Review: Soldier Zero #2


SOLDIER ZERO #2 PREVIEW Writer: Paul Cornell Art By: Javier Pina & Sergio Arino Colors By: Archie Van Buren Letters By: Ed Dukeshire Covers: Trevor Hairsine, Phil Noto, Publisher: Boom! Studios Release Date: November 17th, 2010   Continuing from the inaugural issue, the former US Marine Stewart Trautmann paralyzed from the waist down during a tour in Afghanistan having returned to his hometown has undergone a radical transformation - his body has been encased in an alien battle suit that literally fell from the stars. In the opening scenes Stewart's brother, James, is taking his "conscripted" older sibling home - not before teleporting student Lily to the local hospital. However, it soon becomes apparent that the situation is becoming not only potentially dire for the brothers, but the entire town, when another alien arrives clad in a superior model and takes over the body of a police officer that it kills in cold blood. While the latest arrival begins a slow infiltration sweep of the town for its prey, Stewart and James hold a formal interrogation of the alien suit learning that it is a living entity - a parasite - requiring a host body to function. It's previous host Gorshen, a race whose bodies were gene-tailored to accommodate the parasite armor, was itself a Captain, leading a cohort of soldiers in an operation against an enemy - the True People (very much like Peacekeepers). Caught out by superior firepower, Gorshen - severely wounded - crashes to Earth - which pretty much sums up events from issue 1. However, the armor requires a host to survive and a way to contact "base" to arrange an evacuation back to the stars. So in exchange for giving Stewart mobility an unlikely pact is formed - but wait Officer Santiago, haven't you got a nice pair of orange glowing eyes? In my review of issue 1, I maintained my opinion that Soldier Zero wasn't very original with many concepts having cropped up in both Nova and Green Lantern - and Issue 2 follows the mould. We get to see the beginnings of a buddy-buddy relationship between Stewart and his new "associate" that has all the hallmarks of the love/hate relationship between Richard Rider and the Worldmind - with initial reluctance that the symbiosis will grant Stewart independence from his paralysis as long as he allows the parasite to remain integrated with his body. Near the final few pages, having enjoyed the exhilaration of running and dealing with a hold up at the local store,  (itself reminiscent of Nova foiling a bank robbery in his own second issue) the price of over-using his abilities come at a cost - only for Trautmann to literally "fall" at the feet of Goshen’s pursuer. Although the similarities with Nova and GL are there, I have to say that having read this issue I'm actually beginning to like Soldier Zero. The writing of Paul Cornell is easy to follow - punching all the emotional buttons as/when required and the art by Pina and Arino is easy and clear on the eye. I think I would prefer the story to leave behind the Earthly connections - thrusting Trautmann into the interstellar conflict hinted earlier on in the issue, but it seems we're in for a few issues grounded in Earth reality which may mire Soldier Zero’s potentiality as a Cosmic Hero for now, but I'm prepared to stick with this and see how things develop.  After all, it took only 7 issues in Nova’s first run to venture into space – well Earth orbit – so perhaps this book will surprise me yet.