Review - Tech Jacket #1

"School's so boring. Space seems awesome. Way more awesome than school."

Thanks to the almost insatiable curiosity of humanity, at some point we'll venture into space. From there we may colonize other worlds, travel between solar systems and attempt to interact with alien civilizations. If those civilizations like us, then things should be pretty cool. If they're a little more aggressive though, we may need someone like the hero in Tech Jacket #1 from Image Comics. The issue is written by Joe Keatinge, illustrated by Khary Randolph, colored by Dave McCaig and lettered by Rus Wooton.

Otherwise known as the Galactic Guardian of Earth, Zack Thompson is a community college dropout with a pretty fancy suit. The powers associated with that suit has introduced him to his alien girlfriend and given him and his dad something great to work on together. His mettle and daily routine are both challenged though with the arrival of a large alien spaceship orbiting Earth.

Tech Jacket #1 is conveyed in a way that offers a relatively humble story that--at its core--is about a boy and his father. Keatinge's spin just so happens to be that the son is equipped with an extremely powerful suit of armor that would let him go toe-to-toe with the likes of Iron Man or X-O Manowar. Zack himself doesn't come across as too overbearing as far as teenage heroes go, which is a testament to Keatinge's very even presentation. The book is also paced exceptionally well and in a way that slowly peels back Keatinge's intentions with the story, not rushing things at all in the name of keeping the reader engaged. There's not a lot in the way of backstory around Zack and his newfound abilities, but it's not really necessary to know them anyway to enjoy the book.

Tech Jacket #1 will likely garner a lot of attention thanks to Randolph's lovely illustrations. The Tech Jacket armor is illustrated with all the trappings of an immensely powerful weapon, while Zack and his father come across as sufficiently normal and ordinary. The dichotomy between the two "versions" of the characters is displayed in a way that reminds the reader that both characters share a father/son relationship at the end of the day, even if Zack ventures into space on a daily basis. Randolph's lines are very clean and many panels bleed into the background settings, giving the art a solid flow. McCaig's colors are very vibrant and cosmic in a way that makes the world feel high-tech.

Tech Jacket #1 is a pretty strong first issue in what's slated to be an ongoing series. Presenting Zack as a hero without all the requisite angst is a welcome change of pace as far as teenage heroes go. Keatinge's story is paced very well and the dialogue is sound (save for a few lines from the father which feel recycled at times). Randolph's art is gorgeous and fits the bill when it comes to a story about a kid in a fancy, state-of-the-art alien fighting suit of armor. Tech Jacket #1 will likely be a pretty popular book among readers, largely because it presents characters who feel real amidst a pretty imaginative world.

Tech Jacket #1 is in stores now with interiors below.