By: Paul Cornell (writer), Javier Pina (art), Alfred Rockefeller (colors) & Ed Dukeshire (letters)

The Story: A handicapped U.S. Army veteran gains the powers of alien being who has fallen to Earth after being wounded in a cosmic battle.

What’s Good: The story is pretty serviceable and has promise.  This issue is entirely set-up as we meet Stewart, who is a wheelchair bound U.S. Army veteran and start to learn about his life as a recently handicapped guy.  All the predictable stuff is there and Cornell handles it quite well: Stewart’s desire to be treated normally, flash backs to his injury, problems with dating, girl’s finding him cute but wondering if his man-parts work, etc.

This is interspersed with snippets showing Soldier Zero engaged in a big cosmic battle.  Nothing is revealed about who Soldier Zero is or who he is fighting, but that will clearly become a major focus of the series.

Pina’s art serves the story well.  Boom! seems to encourage their artists to stay within the story because you never see attempts (even failed attempts) to create grand splash pages and Boom!’s devotion to story seems to be their differentiating factor (compared to Marvel/DC).  You never have any wonder what is going on in a panel because Pina has chosen some weird perspective or lighting source.  It’s just clear and straight forward comic art.

What’s Not So Good: Does the recap for this series sound a little like Green Lantern?  An alien falls to Earth and grants his powers to an unsuspecting Earthling who is then drawn into cosmic events??  I guess there is the wrinkle that Stewart is handicapped.  Beware of clichés there such as: now he will have power when he wears the suit but when he wears the suit he won’t be able to touch the woman he loves.  So sad… They’re doomed to be apart!  The concept is very Green Lantern meets Avatar (the movie) and Cornell is going to have to write his butt off to get out of that mess.

Now, the retread concept isn’t the kiss of death.  Witness what Boom! has done with Irredeemable which is basically a JLA knock-off.  Irredeemable is almost Mark Waid saying, “This is what the JLA could be if those editors weren’t so chicken!”  But, since all we get in this issue is story concept and no actual story, it seems fair to pick at the concept.

Conclusion: Not a bad first issue, but there isn’t enough story here to really judge if this series will be awesome or not.  Cornell is a gifted writer (so it has that going for it), but this Stan Lee-created concept is very close to some clichéd territory.  It’s probably worth seeing how this series is reviewed for the first 4-5 issues before adding it to the pull list.

Grade: C

– Dean Stell