It's been forty years since Captain McQueen was whisked away to another galaxy via wormhole, and he's living a pretty crestfallen life afterwards, especially after the death of his wife thanks to breast cancer. Nobody believed Duke when he claimed he visited an alien world and was hailed its hero, but he didn't mind the scrutiny when he had a pretty decent life to live. With the death of his wife, McQueen's nostalgia for the glory days have caught up to him. Fortunately, destiny came to him one rainy night.
A twelve-year-old (in Earth time) Tantalus resident named Krish Moor has literally come to his doorstep, seeking his help in dealing with a new threat to Tantalus's freedom named the Kingfisher. Despite his plea that he is an old man, McQueen nonetheless suits up in his iconic spacesuit and travels to Tantalus, aiming to help the Resistance take down the telekinetic tyrant.
Written by Mark Millar and drawn by Goran Parlov, the miniseries is not only Flash Gordon mashed up with The Incredibles but yet another story from Millar where he defies the Darker and Edgier tone he had become associated with.
Starlight provides examples of:
- Apathetic Citizens: The people of Tantalus mainly sit watching TV and tablets while a dictator rules them.
- Awesome McCoolname: Duke McQueen.
- Badass Boast:McQueen: How many goons am I looking at here?
Mook: Ten thousand soldiers in the Castle Without Doors. Another two thousand patrolling the skies.
McQueen: Shouldn't be a problem.
- Big Damn Heroes:
- The resistance breaks McQueen, Krish, and another prisoner named Wes out of prison just as Admiral Pindar was going to interrogate them.
- McQueen arrives at the Castle Without Doors to rescue the resistance with the help of all of Tantalus.
- Captain Ersatz: McQueen is clearly supposed to be an aged Flash Gordon following his original adventures and return to Earth.
- Casual Interstellar Travel: The warp drive that's fitted on every ship only seems to take a few seconds to travel between Earth and Tantalus.
- Combat Pragmatist: Kicking your opponent in the groin in a sword fight. Ungentlemanly? Yes. Effective? Absolutely.
- Disney Villain Death:
- Possibly subverted in that while his death is similar to being crushed, the Kingfisher was killed by a bunch of swords and knives falling on him. Still lacks any gore, though.
- Wes falls to his death, but we don't see the impact.
- Dragon Rider: Duke is seen doing this in a flashback.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Duke McQueen is a legendary warrior on the alien planet of Tantalus. On Earth, people believe he is lying about his adventures and shrug him off as a phony. That seems to change when Duke lands Krish's ship on the White House lawn. The series also ends with a shot of Duke's hometown's sign displaying "Home of Duke McQueen."
- False Friend: Wes pretends to be an enthusiast on Earth culture so he can gain Duke's trust and follow him to the Resistance. In reality, he's pretty annoyed by the things he was forced to study and even demands that the extermination of the Resistance be given a go when faced with more American pop culture.
- Fishbowl Helmet: Duke has to wear one because his head can't fit into the more realistic modern helmets.
- Fish People: The Charybdis, dwellers of the Sea of Karkinos.
- Forgotten Phlebotinum: Duke tells Krish that he couldn't use his spacesuit or medal to convince people he'd been to another planet because they were made from materials that were also found on Earth but he doesn't mention the Ray Gun that's hanging on his office wall.
- Generic Doomsday Villain: The Kingfisher has no characterization other than "he has telekinesis and is evil".
- Genre Throwback: To the pulp stories of the 30s, specifically Flash Gordon.
- Here There Were Dragons: Tantalus used to have fairies, goblins and giants until the Kingfisher wiped them out.
- Insignificant Little Blue Planet: People from Tantalus haven't visited Earth before because they find it boring.
- Jumped at the Call: When Duke McQueen asks for your help in overthrowing the monarchy, you grab a weapon and help him overthrow the monarchy.
- Lighter and Softer: Another story by Millar in his attempt at "lightening up" the comic scene.
- Make Way for the New Villains: Typhon, McQueen's old nemesis, is all-but-forgotten in the Kingfisher's reign.
- The Mole: Earth-enthusiast Wes.
- Noodle Incident: There are a bunch of giant, viking armored skeletons scattered throughout the Kingdom of the Wood Giants. The only explanation for this is that they were wiped out by the Kingfisher's forces during the invasion.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: McQueen manages to kill all of the seafaring Charybdis on his own, off-panel.
- Our Wormholes Are Different: The one that brought Duke to Tantalus isn't due to open for another ten thousand years.
- Planetary Romance: Tantalus is like this in flashbacks. In the modern day most fantasy creatures have been wiped out and the people are Apathetic Citizens.
- Pointy Ears: A lot of the people on Tantalus have them.
- Reality Ensues: Duke's arrival on Tantalus involved getting into a fight with the local police and generally making a ruckus that told everyone on the planet that he has returned. However, he and Krish had barely fled ten feet before Duke is forced to stop to catch his breath due to his old age. Then he gets run over by a car and thrown in jail.
- Retro Rocket: Played straight in the flashbacks but Krish tells him that his own present day ship is a nostalgia model and most modern spaceships look different.
- Shout-Out: The Kingfisher's name is a reference to the Fisher King, a wounded monarch who watched over the Holy Grail in Arthurian legends.
- Shrouded in Myth: Duke McQueen has become a legendary hero on Tantalus. His mere presence gives its people enough confidence to rebel against the Kingfisher.
- Spiritual Successor: It's basically a sequel to Flash Gordon.
- Traitor Shot: Wes is revealed to be a spy for the Kingfisher via a shot of him at a corner of a bar and looking smug as all hell.
- Wing Ding Eyes: Duke after being hit by a car before he's arrested.
- X Meets Y: Being about a retired Captain Space, Defender of Earth! character, Mark Millar described it as Flash Gordon meets The Incredibles.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Krish has pink hair.
- You Killed My Father: Krish with Admiral Pindar.
- Younger Than They Look: Sort of. Krish is relatively eighty-six years old due to Tantalus's orbit around its sun, but is twelve and a half on Earth.