As a relatively punk, indie comic creator and commentator, it would be easy for me to say that I hated Stan Lee’s Soldier Zero because having Stan Lee’s name in the title and listing him as the Grand Poobah in the credits seems more like a marketing scheme than anything else but I can’t. I can’t say that I hated it. It wasn’t fantastic, it was OK – I’ll go so far as to say pretty good. And as a marketing scheme, it was completely successful. It got me, this relatively punk comic creator to buy and read it, talk about it, and add it to my stack of dead books. I bought it as an experiment – part of me wanting it to be really bad. But it wasn’t.
The book’s biggest success as a marketing scheme was to introduce the world (or at least give additional credit) to the names of the other creatives on the book: Paul Cornell, Javier Pina and Sergio Arino – these are the people that actually wrote and visualize Soldier Zero (because what does a Grand Poobah do anyway?). What I wish the Grand Poobah had done is told the creators on the book not to have location transitions in the middle of two facing pages and to not have eye-catching panels in the lower right hand corner of two facing pages but those creative insights were not handed down. Overall though, the book was an inventive reinventing of the Green Lantern origin story – handsome but damaged military guy is given amazing powers and responsibility by dying alien dude.
I probably sound like I hated this book but I didn’t. I just was not enamored by it either. It had good messages about people with physical disabilities, it was at times edgy and fun but it also spent unnecessary time explaining small things about the protagonist’s costume/armor and other lapses in logic when it really didn’t need to. The book is at times a little clunky and illogical. In the end, I was a little let down because Stan Lee, who has been in the comics industry since the dawn of man and could shared some things about writing comics that I would have hoped he’d have learned by now but also because this was a new and relatively creative title – there could have been more to it – I hate to see a new title fail or even just do nothing that makes me want to come back to it. Boom! Studios has put out some much more interesting titles.