|First appearance||The Brave and the Bold #28 (February–March 1960)|
|Created by||Gardner Fox|
|Place of origin||Star Planet|
|Team affiliations||Secret Society of Super Villains|
Starro (also known as Starro the Conqueror) is a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in The Brave and the Bold #28 (February–March 1960), and was created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky.
Starro is the first villain to face the original Justice League of America. Debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books, the character has appeared in both comic books and other DC Comics–related products, such as animated television series, video games, and the live-action film The Suicide Squad (2021).
The character debuted in The Brave and the Bold #28 (February–March 1960) in a story titled "Starro the Conqueror", which was also the first appearance of the Justice League of America. According to editor Julius Schwartz, the title "Starro the Conqueror" was inspired by a Ray Cummings story, "Tarrano the Conqueror". The second appearance of Starro was 17 years later in an 11-page Aquaman story in Adventure Comics #451 (May–June 1977). It appeared again only four years later in a two-part story in Justice League of America #189–190 (April–May 1981), then again a year after that in an alternate universe story in Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! #1 (March 1982), and it appeared briefly in Crisis on Infinite Earths #9 (December 1985).
In post–Crisis on Infinite Earths DC comics, Starro appeared in a five-part story in Justice League Europe #25–28 (March–July 1991) and was revamped and reintroduced in JLA Secret Files #1 (September 1997) and JLA #22–23 (September–October 1998). Another version of the character featured in the intercompany crossover JLA/Avengers #1–4 (September 2003 – May 2004); Teen Titans (vol. 3) #51–54 (November 2007 – February 2008); Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps: Secret Files #1 (February 2008) and Booster Gold (vol. 2) #13–14 (December 2008 – January 2009).
Its post–Infinite Crisis appearances include R.E.B.E.L.S. (vol. 2) #1–13 (April 2009 – April 2010) and R.E.B.E.L.S (vol. 2) Annual #1 (December 2009). Another version appears in Forever Evil #1 (November 2013), and a new version called Genetically Modified Starro appeared in New Super-Man #4 (2016).
Starro is a highly advanced alien lifeform resembling a giant starfish with a single central eye and prehensile extremities. The entity visits Earth and empowers three starfish; the creatures begin wreaking havoc, such as exploding an atomic bomb and absorbing its energy, kidnapping scientists and absorbing their brain power and placing the residents of the fictional town of Happy Harbor, Rhode Island, under mental control. Eventually, they are stopped by the superheroes Aquaman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman. The heroes defeat Starro by coating it with quicklime, which nullifies the entity's abilities. A segment of Starro survives and regenerates into a complete creature; however, it is stopped by Aquaman before being able to renew its plan of conquest.
Starro eventually reappears and forces humans to nurture it until it is able to assume its former proportions. Being able to reproduce asexually, Starro creates millions of miniature duplicates of itself, which the authors called spores. These spores attach to the faces of the entire population of New York, allowing Starro to control their minds with its own. The creature uses these spores to control several members of the Justice League until it is defeated by extreme cold. Later, after Superman is accidentally transported to an alternate universe, Starro is again defeated by Superman alongside Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew, who are sentient superpowered animals. Superman then takes the defeated Starro back to his universe.
Starro later convinces Justice League Europe that it is dying and wishes to return to space. Aided by former Green Lantern Kilowog, Starro returns to his original spaceship and tricks the heroes by programming it to explode. It then releases thousands of spores over a fictional version of Western Europe. Controlling the minds and bodies of thousands of humans, Starro seizes power, with several members of Justice League Europe opposing the alien. Starro is finally defeated when the Justice League member Ice freezes the original Starro.
During JLA and referring to itself only as It, another member of Starro's species takes control of the Flash and the population of the fictional Blue Valley using spores. Although the JLA intend to intervene, they are advised against doing so by the Spectre, who reveals the alien's intention is to capture and control the heroes and use their special abilities to conquer the galaxy. The JLA requests the Spectre to temporarily remove their powers, thus eliminating the potential threat they may have posed otherwise. This tactic allows them to distract the entity while Batman disables it with extreme cold. This version of Starro returns and is revealed to be a scout for a much larger member of the species called the "Star Conqueror". Covering Europe with its body, the entity gains control of the minds of most humans while they sleep. Dream of the Endless aids the JLA in battling the entity psychically in a shared dream; simultaneously, a small team of heroes attacks its physical form. Assisted by a homeless man resisting the entity's control, the heroes free mankind from the alien's influence. Dream captures the Star Conqueror and stores the entity with his other keepsakes.
In the DC/Marvel Comics crossover JLA/Avengers, Starro battles the alternate universe superhero team the Avengers.
In the 2005–2006 "Infinite Crisis" storyline Starro appears as a member of Alexander Luthor, Jr's Secret Society of Super Villains. Starro eventually returns to Captain Carrot's universe to spark a conflict between aquatic and terrestrial creatures. Despite the efforts of the Zoo Crew, Starro floods the planet and defeats the heroes, who are then magically transported to safety with other surviving refugees by another animal team, Just'a Lotta Animals. Zoo Crew member Pig Iron battles Starro underwater, sacrificing himself as the rest of the heroes escape.
During the pages of R.E.B.E.L.S., Starro's new origin was told: Starro the Conqueror was once an alien boy named Cobi who lived peacefully along with his people (specifically his brother Andrez) on the "unremarkable" planet Hatorei. The Hatorei people lived simple lives and they had few semblances of a developed world but in one respect they were unsurpassed. Once a day the planet's inhabitants would congregate in a species-wide telepathic link and open up to each other, which made their society the pinnacle of ethics and cultural stability.
However, a Starro Motherstar descended on their planet enslaving their civilization. At that point in time the Star Conquerors were only nomadic predators who wandered conquering planets until the Motherstar landed and birthed a new queen. On the planet Hatorei, things were different; the link between the people was still extant and it was impossible for the Star Conquerors to completely control the people while serving. The link between the Hatorei was filled with outrage due to their enslavement and the deaths of their people; this outrage loosened the hold of the Star Conquerors on Andrez. So while Cobi worked in the nest, his brother, driven by his people's outrage, entered the nest determined to destroy the Starro hatchlings before a new queen could be born.
Unfortunately, one of the eggs hatched and the hatchling, desperate to protect itself, used Cobi to defend against his brother's attack and in doing so led Cobi to kill Andrez. Afterward, the force that drove Andrez (the collective outrage of his people) seemed to enter Cobi who then, having been driven mad by that force, ripped the Starro off his face regaining his independence. The hatchling attacked Cobi but to no avail; as it leapt it became attached to Cobi's chest and Cobi subsequently destroyed the remaining hatchlings declaring that every Star Conqueror would be his.
Now Starro the Conqueror, he used his control of the Star Conqueror species to begin a series of conquests. While he would enslave most foes with Star Conqueror starfish, he would grant some particularly useful opponents larger starfish to wear upon their backs and a place at the head of his armies under him, allowing them free will so long as they turned their talents towards his conquests. As his empire's expansion continued, he was able to draw power from everyone so controlled. Between his mind-controlling Starros, ever-growing strength and his still independently thinking elites, his forces were unstoppable, leading him to gain control of nine galaxies.
Upon his forces reaching the Milky Way, Starro took control of L.E.G.I.O.N.'s robotic forces and used their widespread galactic influence to further his goals towards dominating the universe.
During New 52, Starro is still linked with the Justice League via historian David Graves' book making sporadic appearances throughout.
A future version of Starro mentally enthralls the Time Master Rip Hunter, using his time-travelling technology to conquer Earth in the past. With the assistance of the villain Lady Chronos, the hero Booster Gold is able to restore history as it should be.
In JLA: The Nail, Lois Lane discovered a splicing of Krypto and Starro seen in a LexCorp Labs facility near Smallville.
One version of Starro is recruited to join a team to protect the universe against the Omega Titans. Convinced of the virtues of heroism by its teammate Martian Manhunter, Starro dies in battle with the Omega Titans. Batman preserves a bit of Starro's remains which grows into a new individual who Batman names Jarro, raising him as a son.
A separate future called Titans Tomorrow features Starro's being indoctrinated into the Sinestro Corps and wielding five yellow power rings, which give it additional superpowers. Using its psychic abilities, it also controls several supervillains. This version of Starro is destroyed by a future version of the Flash.
Starro is an alien conqueror with a humanoid central mind commanding spores that resemble either giant or small Terran starfish. An asexual creature, Starro's spores are capable of generating clones that act in accordance with the original's will. The clones are parasites by nature and can attach themselves to a humanoid's face, and subsequently take control of the host's central nervous system, thereby controlling the host. Control of the host is lost once removed from the victim. Originally the first Starro could transform two Earth starfish into duplicates of itself equal to it in size and power.
Both variants of the parasite are capable of energy absorption/projection, flight, changing color and self-regeneration, while the larger ones have a high degree of invulnerability as well as telepathy; the giant Starro possessing much more potent mental capabilities is able to indirectly influence the minds of a potential host race, capable of lulling countless people into an induced slumber and accessing their thoughts via dreams. Another of the original Star Conquerors possessed psychic abilities powerful enough to overwhelm and circumvent the willpower of Hal Jordan to prevent access to his Lantern Ring's abilities. Their size can also vary from being as big as city blocks to larger than a small planetary ocean body, in which case said Starro probe can radically alter the very climate, topography, and geography within its vicinity akin to terraforming. A future Starr Conqueror spore eventually came to weaponize five Qwardian power rings on its pointed tentacles; the rings could create objects based on the wielder's thoughts, but only those fueled by fear instead of willpower. Given the difficulty in their usage, Starro's capacity to use five at once indicated a mastery of the fear element and its usage in battle, as shown when it went up against multiple iterations of Titans all at once. The latest version of the Star Conqueror shows how it uses its parthenogenesic capabilities to breed microscopic clones of itself, which can be inhaled by potential victims, serving as a catalyst to affect the giant iteration's telepathic abilities.
The humanoid "Starro the Conqueror" possesses telepathy strong enough to control the entire Starro alien race and possesses immeasurable levels of physical resilience further bolstered by the energies drawn from the victims of his Starro probes. Being physically strong enough to behead the all-but-invulnerable Despero in single combat, Starro the Conqueror is all but impervious to physical harm much like his larger Starro clones; also akin to said spores the humanoid Starro can reproduce its own Starro clones from the mother Starro on his chest; a unique power of its own making is the ability to convert normal Earth-based starfish into Starro-based spores.