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Kickin’ It Old School: Solar: Man of the Atom #1

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It’s time for a new edition of Kickin’ It Old School, our weekly column in which we look to the past and review books from the original Valiant universe! This week, I’ll be discussing Solar, Man of the Atom #1. Sorry for the delay, but next Tuesday this column should return to its regular publishing day.

Solar, Man of the Atom #1

Written by Jim Shooter
Penciled by D. David Perlin
Inked and Edited by Bob Layton
Colored by Kathryn Bolinger
Published September, 1991

Key new characters
  • Doctor Phil Seleski- non-Solar Solar?
  • Sol- Seleski after he turns into Solar?
  • Gayle- assistant that flusters Seleski
  • Doctor Pierce- very impatient peer
  • Odibe, Matt, Worm, and Millie- group of homeless people with whom Sol finds comfort
  • John- a shrink Phil goes to for help

Synopsis

The book starts off with a naked man lost in space finding his way home to Muskogee.  He gets surprised by a slightly different looking man, then splits through the window (as light?) before the other man can come to grips with what is going on.  From here, he searches for something to do and discovers a prison riot.  While busting it up, he gets shived in the back, unleashing massive energy and destroying the man who stabbed him.  He takes off before other guards can come in and discover him.

We cut over to Phil arriving at work, looking rather shaken up by his earlier experience.  After an awkward interaction with Gayle, we’re back to Sol flying through the air looking for somewhere to help.  He finds a Russian Navy ship trying to rescue a sunken submarine.  Sol saves the submarine, decides to take the Russians’ nuclear warheads, and gets attacked in the process.  He lights the Russians on fire, takes the nukes into space, and detonates them.  On arriving back at earth, he discovers that his actions have proven dangerous to the political climate of the world.

Back to Phil, we discover him approaching a peer, Doctor Pierce, and getting ripped to shreds for appearing unstable.  Back to Sol, we find him befriended by a group of homeless people who help him come to grips with what is going on.  Back to Phil, meeting with a shrink named John, trying to figure out what’s going on.  Phil arrives home to find the same man he had found in his home earlier.  He begins to call the cops as Sol threatens to kill him if he makes the same mistakes.  Phil calls John instead of the cops and explains to him what happened as Sol returns to his homeless friends and keeps them warm for the night by emitting energy.

Also included is a pull out insert , the first part of Solar: Alpha and Omega, a ten part origin story for Solar, which also includes one portion of the “largest single comics panel ever created.”  In this first portion, we see a disaster beginning to happen at the  Edgewater Advanced Fusion Energy Research Center.  As Phil heads there, he shares that everybody will be killed by this event.  He arrives at the facility to find chaos as everybody tries to figure out what to do.

Review

This issue was fantastic.  I feel that it started off much better than Magnus.  It’s not exactly clear what is happening, but I also wasn’t feeling lost.  I’ve read the first few issues of the new Solar being published by Dynamite, and I felt very lost.  This issue is packed with excitement and beautiful art, my particular favorites being the panel in which Sol is shanked and looses energy out of the wound, obliterating his attacker, and the panel in which he brings his particles back together after destroying the nuclear missiles.  It’s obvious that Sol is Phil, but how did Phil become Sol and why are they existing at the same time?  I assume that the disaster that is occurring in Alpha and Omega is what causes the transformation, but Jim Shooter does a great job of showing you what happened without giving the story away.

I also included a panel of a security guard holding a WWF magazine that he was reading.  When this issue was published, I was an 8 year old who loved the WWF, so I got a kick out of that!

Blast from the Past Ad of the Week

This page explains Alpha and Omega.

I’ve found the marketing gimmicks that Valiant has used thus far to be pretty good!  They’re actually incentives rather than just milking the consumer by raising prices for unwanted gimmicks.  I love the mini-comic and I LOVE the idea of the giant panel!

I can’t wait to put it together myself!

Originally from ValiantCentral.com

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