“The Bionic Man” #7 opens with a page gorgeous in design — it says something about the characters, it feels right and it progresses the story. This one page is a mild masterpiece to open with and is worth lingering on for as long as you like. Be sure to take your time because the rest of the issue goes slowly downhill the further you get into it. This isn’t a bad comic but there are just a lot of structural issues.
The last issue was a mammoth fight sequence taking about three minutes to read if you really looked at the art. It was thin but a lot of fun and this issue picks up the slack by delving back deeply into the narrative. There is a lot of talking here without narrative progression to temper it. Exposition is the sticky tar of this issue cementing you in place and eventually drowning you in a most inglorious manner.
The opening scene between Steve and Jaime is relatively sweet. However, some of the necessary beats are forced through the character’s mouths, which feel awkward in places. The smutty baseline is not the sort of “romance” you might have pictured but the overall intent and heart is enough to make this sequence a win. After the big cyborg-on-cyborg fight, this is Steve getting back to the human nature within.
The rest of the issue acts as a bridge between what we’ve seen and what we must now know. The mysterious villain is explained and while we “see” some of what he has done his tale is decidedly “told” to us. The breaking of this storytelling rule is egregious and feels decided upon to fit the issue rather than serve the story. The secret history dovetails into Steve’s new mission and how he’ll be made to do it with as much information coming out of mouths as possible. It is understandable that there is a lot of hard to convey information but once the act of reading the book becomes a chore, you know the battle is lost.
Jonathan Lau worked hard for his first page. The spectacular design works on a few levels and the rest of the comic strives hard to keep up. Lau frames and angles his scenes well and his action holds motion. This is an easy comic to read and while it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it uses it to get from Point A to Point B.
“The Bionic Man” #7 is a comic with interesting ideas and fights that translates well onto the page. The rest of the book is filled with talking heads, which could be forgiven if those many open mouths gave us more than cheap gags and exposition. It’s hard to tell if the source material of Kevin Smith’s movie script was poor or if it simply doesn’t work in this new medium.