|First appearance||Darkstars #1, (October 1992)|
|Created by||Michael Jan Friedman (writer)
Mike Collins (artist)
Administrator Sleer Prigatz
The first Darkstars were a group of fictional intergalactic policemen that appeared in comic books published by DC Comics. They were introduced in Darkstars #1 (October 1992), and were created by Michael Jan Friedman and Mike Collins. The series lasted a total of 39 issues, ending with issue #38 (Jan. 1996), with an issue #0 (Oct. 1994) published between issues #24 and 25 during the "Zero Hour" crossover event storyline.
The Darkstars were created and run by the Controllers, an offshoot of the Guardians of the Universe. Though their goal was to establish order in the universe, the ancient Maltusian race known as Controllers were isolationists by nature.
The Controllers created NEMO, the Network for the Establishment and Maintenance of Order, for the purpose of isolating the troubles of the galaxy away from the Controllers' domain. Over the millennia the Controllers realized they would have to take a more active stance by attacking chaos at its roots. Despite all the good they did, there were too many NEMO operatives in too many different places. NEMO and the Controllers devised a new plan to ensure order, which resulted in the creation of the Darkstars. The first of these new protectors was named Druu, one of a thousand to carry the name Darkstar.
The first Darkstar to arrive on Earth was named Ferrin Colos. He arrived on Earth while tracking the supervillain Evil Star. He was authorised to appoint two humans as his deputies, giving them less powerful versions of the Darkstar uniform.
Controllers expanded the Darkstar project after the collapse of the Green Lantern Corps Central Power Battery on Oa. The Darkstars would fill the void left by the failure of the Guardians of the Universe' legions. After the Corps' collapse, many former Green Lanterns served in the Darkstar organization. Former Lantern John Stewart was appointed field leader.
As time went on, the Controllers expressed concerns about the effectiveness of the Darkstars. More specifically, they were troubled that Darkstar agents were mostly looking after their own agendas rather than those of the Controllers.
They withdrew their support from the Darkstars. This made many of the early Darkstar uniforms useless, as they relied on energy transmitted from the Controllers. The later, self-contained suits were unaffected. Many Darkstars were killed or lost their battlesuits in combat against Grayven, son of Darkseid, on the planet Rann. Grayven also crippled John Stewart, paralyzing him from the waist down. Green Lantern Kyle Rayner ended the battle, but the Darkstars were shattered by the losses. In the end, only four Darkstars remained to help rebuild Ranagar.
Later, the last of the Darkstars (Ferrin Colos, Chaser Bron & Munchuk) gave their lives saving the universe from the energy vampire called Starbreaker. They siphoned off a considerable amount of power from him, which helped save the day, but their suits ruptured and all were disintegrated.
In the 2006 "Omega Men and Mystery in Space" miniseries, an organization called the Darkstars is active in the Vega system, serving as clergy and missionaries for Lady Styx. It is implied that Styx merely appropriated the old Darkstars' uniforms and equipment and gave them to her minions.
Among the equipment stolen by prosecutor Kate Spencer when she becomes the eighth Manhunter is an exo-mantle which formerly belonged to an unnamed Darkstar. As seen in Manhunter #32 (September 2008), the exo-mantle reacts adversely to a Reach scarab bonded to Blue Beetle Jaime Reyes. It appears as if Controllers programmed an instinctive hatred of the Reach into all exo-mantles, just like the Guardians of the Universe did with the Power Rings worn by the Green Lantern Corps.
Powers and abilities
- Controllers' agents wore a suit of armor called an "exo-mantle" which granted the wearer incredible power. Strength, speed, and agility could be increased to superhuman levels while a personal forcefield protected against impact and energy weapons. The forcefield could be expanded somewhat to allow the Darkstar to take others into his/her/its protection as well. With the exo-mantle, one could achieve high speeds during flight, all the while protected from wind friction by the forcefield.
- The exo-mantle came equipped with twin maser units capable of firing energy bolts with pinpoint accuracy. Darkstars were often surgically altered to gain instant maser control, rather than the split-second delay in reaction time when wearing the less powerful deputy version of the exo-mantle. Additionally, a powerful, shoulder-mounted cannon complemented the maser system.
- Though the Darkstars could operate in space, for longer trips they were given a personal space cruiser, affectionately known as a "puddle jumper." In addition, NEMO boasted larger cruisers, capable of transporting a squadron of Darkstars. With the cruisers, the Darkstars could operate at great distances, independent from the Controllers homeworld. The gap between a Darkstar and Controllers meant they had to act on their own. Decisions had to be made without hesitation.