I was a child of the 70’s. TV was king and the coolest cyborg in the world was Colonel Steve Austin, a man barely alive. “Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better…stronger…faster.” Test pilot Steve Austin suffers a horrible crash and has his legs, one arm and eye replaced with cybernetic enhancements. He can run fast, can beat Sylvester Stallone in an arm wrestle and see really really far.
In this age of redos, remakes and reboots I am quite surprised a new movie hasn’t graced our LCD screens yet (I know there is talk of a Mark Whalberg project). Do millennials even know Steve’s origin story? Do they care? That’s the problem with launching a comic book on an older property, a limited audience recognizes the concept and the nostalgia kick does little for sales. So you need a good story, you need good art and you pretty much have to start from scratch. Old timers like myself will check it out but will younger, hip comic readers?
Six Million Dollar Man: Fall of Man opens with Steve falling from an exploded airplane. There is a weird voice in his head helping him out and he survives by using a crate of cocaine to cushion his fall … no really, a crate of cocaine. Of course he doesn’t come out unscathed so a new set of cybernetics are installed to upgrade Steve to the latest model. We are introduced to Doctor Wagner, pretty blonde cybernetic specialist. Oscar Goldman arrives on the scene as does Barney Hiller, the Seven Million Dollar Man. Seems like a reunion. But all is not as it seems. That voice in Steve’s head is feeding him some info and after a break-in he finds out that the program which created him and Barney is still going ahead to create a super soldier army. Feeling betrayed by Oscar, Steve makes a break for it to process all that he has found. Oh, and ninjas attack. No, really, again … ninjas. I don’t recall too many ninjas in the TV show. Ninjas … yeah, still can’t shake that.
Aside from the cornball plot device of attacking ninjas we have the tried and true plot of a hero deceived and we assume he now has to find out more. Sets up the series fine but I have read this story before, many times over. And my nostalgia for Steve Austin isn’t compelling me to read it again. But it is the first issue so I won’t be too harsh as things may pick up. How much did Oscar know? How many others like Steve and Barney are out there?
The art chores are handled well enough by Ron Salas. Ron will be revamping the Canadian hero Northguard for Chapterhouse Comics shortly so it was good to see a preview of his style since I am REALLY looking forward to Northguard. One thing that I am very pleased about is Ron made an effort to use the actor’s likenesses from the TV show. We haven’t had a lot of actors portraying Steve so it was comforting to see Lee Majors’ face on the page.
I would be interested in checking out issue two to see where this is heading but the excitement and compulsion to add the comic to my pull list does not exist.
Title: Six Million Dollar Man: Fall of Man #1 | Publisher: Dynamite
Writer: Van Jensen | Artist: Ron Salas | Cover Artist: Ron Salas