Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Bionic Man #1 (2011) Review

We Can Rebuild Him

Written by: Kevin Smith and Phil Hester
Art by: Jonathan Lau, Ivan Nunes and Simon Bowland
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 24, 2011

Growing up, I was a big Six Million Dollar Man fan.  I'll admit it, I was a bigger fan of the awesome doll (wristband included!), but I watched the TV show and to this day, it may have my favorite intros of all-time.  When this comic came out five years ago, I was not a comic book reader, but I still bought, read and enjoyed it. However, I only got through four issues and never looked back...until now.  It took me a while, but for this week's Just for the Hell of It reviews, I am heading on back to the Bionic Man to see if I enjoy it as much today as I did back then.  Well, did I?  Let's find out...

The issue does not open up with the awesome "We can rebuild him..." sequence, because as we open, there isn't anybody that needs rebuilding.  That doesn't last very long as Smith and Hester give readers a silent beginning that shows a trail of dead security guards, a tasty burger and a katana wielding mystery man with a metal hand.  While it's not clear what the hell is going on at this point, it all leads to a cybernetics lab where the big bad kills some scientists, steals some hi-tech stuff and ends up holding a robotic arm over his head screaming, "I have the power!"  Actually, he doesn't yell anything and it looks like he's destroying the arm, but my way would have been a little bit cooler, don't you think?

As far as beginnings go, that was not what I expected when I decided to read a Bionic Man book.  However, it was intriguing enough and does hint at one of the themes of  the series...even if we don't know what that tone is yet.  The issue gets to known land soon enough as we see a General yelling at his assistant as to where a certain "Mr. Goldman" is.

Oscar shows up and the discussion immediately turns to Steve Austin, the "Elvis of Test Pilots".  The main point...where the hell is he?  Goldman and the General go back and forth and when it's over we get more of the overall theme I mentioned earlier and the promise of what can only lead to the awesome television series opener.

The issue shifts to show what is keeping Steve...he's dropping a deuce and trying to get "some" from Jamie.  Yep, Jamie!  He doesn't succeed (with the later) and he's off to his last day of work.  After a checkup from Dr. Wells, Steve is cleared for takeoff.

While I thought that was going to be the next big thing, we shift back to the lab we saw destroyed earlier where Goldman is surveying the damage.  Smith and Hester are still keeping things a bit under wraps, but we do get some pretty cool information here even as it plays around with what we already think we know about the story going in.

One big thing that we already know does indeed happen as Steve Austin's plane has some major problems.  I may be a sick person, but I had a big smile on my face as he rocketed toward Earth, flames spilling out everywhere.  The issue ends right before the inevitable happens, but the last words Col. Austin said reminded me of why I couldn't wait to read the next issue way back in 2011.

This is a weird issue to recommend to people.  It's not that it isn't good, because it is.  It's just a case of kind of living in between worlds.  It's more of an homage to the television series then a retelling and I liked it.  However, purists may disagree with me.  People with no knowledge of the television series might expect a little more action, but this issue is purely origin and setup for what's to come next.

Jonathan Lau worked with Kevin Smith and Phil Hester on the Green Hornet book near this time and while I liked his art on that, I'm not totally sold on it here.  It's probably because I am still expecting character models that fully match their television counterparts, so maybe I will get used to it more as we go on.

Bits and Pieces:

The Bionic Man #1 is a good origin story for everyone who wants to get back into the Six Million Dollar Man.  It may lie in a grey area between reboot and homage, but I liked it as both and will continue reading the series, hopefully past the fourth issue this time.


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