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Jarko The Jovian Space Pirate

Contributed by Mike McDermott

Jarko the Jovian Space Pirate was a foe of two of the heroes who used the name “Starman”, Jack Knight and Mikaal Tomas. Jarko first encountered the Starmen on the prison planet Asryx when they were captured by corrupt prince-regent of the Crown Royal, Jediah Rikane, during their mission to find and rescue the lost Starman, Will Peyton. Presumably Jarko had been sent to the prison planet for acts of piracy.

Jarko saw Jack Knight–who had been thrown into the prison in nothing but his underwear–and took an immediate sexual interest in him. When Jack refused to willingly submit to his advances, Jarko attempted to take him by force with the help of his large group of followers. Jack and Mikaal successfully fought them off with the aid of some other heroic prisoners, and in the struggle Mikaal cut off Jarko’s hand.

The next time Jarko encountered them was in 2152, when they accidentally wound up time travelling into the distant future. They boarded his floating space citadel in response to a distress signal from someone of their own time period. Jarko had captured the hero Starfire as another prisoner and plaything.

Jarko was pleased to see the Starmen again, to get his revenge for the loss of his hand. Although this was Jarko’s second encounter with them from his perspective, due to time travel this was Jack and Mikaal’s first time meeting Jarko, so they were confused by his references to their past battle. Jarko battled Knight using the stolen cosmic staff of another Starman, Price Gavyn. During the battle, the floating citadel came under attack by other law enforcement agents pursing the pirate.

During the chaos, Jack defeated Jarko and Mikaal freed Starfire. The heroes all escaped together before the citadel was destroyed. Jarko was apparently killed in the explosion.

Although the fact that Jarko made his advances on Jack in a prison environment could cast doubt on whether it is a true reflection of his sexual orientation, he continued to express attraction to Jack in their second encounter outside of prison. Also there were multiple accounts of the Starmen’s second encounter with Jarko with variations in the details–in one of the versions, it was the male Starfire (also known as Red Star) who was Jarko’s “sensual plaything”.

Jarko sole appearance is in Starman #55 (vol 2).  Art by Peter Snejberg and Greg White.

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July 16, 2021
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