|“||That's why the staff picked you. I'm not here to take it back, Courtney. But maybe I can show you what it can really do.||”|
Sylvester is a rich socialite during the day, but in hiding, he was the courageous and confident superhero known as, Starman. He was a member of the Justice Society of America and Seven Soldiers of Victory. Starman wielded a mysterious anti-gravity weapon called the Cosmic Staff. His longtime partner was his sidekick, Stripesy, better known as Courtney Whitmore’s stepfather, Pat Dugan. Sylvester is the brother of Merri King/Girl of 1000 Gimmicks and the uncle of Henry King Jr..
Sylvester Pemberton was born to a wealthy and well-respected family in California, and the brother of Merri. When Sylvester was fifteen, his family hired twenty-year-old Pat Dugan to be their driver and mechanic. Sylvester eventually put on a mask to stop criminals who were threatening his parents, and Pat helped him. Their partnership eventually turned to friendship with Sylvester extending his crime-fighting antics to superheroism as the masked hero, Star-Spangled Kid. Pat joined Sylvester as his sidekick and guardian, Stripesy. The duo's antics caught media attention after they defeated the villainous Dr. Weerd.
At the beginning of their crime-fighting days, Sylvester and Pat joined the underappreciated group the Seven Soldiers of Victory. They followed the leadership of Shining Knight, working alongside notorious superheroes such as The Flash. The team encountered Dragon King, a mad scientist who was wanted for mass murders, while traveling through New York. The team, assisted by The Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy, stopped Dragon King before he could destroy the city. With Dragon King in hiding, the Soldiers disbanded and lost contact with one another. Sylvester's parents discovered his superhero secret and died later as a result of the crime-fighting life.
In his adult years, Sylvester discovered the cosmic staff whit only activated in his hands. He reinvented himself as the adult superhero Starman, though Pat still operated under the sidekick moniker, Stripesy. Sylvester was quickly recruited into the Justice Society of America, an elite team of superheroes that gained much media attention. Sylvester brought Pat into the JSA and the team became close friends.
Things shifted in the JSA after the death of Charles McNider's daughter, Rebecca, at the hands of Eclipso. The team sought justice for the little girl and wanted to defeat Eclipso, but the being's power was too strong for them to face alone. The Shade offered his help to Sylvester Pemberton, and told him the only way to stop Eclipso was to kill his current host, the human Bruce Gordon. The spirit would then be returned to The Black Diamond, where it would remain dormant so as long as no one touched the stone. The JSA were split on how to handle the situation, as Jay Garrick and Pat Dugan were against the idea of murdering a human, while Rex Tyler and Ted Grant wanted to kill the hots. Sylvester was torn, but Pat argued that it went against everything the JSA stood for, and they had to find a way to exorcise Eclipso from Bruce. However, as the situation escalated and more of the JSA members fell victim to Eclipso, the team were forced re-evaluated their choices.
Eclipso had begun to threaten the lives of the JSA's families, including Pat's (because Sylvester think of him as a brother). Hourman and Wildcat voted for killing Eclipso's host, while Flash and Stripesy voted against. The tie breaker landed in Starman's hands, and he surprised everyone by voting for the death of Bruce. The team committed the killing and placed The Black Diamond in a wooden case that was entrusted to Starman. After the act, Starman admitted to Stripesy that he was right - they never should have taken the life of a human. The event placed a wedge between the JSA and the group disbanded for years and fell out of contact with one another.
In the meantime, Sylvester's sister Merri operated as a superheroine in her right as the Girl of A Thousand Gimmicks. They didn't cross paths in any notable incidents but remained close in their personal lives. Merri married Henry King and the couple had a son, Henry Jr. Sylvester's role in his nephew's life is unknown, due to the friction between Dr. King and Sylvester. Dr. King was aware of Sylvester's alter ego as "Starman" and had one as well, though he operated as the villain Brainwave. Brainwave was a member of the Injustice Society of America, a group of powerful villains that were the primary antagonists to the Justice Society.
In 2010, the Injustice Society lured the JSA into a battle in an abandoned California mansion. Unbeknownst to them at the time, the battle was a trap by the ISA, who planned to eliminate the JSA so they could further their secret agenda of brainwashing half the population of the United States. Starman fought valiantly alongside his comrades but his efforts were futile as the team was massively overwhelmed. He tried to save Stripesy, who arrived late to the battle, by attacking Brainwave and blasting the man away. Before he could greet his late friend, he was impaled by an ice spear thrown by ISA leader, Icicle. With the rest of the JSA having fallen during the battle, Starman and Stripesy escaped the battle in Pat's car. Starman died later that night as a result of his injuries. The news of his death hit newspapers around the country, with Icicle being labeled as his killer.
After Sylvester's death, Pat went into hiding and retired his crime-fighting moniker. He safeguarded the Cosmic Staff in case the day would come when a hero rose to the mantle. Merri, however, was heartbroken over her brother's death and the role that Henry played in Sylvester's murder. She interfered with Brainwave's plan to help the ISA which resulted in Brainwave murdering her.
Christmas Eve 2010, Sylvester Pemberton battles against the Injustice Society of America as his superhero alter ego, Starman. Pat Dugan desperately tries to reach Sylvester, telling his friend he'll be there soon to help. Sylvester tries to sway Pat not to come, warning that it's dangerous and that Pat isn't a member of the JSA. He screams over the radio and his comms die causing Pat to flee to the manor in which the battle is being held. When Pat enters, he is overwhelmed by the ISA and attacked by The Wizard. Sylvester shoots a cosmic blast at The Wizard, knocking the villain aside. Starman lands on the ground and greets his friend by stating that Pat was supposed to wait in the car. He is suddenly levitated several feet into the air by Brainwave, who uses telekinesis to levitate the hero along with debris. Starman shoots a cosmic blast at the villain, who uses a mental shield to block the attack. A war between mind and will proceed until Brainwave caves and is hit with the cosmic blast. Starman turns victorious and smiles, but is stabbed with a dagger of ice in the chest, courtesy of Icicle. Starman falls to the floor. Pat rushes to his friend's side and tries to help the man. Starman feebly whispers that the Justice Society of America is gone.
Pat helps Starman to his feet and rushes outside in an attempt to escape the caving building. They climb into Pat's car, however, Solomon Grundy gives chase, and as he nears Pat presses a button that allows the car to converts into jet-setting mode and flies off as Solomon hits the back of the vehicle. Damage is done, as the engine dies mid-air and the car crashes into the woods. The two men escape seconds before it explodes, and Pat sets Starman on the ground. He explains that they need to go to a hospital, but Starman is resolute that it's the end for him. He tells Pat the JSA must live on, its legacy must survive. Someone with grace, honor, and courage must carry it - but not Pat. In his dying words, he states Pat was a good friend. He dies while Pat crouches next to his lifelong friend, crippled by emotion.
Sylvester's legacy does live on in the heart of Pat, who takes his friends Cosmic Staff with him on his many endeavors. His most recent is moving to Blue Valley with his wife, son, and stepdaughter. Pat's stepdaughter, Courtney, discovers the staff and both are surprised when it whirls to life for the first time since Sylvester's time with the staff. This leads Courtney, who assumes the mantle of Stargirl, to believe that Starman must have been her father, as he disappeared the same night Courtney's father was supposed to meet her. Driven by her desire to get justice for Sylvester and the rest of the JSA, Courtney rebuilds the JSA in Starman's honor. She tells Sylvester's story to her new friends and inspires them to be the best versions of themselves. Pat takes Courtney to the JSA's former headquarters where she is able to find a banner of Starman and learn more about his history with the JSA. Courtney later discovers that she isn't, in fact, Sylvester's daughter, but is his legacy.
As the month's pass, the modern-day JSA is able to defeat the ISA and gets justice for their Golden Age predecessors. Justin, an old friend of Sylvester, remarks that Sylvester would have been proud of the group. Six weeks later, in North Hollywood, California, a man approaches a building manager asking for Pat Dugan. The manager informs the man that Pat moved away months ago but wants to know who is asking. The man smiles stating that he's an old friend. He states that his name is Sylvester Pemberton.
Sylvester pulls into a rundown diner in a small town and takes a seat at an empty booth. The waitress greets him and they exchange some charismatic words, before she asks if there's anything else she can get him. He admits that he's looking for her ex-husband, though the woman asks which one he means. With a smile, Sylvester states that he's looking for Pat Dugan.
After a month of searching, Sylvester arrives in Blue Valley, Nebraska, just as the modern day Justice Society of America is battling their greatest foe - Eclipso. Courtney Whitmore, the current handler of the Cosmic Staff, faces against Eclipso in the town square where he has Pat Dugan in a painful and precarious position. Eclipso forces Courtney to admit her hatred for him, and when she does, he possesses her. This allows him to wield the power of both darkness and light. He grips the staff and it glows dark purple as it reacts to the darkness within Courtney. Wildcat and Shiv try to separate the eclipsed Courtney from the staff, but their efforts are futile. Eclipso explains the power of the staff before stating that only one can wield its power. Suddenly, Sylvester grabs the staff and smirks that maybe two can. He grabs the staff as Eclipso struggles against his pull. They lock into a battle of will as the staff rises them several feet above from the ground.
The JSA and their allies watch in awe as the scene unfolds. As they struggle for control over the staff, Sylvester admits to Courtney that he's still catching up. However, if the staff works for her, that means she was chosen for a reason. He tells her to fight the monster inside of her. Eclipso also taunts Courtney by telling her she's unloved, though memories of her friends and family flood her mind. Pat encourages her from the ground as Sylvester pulls at the staff. Eclipso begins to groan and shout before Courtney expels him from her body in a burst of dark energy. Courtney lets go of the staff, letting Sylvester clutch it, and the pair fall to the ground. Sylvester uses the staff to guide himself to the ground, and catches a falling Courtney in his arms. She looks at him in shock before they look over at Eclipso.
The group is joined by other allies as Courtney and her friends, including Sylvester, advance to Eclipso's weakened form. Shade states that Eclipso is in a weakened state, so those who command the light must act fast. Sylvester grips the back end of the staff while Courtney holds the front half, and together, they blast Eclipso. They are joined by Jennie who wields green energy and Thunderbolt who uses pink energy on the command of Jakeem. With their combined efforts, Eclipso is defeated, though Jakeem's wish for Eclipso to "be toast" is taken literally as the creature transforms into a half-burnt piece of toast. After the blasts are over, Courtney turns to Sylvester and introduces herself as Courtney. He smiles as he says his name is Sylvester.
The next day, Courtney talks to Pat in the basement of the Whitmore-Dugan House. She wonders how Sylvester is alive as Pat saw his body, but Pat isn't sure. Sylvester promised to explain it all later. Courtney admits that she's worried he came back to take the staff for himself. Pat doesn't know what the future might hold. She admits that being under Eclipso's control made her realize that there is darkness in everyone - even herself. But there's also a lot of good in people too, and his manipulation made her believe in people that much more. Sylvester descends the basements stairs as he remarks that is why the staff chose her. He admits that he isn't there to take the staff, but rather, offers to show her what it can really do. Elated, Courtney agrees to the mentorship. Pat intervenes that it's great but only after Courtney finishes summer school. Sylvester smirks and says that superheroes don't need school, giving Courtney a mischievous smile that she returns.
Sylvester was a complicated man with an egoistical air to his persona, as he knew his place in the JSA as their leader and often reminded Pat of their roles. Despite being friends with Pat and knowing the man since Sylvester was a child, he treated Pat as someone lesser than himself and frequently reminded him that he wasn't a real member of the JSA. He either didn't notice the isolation it placed on Pat, or didn't care how his words and actions affected his so-called friend. Even as a hero, he struggled with a sense of justice combined with the desire to be in charge or in the spotlight. He came from a rich family and was driven to be a hero as a way to protect his family. This sense of protectiveness carried into his adult years, as he was protective of his sister and team. He was sarcastic, witty, and wry in his humor. Sylvester was shown to be stern and condescending, especially towards Pat who was his sidekick and best friend. He didn't like it when Pat didn't do as he was instructed and often reprimanded him and didn't take his thoughts and feelings into consideration.
However, Sylvester knew to apologize when it was necessary. After the original JSA broke up, Sylvester openly apologized to Pat for not trusting his judgement when it came to killing Bruce Gordon. He admits that Pat was there for him more than his parents were and considers him more than just his best friend, but his brother.
Sylvester is a handsome man with a pale complexion. He has dark blue eyes, unkempt light brown hair, and a short beard. He is tall with an athletic and muscular physique, most likely to help him execute his heroic deeds. In the present day, Sylvester is leaner than he was in 2010, with less facial hair and a casual sense of style.
- Abilities via The Cosmic Staff: When wielding the Staff, Sylvester was granted powers.
- Flight: While using the staff, Sylvester was able to fly.
- Stellarkinesis: Sylvester can create and manipulate stellar energy generated by his Staff to use against his opponents.
- Photokinesis: Sylvester was able to use the light generated by his staff to blind people or distract them.
- Cosmic Staff: Sylvester stumbled across the staff while he went by the alias, Star-Spangled Kid. After being anointed as the Staff's new handler, he changed his alias to Starman. The staff gave Sylvester the ability to fly, shoot cosmic blasts from the rod, and gave him an upper-hand against many villains. He passed the staff onto Pat Dugan for safe-keeping moments before he died.
- Starman suit: This suit hid Sylvester's identity while he fought crime as Starman. It kept him safe from numerous attacks due to its durable fabric. Pat Dugan took the suit after Sylvester's death, however, it would later be used as a basis for Stargirl's suit.
- Despite only appearing in two episodes of Season 1, Sylvester is mentioned and seen via photograph in every episode.
- Additional Season 2 appearances include photographs/mentioning in "", a mention in "" and an appearance as a hallucination in "".
Notes and Trivia
- Sylvester and Courtney are the only known people who can wield the Cosmic Staff.
- He was thought to have been murdered in 2010 by ISA leader Icicle.
- Sylvester has been mentioned in every episode of the first season despite only appearing physically in the first and last episodes of the season.
- Sylvester is the last known living relative of the Pemberton family. His sister Merri and nephew Henry were both murdered by his brother-in-law Brainwave. The Pemberton parents were killed when Sylvester was a young man.
- This incarnation of Sylvester blends elements of his comic counterpart with Jack Knight, son of the original Starman Ted Knight, and the wielder of the Cosmic Staff before Courtney. In the comics, Sylvester never took the name "Starman," nor did he wield the Cosmic Staff.
- Sylvester's Starman costume is based on his comic counterpart's "Skyman" costume.