“Steve Austin, astronaut. A man barely alive.”

“Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better… stronger… faster.”

The opening words to the Six Million Dollar Man is engrained in the mind of kids born before 1971. But what happened before the Northrop M2-F2 crashed and burned? Kevin Smith and Dynamite Entertainment bring their take to the popular television series the way only Kevin Smith and Dynamite Entertainment can.

Based on a story by Kevin Smith
Writers: Kevin Smith and Phil Hester
Penciler: Jonathan Lau
Colorist: Ivan Nunes
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Cover Artists: Alex Ross, Paul Renaud, Stephen Segovia, Jonathan Lau
Editor: Joseph Rybandt
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in The Bionic Man: Once upon a time a guy wrote a book, that was used as the basis for a made for television movie. That movie turned out so well, that two more followed, which lead to a four year television series on ABC. As time went on, a spin-off series appeared, as did reunion movies years later. Toys and books sold well, and there were even record albums retelling key stories. There was even a comic book series from Charlton Comics where Neal Adams and Howard Chaykin appeared as frequent contributors.

Then things went silent, until one day, when a guy who got kicked of an airline was approached to bring his movie idea back to the four color press. This is the result…


The big surprise for anyone who picks up this issue is that there are a lot of things that happen before Steve Austin is turned into a cyborg. Here we learn of the prototype aircraft Colonel Austin is scheduled to fly, we meet Oscar Goldman, a civilian representing some branch of the military, a secret bionics laboratory, and we get to see our hero, Steve Austin in action.

The issue opens with a break-in at a bionics lab, where everyone is slashed and hacked to pieces by a guy with a samurai sword, but the big surprise is that the assassin is a cyborg! If you don’t smell the extra crispy deep frying which signals conflict a’comin’ between the title character and this low-tech wannabe, then I feel sorry for the youth of America. I also feel sorry for those that like to resolve conflict by deep frying things…

Smith and Hester do one thing that is really important in this issue; we get to see Steve Austin before the accident. We learn he’s engaged to be married, we know he is a hot-shot, but it isn’t an ego thing for him. We learn how strong Austin is as a person, and that makes him a sympathetic character. So, when the big crash occurs, the reader ends up feeling concern for the character and those in his life. Of course, we all know what is going to happen next.

Smith’s presence is felt in this issue in the dialogue exchanges between the characters, and even though there are poop and fart jokes that spring up, the more serious moments where Steve and Jamie converse actually feel like something a couple in love would say. I expect some will decry the potty humor as typical Smith, but I like it. It fits the characters and seems more natural than trying to force words into someone’s mouth.


The most disappointing part of the issue has to do with the opening lines of the television series. I really wanted the issue to get to the crash and the immediate aftermath – namely the Oscar Goldman’s famous words. If they would have made that moment the one that closed out the issue, I would have had an even more satisfying reaction overall. But other than that, there’s not much to complain about. It moves quickly, there’s plenty of setup and mystery, and the cliffhanger ending does work (though not the way I was hoping).


Even though one would think the world of the Bionic Man would be filled with chiseled fly-boys, and military men in their prime, Jonathan Lau does a great job of giving all the characters a unique look. There are fat guards, and nerdy scientists of all shapes and sizes, and the female character is well handled. I really like the Oscar and Steve characters as they are the most distinct (providing you aren’t counting the Wilfred Brimley doctor type), and should provide some visual distinction as the series proceeds. The art in this issue is good, but there is the general feeling that this issue is following a house style.


The mysterious cyborg wrecking the government’s plans is a great addition to the mythos of the Bionic Man, and ensures that I’m back next month for more action. I like that we get the prologue here as it makes Austin a more human character before the bionics kick in. Smith’s writing is smooth, and the reader is drawn into the action. Bionic Man #1 is one of those issues that you should probably pick up and earns 4 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★★½

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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  1. August 22, 2011 at 7:15 pm — Reply

    Why isn’t this called the Six Million Dollar Man?

    • TaZ
      August 22, 2011 at 9:00 pm — Reply

      Inflation. (Badumpabang…) Today he would have cost about $40 million dollars and “The Forty-Million Dollar Man” just didn’t have the same “zing”.

      • August 22, 2011 at 9:26 pm — Reply

        Yeah, there’s that…

        But I suspect that the rights are an issue. Perhaps they have the rights to the source material (the novel “Cyborg”) but not the Lee Majors TV series that was adapted from it?

        • August 23, 2011 at 7:56 am — Reply

          Couldn’t find anything specific about the name change, but this is either a joint project or a licensed project from rights holders NBCUniversal.

          • October 7, 2011 at 2:24 pm — Reply

            It is indeed a licensed title from NBC Universal, but the original name doesn’t work anymore, so it’s called just what it is-The Bionic Man, which is a better title anyway, IMHO.

  2. wdchefdave
    August 22, 2011 at 10:09 pm — Reply

    “Cyborg” was picked up for a dollar and a dime for the original series… “The Six Million Dollar Man” is owned by some 24 year old geek that will show his face if this book makes any money. (Just guessing.)
    The first few episodes were good… later… not so much.
    Can anyone remind me what four shows rotated with Steve Austin and Kung Fu at the beginning?
    (I was young and NEVER watched the other two shows.)
    Ironsides, and Columbo came from a similar “rotating” process… oops… McCloud and Longstreet too!
    Just don’t know where they originated.
    Oh, and a series called “Adam Strange”… more like Dr. Druid than a space guy!

  3. ikdks
    August 23, 2011 at 9:55 am — Reply

    Smith, why’d it have to be Smith.

    Steve and Jamie, why couldn’t those kids make it work. That broke my heart when I was five. They were like the Angel and Buffy of their time.

    C’mon Saskwatch. You know they’re gonna do it. Smith won’t let a big hairy meme like that pass him by. Oh, and Max, aka Maximilian (because he cost a million dollars) the German Sheppard. You know he’s going to show up after the Jamie rejects her bionics and moves to Ojai.

    Oh, and the android body snatchers plot, where Steve rips Oscars toupee off and tears that light bulb out of his skull. Or Jamie Summers doppelganger, that eats that silly putty and gets super strong until her brain explodes (I’m getting myself all excited).

    Next to DC, Dynamite is my favorite company. They get the best intellectual property rights.

    They couldn’t call him The Six Million Dollar Man because of the Dr. Evil effect. Besides, everybody always called him the bionic man anyway, it was less of a mouthful.

  4. darklighter
    August 23, 2011 at 2:16 pm — Reply

    What was the bad guy’s name that was a full on robot? The one with all the faces and giant claw? That toy was fantastic when I was a wee lad. Of course I broke him in about 7 minutes……sigh.

    • ikdks
      August 23, 2011 at 3:17 pm — Reply

      You mean the one that looked like a armored vw with a laser turret on top? Was it a NASA space probe that crash landed in the midwest and started vaporizing anybody it came in contact with?

    • Nerdking
      August 25, 2011 at 5:42 pm — Reply


      Toy only character.

  5. Dr. Spektor
    August 23, 2011 at 7:03 pm — Reply

    Thanks for the review! I enjoyed reading it and I’m looking forward now to going out now and buying it! Maybe Lakota will pick up a copy for me later on today.

  6. October 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm — Reply

    All copies are sold out, so I can only get them by a certain method….

  7. wdchefdave
    October 8, 2011 at 1:55 am — Reply

    I know that my “Captain Lazer” can beat your “Rom, Space Knight”!
    Even though they are the EXACT same toy.
    I could not believe that my friend had come back to see me after all those years. (And, this time wrapped in metal.)
    And I still have Major Steve Rogers’ (That rings a red, white, and blue bell!) “bionic chamber” that you bought in the ’70s if you had the money. Not unlike a certain poster of his future wife.
    It is BIONICS… no matter what it costs these days.
    The Bionic Man. (And I owned the “Cyborg” book before the series. And, as far as I know… they never used the word cyborg.) Nor “cybernetics” in the series.

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