The much hyped Stan Lee/BOOM! Studios teaming kicks off next week with Soldier Zero #1 from Paul Cornell and Javier Pina (under the guidance of Stan Lee). With all the hype surrounding these new titles, does BOOM! knock it out of the park? Do they even make it to first base? Here’s your early review of Soldier Zero #1.

SOLDIER ZERO #1
Grand Poobah: Stan Lee
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Javier Pina
Colorist: Alfred Rockefeller
Letter: Ed Dukeshire
Covers: Trevor Hairsine, Dave Johnson, Phil Noto

IT BEGINS…

Far out in the deepest reaches of space, a ship fires at someone in a weaponized suit. The suit is full of awesome in its design, and while it looks humanoid, there are plenty of moments where an alien influence shows itself. While readers don’t get to see what the suit is fully capable of in this issue, it’s clear the suit can stand up to quite beating – even crashing to Earth and changing everything about Stewart Trautmann’s life.

Stewart is a wheelchair-bound war veteran who is paralyzed from the waist down thanks to a roadside bomb that blew up his transport while he was stationed overseas. Since his return, he’s encountered every kind of uncomfortable situation dealing with his paralysis, from discrimination at the grocery store to his potential future girlfriend wondering if everything below the waist works correctly or not. This issue is full of setup and readers really get to know who Stewart Trautmann is and how drastically his life has changed since returning home. It only make sense then that his life is about to change yet again, when the Soldier Zero suit merges with Stewart and saves him from a perfectly awkward moment.

The wheelchair situation is one of the best and worst parts of this issue. We know Stewart’s in a wheelchair, we understand people are uncomfortable with the situation, but why does Paul Cornell need to constantly beat us over the head with page after page of discussion? Readers understand his plight and frustration by the end of page five, and I felt like there was a lot of overkill.

On the flip side, if Cornell is trying to make people aware of how much our soldiers sacrifice while serving, he hit that home perfectly, and in that way, I don’t think many will mind the extended exposition. And, since we don’t know how bonded the Soldier Zero uniform is with our hero (there is an ominous turn at the end of the issue), the wheelchair angle is perfect way to go, as it is a great cover for someone who is certainly going to be wanted/hunted by whoever was in the spaceship at the beginning of the issue. We’ve seen heroes with disabilities before (Matt Murdock, Freddie Freeman, Charles McNider, and so on), but this may be the best swerve for anyone who might attempt to discover who is beneath the mask.

THE ART OF A SUPERHERO

If you’ve read Superman, then there is a good chance you’ve already seen Javier Pina’s work. I like his composition and layout and I like how he is able to draw strong looking characters without them turning into bulky ‘roided out beefcakes, where every muscle is clearly visible through a loose fitting shirt. Stewart looks like a soldier, there is tension and frustration in his face, yet we can also see kindness and compassion. Love interest Lily isn’t drawn as a tarted up whore, with totally unrealistic proportions; she looks natural – real. The people look like people, and the alien suit, looks like an alien suit, and that is what I like in superhero comics.

The flashback moments are well done, too. Pina changes the shape of the panel and colorist Alfred Rockefeller gives everything a Sepia-tint so we know it is a memory. I also like the special effects added in the issue as BOOM! made the wise choice to avoid overly used lens flares, and instead go for nice glowy bits and design elements that seem alien.

BOTTOM LINE: CHECK IT OUT

Potentially, there could be a great deal of drama going forward, as the hero who lost his ability to walk suddenly finds he can walk again, and much, much more. The dialogue is a little stiff in places, but nothing that won’t flow better over time as the writer gets more comfortable with these new characters. Stewart is a instantly likable character, and I’m already chomping at the bit to see what happens next – and its the team of Cornell and Pina that make it happen. There are always going to be a few problem spots in any first issue, but I feel the overall issue succeeds regardless. Soldier Zero is instantly familiar, yet also full of the unknown that it is worth checking out when it hits stands, and is deserving of 4 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★★☆

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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3 Comments

  1. Frank
    October 16, 2010 at 9:53 am — Reply

    Does this remind anyone of M.A.N.T.I.S.? It aired on Fox in the 90s.

    • robin hood
      October 20, 2010 at 9:44 pm — Reply

      He reminds me of the guyver anyone remember him. Also i reviewed it myself the artwork is good , but to me it looks hurried.

      The story well…. I am highly disappointed in this since i bought 200 copies to sell (im a comic book dealer) The first 5 pages leave you completely confused as to what is going on. THEN enter the love interest and some charectors that seem very shallow and driven by only one emotion. Very one dimensional charectors , Everything seems WAYYYYY over the top dramatic even at non drama driven moments. Like on charector throwing themselves from a wheel chair because there is a grocery store with no wheel chair access and the owner of the store gets trouble from the fire department.

      IF all that wasnt enough the story seems to cut off very abruptly without really catching your attention. its like reading chapter one of a book and only getting to read half the chapter.

      This is just my personal opinion and my review of the book. ON the upside there is a 5 page review of The Traveler with i thought i would hate but now looking at the writing and the art i may pick up. after all Mark Waid is writing it, its gotta be good.

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