Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Starro the Conqueror!!!!!!! I sooooo wanted him to be the big-bad in the Justice League movie.

Starro was the Justice League of America's first foe, and was potentially its most deadly. Starro was just one of an entire race of starfish-shaped aliens which could control the minds of other species. They had conquered whole galaxies, and could occupy an entire planet by placing just a single one of their species there. Starro came to Earth in 1959. He made his first appearance (as did the Justice League) in Brave and the Bold #28 (February-March 1960). Unfortunately, Starro first enslaved the small Rhode Island town of Happy Harbor, which is where the Justice League then had their secret headquarters. Local teenager Snapper Carr was spreading lime on his father's front lawn, and the lime prevented Starro from taking control of him. Snapper told the League about this, and the JLA managed to encase Starro in lime, forcing him to go dormant.

Starro was freed by villain T.O. Morrow in Justice League of America #65 (September 1968), but after defeating the League he was incapacitated by Morrow again. Readers learned that Starro left a piece of himself underwater in 1959, which was left dormant. It activated in 1977 (Adventure Comics #451 [May-June 1977]), and fought Aquaman. But the Starro-clone had been too-long exposed to a wide range of toxic waste dumped in the ocean nearby, and relied on this waste to survive. When exposed to fresh seawater, it went dormant. Another Starro-clone, also left behind in 1959, activated in 1981. In Justice League of America #189 (April 1981), Starro enslaves the entire Justice League, but cannot take over the android mind of Red Tornado. This issue marks the first appearance of "Starro clones" -- small Starros which attach to the face of the victim. Readers learn that Starro's mental control only extends to a few people, maybe 10 or 12 at most. Creating millions of these small clones is how Starros conquer worlds. With most of New York City under Starro's domination within just a few hours, Red Tornado helps free several League members. In Justice League of America #190 (May 1981), they try several things to defeat Starro, but end up only strengthening the creature. Eventaully, the Justice League realizes that Starro is also vulnerable to cold. Starro is encased in ice, his clones go dormant, and Earth is saved.

In Captain Carrot & His Amazing Zoo Crew #1 (March 1982), a Starro on Pluto begins attacking Earth with some sort of beam. Superman stops the beam with an asteroid, but is hurled into the dimension of Earth-C, where all the residents of planet Earth are anthropomorphic animals. Pieces of the asteroid fell through the dimensional portal with Superman, and created Captain Carrot and his Justa Lotta Animals team. The JLA and Superman manage to defeat the Earth-C Starro, and Superman returns to his own dimension to defeat the Earth-1 Starro.

Starro is briefly seen in Crisis on Infinite Earths #9 (December 1985) as one of the hundreds of villains who unite in an attempt to conquer the remaining five Earths of the Multi-Verse. But he plays no real role here.

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With the Multi-Verse gone, it's not clear if Starro or his history survived. Apparently, however, both did. He reappears in Justice League Europe #24 (March 1991), and plays a major role beginning in Justice League Europe #25 (April 1991). Over this and the next three issues (Justice League Europe #26 [May 1991], Justice League Europe #27 [June 1991], and Justice League Europe #28 [July 1991]), Starro convinces JLE that it is dying and wants to return home. Starro leadsd the JLE to its spaceship, which is repaired. Starro launches into orbit -- but the ship explodes. This releases millions of Starro-clones over Europe, allowing Starro to take control of the continent. As the JLE does battle with Starro's human allies, the heroine Ice tracks down the original Starro (which survived the blast) and freezes it.

In "Attack of the O Squad", a humorous back-up story in Justice League America Annual Vol. 1, #8 (1994), Starro forms a super-villain group known as "The O Squad", because each member's name ends in the letter O (Amazo, Lobo, Professor Ivo, Bizzaro, Chemo, Sinestro, etc.). The group first meets inside the Justice League satellite, while a board JLA sits upstairs waiting for action. The villains squabble about who will get which part of Earth. After finally coming to an agreement, they sign a formal contract establishing the group. But when someone points out that T.O. Morrow's name doesn't end in the letter O, they start squabbling again -- while the Justice League naps in boredom.

In Justice League of America Vol. 2, #4 (January 2007), the supervillain Professor Ivo manufactures bio-mechanical clones of Starro-clones from original cells he discovered. He uses these to control any number of super-villains, as he works to find a cure for Solomon Grundy's immortality.

In an alternate future depicted in Teen Titans Vol. 3, #51–54 (November 2007 to February 2008), adult versions of the Teen Titans -- Superman (Kon-El), Batman (Tim Drake), Wonder Woman (Cassie Sandsmark), Flash (Bart Allen), Red Devil (Eddie Bloomberg), and Martian Manhunter (M'gann M'orzz) -- arrive from the future in order to stop the Justice League from defeating Starro. This, they believe, will set in motion events that will protect their timeline and ensure it takes place. Although the JLA is freed with the help of present-day, younger Titans, more adult Titans arrived from the future with Lex Luthor. Luthor says that the future has become much more grim due to the Titans' actions. Just then, however, Starro attacks. (Just which Starro this is -- the 1959, 1981, or 1991 version -- and how it got free is never explained.) Starro captures all of the heroes except for Blue Beetle. He frees Bart Allen, who uses one of Captain Cold's guns to immobilize Starro and free the heroes.

Starro appears as a member of the Sinestro Corps (but plays no role in anything) in Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps: Secret Files (February 2008).

In Booster Gold #13 (December 2008), Booster Gold and his superheroine sister, Goldstar, return to their own time in the 25th century. Arriving at Rip Hunter's lab, they discover that Hunter is under the control of a Starro clone. Hunter flees into the past, changing it so that Starro conquers the Earth. Booster and Goldstar arrive in France in 1348, where Booster manages to send Hunter back to the future in a wonky Time Sphere. Booster returns to the 21st century to discover who freed Starro, and realizes that his own great-great-grandfather mistakenly brought Starro to the 21st century while looking for Booster. Booster is captured by Chronos and Lady Chronos, who take him back to the future. In Booster Gold #14 (January 2009), Booster discovers that Starro has used Rip Hunter to bring a bunch of heroes and villains (like Adam Strange, Bane, Batman, Captain Marvel, Black Adam, Blue Beetle, Cyborg, Firestorm, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Metamorpho, Mr. Freeze, Power Girl, The Atom, Red Tornado, Solomon Grundy, Starfire, Superman, and Wonder Woman) to the 25th century to watch them destroy one another. Escaping from Starro, Booster travels to the old Hall of Justice in Washington, D.C., to learn about how to defeat Starro. He finds one of Mr. Freeze's old guns there, and realizes how to stop Starro. He frees Lady Chronos from Starro's control, and they travel back in time to the 21st century to stop the original Starro from altering the time-stream.

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DC Comics rebooted their comic universe again in "Zero Hour: Crisis in Time" in 1994. In this new timeline, the origins of the Justice League were revisited. In JLA Secret Files #1 (September 1997), Starro lands on Earth and takes control of The Flash and city of Blue Valley. The Spectre realizes this is a trap, and that Starro intends to have its clones attack the JLA and control the heroes. The super-powered JLA members have their powers temporarily removed by The Spectre. Starro, focusing on them, does not realize until too late that Batman is disabling it with extreme cold.

Starro returns in JLA #22 (September 1998). This time, a continent-sized Motherstar has taken control of Europe. Its uses the hundreds of millions of minds under its control to boost its powers, and forces the Justice League into a unconsciousness. The superhero Dream, however, wakes some of the heroes, who attack the physical Starro. The others attack Starro in the dreamworld. Eventually, Starro is defeated, and Dream takes the unconscious Motherstar off-planet and places it in his collection.

DC Comics rebooted its universe again in "Infinite Crisis" in 2005 and 2006. In Captain Carrot and the Final Ark (October 2007), Starro invades the Earth-C dimension. It manages to flood the entire planet with water, defeating the Zoo Crew and turning control of Earth over to Starro's allies, the aquatic animals. Zoo Crew member Pig Iron dies while covering the Just'a Lotta Animals' escape from Earth into space.

DC Comics rebooted its universe yet again in "Final Crisis" in 2008. Whew...

Back in 1988, DC Comics began publishing a book titled L.E.G.I.O.N.. Vril Dox (Brainiac 2), the biological son of the supervillain Brainiac, puts together a 21st-century police force to help patrol the galaxy in the wake of the dissolution of the Green Lantern Corps. In time, however, Vril's son, Lyrl Dox (Brainiac 3), suborns L.E.G.I.O.N. and turns it toward evil.

In April 2009, a new comic book debuted, R.E.B.E.L.S. The concept here is that Vril Dox forms a new group with the acronym R.E.B.E.L.S., whose goal is to take back control of L.E.G.I.O.N. or destroy it. In R.E.B.E.L.S #1 (April 2009), readers learn more about the species that Starro comes from. The backstory is that a massive "Motherstar" the size of a small moon arrives at a world to breed and deposit billions of small Starros on a planet. All "Starros" share a hive-mind with this Motherstar. After taking over the population, a new, infant Motherstar is born. The infant Motherstar grows to massive size, sucking the planet dry of its resources. It then flies into space to find a new planet to reproduce on.

In the first issue of R.E.B.E.L.S., a Motherstar's clones invade the planet Hatorei. The Hatorei people were gifted telepaths, and once a day they would join together in a hive mind. When the Starros seized control of Hatorei, the daily link was in progress. This prevented them from taking control of all the Hatorei people, but a very large proportion of them became slaves and began building a Motherstar nest.

The boy Cobi lived on Hatorei with his teenage brother, Andrez. Cobi was enslaved by the Starros, but Andrez was free. By now, an infant Motherstar just days old was living in the nest. Andrez led a raid into the nest to try to destroy the hatchling. The Motherstar ordered Cobi to kill his own brother, which he did. But Cobi's lingering connection to the hive mind allowed Cobi to realize that he'd killed his beloved brother. The intense rage and grief Cobi felt allowed him to tap even more deeply into the Hatorei hive-mind and free himself from the control off his Starro-clone. He ripped the clone from his face, leaving him horribly scarred. Desperate, the infant Motherstar launched herself at Cobi and wrapped around his chest in an attempt to control him. But his rage and grief allowed Cobi to draw on the mental powers of the entire Hatorei race -- and he took control of the hatchling, not the other way around. The Starros lost their free will, their hive-mind now controlled by Cobi.

Now insane after what he did, Cobi swiftly takes control of over Starro hive-minds, too. With the entire Starro race under his control, he soon overwhelms every intelligent species in his own galaxy. Eight more galaxies fall to his control. When "Starro the Conqueror" and his forces entered the Milky Way, they even wiped out ultra-aggressive races like the Khunds, Dominators, and Dark Circle. Cobi allows some races to retain their free will, if they serve him. (He gives them Starros to wear on their skulls or backs to boost their abilities and communicate with Cobi.)

Starro is finally defeated when Vril Dox uses Psion technology to momentarily sever Starro's link to the trillions of minds giving him power. Using the severed head of Despero to take control of Cobi's mind, Vril frees the Motherstar from Cobi's control. It falls to the ground and dies, leaving Cobi a burnt-out, mindless individual.

Starro reappeared in Forever Evil #1 (November 2013). Lex Luthor's new Secret Society of Super-Villains gives him a new infant Motherstar, which wakes him from his coma. But without his trillions of minds he is far less powerful.

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Starro has appeared in a number of episodes of animated television series, including The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure (1968), Superman: The Animated Series (1996), Batman Beyond (2000), Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2010), and Young Justice (2011, 2012).

Starro makes an appearance on a t-shirt worn by Cooper in the live-action TV show Arrow in 2014. His pose is almost exactly like that on Brave and the Bold #28.

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From Justice League of America #189-190:

From Justice League of America #4:

From Teen Titans #51–54:

From JLA Secret Files #1:

From JLA #22:

From R.E.B.E.L.S.:

From Forever Evil #1:

Animated appearances:

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