It’s Thursday, 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 #12

Solar, Man of the Atom #12

Published in August 1992
Written by Jim Shooter
Penciled by Don Perlin
Inked by Stan Drake
Colored by Mike Cavallaro with Maurice Fontenot
Lettered by Joe Albelo and Jade
Edited by Bob Layton


This issue of Solar ties together all the pieces we’ve already seen. It begins when the Mothergod, Erica Pierce, comes back to kill her previous self. She takes her son and they hide out while she works on her plan for centuries. She keeps Albert the same age until, 30 years later, he asks to be allowed to grow up. Erica agrees to let him age slowly. 65 years later, when Albert is chronologically 100 and physically 13, he asks Erica to fulfil her promise and tell him the truth of everything. 15 years after that, Albert is out carousing. When he returns home, Erica chides him and reminds him of their need to stay secretive. His need for companionship and affection moves Erica, and she begins a romantic relationship of sorts with him, since she’s not his “real” mother.

Once we get to 3999, we get a bit of a glimpse of the foundation Erica built to advance her cause. In 4001, she takes her followers to the Lost Land. That’s when Solar and Geoff from 1992 catch up with her. We see a little of Solar’s actions while Geoff is gone retrieving help, and now, with more understanding of the events leading up to it, we get a soliloquy from Albert about his hate for Erica. He wants to watch Solar destroy her, but instead witnesses Shadowman intervening and Solar getting trapped in a wormhole. Erica enters the wormhole to have a showdown with Solar, and she leaves victorious.


This review was a great deal of recap, sort of putting together the pieces that we’ve gotten all over the place. It also served to fill in the gaps in between, which helped to make the story a bit richer. We now know more of why Albert hates Erica. We know what Solar did while waiting for backup in the Lost Land. And we know what happened to Solar after being trapped by Erica. Even though we were shown his demise, it’s pretty safe to guess that he somehow returns, since his comic book continues on.

I feel like this issue primarily built the characters of Erica and Albert. They were already fairly unlikeable, in my opinion, but now they both feel pretty sleazy. The romantic relationship that Erica deems as a proper solution to Albert’s loneliness is one of the most uncomfortable comic book moments that I’ve experienced. This is the midpoint of Unity, and the last few books have us leading towards the feeling of failure. Shadowman #4 first shows us the demise of Solar, Rai #6 shows us the destruction of Japan, Harbinger #8 shows us the disarray in Pierce’s opposition, and now Solar #12 confirms Solar’s demise. Now that things looks their most desperate, what will happen next?

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

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