Overview

Soldier Zero #1

Review

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Soldier Zero #1

Credits

  • Words: Paul Cornell
  • Art: Javier Pina
  • Colors: Alfred Rockerfeller
  • Story Title: One Small Step For Man
  • Publisher: BOOM! Studios
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Oct 20, 2010

As part of Stan Lee's continuing and prolific career, he has partnered with BOOM! Studios to create a new line of superheroes. Assisted in scripting by writer Paul Cornell, Lee brings us Soldier Zero, an intergalactic protector of the galaxy... I think.

Issue one of Soldier Zero acts as this potential series’ inciting incident: The origin of our main character, Capt. Stewart Trautman and how he got into a wheelchair. We get to know him now, post accident and living in his hometown. Stewart is an astronomy lecturer at the local college and fights to prove he's not a helpless victim or fabricated war hero every day.

Sneak peeks into Stewart's life are interspersed with unexplained, space bound dogfights between one robotic looking being and an armada of ships. This scene continues to unfold in between the panels of a veteran trying to readjust. It's an interesting juxtaposition that sometimes works and sometimes is just confusing. Until the very end, the reader isn't sure if these scenes are happening concurrently, in the past or our character's future. Sure, that's an effective storytelling device that can create tension, but here it borders on confusion.

The art by Javier Pina is solid and refined. The acting he lends to his figures is one of his strongest talents. There is no lack of emotion on the character’s faces and Pina is able to make subtle dialogue moments that may have failed under a lesser artist really work. It’s in these small moments that the book and Cornell’s writing shines. The intergalactic robot dogfight that runs the course of the issue is just plot happening, while the ongoing struggles of Capt. Trautman are the real story. There is absolutely potential here, but as a first issue, the pomp and circumstance outshines any lasting emotional connection.

The colors by Alfred Rockefeller need to be noted as a successful addition to this pool of potential. His choice of palettes between the space scenes and everyday life are so distinct and different, yet successfully belong in the same book. His work bridges the gap between these two aspects of the story a little better than the actual plot does.

Paul Cornell (Captain Britain: MI-13) is a wonderful writer, but without knowing the extent of Stan Lee’s involvement, I have no idea who I’m addressing when speaking about the story. We are only at the beginning of this character’s origin, so the issue as a whole is mainly concerned with the start. It’s difficult to latch onto any one aspect of the book without actually knowing where it’s going. It’s also difficult to pull out what belongs to Lee and/or Cornell. Working form another person’s outline is difficult and the level of collaboration is undefined. There are moments within this book that are distinctly Cornell’s voice, while others seem to be very much Lee. Both great with what they do, but the dichotomy only adds to any confusion or haphazard construction of the book.

With a hole in the comic book world, created by Nova being on indefinite hiatus, there’s room for a smart, fun and classic intergalactic superhero (other than Green Lantern). I would love Soldier Zero to fill that void and bridge the gap between modern and classic comics. One can only hope that this issue’s inconsistencies were more of a first stumble than a sign of things to come. 

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