Overview

Pilot Season: Stealth #1

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Pilot Season: Stealth #1

Credits

  • Words: Robert Kirkman
  • Art: Sheldon Mitchell
  • Inks: Joe Weems V, Rick Basaldua
  • Colors: Arif Prianto of IFS
  • Publisher: Top Cow Productions/Image Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: May 5, 2010

Stealth #1 is part of Pilot Season, which is an annual Top Cow initiative which lets readers choose which one-shot will be made into an ongoing series.  Usually, different writers and artists compete, but this year each is written by Robert Kirkman.  Kirkman is one of the best writers in the industry today, so it’s a safe bet that each issue of this Pilot Season will be equally amazing.  Stealth is the third of five books, following Murderer and Demonic, and preceding Stellar and Hardcore.  As always, Kirkman meets and exceeds expectations in this non-traditional superhero comic book.

As far as I know, Stealth is a completely novel idea.  It’s about an aging armor-clad vigilante named Stealth, who has started to lose his mind in his old age.  He begins attacking misdemeanor criminals and mistakes his son for his brother.  As the story progresses, we learn that although all of his symptoms fit Alzheimer’s disease, there may be something else at work in his mind.  This adds to the mystery surrounding the origins of the Stealth armor.  Unfortunately, Stealth’s son, Todd, doesn’t have time to explore this possibility as his father’s mistakes get larger and more costly.  Finally, after the biggest mistake of all, Stealth reveals that the “men with the light” are coming to “fix” him. 

Kirkman’s writing is always very layered.  As you can see, there are several plotlines driving the story forward.  There’s Todd’s complicated personal life, Stealth’s past crime fighting experience, the mystery of his origin, and the circumstances surrounding his illness.  Each one of these developments is more intriguing than the last, and has the potential to develop into an amazing and complex story. 

After the comic, Kirkman explains his process in coming up with Stealth.  He describes it as something that looks like it comes from the 70s or 80s, but darker and more modern.  While the writing and storytelling style does pay tribute to 80s style comics, the art certainly does not have the feel of a vintage superhero.  Artist Sheldon Mitchell’s art is vibrant, detailed, and dynamic.  The armor itself is tech-saturated, much like modern high-tech superheroes and the attention to detail in the backgrounds is pretty amazing, even by today’s standards.  It definitely has a cutting edge feel to it.  At the same time, Mitchell’s pencils do a great job of conveying the dark and serious nature of this story.  His gritty lines but clean forms give the art a weird sense of character.

While I’ll definitely wait to read all the books before I cast my vote, I must say that Stealth has set the bar pretty high.  With the quality of art and the potential for so many interesting plot developments, it has definitely piqued my interest.  Regardless of whether it wins this contest or not, I really want to know what Kirkman has in store for Stealth and who the “men with the light” are.  

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