April 17, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #214: The Starjammers

Space pirates!

Jenny takes a lot of heat in the Gabbing Geek bullpen due to her love of Captain Marvel.  “Heat” probably isn’t the right word for it.  It’s more like she adores Carol Danvers, but a lot of the rest of us think of Captain Marvel as a kid who gains superpowers by saying a magic word.  Now, for myself, I think Carol’s a fine character, and I really liked it when she got promoted (so to speak) to “Captain Marvel” despite the fact I tend to think Marvel Comics has tended to be pretty artistically lazy whenever they toss the company name onto one of its heroes.

But as much as Carol may rival Hank Pym for code names at this point, I can say I never got into the character as much as Jenny has because when I started off as a comic reader, she wasn’t around much, and she certainly wasn’t Captain Marvel.  She went by the name of Binary at that point, and she hung around with the Starjammers, a group of space pirates.  And since Carol has a new movie opening, well, today, let’s take a look at her former teammates.

OK, so, how can anyone go wrong with a group of space pirates?  I mean, the concept practically sells itself.  There’s all the swashbuckling of a pirate with all the intergalactic adventure of just being in space.  It works for the Fantastic Four!  So, why not see more of these guys?

Possibly because they have generally been treated as supporting characters to the X-Men.  They may have gotten a one-shot special now and then, but by and large, they’re only hanging around when the X-Men venture into Shi’ar space and need an ally.  That may or may not depend on whether or not the Shi’ar leadership was friendly or not, and if the Imperial Guard were likely to attack or assist the X-Men in a given situation.  In those instances, the Starjammers would show up to even the odds since the Imperial Guard looks like it has something in the neighborhood of 6,500 members.

So, who were the Starjammers?  There’s been numerous members over the years, up to and including a few X-Men when said X-Men were stuck for extended periods in space.  The main group would be:

  • Corsair, AKA Christopher Summers, father to X-Men Cyclops and Havoc, stuck in space after a flying saucer attacked a small, private plane he was flying.  Though Christopher managed to get his two young sons out of the plane in time, he and his wife were caught.  She died.  He became the leader of the Starjammers.
  • Hepzibah, an alien descended from a cat-like race (though I always thought she looked more like a skunk in her earliest appearances), she was a lover to Corsair, quitting the team and joining the X-Men during a period when he was dead (he got better and she rejoined the Starjammers).
  • Raza Longknife, a swashbuckling cyborg.
  • Ch’od, a big lizard man and probably the team’s muscle.
  • Cr’eee, a small, white rodent thing that may be Ch’od’s pet or his best friend or both.
  • Korvus, a Shi’ar descended from a one-time host for the Phoenix Force.  He carries a big-ass sword.
  • Sikorsky, a robotic dragonfly that apparently is the team medic.

And yes, at one point, Carol Danvers joined them as Binary.  She’d lost her powers to Rogue, hung around with the X-Men for a while, and then after some experiments were conducted on her by the Brood, gained star-based powers and took the name “Binary” in order to do space stuff with the space pirates.

Now, you’d think a space-faring team of pirate adventurers would pop up more often than just whenever the X-Men went into space, but you’d be a bit wrong there.  I mean, there are plenty of space-based superheroes, and many have even had a series of their own here or there.  But the Starjammers?  Nah.  They only come up when the X-Men need to go into space.

Huh.  Maybe they should be more of space cabbies than space pirates.

Wait…space cabbies?  Well, I know what next week’s column will be.