It’s Friday, 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 #8.
Solar, Man of the Atom #8
Published in April 1992
Written by Jim Shooter
Penciled by James Brock
Inked by Gonzalo Mayo
Colored by Mike Cavallaro and the Toasters
Harada, who we thought was dead, is meeting in his office being debriefed on Solar, the Harbinger Renegades, Aric (who they think is another alien because of the armor), and Kama, the Dragon of Bangkok. Kama does business with the aliens and all agents that Harbinger has sent to investigate are missing, so Harada takes the reins on this one. We cut to the Edgewater Center, where they are celebrating Christmas. Seleski has been gone for a year and a new investigator, Mister Drahushuk, is trying to get to the bottom of things. Over the next few pages, we see how Phil has left the lives of Gayle, Doctor Dobson, Doctor Pierce, and his friend Big John unsettled. While John is sitting out in the middle of the night, wondering about his missing friend, Solar makes his return, letting John know that he is back, but still has business to attend to.
Solar discovers that the FBI is looking into the spider alien matter, so he utilizes their databases to find out all they know. He discovers that there is a situation in Bangkok and goes to look into it, not knowing that Harada is already doing the same. As Harada is having a battle of mind control with Kama and the seductive powers of her and her girls, Solar is jumped by Kama’s body guards, who are wielding spider alien weapons. He dispatches them, blowing a hole in the wall and drawing Kama’s attention to him. She uses her powers to create an illusion to get the upper hand on Solar. Harada interferes enough to help Solar realize that the illusion is not real. Solar uses his power to incapacitate everybody in the club. Harada reveals that Kama has been an “underground railroad” for the remaining aliens, providing them safety and humans to feed on. They make it clear to each other that they are enemies, but their mutual enemies take priority to their fight at the moment.
The book ends with Seleski being investigated by Mister Drahushuk. He provides a good enough story to get the investigator off his back. He’s told to keep a low profile while they work on getting him back to work. We then see Phil talking with John, telling him that he wishes he could’ve gotten the last few ships, and that he thinks they’ll be back even stronger. He departs John to go pay condolences to Ettice Cunningham’s family.
This issue was all around very solid. I was surprised how it started out, with Harada, who we thought was dead, debriefing on Solar, Pete’s Renegades (finally, something to call them!), Aric (who they thought was another extraterrestrial since he’s in the X-O armor), and Kama. Now the three “modern” books are tied together by Harada and we’re beginning to really get prepared for the Unity event. I also love how things tie together in the Valiant universe. In the Magnus/Rai flipbook arc, Solar was there to make sure the scourge of the spider aliens was ended, since he didn’t make sure the job was done 2,000 years earlier. We know that Solar drove them away, but didn’t manage to kill them all. Thanks to the Magnus/Rai book, we know they’re coming back, and it must be something big to have Solar hanging around for thousands of years.
This book and X-O Manowar really seem to be what Jim Shooter is best at writing. I haven’t read the original Gold Key Magnus or Solar, but Shooter is either trying to be too true to the original with Magnus or it’s just not a style of story that he’s best at. I know it’s highly regarded by those that were fans in the 90s, but it just seems like he does a much better job writing Solar. At least it’s not as terribly awkward as Harbinger. That book has a lot of promise, but there are so many aspects of the characters that are being poorly done.
Originally from ValiantCentral.com