It’s been quite some time since the last Free Comic Book Day, yet one comic had managed to hide itself away at the bottom of a pile for far too long. The long awaited return of Doctor Solar and Magnus, Robot Fighter.
Now, I am not one to say that my love affair with these characters is anywhere near as passionate as the famed Mr Jim Shooter’s. However, despite being way to young to catch them at the news-stands, my first exposure to Dr Solar was an old Gold Key issue out of the back-issue bins, with Magnus as a back-up strip. It was hardly the most awe-inspiring introduction, and at the time Magnus seemed little different in concept to many 2000AD strips. ABC Warriors spring to mind.
Dr Solar had a certain charm however, but then I have a weakness for godlike characters that find the small things difficult to manage. Not that Solar was unto a god at this point in his development.
Come the age of Valiant and a rather convoluted but charming origin story where Phil (Seleski, not Solar here) accidentally destroys the universe and manages to recreate it again, if a little flawed and damaged. Remember Unity:Time Is Not Absolute? Guess who shredded the timstream into little itty-bitty pieces?
Under Jim Shooter’s scripts, that theme is touched upon once again. Without revealing his origin (except for the mandatory nuclear accident of course), it is noted Solar’s birth released many trans-dimensional portals, or anomalies as he calls them. This incarnation is aware of how powerful he might be, but is taking his first steps in the world, still learning the ropes and making mistakes. Godlike is only yet a distant glimmer on the horizon. I wonder how much Jim will remain true to his previous vision of the character whilst making this new version unique? After Warren Ellis’ Acclaim series (and his own Valiant series) he now has large shoes to fill. As a long time fan, I demand that he stay true to the story of Solar. As a comics reader, I demand something new with an original twist. Altogether, we are not asking a lot!
Solar ships next month on the 14th, and I am pumped for this. Dennis Callero’s interior art had a certain charming ‘small press’ feel to it yet with nice clean lines. What really stood out for me was the colouring, somehow reminiscent of the old Valiant style, textured even as it was clean.
If the covers however are stunning as on this one issue, then this will be money well spent.
Notice I didn’t say much about the Magnus strip? Well, from the one strip, it seemed to me that Magnus is once again a back-up strip, not deserving of a series of his own. Again penned by Mr Shooter this was far more uninspiring. I failed to see any hook that makes this version stand out, either as an incarnation of himself or a slew of other characters that fight robots, aliens or crime in the future.
Solar however, will have me hanging around the comic shop eagerly awaiting the delivery. Oh well Mr Shooter, you win some and you lose some. At least you got me with Solar.