Dynamite Comics’ reboot of Solar has been a real treat—the character dynamics feel fresh and it’s so damn easy to relate to the protagonist. Somewhere the artist changed, the tone felt different and things fell off a bit. But we look forward to issue #11. Is it good?
Solar: Man of the Atom #11 (Dynamite Entertainment)
The story is all about Erica, the daughter of Solar which gives its bearer infinite power. She was an architect, but after her Dad exploded in front of her she has infinite power. She was smart, obviously, but doesn’t know how to use this new power. Luckily her dad’s spirit hangs over her, giving her advice. It’s obnoxious more than helpful, but it has gotten her through some tough times like exploding planets and attacking aliens. She’s back on Earth now and she’s recently found out her brother harbors some of her father’s power. Someone just launched a bunch of nuclear missiles though, and it’s time to suit up.
This issue opens with a flashback between Erica when she was little and her father being a good dad. If you’ve been reading this series from the beginning you know he wasn’t always the best of dads, which makes this moment a nice one. Erica must focus on stopping the end of the world and a hell of a lot of nuclear missiles with her dad by her side. Meanwhile Erica’s husband attacks her brother as his body has been taken over by the very enemy who sent the missiles.
This father/daughter time pays off at the cliffhanger.
Writer Frank J. Barbiere writes a pretty solid issue here with plenty of action and stakes raised. Characterization of Erica’s brother and husband isn’t very strong, but they’re pretty much taken out by the man in black. The strongest element of the issue is Erica and her father admitting they love each other. They have been at each other’s throats (or, at the very least, Erica has been annoyed with her dad throughout this series), but it’s here she’s finally seeing the caring person he was. This culminates to a conclusion that’s surprising and fitting considering the opening pages.
Some might cry foul concerning the villain of this issue as he’s very much like the Spider-Man villain Venom. At least the costume anyway, which crawls over the bad guy as if made of liquid. The villain is obviously the foil to Solar, sucking the power from Erica as she attacks him, and he’s certainly formidable. Not knowing Solar stories I can only assume he’s the foil however as the character is rather flat as a maniacal bad guy and nothing much more.
The art by Jonathan Lau continues to be a bit messy and very dark which makes some panels muddy and confusing. Still, his ability comes through in the epic panels and the action is strong in Erica’s scenes. I can’t say the same for much of the scenes of her brother, who gets the bad guy black liquid all over him while being attacked. The panels get a little too close so it’s hard to tell what is happening exactly. I guess he’s being held? It makes the action lose a bit of the suspense and more claustrophobic more than anything.
Time to stop some missiles.
Is It Good?
Solar continues to be a good yarn with plenty of family drama to keep your interest up, and ultimately makes the character more interesting.