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DC Classics.Com S.T.R.I.P.E. Week
Stargirl Review

S.T.R.I.P.E. Week rolls on, but today I’m jumping ahead, oh… a few decades to a young member of the modern JSA. One of the things I enjoyed most about the late 90s DC offerings was the return of the Justice Society of America and its newest member Courtney Whitmore, a.k.a. Stargirl.

I’ve mentioned before that one of my happiest times reading monthly comics was in the late 90s, from Final Night to when Dan Didio was hired. One the most fun comics from that time period came in the form of a revival of the Justice Society, in the aptly named JSA title.

The book featured the remaining old guard (Alan Scott, Jay Garrick, & Wildcat), but what I really enjoyed was the heavy focus on the legacy concept. The book also featured Starman VII, Black Canary II, Sand (Sandman’s former sidekick), Hawkgirl III, Atom-Smasher (the GA Atom’s nephew), Mr. Teriffic II, Dr. Mid-Nite II, a new Dr. Fate, and a new Star-Spangled Kid (that’d be our young Courtney Whitmore here). The book, largely written by Goyer & Johns, was a fantastic title for several years and I happily read monthly until a few months after Goyer left. After that, book featured things I didn’t enjoy all that much like tearing down Atom-Smasher, the “bullet hole” Crimson Avenger, killing the modern Hourman to bring back the original, and other assorted stuff I’d rather forget.

Okay, so we’re only a couple paragraphs in and I’ve already called Courtney Whitmore both the Star-Spangled Kid & Stargirl. That’s because she’s both. Courtney is a Geoff Johns’ creation, originally appearing as the second Star-Spangled Kid in his book Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E.. The character is based on Johns’ sister, also named Courtney, who died in the TWA Flight 800 explosion.

Courtney is the stepdaughter of the Golden Age Stripe – partner of the original Star-Spangled Kid and member of the Seven Soldiers of Victory. I know to some of you, I’m just throwing out weird names and teams, but I love doing these reviews. Getting to talk about these old characters is great, we just need the figures to match!

When Courtney discovered Pat’s history, she set out on her own as the new Star-Spangled Kid (ultimately being accompanied by Pat in his S.T.R.I.P.E. armor). She’d go on to join the JSA and after receiving Starman’s VII Star Rod when he retired, changed her name to Stargirl. She’s been an integral component of all the JSA-themed books since and made crossover appearances in both JLU, Brave & the Bold, & Smallville. I’m not sure of her status in the new 52, but if you’re a fan of the character, I’m positive Geoff Johns will have done right by her and left her largely intact.

In terms of sculpt, Stargirl features a lot of new parts. Her arms may be the only thing reused and her two lower torso pieces are shared with the Young Justice Artemis, though I’m not sure who came first anymore. Courtney features new shorter legs with the thigh articulation moved to the bottom of the bicycle pants, there are new hands, the new belt, a new upper torso that features a sculpted line between her midriff and costume, and the all-new head. As it is, I’m perplexed by this figure. The newly sculpted pieces are great and capture the detail right, the size is right, but the waist confounds me.

The major problem is that the belt is too small. On the top, it lines up with her skin, but then below, it juts out over her hips. That has to hurt. When combined with the internal hip articulation (it causes the upper hip to move inward as the leg juts out) and the pinch created by the ab crunch, Stargirl ends up looking rather ill-proportioned in some poses (and that’s without mentioning this young lady is supposed to be 16).

The new pieces do get the job done and capture the figure’s look right down to the weird “Yankee Poodle” aspect to the costume design (Geoff Johns loves the Zoo Crew). The head sculpt has taken some flak, but I think the sculpt is solid. I love that Courtney’s smiling because that’s pretty much what she does on every cover, but the decision to include the braces as a paint app seems to jar the entire piece. One, it looks bad. Who thought a yellow line through her teeth would be a good idea? Second, it situates the teeth strangely in the open-mouth sculpt. I’m not against smiles on sculpts, but after Courtney and the Legion I think we need to go back to the drawing board. (For fun, I whited out the yellow line to check out the sculpt without it, I do like it better).

I would say the braces needed to be a sculpted detail, but I think that’s too small for this line to reproduce, so I think they should’ve skipped it altogether this time around. She’s had the braces removed in the comics and the figure definitely appears to be older than her early appearances, so they really wouldn’t have been missed. Continue to Page 2…

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24 comments to DC Classics.Com S.T.R.I.P.E. Week
Stargirl Review

  • morey

    don’t know if this’ll make you feel any better about j.s.a. but they revisited the “time bubble” where the modern hourman was stuck and he was alive, they patched him up and brought him back, and he eventually married jesse quick/liberty belle.

    • The Hourman in that story, the one running around with the JSA pre-new52 is the second Hourman from the 80s! There was a third Hourman that I was referring too, another legacy character knocked off to get the original back. I need to be more careful about the word modern, that was almost a decade ago…

      • you_will_forget

        You’re probably thinking of the android Hourman. I can’t remember exactly what happened, it was a bit wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey, but Rick Tyler came along afterwards, then swapped with his Dad Rex in the time bubble when he was nearly killed. They got him back out again…actually, that’s where the android died, he swapped places and was killed in Rex’s place by Extant. I’m too lazy to do proper research at the moment.

        I love the JSA legacy feel, its what really started me reading DC comics. I’ve got a real soft spot for Courtney, and I think its a real shame that we’ll never get Sand, Kendra, Jakeem and Dr. Midnite.

        *sigh*

        Jo

        • All this Hourman talk is confusing. Which is funny in a Stargirl review.

          Rick is the second Hourman and (technically) the fourth Hourman before and after Matthew, the android.

          I’ve never been a fan of Rick and always wished Johns had just kept using the Matthew in the JSA, but he brought back Rick instead. Matthew is the one that puts Rex in the ‘time bubble’ for Rick to have some last time with, but then Rick switches places with him like you say. When the time comes for someone to die during Rex’s final moments, Johns had Matthew swoop in, opting to kill off the legacy character and retain the older characters.

          I want all the ones you mention, but we have got to have a Pieter Cross Mid-Nite!

        • Brainlock

          Rick Tyler didn’t come “after” the android (Matthew), he was a member of Infinity Inc, and wore that garish red and purple thing designed by McFarland, I think? He joined about the same time as Dr. Mid-Nite III, who was the black woman and McNider’s protege or something?

          Then we found out Rick had become addicted to Miracle and it gave him cancer. I think it was Zero Hour where he was finally cured and his dad died. or so we thought.

          The android (Matthew) went back and took Rex’s place when the other JSA’ers are killed by Extant (then Hank Hall). Rex did his time bubble thing, and then Rick allowed him to live in normal time again. rick then married Jesse Quick II aka Liberty Belle II and they announced her pregnancy right as DC was announcing the DCnU, so we don’t know what happened or what she had.

          • Thanks, Brainlock!

            I think someone retconned out the second Dr. Mid-Nite somewhere a couple years ago. I remember a panel showing her and another female legacy character and the line being something like “they were rumored to have taken up the mantle, but that didn’t happen”.

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  • Nanite

    One thing to watch out for: The ab crunch will tear her upper torso with very little effort, I already need to fix mine.

    I’m also working on improving it. I shaved off the muffin top, and there was a big overhang on the ab crunch join, which I’ve fixed. Now I need to rebuild her belt, and torso area.

    Did she ever wear goggles? I’m thinking of sculpting goggles on her.

    • Thanks for the tip and good luck on your custom.

      It seems like she did wear goggles, I might be thinking of when she was temporarily made an adult in JLA: World Without Grown-Ups. I think she had a more Starman VII based costume in that mini.

      • Brainlock

        yep, that was the only time she appeared wearing goggles, that I remember. I never bothered with her introductory 8 issue (mini?)series, tho. The Elseworld’s finest Supergirl has the PERFECT head for that, tho. ;)

  • Chase G.

    If it makes you feel better, we know that, pre-nu52 at least, Tyler eventually got fixed at some point in the future by Rex. I get the feeling Geoff intended to bring him back but never got around to it.

    Also, the braces are a great detail executed hilariously badly.

    • Yeah, Johns had so many plot points dangling in JSA, I couldn’t keep up. Did we ever solve the riddle of Jay’s baby? Was Wildcat related to the Bee dude? It seemed like there were so many…

      And, yeah, the braces are a great example of good intentions…

      • Brainlock

        Jay and Joan’s son died (tuberculosis?), and they quietly swept that under the rug. I forgot about Ted’s possible relation to…Yellowjacket, was it? That was another attempt at the same time to build on the whole “Legacy” theme, and that thankfully got lost in the shuffle of 168 other plots Johns was trying to juggle.

        • I think I remember that about their baby. And yeah, Yellowjacket! There were lots of unresolved plot points there. I really got bored with the book after Johns left – I’m still confused by the Fury/Dove thing and I’m still dumbfounded they killed off Hector/Fate.

  • JSayonara

    For the most part, I got a relatively slop free Courtney

    ……I’m not even going to make the joke, this ain’t the Mess after all. :D

  • Brainlock

    I never realized that she was wearing Yankee Poodle’s costume. Now I can’t UNSEE it!

    I was trying to think of a couple customs for her recently, esp LoSH, but now I can’t think of a single one except Jenni “XS” Ognats. :/

    One thing you did forget to mention was that every so often, Johns would have her narrate a story, and it always hinted that she and Al aka Nuklon aka Atom-Smasher were together in the future. Then they brought in Billy Batson for the whole love triangle action, which had the senior members on edge, because he hadn’t revealed his 13yo secret identity to them and came off as a total perv. LOLZ!

  • j1h15233

    What book title and issue numbers were that JSA book you mentioned? I’ve been dying to read some JSA stuff recently and I haven’t found much worth reading.

    • Brainlock

      If you were asking me, it was random issues during the “JSA” run, not the “Justice Society of America” run. I think one was toward the end of the Khandaq mess, when Al was working with Black Adam. I don’t know if Mile High/another site would have a single issue synopsis or any of the collected JSA trades would point it out on Amazon.

    • Like Brainlock says, you have to jump back to 99-05 for the “JSA” title. The first six or seven trades are the best stuff collecting the first 50 or so issues. I haven’t read it in years, but I think it will still hold up.

      I also recommend “The Justice Society Returns” which was an 5th week event that preceeded the title. And, of course, “The Golden Age”.

      If you want to go really old school, and I am admittedly subject to a huge childhood blind spot on these, but the Crisis on Multiple Earths trades featuring the 70s JSA/JLA team-ups also rock. When I talk about the comics that I learned to read with, those were a big part of it.

      • j1h15233

        Thanks for the replies guys. I’ve been wanting to track down some JSA material since I read the beginning of the last Johns run but I haven’t been able to find out what’s good and worth reading. There’s something about the JSA that is just awesome to me. I hope their New 52 book succeeds and is well done.

  • Sledgehama

    So were all twenty eight variants of Hal too busy to hit on Kara and Courtney, or is there a similar dark side to his Brave and Bold partner Barry that I’m not yet aware of?

  • StrangePlanet

    Those aren’t the DCSH white t-shirt Supergirl’s boots? And possibly lower legs?
    They look so similar I’m surprised they’re new sculpts.