By: Paul Cornell (writer), Sergio Arino (art), Archie Van Buren (colors), Ed Dukeshire (letters) & Bryce Carlson (editor)

The Story: Our protagonist comes into contact with a very smelly bad guy!

What’s Good: This continues to be a pretty good comic good.  It isn’t anything awesome that will change your life, but if you’re looking for a good, well-written comic in the sci-fi/superhero genre that will (probably) never require you to buy other titles as part of a company-wide crossover event, you might be pretty happy with it.  In fact, this is probably the type of comic that I’d suggest to new readers because it is self-contained and it represents comics very well.

The basic story is interesting: paraplegic Marine Capt. Stewart Trautman has bonded with a sentient and symbiotic alien suit of armor that fell to Earth.  Stewart has only caught a glimpse of what galactic events led to that suit being on Earth, but he has learned that others of these alien symbiotes are on Earth…and not all of them are friendly.  For some reason, this comic continues to give me a ROM Spaceknight vibe (which is a good thing).

In this issue I especially enjoyed the depiction of the other alien as we learned that policeman the alien has boded with is actually dead.  So, the symbiote is actually piloting a corpse around and that means that things are going to get smelly and fly-infested and that he has to do things to repair the corpse since it doesn’t heal itself.  Neat-o!

The art continues to be pretty standard fare at Boom!  There is nothing too adventurous in terms of style.  If you showed this to someone who hadn’t read comics in decades (or ever), they would agree that this is what a comic book looks like.  All of the anatomy is correct and there are no technical mistakes.  All of the storytelling works.  That may sound like I’m handing out a backhanded compliment, but I’m not.  It is incredible how many artists screw up basic stuff.

What’s Not So Good: This wasn’t the most exciting issue and I could do without the dialog between Stewart and his brother.  I appreciate that much of that was exposition for the purpose of resetting the story, but it is only issue #3 and it went on for a few panels too long.  Mostly I wish we could have gotten to the central conflict between Stewart and the corpse-man sooner.

I’ve said this before about Boom! titles, but I’ll say it again.  I really wish they’d let their artists showboat a little more.  For me, a “good story” is simply not enough.  When I want a good story, I’ll go read a book.  I read comics because I want to see a synergy between the script and the art to do something that a book cannot do.  And you don’t get me to that spot with standard shots with properly drawn human anatomy.  Those are merely the pictures that dance through my head when I read a novel.  I want an artist to show me something that I cannot even really imagine (or at least make an attempt to do so).  Arino has shown that he can draw, so I’d like to see him get the chance to do something special now.

Conclusion: This is shaping up to be a very solid title for Boom!  It fills a niche and reminds me of one of my favorite childhood comics (ROM).  The art is correct and proper and I strongly doubt that Boom! will ever do a crossover with these titles.  So, it has a LOT going for it, but it isn’t knocking my socks off and that can be a problem in crowded marketplace.  Better than average.

Grade: C+

-Dean Stell