Ever since the end of War of Kings, many people have been wondering where exactly the Starjammers have been. The usual guard of Cho’d, Raza, and Corsair were replaced by Havok, Polaris, Rachel Summers, and Korvus after the death of Corsair. When the team failed to put Lilandra back on the throne, they disappeared into obscurity with few appearances in Realm of Kings. The recent shake-up of the X-verse within the pages of Schism has deemed it a good time for the ‘Jammers’ return to Earth.
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Steve Kurth
Inks: Jay Leisten
Colours: Brian Reber
Letterer: Cory Petit
Covers: Mico Suayan, Marte Gracia (254), Sonia Oback (255, 256)
Using choice members of the Legacy team, Mike Carey and co. are tasked with bringing the Starjammers to Earth. With Wolverine and Cyclops having a fallout in Schism, the X-Men universe is getting a big overhaul. The X-teams have been shaken up, and the members of the Starjammers have been added to the rosters. Rogue, Frenzy, Gambit, and Magneto have teleported themselves to the Starjammers’ location, but find themselves in the middle of a war. The Shi’ar are trying to quell an uprising by the Grad Nan Holt, with the ‘Jammers in the middle of the fray. It seems like a pretty simple story, but when the space station they find themselves on is headed straight for a sun, and other more sinister forces are at work, “Five Miles South of the Universe” is making for an engaging read.
Mike Carey’s story has been well planned. While fairly simple, it is compelling. Having the Grad Nan Holt rebel against the tyrannical Shi’ar while the station is being pulled into a sun adds so many great elements and a real sense of urgency to the story. Rogue and her crew have come to simply take Havok and co. back to Earth, but the “hero” in them won’t let them leave while so many lives are at stake. The role of the main villain is also pretty great, with his behind the scenes “string-pulling” adding a needed villainous touch. Carey knows how to write his usual cast, and has done his research well for the new ones. The Friendless has great motivations for being a villain, and adds the last element to make this a great arc. The pirate crew was also fun, although at times their presence felt a little forced.
Steve Kurth’s art is pretty hit and miss. A “must” when drawing such a diverse cast is to be able to differentiate the characters. While Kurth pulls this off pretty well, there are a few panels where certain characters look identical. In issue #255, Rogue and Rachel’s headshots are side to side, and they have nearly identical faces, save the hair. We all know that an artist’s job isn’t easy, and Kurth isn’t all that bad. He really manages to catch the essence in the stance of certain characters. Notice how Rogue has a a certain flow to her stride, and how Gambit really has a thief vibe going on with just the way he moves. The way powers are displayed (like Havok’s blast or Magneto’s magnestism) was a nice treat. The fight scenes are really dynamic, due in part to the great job from the colors by Reber. The covers by Suayan have also been great, displaying the characters involved well.
As far as cosmic stories go, this has been a pretty good one. Two warring races going at it with some heroes caught in the middle. Carey knows how to handle his cast, and has done his research with how to treat the Shi’ar and Grad Nan Holt. It’s a pretty well rounded story, complete with villains, heroes, and neutral factions in between. The art was pleasing, although at times a little awkward. The fight scenes were handled well, and a lot of the facial expressions gave a great feel for the the emotions of the characters. While there is more to go for this arc, this has been a well executed space romp. Even if you are not an avid X-Men fan, it’s a fun read for fans of the ‘Jammers.