Review - Stan Lee's Soldier Zero #2

When we last left Stewart Trautmann in Stan Lee's Soldier Zero #1, he had recently come into a new means of walking: an alien super-suit. After being joined by Lily, his potential flame, in some stargazing, Trautmann is bombarded from space by an alien entity that merges with him, giving him incredible powers and a new direction. What direction? That's what we all want to know and with Stan Lee's Soldier Zero #2, that direction becomes a little more clear.

With the second issue, writer Paul Cornell and illustrator Javier Pina intend to give more of a backstory to the Soldier Zero suit. The suit comes from a race where everyone is made of two parts: a parasite and a host. In the case of Soldier Zero, he was going after a group allied with the Split-Second Men when his host died leading him to find a new host in Stewart. The entire issue is about Stewart learning to control his newfound powers and even integrate them into his life. It was refreshing to see Stewart and the suit come to a sort of middle-ground where they could relate to each other using military rank and duty.

One thing I really liked about the issue was it defined the power the suit gives Stewart. The suit has limited power in order to compensate for Stewart's disability, which should lend a nice level of suspense to future issues of the series. In many other comics similar to this there is some weakness that has to be exposed and used to debilitate the hero, but in this case Stewart as the host is the weakness and it's apparent from the start. It's a refreshing change of pace and should make for some great battles and storylines down the road. There was also a lot less "woe is me" in this issue. Stewart spent most of the issue in the suit and only once blew up at his brother James for reminding him of his condition.

There was one scene that seemed a litle out of place where Soldier Zero confronts another host and I was a little fuzzy if it was a flashback or if he just went and did it and came back. Lily's status is left somewhat up in the air and I would expect an encounter between her and Stewart and/or Soldier Zero in the next issue. Considering the duality of Soldier Zero's race I'm curious how many people Stewart let's in on his secret (my guess is Lily is one of them). The issue also introduces a sherriff who espouses random pop culture references and seems somewhat nonchalant about his duties. It seems he's present to further the development of another character that could be sinister down the road.

Overall, the second issue felt a lot tighter than the first. Don't get me wrong, I liked the first issue and was clearly intrigued enough to read the second. My one qualm with it was it was sort of uneven and a little preachy in regards to wheelchair disability, both of which were remedied in the second issue. Stan Lee's Soldier Zero #2 has a few action scenes sprinkled in over background of the suit and gives the series a clear direction. Will the Split-Second Men bring their war to Earth? Will anyone else learn of Stewart's duality besides his brother James? Fantastic second issue that smoothed out some of the bumps from the first one and makes this series one that could get interesting real quick. It's in stores November 17 and interiors are available below.