Interior artwork from JLA Secret Files and Origins vol. 1, 1 (September 1997 DC Comics)
|First appearance||Brave and the Bold #28 (February–March 1960)|
|Created by||Gardner Fox|
|Place of origin||Star Planet|
|Team affiliations||Secret Society of Super Villains|
|Abilities||All versions |
Starro (also known as 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 videogames.
The character debuted in The Brave and the Bold #28 (Feb.-March 1960) in a story titled "Starro the Conqueror", which was also the first appearance of the Justice League of America. According to editor Julius Schwartz, the title “Starro the Conqueror" was inspired by a Ray Cumming’s story, “Tarrano the Conqueror”.  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).
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).
In post-Infinite Crisis DC continuity, the character appeared in R.E.B.E.L.S #1–13 (April 2009 – April 2010) and R.E.B.E.L.S Annual #1 (Dec. 2009). Another version appears in Forever Evil #1 (Nov. 2013). and a version called a "Genetically Modified Starro" appeared in New Super-Man #4 in 2016.
Fictional character biography
Starro is an intelligent alien lifeform resembling a giant starfish with a central eye and prehensile extremities. The entity visited Earth and empowered three starfish, the creatures wreaking havoc (exploding an atom bomb and absorbing its energy; kidnapping scientists and absorbing their brain power and placing the residents of Happy Harbor and Rhode Island under mental control) until stopped by heroes Aquaman, Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Martian Manhunter, and Wonder Woman. Starro was defeated by coating it with quicklime, which nullified the entity's abilities. A segment of that Starro survived, and regenerated into a complete creature, but was stopped by Aquaman before being able to renew its plan of conquest.
Starro eventually reappeared, and forced humans to nurture it until it was able to assume its former proportions. Being able to asexually spawn, Starro created millions of miniature duplicate "spores" of itself, which attached to the faces of the entire population of New York and rendered them under his mental control. Starro used these spores to control several members of the Justice League until defeated by extreme cold. 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 superpowered animals called Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew, Superman aids the animal heroes to defeat Starro, who has established a base on the Earth-C universe's version of the planet Pluto. Superman then takes the defeated Starro back to his universe.
Starro later convinces Justice League Europe that it 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 it programs the vessel to explode, freeing Starro from its body and releasing thousands of 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. Starro is finally defeated when Justice League member Ice freezes the original creature.
Referring to itself only as "It", a different version of Starro takes control of the Flash (Wally West) and the population of Blue Valley using spores. Although the JLA intend to intervene, they are advised against doing so by the Spectre (Hal Jordan), 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 may pose—allowing them to distract the entity while Batman disables it with extreme cold. This version returns and is revealed to be a scout for a huge version of the creature called the "Star Conqueror". Covering Europe with its body, the entity psychically enslaves the human race while they sleep. Dream of the Endless aids the JLA, with several members battling the entity in the dreamworld whilst another small team is attacking its physical form. Assisted by a homeless man resisting the entity's control, the heroes free mankind from the alien's influence. Dream captures the Star Conqueror and stores the entity with his other keepsakes.
During the Infinite Crisis, Starro appears as a member of Alexander Luthor, Jr.'s Secret Society of Super Villains. Starro eventually returns to Earth-C (now called Earth-26) to spark a conflict between aquatic and terrestrial 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. Starro reappears as a member of the Sinestro Corps, wielding five power rings and controlling several supervillains. The entity is destroyed by a future version of the Flash (Bart Allen).
It is eventually revealed that Starro belonged to a race of parasites that conquered planets with "motherstars" that released spores to take mental control of a population. When a motherstar arrived on the planet Hatorei and enslaved its psychically gifted native humanoids, a sole survivor takes control of an infant Starro queen, allowing him to mentally dominate the entire parasitic race. Assuming the name "Starro the Conqueror" the being is empowered by a huge army of drone soldiers controlled by spores, allowing him to conquer entire galaxies. A human possessed by Starro is later seen amongst the villains recruited in the Secret Society.
A future version of Starro mentally enthralls the Time Master Rip Hunter, using his time-travelling technology to retroactively conquer Earth. With the assistance of the villain Lady Chronos, hero Booster Gold is able to restore the timeline.
At another point in a future time, a giant Starro spore had been indoctrinated into the Sinestro Corps. Wielding five yellow power rings and hosting a number of supervillains pertaining to Livewire, Prometheus and Brimstone among others opposing the Titans Tomorrows past counterparts.
Powers and abilities
Starro is an alien amalgamate conqueror with both a humanoid central mind commanding spores which resemble either giant or small terran starfish. An asexual creature, Starro's spores are 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.
Both variants of the parasite are capable of energy absorption/projection; flight; changing color and self regeneration while the larger ones have a high degree of invulnerability, the giant versions also have much more potent mental capabilities being able to indirectly influence the minds of a potential host race, capable of lulling countless people into an induced slumber and accessing their thoughts via dreams. Their size can also vary from being as big as city blocks to larger than a small planetary ocean body, in which case said Starro probe can radically alter the very climate, topography and geography within their vicinity akin to terraforming. A future Starr conqueror spore eventually comes to weaponize 5 Qwardian power rings on each of its pointed tentacles, the ring can create objects based on the wielder's thoughts but only those fuelled by fear instead of willpower. Given the difficulty in their usage the starro's capacity to use five at once indicates a mastery of the fear element and its usage in battle, as shown when he personally went up against multiple iterations of titans all at once.
The humanoid "Starro the Conqueror" possesses telepathy strong enough to control the entire Starro alien race, and possesses immeasurable levels of physical resilience further bolstered by the energies drawn from the victims of his Starro probes. Being physically strong enough to behead the all but invulnerable Despero in single combat, Starro the Conqueror is all but impervious to physical harm much like his larger Starro clones; also akin to said spores the humanoid Starro can reproduce its own Starro clones from the mother Starro on his chest; a unique power of his own making is the ability to convert normal Earth-based starfish into Starro-based spores.
In other media
- Starro is alluded to in Smallville. In the season ten episode "Prophecy", a mind control device created by Marionette Ventures is used the device to control Stargirl and later by the Toyman himself to make Lois Lane attack and kill The Blur.
- Starro is alluded to on Arrow. He is seen on a shirt in the episode "The Secret Origin of Felicity Smoak"; his pose is very similar to his pose on the cover of his first appearance.
- Starro makes a cameo in the first episode of Powerless.
- Starro is alluded to in The Flash. Wally West mentions in the episode "Therefore I Am" having battled Starro in Blue Valley. Starro is also mentioned in the episode “Subject 9” on Izzy Bowin’s website.
- Starro appeared in an episode of The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure.
- Starro made a cameo appearance in Superman: The Animated Series. It was seen in the episode "The Main Man", as one of the creatures held in the Galactic Preserver's private zoo. After the Preserver's demise by Superman and Lobo, Superman takes Starro (along with a host of other alien species) back to the Fortress of Solitude to reside there unaware of the creature's malevolent nature.
- Starro is subsequently seen in Batman Beyond. The two-part episode "The Call" (set decades later (in-universe) revealed that Starro had ambushed Superman from his enclosure in the Fortress of Solitude. Having been plotting during all its years in captivity, the creature saw Superman (voiced by Christopher McDonald) as the ideal host with which to finally establish a new homeworld for its species and spent the next several years using Superman to try to dismantle the Justice League. Thanks to Batman, Starro is defeated and sent back to his home planet by Aquagirl and Big Barda.
- Starro has appearances in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson (original form) and by Dee Bradley Baker (Starro Titan). It is seen in the episodes "Revenge of the Reach!", "Clash of the Metal Men!", "The Power of Shazam!" and "The Siege of Starro!" [Parts One and Two]. Starro appears as the main antagonist of the show's second season. Starro makes his first appearance when his clones take control over the Challengers of the Unknown at the beginning of the episode "Revenge of the Reach!" Starro's clones later appear in several other episodes, attacking and taking control of various heroes with assistance from the Faceless Hunter as herald. The real Starro finally appears in the two-part "The Siege of Starro!" story, where it has successfully captured and taken control of most of Earth's superheroes. A small resistance cell is formed by the few heroes not controlled by Starro, consisting of Batman, Booster Gold, Firestorm, B'wana Beast and Captain Marvel. B'wana Beast ultimately sacrifices himself to destroy Starro once and for all.
- Starro has made appearances in the Young Justice animated series. Starro (though it is never explicitly named as such) appears in the episode "Downtime" where it is discovered frozen in ice by a group of Atlantean scientists. Black Manta leads his crew of mercenaries on a mission to steal Starro from Doctor Vulko's lab, but the plan is thwarted by the intervention of Aqualad and Garth. As a last resort, Black Manta destroys Starro before it can be unfrozen, but a small sample of the creature is later recovered and sent to S.T.A.R. Labs to be studied. It is mentioned that the sample is regenerating itself, implying the creature is still alive despite having been frozen for thousands of years. In the episode "Misplaced", Sportsmaster and the Riddler steal the sample from S.T.A.R. Labs. In the episode "Insecurity", Professor Ivo, the Brain and Klarion the Witch Boy set to work creating a series of spores from the Starro sample, infused with both technology and magic. In the episode "Usual Suspects", Red Arrow (who is revealed to be an unwilling traitor) uses the Starro spores to infect the Justice League, bringing the group under Vandal Savage's control. Though the Team saves the League, Savage was able to use six of the League's strongest members for a planned attack on the planet Rimbor. Young Justice: Outsiders revealed that Starro is not the only one of his species, all sharing a desire to conquer and control living beings. The one frozen in ice had come to Earth and tried to conquer near the beginning of human history, but was stopped by Savage. In the present, another attempts to conquer Earth by using its power to form an immensely large warfleet. Determining Earth's heroes would be unable to deal with the situation, Savage personally led the attack against what Savage would find to be an ancient enemy, and killed the new version.
- Starro appears during Robot Chicken DC Comics Special 2: Villains in Paradise, voiced by Kevin Shinick. It appears as a pint-sized member of Lex Luthor's Legion of Doom, but is quickly flushed down the toilet by Captain Cold. Later in the special, Starro reappears, having grown to ginormous proportions thanks to the radioactive sewage, and fights the Justice League and the Legion of Doom. Upon seeing the love between Superboy and Lena Luthor, Starro reconsiders massacring his opponents but is killed by Batman riding a boat made by Green Lantern.
- Starro appears as a boss in the Nintendo Wii version of Batman: The Brave and the Bold – The Videogame.
- Starro makes a cameo appearance in Injustice: Gods Among Us; his spherical prison cell the Fortress of Solitude stage can be used as a jumping-off point for Speed-type characters and can be thrown at the enemy by Power-type characters, making the sphere break and Starro quietly escape.
- Starro is a playable character in Infinite Crisis, voiced by Mark Rolston.
- Starro makes a cameo appearance in Batman: Arkham Knight. Featured in the DLC mission "A Matter of Family", Starro can be found in an aquarium tank under the stairway connecting the north and south parts of the park. There is also a poster that advertises him as a sideshow attraction.
- Starro appears within an event in DC Universe Online in 2017, and has since been featured in 2018, retooling the event into permanent content in the form an Episode entitled Deluge.
- Starro is mentioned in Injustice 2 during fighting dialogue between Superman and Swamp Thing.
Starro was featured in Mattel's 2010 line at San Diego Comic-Con. The package (designed by Frank Varela) is a recreation of the original Brave and the Bold #28 cover and features a light and sound display (with Kevin Conroy). Each figure in the set has a recorded description by Conroy.
Starro the Conqueror serves as the main antagonist of Justice League: Alien Invasion 3D at Warner Bros. Movie World in Australia. A shooting dark ride, the Starro spores possessing people serve as targets for guests to fire upon.
- American Comic Book Chronicles 1960–1964 by John Wells. TwoMorrows Publishing, 2012, Page 17.
- "Tarrano the Conqueror by Ray Cummings". Gutenberg.org. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
- Brave and the Bold #28 (Feb.-March 1960)
- Adventure Comics #451 (May–June 1977)
- Justice League of America #189–190 (April–May 1981)
- Captain Carrot & His Amazing Zoo Crew #1 (March 1982)
- Justice League Europe #24–28 (March–July 1991)
- JLA Secret Files #1 (Sept. 1997)
- JLA #22–23 (Sept. – Oct. 1998)
- JLA/Avengers #1–4 (Sept. 2003 – May 2004)
- Infinite Crisis #7 (June 2006)
- Captain Carrot and the Final Ark (Oct. 2007)
- Teen Titans vol. 3, #51–54 (Nov. 2007 – Feb. 2008); Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps: Secret Files (Feb. 2008)
- R.E.B.E.L.S #1–13 (April 2009 – April 2010)
- Forever Evil #1 (Nov. 2013)
- Booster Gold #13–14 (Dec. 2008 – Jan. 2009)
- Teen Titans vol. 3 #51-54
- Teen Titans vol. 3 #53
- "'The Flash' Reveals Wally Battled a Classic 'Justice League' Villain". Comicbook.com. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
- "Comic Con Conversation – Mattel's Frank Varela Part I". The Fwoosh. Archived from the original on 2013-08-02.