Saturday, May 24, 2014

Solar, Man of the Atom #1 (Dynamite Comics)

With three out of its four series' out, Dynamite's Gold Key line is getting bigger and bigger, and if they play their cards right, DynaKey will last longer than Dark Horse's massively failed Dark Key line.

A gang of thieves try to rob a bank, and are stopped by The Man of the Atom, a mysterious vigilante with superhuman abilities. Everything seems to go off for Solar without a hitch until he suddenly loses control of his powers, blowing the bank up. Meanwhile, Colin Seleski, CEO of Atom Valley Industries is wondering what his scientist father Philip is up to, as he's been cooped up in his laboratory for months, and has barely contacted Colin at all. Elsewhere, an associate of Phil's approaches his estranged daughter Erica about an accident...

Rather than starting from the start, Solar begins with the titular hero already established. He's been a superhero for some months now, appearing sporadically to stop crimes and whatnot. This is annoying, as we know nothing of Phil Seleski, why he'd want to experiment with these powers, or why he wanted to use them for superheroics. Given some concept art of the series on the internet, it seems that unless they're just dicking around, or Philip is gonna get a Transgender op, Erica will take the series mantle, which seems like a possibility.

The characters aren't very well established yet. Phil Seleski doesn't even appear as himself, we know nothing about Atom Valley CEO Colin Seleski, and as for Erica, we know that she wants nothing to do with her father and brother, for reasons we barely know yet.

While possibly a few too many pages are spent on Solar simply stopping a bank robbery, at least it shows Solar's power range, and how he fights crime, rather than taking eight issues or something like that (as of #4 of Turok, Dinosaur Hunter, the title character has yet to actually be a dinosaur hunter, or in fact have any reason to harbour ill-will against them!).

One weird aspect of the plot is-Have people seriously not made the connection between 'Man of the Atom' and 'Atom Industries'?! Eh, maybe there was an inquest offscreen. Let's give the comic the benefit of the doubt.

Solar's powers seem to be tied to scientific mathematical equations, which is pretty nifty! As for the constant equations shows when Solar's using his powers, either it's a bunch of gibberish, or the writing team had a mathematician on hand.

The cover is decent, and the artwork is very good (the best in the DynaKey line), though some of the angles are terrible! When Dr. Preston is talking with Erica, my head was being done in! And the other time this happens is when Preston is talking to Colin...Hmmm, maybe he could be the first supervillain of the series-Angle Man!...

You know, in the original Solar series, that'd probably be an actual possibility, knowing the Golden and Silver Ages! It's a shame The Dark Knight Rises didn't feature the terrifying evil of...Calendar Man!

The majority of panels are horizontal ones that go from one end of the page all the way to the other, which is partly why so little story is told in this issue.

This is a pretty good first issue of Solar, Man of the Atom, and I know firsthand that the series gets better, so I recommend it...

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