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Stan Lee’s Soldier Zero Issue 1: “One Small Step for Man, Part 1”

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December 02 2010


Stan Lee’s Soldier Zero Issue 1: “One Small Step for Man, Part 1”
by Samodean

Stan Lee’s Soldier Zero Issue 1: “One Small Step for Man, Part 1”

BOOM! Studios
Story: Stan Lee, Paul Cornell
Art: Javier Pina

Soldier Zero is the first of three new comics from BOOM! Studios and Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment. Just looking at the names of the companies, it seems like a good match. Stan Lee is not handling the actual writing of the new titles, but rather providing the story and character concepts. So, with that setup, I’m not sure who to blame for this disaster.

On the surface, Soldier Zero is a solid concept. A disabled war veteran gains an alien suit of armor, enabling him not only to walk, but to be a hero again. It starts off with a bang, with the “Soldier Zero” suit flying through space, single-handedly taking down an enemy warship. Sadly, less than two pages in, it all comes to a crashing halt when we’re introduced to the comic’s main character. Stewart Trautmann is a war veteran who lost the use of his legs in Afghanistan and is now in a wheelchair. That wheelchair and the way Stewart’s disability is handled completely ruins this comic for me.

The first time we see Stewart, he’s arguing with a local business owner who has banned wheelchairs from his store because it’s a fire risk. Are you freaking kidding me? Have Lee and Cornell never heard of the Amercians with Disabilities Act? This entire scene is so unbelievably STUPID I almost wanted to stop reading right there, as it gives an accurate indication of how Stewart’s handicap is being handled in this story and it certainly doesn’t end there. Stewart is still coming to terms with his new life, and at least his part of the story is decent, but there is something seriously wrong with the rest of the world. I thought society had reached a point where someone in a wheelchair, not to mention a war veteran who was put there fighting for his country, would be treated with a little respect. According to Soldier Zero, I obviously give society far too much credit, as even Stewart’s friends treat him like some kind of mutant.

Again, Stewart’s not a bad character, but the rest of the world Lee and Cornell have created here is so fundamentally broken that, by the time the Soldier Zero suit shows up, I couldn’t care less. The comic looks amazing, the art truly is fantastic, but it’s also irrelevant. It doesn’t matter how cool your superhero is, if the human element is unbelievable, then the heroics have no point of reference. Maybe I’ve been spoiled; the way the writers of Amazing Spider-Man have been handling Flash Thompson in a similar situation has been one of that title’s many high marks. As it stands, Soldier Zero has completely soured me on its prospects after only one issue.



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