cover image Stan Lee's Soldier Zero, Vol. 1

Stan Lee's Soldier Zero, Vol. 1

Paul Cornell and Javier Pina. Boom! (, $9.99 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-60886-047-0

Underwritten by the greatest name in comics and executed with relatively satisfying art and writing, Soldier Zero delivers a tightly wrapped package that falls short of being explosive. Capt. Stewart Trautmann, a marine-astronomer who fell victim to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan and is now a paraplegic, is facing some serious life challenges, among them, attempting to woo Lily, a pretty college professor. As they watch a meteor shower from a rooftop, a strange object hits the top of the building. Trapped beneath a rubble heap, Stewart finds himself transformed into a powerful space warrior who must confront grander challenges. Pina's art is nimble and compositionally flawless, but is also impersonal, lacking any imaginative twists or graphic extravagance. Worse, Soldier Zero's full-body armored costume is uninspired. The lack of fashion sense doesn't kill this comic, and Cornell's text is fluid and blithe, spinning out of this hoary comics origin without too much cheesiness. Understated, realistic dialogue and readability save the day. Readers may want to avert their eyes when the protagonist in lame space drag comes knocking. (June)