I was never much of a fan of the Six Million Dollar Man, but Bionic Man #10 is a perfect example of how you take the core of a series, run wild with it, and deliver something exciting, unique and action packed.
The official description from Dynamite:
Washington D.C. lies in ruins, O.S.I. headquarters is occupied by a hostile cyborg army, Steve Austin’s bionic parts are failing, and the cybernetic madman known as Hull holds Jaime Summers in his unbreakable grip. It may be too much to ask for a happy ending now, but we guarantee an exciting one. Be there for the conclusion of Kevin Smith’s epic reinterpretation of the beloved hero.
First off, the artwork is fantastic. With so many cyborg men running around, the design here keeps the universe grounded. Of course the contrast between Austin and Hull is especially highlighted. Austin looks mostly human, where as Hull is undeniably a cyborg, having a robotic skull and everything. This concept is explored in the dialogue; the writing does an excellent job of exploring the blurred lines between robot and human.
It’s this concept that keeps the title fresh. This isn’t just about half-robotic armies running around. Bionic Man #10 takes great lengths to subtly discuss and question the nature of humanity, and free will. The dialogue regarding the ethics in “shutting down” Austin in particular, emphasis this point. Its simple, yet adds enough depth to stop this becoming a simple action series with a loose science fiction concept. The title shows both the upsides and downsides to the fictional bionic men, updating the original TV series for a modern and intelligent audience.
In many ways, the whole issue feels like the closing chapters of a movie. There’s plenty of plot development, thematic conclusions and personal redemption. I could easily imagine this being at the cinema; the plot and action flows very naturally and smoothly. It never feels forced.
In closing, I have mostly praise for this title. Some might find it unrealistic, but Bionic Man #10 plays its cards well and never truly goes over the top. Well.. despite the gun hand, but that’s pretty cool anyway.