Starro

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Starro
Brave bold 28.jpg
Starro as seen in Brave and the Bold #28 (February–March 1960).
Art by Mike Sekowsky.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Brave and the Bold #28 (February–March 1960)
Created by Gardner Fox
In-story information
Alter ego Starro
Species Alien
Place of origin Star Planet
Team affiliations Secret Society of Super Villains

Starro (a.k.a. Starro the Conqueror) is a fictional supervillain that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Brave and the Bold #28 (February–March 1960), and was created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky.

Starro is the first villain to face the original Justice League of America. Debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books, the character has appeared in both comic books and other DC Comics-related products such as animated television series; and trading cards.

Publication history[edit]

The character debuted in The Brave and the Bold #28 (Feb.-March 1960) in a story called "Starro the Conqueror", which was also the first appearance of the Justice League of America. Starro reappeared in an 11-page Aquaman story in Adventure Comics #451 (May–June 1977) and a two-part story in Justice League of America #189–190 (April–May 1981).

The character returned in an alternate universe story in Captain Carrot & His Amazing Zoo Crew #1 (March 1982) and appeared briefly in Crisis on Infinite Earths #9 (Dec. 1985).

In the post-Crisis DC universe, Starro appeared in a five-part story in Justice League Europe #24–28 (March–July 1991) and was revamped and reintroduced in JLA Secret Files #1 (Sept. 1997) and JLA #22–23 (Sept. – Oct. 1998). Another version featured in the intercompany crossover JLA/Avengers #1–4 (Sept. 2003 – May 2004); Teen Titans vol. 3, #51–54 (Nov. 2007 – Feb. 2008) and Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps: Secret Files #1 (Feb. 2008) and Booster Gold #13–14 (Dec. 2008 – Jan. 2009).

A humanoid version starred in a 13-issue story arc in R.E.B.E.L.S #1–13 (April 2009 – April 2010) and a special "origin" issue in R.E.B.E.L.S Annual #1 (Dec. 2009).

Fictional character biography[edit]

Starro is an intelligent alien lifeform resembling a giant starfish with a central eye and prehensile extremities. In his first appearance, Starro came to Earth and gave his powers to three starfish. One stole and exploded an atom bomb, then absorbed its energy; another kidnapped scientists to absorb their brain power; the last placed the residents of Happy Harbor and Rhode Island under its mental control. The heroes Aquaman, the Flash, Hal Jordan, Martian Manhunter, and Wonder Woman teamed up to defeat the alien, after defeating his three accomplices. Starro was defeated by coating him with quicklime, which nullified his abilities.[1] A segment of that Starro survived, and regenerated into a complete creature, but was stopped by Aquaman before he was able to renew his plan of conquest.[2]

Starro reappeared to threaten Earth again, having once more regenerated from a small piece of his former body. He took mental control of a young boy who found him while fishing, and subsequently dominated the boy's family, who fed him enough to regenerate his full starfish anatomy. Starro forced them to transport him to New York, where he displayed for the first time his ability to asexually spawn millions of miniature duplicate "spores" of himself, which attach to the faces of humans and render them under his mental control. Starro used these starfish spores to control several members of the Justice League while enslaving the entire population of New York, but was defeated with extreme cold before he could carry his plan to spread his spores across the planet.[3]

When Superman investigates a strange phenomenon causing the citizens of Metropolis to begin acting like apes, he is accidentally transported to an alternate universe and arrives on the parallel Earth called Earth-C. Meeting sentient animals called Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew, Superman aids the animal heroes to defeat Starro, who is based on the Earth-C universe's planet Pluto. Superman then takes the defeated Starro back to their original universe.[4]

In a later appearance, Starro convinces Justice League Europe that he is dying and wishes to return to space. Aided by ex-Green Lantern Kilowog, Starro returns to his original ship, which, once repaired, is launched out of Earth's atmosphere. Starro, however, betrays the Justice League when he programs the vessel to explode, freeing Starro from his large body and releasing thousands of his smaller "spore" versions over Western Europe. Assuming control of thousands of humans, Starro seizes power, with several members of Justice League Europe opposing the alien. The team suffers a setback when Starro takes control of the Martian Manhunter, although Starro is finally defeated when Justice League member Ice freezes the original creature.[5]

During the Infinite Crisis, Starro appears as a member of Alexander Luthor, Jr.'s Secret Society of Super Villains.[6]

Starro returns to Earth-C (now called Earth-26) to spark a conflict between aquatic and terran creatures. Despite the efforts of the Zoo Crew, Starro floods the planet and defeats the team. They are then transported off world with the surviving refugees by another animal team, Just'a Lotta Animals. Zoo Crew member Pig Iron apparently sacrifices himself and battles Starro underwater as they escape.[7]

Starro reappears in the Titans Tomorrow storyline as a member of the Sinestro Corps, wielding five power rings and controlling several supervillains. He is destroyed again by a future version of the Flash (although he points out that Starro will eventually regrow again).[8]

In post-Infinite Crisis DC continuity, it was retroactively established that Starro belonged to an entire race of parasites that travel around the universe conquering planets with "motherstars" releasing spores to take mental control of a population. When one such motherstar arrived on the planet Hatorei and enslaved its psychically gifted native humanoids, the race's sole surviving boy manages to take control of an infant starro queen which fuses to his chest, thus empowering him to mentally dominate her entire parasitic race, assuming the name "Starro the Conqueror", himself. Empowered by a huge army of drone soldiers taken from conquered worlds and controlled by starro spores, and led by an elite guard who retain their free will including Astrild Storm-Daughter and Smite, this starfish-fused-humanoid "Starro" conquers entire galaxies and derives power from all those mentally linked by his spores.[9] It was thus retconned that the originally-established Starro who had faced Earth's superheroes several times was merely a "probe" dispatched by this humanoid conqueror.[10]

In The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe), Starro appears on the cover of the book titled "Justice League: Gods Among Men" written by David Graves after Darkseid's invasion that introduces the team as the Justice League. The cover is an homage to the classic Brave and the Bold #28 but replacing it with the current incarnation of the League. [11] In Forever Evil a Human possessed Starro is among the villains recruited in the Secret Society.[12]

Other versions[edit]

"It, the Star Conqueror"[edit]

Referring to itself only as "It", a different version of Starro with green skin and a slit pupil takes control of the Flash and the population of Blue Valley using so-called "face-huggers" virtually identical to Starro's spores. Although the JLA intend to intervene, they are advised against doing so by the Spectre, who reveals the alien's intention is to capture and control the heroes and use them to form an army to conquer the galaxy. The JLA request the Spectre temporarily remove their powers—thus eliminating the potential threat they might pose if the plan goes wrong—allowing them to distract "It" while Batman sneaks past "It"'s defences—designed for superhumans rather than normal humans—and disables it with extreme cold.[13] This Starro-like green "It" creature later returns and is revealed to be a scout for several huge versions of the creature, collectively called the "Star Conqueror". Covering entire continents with its giant starfish bodies, "It" psychically enslaves the human race as they sleep. Dream of the Endless aids the JLA, with several members battling the alien in the dreamworld. Another small team of the JLA distract "It" by attacking its physical form. Assisted by a homeless man resisting "It"'s control, the heroes free mankind from the alien's influence. Dream captures the giant "It"s and store the aliens with his other keepsakes.[14] The name "Starro" is never used in this storyline, nor is any connection acknowledged apart from one fleeting reference by the Flash to reading a file that an older incarnation of the JLA had battled "similar creatures" in the past, yet oddly even those characters who were present for said confrontations such as Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Batman and Superman do not make note of any similarity between "It" and Starro. When dissecting one of "It"'s spore-like "face-huggers", Batman discovers that they are "some kind of parasitical machine", with circuitry inside its fleshy outer surface,[15] something inconsistent with the wholly organic Starro.

JLA/Avengers[edit]

In the DC/Marvel Comics crossover JLA/Avengers, another version of Starro battles the alternate universe superhero team the Avengers, when the villain Krona briefly merges two universes, causing various intruders from each universe to appear in the other. Starro appears over New York City in the Marvel Universe, and brainwashes thousands of people, including Avengers team members Quicksilver, She-Hulk, Yellowjacket, Triathlon, and Thor. Quicksilver is set free by the Scarlet Witch and Ms. Marvel, and after explaining that Starro desires order, the Vision comes up with the idea of placing a starfish spawn on the Scarlet Witch's face, which causes Starro to flee when it finds itself unable to cope with her chaos magic.[16]

Future version[edit]

A future version of Starro mentally enthralls the Time Master Rip Hunter, using his time-travelling technology to retroactively conquer Earth. Booster Gold successfully undoes Starro's action, and the creature is also foiled in the future with the assistance of the villain Lady Chronos.[17]

Tiny Titans[edit]

When Aqualad and Lagoon Boy go to "underwater pet club", many Starros are shown to be the "pets" of Star-Spangled Kid. He offers them one, which they decline from, and tells them, "He really likes to be worn on your face". When the rest of the club puts Starros on their faces, Lagoon Boy and Aqualad leave. [18]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Starro is an alien and resembles a giant terran starfish. An asexual creature, Starro is capable of generating clones that act in accordance with the original's will. The clones are parasites by nature, and can attach themselves to a humanoid's face, and subsequently take control of the host's central nervous system, thereby controlling the host. Control of the host is lost once removed from the victim.

The creature is also capable of energy projection; flight; changing colour and has a high degree of invulnerability.

The humanoid "Starro the Conqueror" possesses telepathy great enough to control the Starro alien race, and strength drawn from the victims of the Starro probes.

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Starro appeared in an episode of the animated television series The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure.
  • Starro makes a cameo appearance in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "The Main Man". It is shown in the Galactic Preserver's cell. It alongside other species the Galactic Preserver had were saved by Superman and kept in his Fortress of Solitude.
  • Starro appears in the Batman Beyond episode "The Call". Having previously been on the Preserver's Ship, and then at the Fortress of Solitude, Starro makes its move and latches onto Superman when he is feeding it. Starro conceals itself in order to breed clones of itself. When it comes to the day of its plan, Starro plots to use Superman to eliminate the Justice League. When Superman is later subdued at the Fortress of Solitude, they discover the Starro on him. Starro continues to possess Superman until Batman uses electricity to free Superman from Starro's control. After all of the Starro clones are contained, Aquagirl communicates with them and uses their knowledge to input the coordinates into Big Barda's boom tube in order to return them to the Starro homeworld.
  • Starro appears on several occasions in Batman: The Brave and the Bold voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. In "Revenge of the Reach!", the Starros emerge from a fallen meteor that crashes onto Dinosaur Island and latches onto the Challengers of the Unknown. In "Clash of the Metal Men!", the Starros make their way to Atlantis and possess the Atlanteans, Mera, Arthur Curry, Jr., and Fluke the Dolphin. Around Aquaman's discovery of this, he encounters the Faceless Hunter who serves as a herald to the "Great Starro Invasion". Aquaman is then overwhelmed and is taken over by the Starros. In "The Power of Shazam!", the Faceless Hunter defeats most of Earth's heroes (among those seen are Blue Beetle, Nightwing, Green Arrow, Speedy, Flash, Plastic Man, OMAC, Black Canary, Hawk and Dove, Bronze Tiger, Huntress, Wildcat, Doctor Mid-Nite, Hourman, Mister Miracle, Big Barda, the Outsiders (Black Lightning, Katana, and Metamorpho), Fire, Hawkman, and Green Lantern) and places Starros on them to build Starro's army. In "The Siege of Starro! Part One", he adds Guy Gardner, Kilowog, Captain Comet, Ultra the Multi-Alien, and Space Ranger to his army of controlled heroes when making his way to Earth. Also, Vixen and Atom end up under Starro's control. It is up to Batman, Booster Gold, B'wana Beast, Captain Marvel, and Firestorm to stop the galactic threat. A reference to the cover of Brave and the Bold #28 was made where the 5 heroes fought Starro and got into positions similar to the cover. While Batman and B'wana Beast fight Faceless Hunter, Firestorm has Billy Batson say Shazam underneath Starro many times enough for Starro to crash to the ground. In "The Siege of Starro! Part Two", Batman and the other heroes are able to remove the smaller Starros from those that Starro controls. Faceless Hunter ends up using B'wana Beast's powers to merge Starro's carcass with the smaller Starros to form one large "Composite Starro Monster" (vocal effects provided by Dee Bradley Baker) that can siphon energy from heroes more easily and make itself grow bigger and more powerful. Batman manages to take down this composite monster by having the Metal Men combine into a giant Metal Man called Alloy. Upon being rescued from Faceless Hunter, B'wana Beast uses his powers to separate the composite monster at the cost of his life.
  • Starro makes a minor appearance in Young Justice. In the episode "Downtime", he is found frozen, but alive, inside a block of ice by the Atlanteans. Later in the episode, Black Manta and his crew try to steal Starro for The Light. Ultimately, Black Manta decides to destroy Starro as his secondary objective when the primary proves impossible. But a small piece is found and sent to the surface to be studied since the Atlantean science lab is in no condition to study it. When Black Manta tells The Light (Project Cadmus' Board of Directors) about managing to obtain a sample of it, L-5 The Light comments that they will eventually get Starro, implying that he is part of their plot. They succeed in "Misplaced" when Riddler and Sportsmaster take it from STAR labs in Gotham City while the Young Justice and Justice League teams are distracted by Klarion the Witch Boy. In "Insecurity", Professor Ivo helps Klarion and Brain into weaponizing the Starro parts using a combination of technology and magic. In "Usual Suspects", the spores of Starro end up affecting the Justice League thanks to the mind-controlled Red Arrow (actually a clone of the real Roy Harper) serving as The Light's mole. The Starro-Tech is neutralized by The Team using Anti-Starro-Tech on the Justice League members.

Film[edit]

  • Starro can momentarily be seen in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. When J'onn J'onzz shares his memories with Rose Wilson, he, Green Lantern, Aquaman, The Flash and Wonder Woman, are seen fighting a purple and blue monster with numerous tentacles, though the creature itself remains mostly off screen, it can easily be recognized as Starro. J'onn J'onzz's vision shows the League in the same positions of battle as they were in the comic (along with a split second of The Flash running towards the beast). This implies the Martian was caught within the tentacles.
  • Starro can briefly be seen in a series of flashbacks seen by Barry Allen in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. In the original timeline, it can be seen fighting the Justice League; in the altered Flashpoint timeline (where the Justice League never existed), is replaced by Cyborg, who fights Starro alone.

Video games[edit]

  • Starro appears as a boss in the Wii version of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold video game. Batman fights him with the assistance of Guy Gardner. A cutscene shows that Guy Gardner inadvertently freed Starro when he retaliated against Mongul (who had insulted him).
  • Starro makes a cameo appearance in the Fortress of Solitude stage in Injustice: Gods Among Us. "Power" characters can throw him at the opponent while "Gadget" characters can jump off his glass container.

Packaging[edit]

  • Starro was the grand daddy of Mattel's San Diego Comic Con items for 2010. The pack is a recreation of the classic Brave and the Bold cover and features light and sounds as well as the voice actor Kevin Conroy. Each figure in the set has a recorded description just like a museum display with Kevin describing the origin of each character. It is a package designed by Frank Varela.[19]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Brave and the Bold #28 (Feb.-March 1960)
  2. ^ Adventure Comics #451 (May–June 1977)
  3. ^ Justice League of America #189–190 (April–May 1981)
  4. ^ Captain Carrot & His Amazing Zoo Crew #1 (March 1982)
  5. ^ Justice League Europe #24–28 (March–July 1991)
  6. ^ Infinite Crisis #7
  7. ^ Captain Carrot and the Final Ark (Oct. 2007)
  8. ^ Teen Titans vol. 3, #51–54 (Nov. 2007 – Feb. 2008); Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps: Secret Files (Feb. 2008)
  9. ^ R.E.B.E.L.S #1–13 (April 2009 – April 2010)
  10. ^ R.E.B.E.L.S Annual #1 (Dec. 2009)
  11. ^ Justice League #9
  12. ^ Forever Evil Vol 1 #1 (November 2013)
  13. ^ JLA Secret Files #1 (Sept. 1997)
  14. ^ JLA #22–23 (Sept. – Oct. 1998)
  15. ^ JLA #23 (Oct. 1998)
  16. ^ JLA/Avengers #1–4 (Sept. 2003 – May 2004)
  17. ^ Booster Gold #13–14 (Dec. 2008 – Jan. 2009)
  18. ^ "Tiny Titans"
  19. ^ http://thefwoosh.com/2010/09/comic-con-conversation-mattels-frank-varela-part-i