It’s Tuesday which means 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 #3.

Solar: Man of the Atom #3

Published in November of 1991
Written by Jim Shooter
Penciled by D. David Perlin
Inked by Bob Layton with Thomas Ryder
Colored by Kathryn Bolinger and the Knobs

Key new characters
  • Toyo Harada- powerful psiot behind the Harbinger foundation


Solar is in L.A., foiling criminals and being misunderstood by the cops, because this is the real world and not some comic book!  He heads back to Muskogee, where Tammy conveniently asks Doctor Solar to recount the whole story about how he came to be.  He gives some insight into the disaster which Phil Seleski averted, but which turned him into Sol.  Apparently, he caused a catastrophe that killed a lot of people and led to the creation of Solar.

Tammy suggests that he calls the Harbinger foundation to help him find his place in the world.  He makes an appointment to meet with the folks at the Harbinger foundation.  When he goes, he doesn’t take kindly to being deceptively observed and ends up smashing the place up.  He throws some woman named Thumper across the room with his powers, prompting her to take off her clothes before she attacks again.  Yep, that’s how much thought they put into how to get a woman half naked in this book.

Now, after all of this awkwardness, things start to get awesome!  Solar turns himself into energy and travels through the phone that has Harada on the other line.  Harada’s powers are much stronger than anything Solar has encountered and he’s able to look into Solar’s being without much effort.  He realizes the amount of destruction Solar is capable of and decides the best course of action is destroying him.  Solar fights back, causing the plane they are on to crash.  He assumes Harada has been killed and takes off, with Sol tailing him.  Sol decides not to confront Solar head on because he doesn’t know if he can take him.  Instead, he takes the deceptive route and approaches Erica Pierce, posing as Max Blackwell, and that’s where the book ends.

This comic also contains part 3 of the “Alpha and Omega” insert.  In this, we see that Phil has somehow averted disaster with the reactor by jumping in, sacrificing himself.  He’s wrapped in gauze and placed under quarantined care, but surprisingly recovers from a skinless heap into a perfectly healthy person in no time.


After starting out strong with the showdown with the L.A. thugs, this book goes straight back to using lazy tactics to progress the story.  This is the ninth comic that Valiant has published and they’ve used the “tell me everything that’s happened even though I already know” approach too often.  The introduction of the Harbinger foundation was a huge surprise, though!  Harbinger had already been advertised, so this was the first taste people were getting of what was coming in mere months.  The showdown with Harada was great, even though the showdown at the Harbinger foundation was awkward.  Harada’s great power and willingness to destroy anything he sees as a threat to his ideals sets his character clearly in advance of the first issue of Harbinger.  Even with the weak points of this issue, the introduction of Harada and his psiots makes this issue pretty awesome!

Kickin’ It Old School: Solar: Man of the Atom #2

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