This is nothing more than what it is: an appreciation.
An appreciation of what was, what is and what will be.
I just got done re-reading James Robinson's Starman and man, was it worth it!
I'd never realized it up until now just how amazing and good this series was. It so many things on so many levels. One, it introduced us to, of course, Jack Knight, arguably, the greatest of Starmen.
Two, it introduced us to sprawling art deco metropolis, Opal City and the very idea that in the DC Universe, the city is every bit the star as its lead character.
Until this series hit, I'd never thought of Gotham or Metropolis as having a rhythm, a pulse that drives its movement. One that its hero is keenly attuned to. I never thought of the city and its hero as intertwined. I'd never seen it as integral. Starman helped me re-discover the DC Universe.
Thirdly and most importantly, it introduced us to a concept and term we'd never thought of as a collective before:
Before Starman, few comics writers had bothered to explore the subject of "legacy." Before, if DC were to introduce a new character, the character was simply a re-branding, a way to sometimes even, re-establish copyright with little or no regard to what came before.
Before Starman, there was no such term as "The Legacy Hero."
Before Starman, the most popular exploration of legacy came from Marvel in the form of a virus.
Before that, superhero connections to their predecessors were something to be explained away with. If DC decided to create a new Firebrand, they simply were parking on the name, not the legacy. Before Starman, legacy, largely, was a thing to be damned.
With Starman, legacy wasn't something to be ignored or forgotten, it was a thing to be explored and even honored.
Under Robinson, threads were pulled together, continuity was explained and the tapestry was explored. Starman explored the idea that the hero is only as great as the obstacles put before him. From this, we saw the re-emergence of The Shade and Solomon Grundy. From these pages we were given our comics history back. As readers, we were to become this story. We were asked to visit a city, explore it and its hero's origins and explore the things it gained in the fire.
Because of Starman, we have the DCU landscape that we have today. Because of Starman, we have his spiritual predecessor, Stargirl. Because of Starman, we still have The Justice Society of America. Because of James Robinson's Starman, we were introduced to the DC Universe's master architect, Geoff Johns. Because of Starman, we explore the legacies and origins of the DCU with events such as Final Crisis.
The argument could be made that Starman, good or bad, has become the cornerstone on which the modern DC Universe has been built. Regardless of how one feels, there's little doubt that Starman was and still is, what any comic should be.