Written by Gerry Duggan and Geoffrey Thorne
Drawn by Paco Diaz
Published by Marvel Comics
PREVIOUSLY: SOLO #4
Much as with Mosaic #5 there’s not too much I can say without spoilers, as this fifth issue concludes the opening arc of the series. We get some new players on the scene, taking this book into an unexpectedly sci-fi direction, but it’s done in a way that makes it feel completely natural. From the beginning, this book has planted firmly in the mainstream Marvel Universe, and, as I’ve said before, the plot is the kind of scheme you’d expect to happen often in a world like this. The issue brings this arc to a satisfying conclusion that leaves the character open for further adventures (fingers crossed).
I also have to say that, like Mosaic, this is a title that I normally would not have picked up in the first place, if not for the involvement of Geoff Thorne. I’m more of a superhero guy, those are the types of comics I generally read. I knew absolutely nothing about Solo before this, but he appeared to just be a mercenary/soldier of fortune, which generally isn’t my thing. Of course, now I know that he actually does have a superpower, teleportation, and he wears a mask, so I guess that kinda makes him a superhero?
But I am very glad that I picked up this book, as it exceeded my (admittedly low) expectations, as it features just the right amounts of action, suspense, and comedy, with each issue getting better than the last. But what really makes this book work is the lead character. Writers Duggan and Thorne have portrayed James Bourne/Solo as a man with multiple sides to his personality. In other words, he’s like a real person. He’s not a straight up “hero” or “villain,” nor is he the stereotypical “mercenary with a heart of gold.” He’s just a guy trying to get through life, as best he can, dealing with the cards that he felt he’s been dealt. There’s also been a bit of a fake-out, as I initially thought he was one of those bumbling characters who doesn’t really know what he’s doing, but tends to succeed out of luck (or, in this case, thanks to advice from his much more-accomplished baby mama Catita). But his ultimate solution in this issue shows that he is much smarter, especially when it comes to thinking on the fly, than he may appear.
Of course, the book is not completely flawless. One thing that has stood out is the inconsistent portrayal of Solo and Catita’s unnamed infant child. In Solo #1 it appeared to be a young boy. In Solo #3, it again appeared to be a boy (but was wearing a hat and sunglasses), but was specifically referred to by Solo as “her.” In Solo #4 it’s again drawn to look like a boy, and is referred to as such by Catita, and in this issue is drawn to look like a girl for the first time, and referred to as “our daughter.” That is very odd. And, no, we never see Catita with more than one child, so it’s unlikely that she has two children, boy and girl (although I guess that would be the perfect retcon to explain the discrepancy if ever necessary).
Perhaps that is due to conflicting direction in the script for the artist, Paco Diaz. If so, that’s the one and only fault I’d find with his work in this book. Otherwise, his illustrations are almost perfect, he has a nice clean art style that makes the story easy to follow, and he particularly excels in drawing the action scenes, making the action leap off the page. As I said, I was already a fan of Geoff Thorne, but this book has made me also a fan of Gerry Duggan and Paco Diaz, as well. I’ll be looking out for their future projects too.
Solo has been one wild ride, and if you didn’t get on, that was your loss. A+