; azure-ite does not appear to be as common or sought after as jade-ite, based on web page mentions.  Gene Florence’s book Anchor Hocking’s Fire-King & More could probably answer Jack’s question.
As Umbra later relates, Homeboy was published in 1990; it was out of print in July 1999.  The premiere Seth Morgan website is here.
The “Wurlitzer Ambassador Kit” is probably the Wurlitzer Model 1100, seen here.  The Seeburg 147 is also referred to as a “Trashcan”; it should look much like the one seen here.  The Packard “Pia-Mor” is actually the “Pla-Mor” (“play more”), and looked something like this 1940 one.
23:5 This schtick was done better in Star Trek IV (with the reference to Jacqueline Susann [Valley of the Dolls] as a “giant”).  Don’t even think about the oddity of a Talokian in the 30th century knowing the initial publication date of this American novel, alleged “classic” status or not.
23:6 Umbra is usually depicted as having an elitist, somewhat snotty attitude.
26:6 Talok VIII is a somewhat barbaric culture, so Umbra’s upbringing may not make her adverse to lives being taken.  She does value the Legion enough that she won’t do it herself, however,
28 It isn’t quite clear if it is the cosmic energy or merely the light from the rod which is affecting the Shade.
28:4 Coloring error at top of panel.
28:5 Given that Star Boy may still (in the postboot) draw mass from the stars, the Shade’s comment about drawing energy from the stars makes for an interesting juxtaposition.
29:2 Did the Shade know this about Mikaal all along, or is he relating information which his 20th century self will learn in the future from Mikaal when he returns to the past, thus creating a paradox?  (The best answer is: if they don’t tell us which is the answer, then the possibility of no paradox exists, and paradox is thus averted.)
30 That’s one heck of a lot of energy!
31:3 Umbra is especially vulnerable to bright light and heat.
34:1-5 This issue is cover dated February 1999, published at the end of 1998.  For this “infection” event to occur before the end of the 20th century, yet after Jack returns to Earth, will leave a relatively short window before December 2000 (the technical end of the 20th century, even if the more impressive set of number changing is at the end of December 1999).  In Starman v2 #80, the source of the infection was revealed to be afoe named Culp.
34:2 The Shade is drinking Port, a sweet “fortified” wine with a high alcohol content made by adding brandy to the fermentation process.  It is usually served as an after-dinner wine, often with cigars.
35;1 Note the Thom is arguing against the revelation of Jack’s future, not Shade’s wish to alter the past.
35:2-7 So by telling Jack and Thom their futures, Jack can prevent the event that requires Shade to tell him his future, and Thom will have the information for his future self to tell Shade’s past self in order to set up the events that will never need to occur.  (Does your brain hurt yet?)
35:6 Coloring error: Jack’s shirt should be blue, not olive.
35:6-7 Unless Shade is lying, or Danny Blaine was lying, or the information got garbled at some point.  That is one of the upsides of paradox: it can easily be diverted by simply not having all the related information be correct.  Probably the most key item in this set of info to prevent paradox is the name “Danny Blaine”: why would Thom need to take a new name at all when travelling to the past?  (It isn’t like he’s apt to be hiding from anyone, if he adopts the mantle of Starman!)
36:2, 36:5 Images of Starman VIII (Danny Blaine) are considered a separate character from Star Boy until the details of the path between the two are known.
36:3 It bears repeating: the events surrounding Thom’s trip to the 20th/21st century, his adoption of the name “Danny Blaine” and the identify of Starman, and the death of “Danny Blaine” have not yet been recorded.  Numerous changes could occur.  Perhaps 30th century history misreported the details of Starman VIII’s death.  Perhaps his death was a “death”, of the sort so many superheroes are prone to; perhaps the “death” was a means for Thom to appear to die but actually return to the 30th century.  Perhaps Thom took over the role of “Danny Blaine” from the real one for a short time, just long enough to relate information to the Shade; perhaps someone else took over the “Danny Blaine” identity from Thom, unrecorded by history, and thus died in Thom’s place.  (Note in particular that Starman VIII has a full-body costume, face included, which will completely hide the identify of the wearer.  Assuming the “death” damages the body beyond visual recognition, it could easily be someone other than Thom in the suit at that time.)
36:8 That is the Ted Knight hologram.
37:2 Jack’s fate has not been revealed.  As the Shade indicated in this issue, the Cosmic Rod disappears at some future point, and Starman Secret Files #1 indicates that Star Boy does eventually take over the role of Starman.  None of this indicates Jack’s death.
37:5 This could mean any number of things, as a rose can be a flower, a name, a stained glass window or a tattoo (for fans of Armistead Maupin’s More Tales of the City), or for the Citizen Kane-inclined, a sled (or body part, according to rumor).   The reference becomes clear(er) in Starman v2 #80.
37:6 The underlined words in the Shade’s Journal cations (especially the first one) seem to have no relation to the stresses they would have if spoken.  (Text in comics - dialogue included - rarely does, alas.)
Coloring error: the Journal captions should have been gold, like throughout the rest of the story.
38:2 Don’t believe for a second that the Shade could not have sent them back to exactly when they were snagged from.  He probably sent them to Krypton since Jack will later tell Shade’s 20th century self that is where they ended up.
38:4 Krypton, of course, being the home planet of Superman.

Appearance Counts

Character Name


Panels / Speaking

Star Boy (Thom Kallor)   91 / 62
Umbra (Tasmia Mallor)   58 / 30
Starman VII (Jack Knight) X 97 / 77
Starman III (Mikaal Tomas)   62 / 27
Atmos (Marak Russen)   7 / 6
Insect Queen (Lonna Leing)   8 / 0
Starman VIII (“Danny Blaine”/ Thom Kallor) (footnote A)   2 / 0
Supporting Characters
Mother Box’s Ted Knight hologram   20 / 9
The Shade I (< >) (30th century version)
     (also appears as the Dark Colossus)
109 / 48

A. Until Starman VIII is definitively shown to be Star Boy — and specifically, the Star Boy of the current continuity — they will be tracked separately.

B. Not tracked as distinct from Shade.