Continuing the more mature, almost politically orientated themes, Bionic Man #18 details more of Steve Austins romp in exotic Libue. That said, there’s only so much Bionic Man can take before it gets into action, gunfights and everything else.
The official description from Dynamite:
Caught in a lethal crossfire between a growing rebellion and a vicious dictator determined to hold on to power at any cost, the Bionic Man must enlist help if he’s to make it to Libue’s capitol city in time to stop certain catastrophe. Once there, Steve navigates the bloody streets, desperate to locate the country’s nuclear weapons before it’s too late. But as time ticks away, he uncovers a plot far more insidious than he expected.
The issue itself opens up with some very strong dialogue and themes. This quickly changes focus back on to Austin who, when last seen, was doing some undercover shenanigans. These continue and, as you would expect, don’t always go to plan. There’s a few twists and turns to keep readers intrigued, but its not always enough.
The writing itself is fairly solid and consistent for the series. Aaron Gillespie writes a decent enough script, which shows dialogue and thoughts from a couple of characters, not just the titular Bionic hero. That said, the writing itself will never over come the premise and thematic influences. If you like your comics a little less serious, this might not be the issue for you, although Austin does resort to his typical ‘punch stuff, get results’ approach. This also doesn’t really go that well with the setting or plot; its as if he managed to learn nothing from the more mature writing expressed for the character in the previous issue.
As for the visuals, we have Ray Villegas on pencils. Whilst I’ve never been overtly fond of the art work for this title, the detail work does do well to capture the life and atmosphere of a bustling city such as Jardan. It might seem generic to a lot of people, but it draws on a lot of real word inspiration; not everything is about bionic super-humans. Its pulled off quite well, and the depth and detail grounds a lot of this issue.
All in all, Bionic Man #18 isn’t a bad issue. A little lost in its identity, sure, but there’s still something worth a look.