Stealth #1 Review
Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Nate Bellegarde
Colorist: Tamara Bonvillain
Letterer: Sam Cipriano
This one kind of snuck up on me. I needed to pick something to review for this week so I chose this because of how it was recommended for people who are fans of Black Panther, which I am but I feel like this comparison is only akin to the fact that it’s about a black superhero in suit, other than that, it’s a totally different concept. I purposely didn’t read the synopsis for the story or any other for that matter because I like to go in with an open mind and be surprised by a story and not let the promotion of the story give me expectations that won’t be met. That being said, the story did surprise me a bit. The description on the Image site kind of gave away the big twist which is disappointing because it’s the biggest thing that the story has going for it in the first issue and I feel that the element of surprise is key to how successfully a first issue sells.
Tony is a writer for a failing Detroit paper who lives at home with his father who has memory lapses. Tony writes about gentrification and other socio-economic issues plaguing the city, however his editors stray him away from such topics as the publication is failing and they don’t want to drive their readers away with heavy topics. In the meantime, we are introduced to Stealth, a crime fighting vigilante who is a household name in the city and somewhat of a legend. They give us an exchange of Tony spending late nights out that seem to correlate with Stealth sightings so you can kind of grasp the direction that the story is heading, disgruntled black writer and very active vigilante in the ghettos of a troubled city. Some odd encounters happen between Tony and his dad where his dad will turn up with mysterious wounds that he can’t explain and he is also missing gaps of time. This continues to happen until at the end of the issue, it is revealed that Tony isn’t the masked vigilante Stealth, it’s his dad. It seems that his dad is having some sort of episode of Alzheimer and is suddenly transported back in time and immediately mistakes his son for a criminal that he has pursued in the past, like he did earlier to a crew of Police cars on the freeway. This was a pretty good bait and switch scenario because I never expected the father to experience such sudden shifts of mental presence, coupled with the fact that he is in a super-powered crime stopping suit which can and does cause some massive damage to the people and the city around him.
I’ve never really thought about the fact that superheroes have to get old, when do they decide to pull the plug on their crime fighting, especially when they are a danger to themselves and others but refuse to give up the golden days and won’t listen to those around them. I know how hard it is to deal with a failing memory on a normal level but I couldn’t imagine if my grandpa could literally punch me through a wall in protest ya know? In this case, the son is also just finding out his father’s true identity so he is dealing with the shock of that AND his father’s declining mental state and as a result his father beats him bloody and only comes back to reality when he realizes what he does. I like this concept, I genuinely thought he would kill his son by accident and we would get a story about an old man with dementia on a rampage in a super suit but we’ll see. The father does mention something about ‘The men in the light’ coming to “fix him” so that was kind of intriguing, I wonder if his suit was bestowed by aliens a la Green Lantern style and it drove him mad kind of as the price for having such power.
This is another Image limited series of 6 issues so it shouldn't be too hard to keep up with. I’d recommend it possibly in trade because it just strikes me as the kind of story that once you start it you kind of go “hol up” and wanna keep reading out of pure curiosity. I give it a solid 7.5 for originality and the curiosity factor alone, the art is pretty good as well and the story is easy to follow, misdirected but not confusing which is a good thing because I’ve read some stories where they try the misdirection thing and I kind of just go “huh? That was super unnecessary but okay” So in short I liked it but I wouldn’t go raving about it and can kind of see why it didn't get much hype.