Untold Tales of the New Universe: Star Brand #1
"Star Brand: Adventures in the Mulletverse"
Cover Artists: John Romita, Jr. and John Romita, Sr.
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Javier Paludo
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Editor: Mark Paniccia
An untold tale of the New Universe! Ken Connell meets an
interdimensional researcher looking for the wearer of the Star Brand.
She wants to know more about the man in charge of the most powerful
weapon in the galaxy. He wants to know if she's single. The data
raises the question: is Ken worthy to wield the power of the
brand--is anyone in the New Universe?
32 PGS./T+ SUGGESTED FOR TEENS AND UP ...$2.99
Arden, a multiversal observer from an Earth with highly advanced technology, comes to the New Universe (Earth-148611) to investigate its version of the Star Brand and its bearer, Ken Connell. She is discovered by his heightened senses and quickly breaks her oath of non-interference by making Connell consider the true potential of his abilities before being removed by her boss.
"For instance -- Earth 616 is way near one end of variability. Hell, in that universe, you shine a flourescent light on someone for too long and they'll become paranormals."
Due to the appearance of Randy Kellogg, this story must take place after Star Brand #10. It most likely occurs shortly before Star Brand #11. This is backed up by Arden mentioning finding a run of Star Brand #1-10 in an alternate universe.
The story is certainly an interesting one. However, once again Jeff Parker doesn't seem to quite understand the "world outside your window" aspect of the early New Universe or the establishment of just how difficult travel between the Marvel and New Universes was supposed to be. Of course, in his defense the Exiles recent visit to "not quite the New Universe" during their World Tour didn't help.
My impression is that Parker captured the characterization of Ken Connell and his supporting cast fairly accurately. In this and the use of Randy Kellogg, he seems to appeal to New Universe fans. However, most of Arden's time with Ken seems to be spent drawing attention to all the bits of illogic that occurred in Star Brand's first ten issues. And the predection of Connell "setting off some form of cataclysm" in the next year was a bit over the top.
Most of all, it seems so highly improbable that Connell would never mention his time with Arden in the rest of Star Brand's run. I mean, the revelation of multiple universes, each with their own Star Brand, seems like it should be rather a big deal to a character like Connell. Not to mention he has his own comic book in one of those alternate universes. Now, of course, the reset switch of making him forget the whole thing would be a comic book cliché, but this would seem a place where it's really needed.
In the end, I'd rank this issue as provisionally recommended. Non-New Universe fans might actually enjoy it more than those familiar with the New Universe.
More Untold Tales: