Review by Ian Keogh
The Starr Conspiracy merges two stories starring naive and clumsy would-be journalist Leo Roa, previously issued as The True Tales of Leo Roa and An Odyssey Back in Time, and three years after this gathering combined with The Fourth Power as The Deluxe Giménez. Leo’s two outings are different in tone, with the first being an out and out farce, and the second a more serious political thriller, although not without moments of humour.
Three years separated the publication of the two stories, yet there’s a considerable difference in the visual approach taken by writer and artist Juan Giménez. The first presents page after page of intensely detailed spacecraft and other technological ephemera, while for the second Giménez has scaled back the detail and often moves the viewpoint in closer. He’s such a phenomenal artist that it’s being picky to complain about the lack of detail on a story that by the standards of any other artist is fully rendered, but then Giménez isn’t any other artist.
In the first adventure Leo dreams of glory, naive and callow as he is, but in a nice twist, by the end he’s achieved it and been promoted from the archive department. He works for Starr, a large news corporation, and his involvement begins when his co-worker is murdered and the archive is locked. To check what’s been deleted Leo’s access code is required. If only he could remember it. In a well-conceived early sequence he unknowingly avoids death on several occasions before reaching his cousin Meke, a technological genius who wants to be a rock musician. The bumbling, stumbling and coincidences ultimately lead to a space pirate whose girlfriend has a voracious sexual appetite, and the secret of what’s been going on.
Leo’s second outing doesn’t have quite the same charm in tying together three separate plots, and diminishing Leo’s presence considerably, while promoting Meke’s activities. For a long time it seems the only purpose of a time machine is to enable Giménez drawing dinosaurs and World War II planes, but it does eventually have greater relevance. One can’t help thinking less time spent over-explaining Meke’s side of the plot and more exploration of Leo dropping through time would have resulted in a more entertaining story.
Still, this is over 120 pages of Giménez artwork, which is nothing to be sniffed at.