Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art by Manuel Garcia
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Dark Horse Comics, once known more for their licensed titles like Star Wars: Dark Empire, Aliens, and Predator, has been dabbling more into the costumed hero world lately. One of their newer titles, Skyman, will be released as a trade paperback, on August 19. Skyman Volume 1: The Right Stuff, the book collects issues 1-4 the Skyman mini-series. Let’s see if Skyman soars on his initial outing or if readers should bail out and look for other titles.
Let’s start with the hook at the beginning. Within the first few pages, Skyman puts sleazy moves on a lady at a bar, insults her, kills the bartender, and makes racist comments about the president that are captured on camera and go viral. We’ll played, Mr. Fialkov, you have my attention. As it turns out Skyman is actually a government funded program, and the colorful gentleman in the prologue is one of a dozen plus highly trained and individuals that are capable of wearing the Skyman suit. With the current PR fiasco, they need to go in a different direction with the man behind the mask, racially speaking. That brings us to the protagonist of our story, Sergeant Eric Reid. A pilot that was injured during air combat, is everything the government needs to turn the Skyman project around.
The remainder of the issues what you’d expect from an origin story, and will be a very comfortable read for fans of super hero books. It terms of originally. There’s not much to see here. There’s the broken idealist that is promised the chance of healing and to make a difference. Questions about morality and the lengths that people will go to for nationalism are explored though the actions of the hero and those he takes a stand against. There’s even an archenemy that would suggest that Skyman may return in a monthly series at some point. All of these pieces are then assembled in just the right way to make a story an exciting fast-paced read.
It is mentioned in the supplemental material in the book that Skyman is actually a spinoff of a Captain Midnight monthly title. In fact, the bar scene at the beginning of the book is a continuation of a Captain Midnight story where that particular Skyman has just had his ass handed to him by the Captain. Not only that, but these characters are modern versions of Golden Age characters of the same name. The book stands on its own so well that I don’t think a new reader would ever realize that it’s a tale from an established franchise.
Garcia has some really great art in this book. Costume design is typical super hero and functional. There are a few panels here and there that are off, but these are the exception to a well-drawn book. Use of two column panels really helps convey the sense of space during flying and aerial combat scenes. For art enthusiast, there’s sketchbook included with some early designs, and pencil sketches of the covers. While I don’t go crazy for this type of bonus material, but like that it was included.
Looks like we can count this one as a win for the new Skyman! I’d recommend this book to any comic fan, though I doubt it would make any lasting expression on a first time reader.