If you’re old enough to remember Solar you’re old enough to remember how slick the radioactive symbol was on his chest, but also that the character was pretty dry for reader consumption. The new reality is that this is a superhero who plays with equations and makes math cool, which is pretty damn exciting. Enter a reboot of the character brought to you by Dynamite after a 13 year hiatus; is it good?
Solar: Man of the Atom #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
The issue opens with some space shots and narration from Solar about how change is the only constant in our world. Funny, coming from a guy who can change matter itself. There’s a bank robbery going on and he enters the fray to stop the robbers. It’s established that he’s a known hero in the world and a real force. He turns bullets into steam and even makes bullet pass right through a woman’s head. Gnarly. Unfortunately for Solar though, his powers act up and he’s sent into incredible pain. That’s the setup for this series, a Solar who isn’t so powerful anymore.
Writer Frank J. Barbiere does a good job setting everything up in this issue and the display of Solar’s powers work. We’re introduced to just enough Solar backstory to carry us into the next issue. We also see a potential threat to Solar’s research and it’s all stitched together nicely with Solar’s narration. It’s an easy read because it’s balanced nicely between narration and action and you’ll find the pace always keeps you interested.
I always find pacing has the most trouble when the art isn’t delivering good transitions and a balance between the shots. Joe Bennett knows his way around superheroes, having worked on a ton of them (most recently Iron Man), and you can see his expertise with them here. Solar doesn’t get a ton of time on the page, but there’s plenty of action and drama in the facial expressions and exposition portions. Maybe this is due to the heavy use of dutch angles, especially when the scientists are just talking, but you won’t notice that. You’ll be drawn in every chance Bennett can get and it works.
These cops suck.
Is It Good?
A introduction to a hero, a call to action and a crisis all in the first book. There’s a lot to chew on despite the fact that we barely even get to meet the hero before the issue’s over! Recommended.