I like Soldier Zero. The concept is obviously a Stan Lee invention. It has a Stan Lee feel. But the timing, the pace of the story does not “drive” like your typical Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning vehicle. Which is fine, because this tale is a solid one. But I would never guess it was a DnA production.
For the uninitiated, Soldier Zero is about Stewart Trautmann, a wheelchair-bound war veteran who is paralyzed from the waist down thanks to a roadside bomb that blew up his transport while he was stationed overseas. Stew, whose body has merged with alien battle armor, now battles not only circumstances beyond his control on Earth but also the very technology that makes him … Soldier Zero!
This time around, after a sweep of a hospital by the alien group calling itself “The Clowns,” Stewart and the menace called Application Nine find themselves in a hospital ward hidden away in a U.S.government installation. Everyone except Stewart and Nine are in suspended animation, including Stew’s brother James.
Nine explains a lot to Stewart by way of exposition and I was reminded not so much of a DnA saga but rather the old Brian Michael Bendis talking heads. This drags the story a bit, but I am sure the payoff will be coming in future issues. We are still getting to know our cast.
The alien tech of Nine and Stew are the only things keeping them from being on ice, Nine explains, but upon seeing Kay-Lee in suspended animation, Stew becomes the fully powered Soldier Zero, revealing himself to armored guards, and that is when chaos ensues.
After some great action sequences fighting armored government types, the warning of Gorshen, the being that once occupied the Soldier Zero biosyte hardware, begins resonating in Stew’s head again. (The partial origin of the biotech and the fall of Gorshen’s troops takes up a good slab of this tale too, but the discovery is so juicy and cosmic I think you should enjoy that for yourselves; nice seeing new characters as they are created).
Gorshen’s influence, which has been guiding our hero, is evaporating from the biosyte. There is danger that the biotech might take over the form and function of Trautmann, and Gorshen says he needs to maintain control and fight.
It seems that, at the worst time, this prophecy is coming true and Stewart may be losing control to the biosyte! We will see next issue.
While the pace is a bit draggy, this is a good space yarn and I enjoyed it. The visuals by Javier Pina with colors by Archie Van Buren lend themselves to the tale. I know creator Stan is proud, and I think you would enjoy it as well.