Darkstar first appeared in The Champions #7 (written by Tony Isabella & drawn by George Tuska) along with a task force from the USSR (consisting of her brother Vanguard and Ursa Major) to bring Black Widow back to their homeland. Instead, she turned her back on the Soviet Super Soldiers and joined the Champions. From the moment I first saw her wield her darkforce powers I fell in love with her just like Iceman did. Things didn’t work out for Laynia and Bobby, but astute readers already know about Iceman’s difficulties in sustaining a meaningful relationship (see Judy Harmon from his first appearance, Zelda, Lorna Dane, Opal, and recently Mystique).
I wish I could find some scans of Darkstar as drawn by Marc Silvestri from The X-Men Vs. The Avengers mini-series. That was a great mini until Silvestri was taken off of issue 4 to work on Uncanny X-Men. No offense to the artist that pencilled that last issue, but I had fallen in love with those pencils and it hurt my adolescent heart a little to see him go. He just made Darkstar look so, what’s the word, witchy. I like it when energy directing characters have really interesting Dr. Strange-ish spell-casting hands and Silvestri does that really well (He would go on to refine what I’m talking about with Storm, Dazzler and Madelyne Pryor, especially in Inferno).
Well, the title of this post says the most important thing about Laynia that really sucks. She’s dead. For years I’ve made sure I picked up any comic book that Darkstar and her Soviet friends made an appearance in and I was so excited to hear that she was going to be a member in the X-Corporation and written by Grant Morrison, no less. And then in some really murky artwork, she’s possessed by an entity and killed by a pompous French assassin named Fantomex. Seriously. I mean, I couldn’t even tell what was happening in those pages. And they buried her in Paris! I know that’s the division of X-Corporation that she was working for, but why wasn’t her body sent to Russia? Where was her brother?
Someday I will have to search out this Contest of Champions limited series and and see how Darkstar fares against her opponent. Anyone got any reading copies they don’t want anymore, let me know. Oh look, there’s the back of Israel’s champion, Sabra (she’s the one that looks like she’s a mass of blue quills). This cover’s composition is not the best. Of all the perspectives that could have been drawn, we have to look over the shoulder of the robed figure (Death?)
So, now that Laynia has been replaced by a redhead, the likelihood of seeing the original Darkstar return from her unceremonious death is close to nil. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this week’s Wolverine: First Class (#7) has a tale featuring Darkstar and her brother Vanguard in part one of a two part story! So, thank you Fred Van Lente!