It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another 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 #7.

Solar, Man of the Atom #7

Published in March 1992
Written by Jim Shooter
Penciled by D. David Perlin
Inked by Stan Drake
Colored by Knob Row


Solar is destroying the alien fleet with the greatest of ease when they send out their champion in the X-O armor. Solar is caught off guard and quickly finds himself on the losing end of this fight. He sends his hand to the sun to bring back energy while the rest of him tries to avoid the spider alien’s attacks and replenish enough energy to stay alive. Right as he is in the grasp of his enemy, awaiting the final blow, his hand returns with all the energy he needs to fully revitalize himself, and the tables are turned. Solar defeats the alien in the X-O armor as the fleet escapes to preserve themselves for another day. In the end, Solar gets a wake-up call to keep his powers in check and to not underestimate his adversary. At the same time, he develops some understanding for his enemies, although they must remain his enemies.


This book is sort of a break from the broad strokes of the story from the First Strike arc. By focusing in on a fight between Solar and one other combatant, we’re able to get more of a glimpse into Solar’s psyche and see his development as he figures out how to be a super powered being. At the same time, the power and characteristics of the X-O armor is revealed, while also giving us more insight into the spider alien culture. Solar’s vengeance is coming too easy as he effortlessly slaughters what he estimates to be 180 million alien life forms. As he rationalizes his actions, the attack from the alien stops him in his tracks and, ultimately, instills in him some respect for his enemies.

The armor is much more powerful than anything Solar has encountered. Being that he’s a scientist, he’s been exposed to the extremes of possibility on Earth. As he tries with all of his dwindled power to defeat the spider alien, the armor keeps it alive and protected and is almost powerful enough to defeat Solar. Ultimately, Solar is more powerful than the armor, but he would’ve been defeated if he hadn’t have been wise enough to send his hand out for reinforcements… bringing back the power of the sun. At the critical juncture in the fight, we find that the alien, while preparing to deliver the death blow, is lamenting the destruction of a being that is as powerful as his gods. Solar begins to see that, while the alien’s views are different and while he must defend humanity against the aliens, there is right and wrong in both cultures and the alien isn’t purely evil.

This book did a great job progressing the character development of the enemy, the main character, and the armor, which helps to develop and raise interest in the X-O Manowar title in the same month that its second issue is out. This is a great job by Valiant and Jim Shooter to build the world bigger and give more meaning to the Valiant universe without only focusing on driving along a story. These are the things that make a comic stick with you long after you read it.

Kickin’ It Old School: Solar, Man of the Atom #6

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