If you have not been reading the latest venture from filmmaker, podcast leader, Comic Book Men creator, and comic writer Kevin Smith, The Bionic Man, I will rely on your familiarity with the camp-80s TV show The Six Million Dollar Man to help get you up to speed. Like the original, this incarnation features a solider named Steve Austin who is so badly injured that the US government uses “bionic” technology to bring him back from the brink of death – bigger, faster, stronger than he was before. In the case of our 2012 Austin, the accident that left him without three limbs and an eye was a plane crash. Austin was serving as a test pilot for new, secret aircraft and, of course, something went horribly wrong.
The first several issues of the series spend admirable time developing the characters, Austin in particular. It is clear that along with his limbs, he lost his will to live after the accident. The bionic program offers him salvation in more ways than one. Like any good government-experiment story however, Austin soon learns that not every subject of the program has turned out quite so well as himself (and how well he turned out is still something of a question).
By issue nine, Austin has met his nemesis, Hull – a bionic man leading a bionic army bent on the destruction of regular ol’ humans. Met him, and been entrapped by him. Most of the story centers around his attempts to escape and track down Hull before a weapon of mass destruction is unleashed on civilians. It is full of the expected and satisfying action, pithy dialogue and effective use of moderate (as compared to, say, Garth Ennis stuff) violence, and it ends on a very nice cliffhanger. Smith is a good story teller and the artwork of Jonathan Lau (artist) and Ivan Nunes (colorist) is truly impressive. As a team, they convey Austin’s bionic powers of speed and vision in a way that works without being too busy.
Issue 9 was the April release and is available for purchase. The good news is, you won’t have to wait long for a resolution of the cliffhanger. Just pick up issue 10 while you’re at it. It is released tomorrow.