Six Million Dollar Man #1
Solid and entertaining writing combined with great art make for a fun read that is refreshing and enjoyable.
Japanese Secret Agent Niko Abe is not happy. She’s found a conspiracy to possibly attack the United States and has risked her career to warn them. She expected a team of highly trained SEALS; she got Colonel Steve Austin, astronaut. Did he mention he was bionic? From Dynamite Entertainment, Six Million Dollar Man #1 is on store shelves today!
Writer: Christopher Hastings
Artist: Daniel Hahn
Letters: Ariana Maher
Cover: Michael Walsh
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: March 06, 2019
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN: Originally created by writer Martin Caidin in a series of novels published from 1972 to 1975, the Six Million Dollar Man was a successful television series which lasted for five seasons and produced six made-for-television movies. It spun off not only comic book adaptations and a toy line highly coveted by collectors, but a series of Peter Pan record storybooks, magazines, and coloring books. A Charlton comic series, and various series comic strips in various countries followed, but the character returned to prominence with a Dynamite Entertainment title penned by Kevin Smith and based off an unproduced movie script he had written. More originals stories followed, as well as the return of prominent characters from the original television series and a continuation with a Season Six comic. Now we have a story from early on in Steve Austin’s career.
WE CAN REBUILD HIM. WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY.
The year is 1974, the place… Japan. Government agent Niko Abe has uncovered a conspiracy involving the highly connected ANSA Corporation and their development of a missile capable of striking the United States. Despite the evidence, she has gathered, her employers are not happy with her extra-curricular activities and do nothing. Knowing the possible outcomes, she clandestinely contacts her American counterparts to arrange a strike against the missile installation. She is told to expect “the whole family”, but she instead gets only a single “American Cousin”, Colonel Steve Austin, astronaut. Despite her disappointment, Austin explains his purpose is to recon the situation and report to his superiors. If it is as serious as she claims, she will get the whole family and then some. Niko understands, but is still reluctant. Austin then decides to let her in on a secret, he is a cyborg, and a super spy! Given, this is the first field test of his abilities, but still… he’s bionic! It is decided Roger’s cover story, if he is discovered, is that of an American tourist who has accidentally wound up on the wrong island to explore. Shortly after arriving to ANSA’s island under cover of darkness, they locate the missile silo and the missile. Gathering the evidence they need to justify a strike, their exit plan is interrupted by the arrival of Soviet KGB agents transporting a nuclear payload.
What follows is an action-packed sequence with guns, swords, flying bodies, masked assailants and more translation misunderstandings than a bad dub of a foreign film. Can Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man, prove up to the task or will he fall apart under the pressure?
BETTER, STRONGER, FASTER… FUNNIER?
With The Six Million Dollar Man #1, writer Christopher Hastings (The Unbelievable Gwenpool, Adventure Time) achieves something many writers of a licensed or existing property fail to do, write a story which is grounded the mythology of the subject, but still has fun with it and be respectful. Too often I see beloved series from the past taken and either played for the easy jokes or puns or turn so dark as to be unrecognizable. Hastings takes a higher road. He has set up a story that, while not overly intricate in its plot (yet), allows him to show a slightly nervous and inexperienced Steve Austin in the field for the first time. This Steve is testing his abilities. His jokes, or what the reader and Niko perceive as jokes, come off as a defense mechanism to hide how nervous Austin actually is. It endears the characters, pulls away some of the cocky swagger and makes for a more accessible storyline. At the in his prime, actor Lee Majors was considered to have major (pun intended) swagger. Here, with Hastings dialogue, I can hear a young Majors in my head as I read it, perhaps fresh from his Big Valley days. It’s a great story and if it keeps this feel will be a great series.
Artist David Hahn (Batman ’66, Bombshells: United) has some wonderful designs in this story, The simplicity of Austin’s NASA jacket, the part in his hair, the square jawline, his rendition of Steve Austin has a charm which you would expect in a young man given enormous responsibility and still unsure of his capability. It is not a real likeness of Lee Majors, but a more attractive, dashing figure Hahn delivers. Likewise with Niko Abe. She is a call back to the early era of sixties and seventies spy film such as Our Man Flint, Modesty Blaise, numerous Bond films. His designs for the villains forgo the standard horde of black-suited ninja types and has a very specific definition that adds to the feel of the story instead of feeling like a modern take on an older idea. Cinematic panel work adds to the feel and I’m going to be looking out for more work by Hahn.
BOTTOM LINE: A GREAT ADAPTATION OF A LANDMARK LICENSE
I was a child of the seventies and eighties. I remember watching The Six-Million Dollar Man back when it originally aired and feeling jealous of a cousin who had every one of the toys. The series, despite being seen as somewhat campy and sometimes silly to modern eyes, was a major part of growing up. Every kid knew what you were doing when you went into slow motion and started making the CH-CH-CH-CH-CH sound effect. They respected it and played along.
Similarly, Christopher Hastings and Daniel Hahn respect the source material, and it shows in a fun and action packed title you will enjoy.
You need not have super-secret security clearance to enjoy THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN #1, just head to your local comic shop and pick one up.