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Doctor Solar: Man of the Atom #1

This appears to be the year of long time writers returning to properties that time has forgot. First it was Larry Hama's return to G.I. Joe and now we have Jim Shooter returning to Doctor Solar. This revived Valiant title is joined by Magnus, Robot Fighter which is also being published by Dark Horse Comics. It seems that the two decade rule, in which it takes two decades for something old to become new again, has been shortened by ten years. Granted, both Solar and Magnus existed as Gold Key characters in the 60's, but they came into the height of their popularity in the 90's. Is this title stuck in the 90's or does it make a third emergence into relevancy?

The issue (Troublemakers: Part One, Lust and Leviathan) begins with Doctor Solar taking on the hungry, hungry hippo Leviathan in front of a pizzeria. This is actually Solar's first outing as a "hero" having just figured out his powers and re-creating himself. He's mostly on the defense as Leviathan attacks him with everything he's got. Everything is new and strange to Solar, but he can't help but notice that this seems to be the norm for Leviathan. In this world, this is the first encounter with superheroes. Two dudes, duking it out over stolen pizza! It's strange, but it works. It's always refreshing when comics don't refer to themselves within the world. The most annoying thing a title can do is making a joke about Superman or instantly call someone a superhero even though they never existed in the world before that moment.

Doctor Solar: Man of the Atom #1Solar continues to figure out his powers as he locks the hungry Leviathan up. Like any inexperienced superhero, he leaves him for the police to deal with. With all of his intelligence you'd think it would occur to him that they're probably ill-equipped to handle him. Solar continues on his way though, still confused by his powers and where the criminal arrived from.

Solar switches his costume by controlling the molecules around him and forming them into regular street clothes. Now Phillip Solar, he pays a visit to the only man that knows he's alive, colleague Dr. Clark. He replays the events that created him for Dr. Clark and discusses the sabotage of the machine that made him. At this point, fans of Watchmen will find the origin and powers to be very similar to Dr. Manhattan minus the political message and the blue hue.

The first issue has a lot going for it and like all good first issues it gets the origin out of the way. Jim Shooter wonderfully sets up the first story arc and usher the character of Doctor Solar into a new decade for readers to rediscover. This book still feels like a 90's era comic, but in a very good way. It's simplistic in its story telling yet interesting enough to hook the reader in. That's not to say that it talks down to the reader, but rather includes everyone for the ride.

The art on the other hand, rests in two decades. Dennis Calero's pencils are detailed and as stunning as any book on the market. While the coloring and ink is a bit behind the times, giving it a flat look that prevents it from jumping off the page. It works for the book and is by no means bad; it's just that it's too dull for such a stunning book. Calero does a magnificent job of updating Solar's look and giving the world a modern feel.

If other nineties wish to make a comeback, they should examine this book before doing so. One thing this title doesn't suffer from is its own past. Never does Shooter linger on or mention the previous incantations of Solar which gives this book the strong footing it needs. Dark Horse and Shooter pump out a solid read that's worth picking up.

Story – 8.5

Plot – 8.0

Characters – 8.0

Art – 8.0

Color – 7.5

Overall – 8.0

Now if we could just get Rob Liefeld to stop re-launching his crappy 90's franchises we'd be okay! Follow Dustin on Twitter @AtComicCon.


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