A series centered on Solo may seem a bit 90’s (he does sport a mean belt of pockets on the ankle after all), but a covert spy of his stature works in today’s climate. We check out the second issue to answer the question, is it good?
Solo #2 (Marvel Comics)
So what’s it about? Read our full preview and summary to find out!
Why does this book matter?
The first issue set up the general feel of the character, his supporting characters, and the general doomsday idea that could play for laughs or drama. With that out of the way, let’s dig into this one shall we?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Sweet body man!
I’m digging the slogan of this series which is, “The one man war on terror.” It’s a bit zany and suits the character nicely due to his lack of finesse and the opinion people have of him in his industry. Writer Geoffrey Thorne and Gerry Duggan make the case that Solo isn’t quite as good as he thinks he is (he’s had his butt handed to him by more scrupulous superheroes for decades); he messes up a couple of times in this issue alone, which is a reminder this is a different type of espionage book. He doesn’t come off as completely useless or boneheaded which allows the reader to still root for the guy, but he’s certainly in way over his head. Here’s hoping he uses his inability to be elite to his advantage in the future.
Much of this issue doesn’t have Solo in it at all, and instead focuses on some bandits attempting to sell weapons. While it’s odd Solo isn’t in the book for 9 or so pages (more on that later) these pages set up the bad guys well and give them a bit of character; they also have a weapon that’s insanely racist (it can somehow detect skin color), which gives them an added level of evilness. The writing team also pulls one of these baddies into the spotlight in a clever way which helps transition him into the later scenes.
Artist Paco Diaz (with colors by Israel Silva) continues the 90’s feel of Solo #1 (complete with a full page of Solo standing amongst panels!). All the technology looks high-tech and realistic, especially the racist cannon. Solo’s costume looks detailed and his facial expressions are articulate and easy to read. You’ll feel for this dope and that’s in large part due to Diaz’s art.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The art has a somewhat blank feel at times, possibly due to the monotone colors used, with backgrounds looking detailed, but not very interesting. Maybe it’s because the characters are standing around containers talking and doing little as far as action is concerned.
The fact that Solo doesn’t appear for 9 pages had me confused, and actually questioning if the guy testing the gun was him in disguise, and this makes the issue feel unbalanced. There are odd elements that threw me off here and there too — like some sort of magic crystal the bad guys wave their hands around. No explanation is given as to what they are or why they’re focused on though one could guess; this only increases the obvious lack of plot progression by the time you reach the end of the issue, which will make readers feel the agony of decompressed storytelling.
What are those things?
Is It Good?
Solo continues to offer a different type of espionage tale that’s certainly unique. The problem is it’s not doing it well enough to make me want to come back for more and this issue lacks the character work of the first issue that made it slightly better.