Steve and Niko are pinned down in a thunderstorm! Can the Six Million Dollar Man use the storm to get juiced up, or are they toast?
If you’re not reading this series and don’t know just how fun it is, then my excitement upon seeing this comic on the new release list this month should tell you all that you need to know. Still, let’s take a look at the goods in this month’s issue of The Six Million Dollar Man.
First of all, the slapstick elements of the first few pages are a delight. This version of Steve is determined to fake it till he makes it, but it’s never been more clear than in this sequence where he struggles to control his body after being supercharged by lightning. The artwork here by David Hahn is excellent, because Steve’s body language shows how out of control he is, while his nervous smile shows us he’s still attempting to sell this as all part of an evolving plan. It’s incredibly endearing.
We also get more character development in this issue, both for Steve and his partner, Agent Niko Abe. For Niko, we get to meet more of her family and see a softer side to her personality. In Steve’s case, we get nearly the very opposite, as his cheery disposition hides quite a bit of angst and the kind of body horror that the original television series pretty much skipped over. He’s happy to do his job, but he misses his former life.
A delicate balance is struck in these sequences, because the way he recounts his origin story and then tries to shrug it off gives Steve a bit more of an edge to his character without diluting the kind of optimism that has made this series such a breath of fresh air.
On the downside, the characters aside from Niko and Steve are seriously underdeveloped. This isn’t much of a problem when it comes to the requisite nameless henchman that our heroes have to mow through, but it is an issue where Niko’s family is concerned. They’re not given much to do, other than to allow Niko to exposit a little bit about her pre-spy days and to garner a bit of information for their investigation.
I don’t expect every character to be completely fleshed out, of course, but it does feel like a bit of a missed opportunity to introduce Niko’s grandmother solely as a way of humanizing Niko. Then again, the ending of this issue may mean that these scenes will take on an even greater importance. I won’t spoil that here, though.
We do, however, get more of a taste of the true nature of our mysterious main villain. If his brief scenes in this issue is anything to go by, the next couple of issues should prove to be very exciting, with the kind of confrontation that the television budgets of the 1970s could never have attempted. I can’t wait to see where this goes!