When a character long since popular gets a new lease on life due to new character dynamics, gender bending and a perfect blend of fish out of water meets superheroes you better be listening. That’s right, the best comic on the stands every single month is back for more this week, but is it good?
Solar: Man of the Atom #6 (Dynamite Entertainment)
Honestly, before this series started I only knew about Solar from vague memories of ads in my comic books when I was a wee lad. I never picked up an issue, but damn did he look cool. A killer costume isn’t everything though, and it’s made all the more apparent when reading this new series because there’s way more to love than just a costume. Hell, last issue the costume changed! The story focuses on Solar’s daughter as she’s been imbued with the power of her father but has none of the experience. He’s floating around her in a Jedi, Obi-Wan kind of way and needless to say it gets pretty old hearing your father tell you what to do all the time.
No hyper sexualized costumes!
Since this story has started Frank J. Barbiere has had the protagonist, named Erica, gain her powers, fight off an alien invasion, meet a friendly culture only to have them decide killing her is the only way to save their planet and finally being rocketed into space left for dead. I’m not certain, but I think only a day has passed which means a hell of a lot has happened at a very quick speed. That is one of the joys of reading this book, because it never lingers in any one place long enough to get boring. If you told me a month ago a giant space hamster was showing in this week’s issue I’d call you crazy, but boy, would I be wrong. Yes that does sound absurd, but it’s pretty cool, and Barbiere has a neat little culture and calamity cooked up for Erica to discover in the issue.
This issue also scores with some important flashbacks for Erica and a surprising moment between her and her father. See, the father/daughter relationship reads in a very genuine way, which is one of the strengths of this series so far. These flashbacks also solidify the very real notion that Erica isn’t cut out for superhero work just yet, which of course enhances the stakes when she has to recharge stars. Considering the last page cliffhanger, Barbiere has no desire to slow things down either.
The art by Jonathan Lau works well, particularly how he weaves in the flashback sequences and a memory sequence into the main story. They are visually striking and make the reader instantly aware something is happening story wise. I’m also a big fan of how he draws Erica in the Solar suit, because it’s not hyper sexualized even though it’s one tight and solid colored costume. I also like the almost pixelated look he’s putting on Solar’s powers when they’re in full effect.
Is It Good?
Solar: Man of the Atom continues to be a real treat every month due its spontaneity and the strong relationship building between father and daughter. It’s a comic that’s simply solid every single month.