Monday, July 19, 2010

Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom #1

This is (I believe) the third go-round for Doctor Solar, who returns to active duty with this new series from Dark Horse Comics.

The radioactive hero first appeared in 1962 in a title from Gold Key Comics - his first appearance is reprinted in this issue - although it was several issues before he started wearing his famous red, visored costume.

His second stab at a regular title happened in the 1990s as part of Valiant Comics. His origin was updated to reflect modern physics (his first origin was the old favorite, "Exposed to radiation"), and his adventures were much bigger and more thoughtful.

The writer of that series was Jim Shooter, and he's back now with the newest version incarnation of the Man of the Atom. The storyline here is very similar to the '90s version, but it seems to be toned down a bit, perhaps to make the character more accessible to audiences.

Certainly that was the flaw in the last version - he was a god on Earth, far above ordinary mortals - a different form of life.

This version is much more down-to-Earth, despite his incredible powers (flight, energy blasts, matter transmutation and other energy powers) he tells jokes, he has friends and he cares about what people think.

The art is by Dennis Calero, whose work I'm not familiar with, but he turns in a solid, professional job here. His anatomy is strong, his characters are easily identifiable and the storytelling clear - but the layouts aren't dynamic (mostly because of the "origin issue" problem of too many scenes with people standing around talking), and the panels could use more variety - there are too many "medium range" camera shots.

So the final diagnosis is that the first issue is solid but not spectacular. Now that the background explanations are out of the way, here's hoping the creative team can kick this story into a higher gear.

Hopefully Solar's third try at his own title will be the charm.

Grade: B-


Nate said...

I liked the Magnus from FCBD, but I didn't care much for the Solar part.

Glad to hear a review about this issue. I think I am going to pass, but I am looking forward to the new Magnus book.

Either way, I am glad to see this character back from the dead.

Chuck said...

Nate, I feel the same way - I've always been a bigger fan of Magnus than Solar, but I'm just glad to see both comics back in circulation.