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 (writer), Mike Sekowsky (artist)|
|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.
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. According to editor Julius Schwartz, the title “Starro the Conqueror" was inspired by a Ray Cumming’s story, “Tyranno 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 able to renew its plan of conquest.
Starro eventually reappeared, and forced humans to nurture it until 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 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 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 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 appeared in an episode of the animated television series The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure (1967–1968).
- Starro makes a cameo appearance in the Superman: The Animated Series (1996–2001) episode "The Main Man"; and plays a key role in the Batman Beyond (1999–2001) episode "The Call".
- Starro also makes an appearance in Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008–2011) episodes "Revenge of the Reach!", "Clash of the Metal Men!", "The Power of Shazam!" and "The Siege of Starro! Part One and Two". These appearances were voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson, in a voice reminiscent of Frank Welker's voice for Dr. Claw, Darkseid and Soundwave.
- Starro makes a minor appearance in Young Justice (2010–2013) in episodes "Downtime", "Misplaced" and "Insecurity".
- Starro appears during the second Robot Chicken DC Comics Special as a pint-sized member of Luthor's Legion of Doom, but is quickly flushed down the toilet by Captain Cold. Later in the show, he 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, who is riding a boat made by Green Lantern.
- On Arrow, Starro makes an appearance 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 appeared on NBC's Powerless, in the first episode.
- Starro makes cameo appearances in Justice League: The New Frontier (2008), Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (2010) and Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013).
- Starro appears as a boss in the Nintendo Wii version of Batman: The Brave and the Bold – The Videogame (2010).
- He also has a cameo appearance in the Fortress of Solitude stage in Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013); his spherical prison cell can be used as a jumping-off point for Speed-type characters and can be thrown at the enemy by Power-type characters; the sphere shatters and Starro quietly makes his escape.
- Starro the Conqueror is also a playable character in Infinite Crisis (2015) voiced by Mark Rolston.
- Starro has a cameo in Batman: Arkham Knight. He is 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 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 voice actor Kevin Conroy). Each figure in the set has a recorded description by Conroy.
- American Comic Book Chronicles 1960–1964 by John Wells. TwoMorrows Publishing, 2012, Page 17.
- 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
- "Comic Con Conversation – Mattel's Frank Varela Part I". The Fwoosh.