Dreadstar was the first comic published by Epic Comics, in 1982. It was centered on Vanth Dreadstar, sole survivor of the entire Milky Way galaxy, and an ensemble cast of crewmates, including cyborg sorcerer Syzygy Darklock, and their struggle to end an ancient war between two powerful, evil empires: The Church of The Instrumentality run by the Lord Papal and the Monarchy, administered by a puppet king.
The comic, created by Jim Starlin, was bimonthly during most of its run, lasting 26 episodes under Epic, then moved to First Comics, who carried it for 38 more issues, for a total of 64 issues. More recently a mini-series was done by Malibu/Bravura. It has also been the subject of several graphic novels and reprints.
The Epic Comics series
The series centred on the exploits of Vanth Dreadstar and his crew--powerful mystic Syzygy Darklock, the cybernetic telepath Willow, cat-like humanoid Oedi, and freebooter Skeevo. Vanth, newly arrived in the Empirical Galaxy after the events of Metamorphosis Odyssey, tries to live a pastoral existence on Oedi's planet of peaceful cat-people, but his peace is disturbed by the arrival of Darklock, who wants him to get involved in the conflict between the two major forces in the galaxy, the Monarchy and the theocratical Instrumentality. Vanth refuses until the war comes to his planet, wiping out most of the population. Oedi survives and joins them; Willow and Skeevo join later, though the team is in place for the first issue.
Dreadstar takes the side of the Monarchy against the evil Lord High Papal of the Instrumentality, but his team end up becoming fugitives when the Monarchy falls, and go to great lengths to try to uncover a traitor in their midst. The transition to First Comics happened just when the traitor was about to be revealed, and the first First issue(#27) contained this revelation.
The First Comics series
The downfall of the Instrumentality came swiftly after the transition to First. Dreadstar, severely injured, went into a coma and awakened in the aftermath of the war--a bureaucracy where those with extraordinary Powers, like himself, are commissioned as policemen to track down others of their kind. Eventually, Willow takes over the master computer, and Dreadstar and his friends leave the galaxy again.
Peter David took over scripting at this point, and the series takes an arguably lighter tone. Stranded in a nonfunctional ship between galaxies, the crew find a baby floating in space, who quickly grows to maturity. It is later revealed that the baby is the personification of the Twelve Gods of the Instrumentality, which fled the Empirical Galaxy. Dreadstar finds himself once again in a galactic conflict, except that in the end he discovers he has taken the wrong side. He changes sides just in time, but the resurrected Lord High Papal takes the child and flees, in an ironic mirror of Dreadstar's war against the Instrumentality.
The Malibu series
The Malibu series takes place several years later, with the Lord High Papal training Dreadstar's daughter. The characters from the original series show up, and the series culminates in Dreadstar being accidentally killed by his own daughter.
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