Soldier Zero Vol. 1: One Small Step For Man (BOOM! Studios)
|"I beleeive I can flyyyy..."|
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artists: Javier Pina and Sergio Arino.
Collects: Soldier Zero #1-4
A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed Starborn, a BOOM! comic about a character created by Marvel Legend Stan Lee. Well, turns out he made three of them. Soldier Zero is one of them.
That’s all you need to know.
So Stuart Trautmann was a captain during the war in Afghanistan. During that time, a land mine cost him the use of his legs. Coming back stateside, Stuart tries to deal with life from a wheelchair, averting the gaze of people who would pity him, and trying to date the girl of his dreams.
|"Shut up, internal monologue!" No, YOU shut up!|
That life is strongly interrupted when a living space suit, complete with weaponry and a mind of its own, falls from the sky and bonds itself with Stuart, taking his body over and allowing him to walk, run, fly and use all sorts of killy-things to hurt bad guys.
Like Starborn, Soldier Zero really benefits from its protagonist. Writer Paul Cornell avoids placing Stuart in any clichés that we would normally associate with a disabled character. He’s used to the wheelchair these days, and doesn’t resent his situation. He doesn’t revel in the fact that the Soldier Zero suit can make him walk, and actually prefers to be free of it. Stuart is at peace with his situation, he just wishes that everyone else was. It’s a great way of giving us an original take on a character, as well as giving us a realistic look at the life of someone who is wheelchair-bound.
The Soldier Zero suit is also an interesting character, I won’t give too much away about him, since it’s a major spoiler, but he develops quite a bit throughout the story. The suit goes from talking like a machine, to using a speech pattern similar to Stuart; even cracking jokes. Between Stuart and the suit, what follows is a great dynamic between the two characters as they bicker, agree on something, and then bicker again.
At the same time, though, I can help but feel that we’ve seen a character who uses a special suit in combat before. Y’know... in another Stan Lee creation... okay, fine... it reminds me of Iron Man. In this way, the whole concept of Soldier Zero reminds you that Stan Lee is really kinda old. And that saying about old dogs and new tricks? It somewhat applies here.
|Aliens don't understand the "time out" |
One Small Step For Man, thankfully, compensates that with some really fine art work. It’s a more serious Starborn, with realistic, less-cartoony proportions and darker lighting. It’s nice to look at, however; especially when you look at Soldier Zero’s design. Simply put, Soldier Zero looks awesome. The red-on-white suit is fantastic, and combines human and alien-looking elements. While the human faces sometimes look like even the men are wearing a little too much make-up the great character designs here make up for that.tone here than what we’ve seen in
One Small Step For Man has a brilliant story, there are a couple of flaws, though, that stop it from being perfect. It gets a four out of five Iron Men.
+ Stuart and his suit are excellent characters
+ That costume looks awesome
- Stan Lee’s age is showing here
- Human faces look wierd
Alternate Option: Starborn: Beyond the Stars
A lighter book, but thoroughly entertaining.