Writer Joe Keatinge and artist Khary Randolph roll out the new reader welcome mat with the opening pages of “Tech Jacket” #8, giving readers a brief history of the accomplishments of Geldaria and its impact upon the universe. The first six pages are as dynamic as a flashback or history lesson in comics can be, with minimal (yet dynamically impactful) lettering delicately placed on bold, detailed panels.
Khary Randolph and Emilio Lopez are the stars of “Tech Jacket” #8, filling this comic with dynamic images, sharp camera angles and bright, unapologetic colors. Randolph’s drawings are crisp and strong, maximizing heavy linework and broad, sweeping shadows to accent mood and emotion. The artist provides an uncommon range of panel sizes and shapes, including some that are less than two inches tall and roughly half an inch wide. Those panels are less dynamic in their content, balancing Randolph’s art with Wooton’s word balloons, but — in storytelling — they deliver the scope of the story more than any caption box or word balloon possibly could, underscoring the vastness of the environment this adventure takes place in.
Keatinge’s story is a delicate balance of teen drama punctuated by a love triangle and the impending doom of an alien invasion. The writer delicately walks the tightrope between micro and macro, giving Zack and crew moments to emote as well as power up and charge into battle. Keatinge shows his trust in Randolph throughout the story and the artist returns that trust, elevating and maximizing the impact of Keatinge’s plot and script.
The twenty pages of story in “Tech Jacket” #8 move along, never plodding and never rushing, but masterfully blending big moments. The scope of the battle to come is massive, but Keatinge and crew remind readers that such things as jealousy and heartbreak seem just as massive through the proper perspective. With elements that are reminiscent of Superman, Iron Man, Invincible, Rom and even the final explosive battle from “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Tech Jacket” #8 offers readers a lot to enjoy, deftly blending ideas and bending genres into an enjoyable story filled with solid action.