Review - Stealth #1

Pilot Season: Stealth #1 is a new title from Top Cow written by Robert Kirkman. The art team on this one consisted of pencils by Sheldon Mitchell, inks by Joe Weems and Rick Basaldua and colors by Arif Prianto. Overall the team did a great job as I really enjoyed the artwork and it presented something slightly different for Top Cow. Of course anytime you bring out the founder to do the cover art in Marc Silvestri I have to pay attention. If his name is going on this title it is bound to be something fun and exciting.

So how, you might ask, can one sum up Stealth #1? Think of it this way: what would happen if your favorite heroes suddenly got old and maybe, God forbid, a little senile? What do you do when someone with a suit of immense power starts to lose their mind? So far it doesn’t appear that the man behind the suit has any extraordinary power. He is just a normal guy who once upon a time was gifted a powerful suit that allowed him to make a difference in society. I don’t recall reading something like this before and I am intrigued.

Our first look at the decline of Stealth’s mind comes when he decides that the lawlessness that cannot go unpunished is…graffiti artists. One of the kids tries to greet Stealth and tell him how his dad has told him wonderful stories about him and that it is amazing to meet such a hero. Stealth sort of loses it and destroys all three of them. Excessive force is a term that comes to mind. I’m sure that the kids will be okay, but they may have a few broken bones and one or two missing teeth.

Stealth returns home just as his son Todd does. Todd never knew that his dad was Stealth but when he asks him about it his dad calls him Eric and says that he knew about this (Eric is his dad’s brother who died seven years ago). This is our first look at the degradation of the mind of a once great hero. We see a hero who may not be one for long given the direction he seems to be heading in. The issue continues on as we get to know Stealth’s son Todd a bit. Eventually stealth completely loses it and Todd bears the brunt of his dementia. We don’t learn much about Todd’s father except that the issue ends with him in a rage over something that isn’t happening and the rather ominous statement “They’re coming back to fix me.”

I don’t know that I’ve read anything lately that involved the fall of a superhero that Stealth seems to be presenting. I wonder if Todd is going to eventually inherit the suit if “They,” whoever they are, are coming back. I really enjoy the direction of this comic and I can’t recall reading about a senile superhero losing his grip on reality before. Sure, superheroes have gone insane before, either pushed by the pressure of their responsibilities over the edge or suffering from some mind control, but this is different.

The art has a classic superhero look to it that reminds me of some of the old original Image comics I used to collect. Stealth reminds me of a cross between Spawn, without the supernatural stuff, and maybe some of the Youngblood / Brigade / Bloodstrike type characters. Many have come to expect some stunning women dressed in various appealing manner from Top Cow but that doesn’t appear in this issue so far which I also liked as a change of pace. While I love the Top Cow vixens, sometimes it is nice to have a book that doesn’t have that aspect.

Overall I’d say if you are looking for a title with a unique take on the decline of a superhero and the story of the people around it with some very solid art and cover work, pick this one up in stores. For some interiors check out below: