Monday, September 27, 2010

Comic Book Review–Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom #2


Script by Jim Shooter, Art by Roger Robinson, Colorist Wes Dzioba, Lettering by Blambot!, Cover Art by Michael Komarck.  Published by Dark Horse Comics.  Cover Price $3.50.

Doctor Solar finds out that not-so famous writer Whitmore Pickerel has inadvertently brought two of his creations to life.  So Solar has to make it clear to Whitmore to keep his creations under control.  At the same time, it’s clear this is an anomaly that it potentially created by the same incident that created Solar.

The good Doctor also talks to Doctor Malcolm Clarkson as he finally wants to return to his job and his normal life.  He also talks about the issue’s he’s having.  So Clarkson has to think of an idea to explain Solar’s disappearance.

In the meantime, Whitmore has issues with his two creations (Glowtorch and Leviathan) basically running him out of house and home.  Pickerel finds that he can undo that which he has created, but doesn’t want to just erase them out of existence.  Instead, our erstwhile writer sends them off to never bother him again.

Whitmore also has another great idea.  Create the perfect woman who can cater to his every need, so now he has a love slave.  She talks him into creating a perfect guardian to protect against Glowtorch and Leviathan, just in case they come back to kill him so they can’t be undone.  So Whitmore creates something, but this time it is from his unfettered dreams, and boy does Pickerel get scared of what has just been created.

Leviathan and Glowtorch pop back into the radar of Solar and he confronts them, but he ends up giving them money to leave town and never come back.  While he ends up paying for the damage he’s created, Pickerel’s latest creation seeks out the Doctor and pulls him towards the epicenter.  At the end of the issue, Doctor Solar now has to confront Moloch, an ancient Phoenician god who has the appearance of a minotaur.

Wrap-up:  Shooter’s writing is much stronger in this issue and he covers a lot of story in the pages he is given.  However, he isn’t quite up to par with his normal works quite yet and I’m not sure why.  With Solar I’m not sensing a whole lot of personality yet.  He just seems kind of bland. 

Doctor Clarkson almost plays the role of reason in Solar’s life.  I feel like he plays the role of what’s normally going on in Doctor Solar’s subconscious.  But yet again, we have almost no background on him, we have no idea if he has a family or anything else.  It’s like we have a painting but nobody bothered to paint the background in, so it’s just white.  Where’s the background here?

There’s a lot of good stuff here, but there’s not a whole lot of enjoyment.  It feels like everything is without a soul.  We don’t get a real sense for any of the characters, which is usually something Shooter is very strong with.  Unless this is done intentionally, maybe this is supposed to be emotionally devoid and disconnected.  Maybe Doctor Solar, in recreating 18 seconds, actually recreated the planet and it’s just kind of a fake world. That might explain for the disconnect, but it still just feels weird.

I think next issue would be a good time to start filling in the holes.  Let us see the dreams and feeling of Solar and the important people in his life.  Otherwise this whole thing has the feeling of being nothing more than a dream.  There are fun concepts here and the issue isn’t terrible, but it’s missing key ingredients.  It has to go to the next level and I hope it gets there soon.

On the other hand, the artwork is much improved.  Roger Robinson gives it a slight Mignola feel, but more detailed.  Everything looks pretty good in this issue.  The storytelling of Robinson is pretty strong, I can tell what’s going on with ease.  That’s the part of drawing that’s hard is making sure you’re getting the story across without making it difficult to see what’s going on.  So Roger Robinson is a vast improvement and makes this issue much more enjoyable.

Despite all of the issues with the writing, it’s still a pretty decent issue.  Not much above average, there’s definite room for improvement.  Let’s see if he can step it up a notch here and keep making it more interesting. Also the cover is excellent stuff, but we all know not to judge a book by it’s cover, no matter how great.

StarStarStar out of 5.


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