Frank J. Barbiere didn't take the traditional "origin story" route with the series' debut and that's something I certainly appreciate. As a new reader -- I have zero experience with this character's history -- it was great to see Barbiere find an organic way to drop bits and pieces of information throughout the story without making any scenes feel like they're there just for exposition. We've yet to get even close to all of the details regarding the character and the world around him, but the basics have been presented and in a way which doesn't bog down the pacing in the least. Barbiere also does an excellent job kicking the issue off on a strong note. Not only does it give us a bit of insight into who our hero is, but it also showcases what makes him special as he puts an end to a bank robbery. If there's one thing that'll make this title standout, it's absolutely the way Solar fights crime. There's so much potential there and watching him in action -- even if it is just for a little bit -- was pretty cool. I won't pretend I understood all of the equations that appeared in his captions as he changed matter, but it's a feature that's sure to please die-hard math and science fans.
Artist Joe Bennett and colorist Lauren Affe created an issue where the visuals are most definitely consistent. It doesn't exactly drop your jaw, but the time spent giving these characters life is most certainly noticed. As expected, both their work really leaves a mark when Solar's powers are on display. They're never too vibrant -- which would be a big contrast to the rest of the pages -- but they're just bright enough to make an impression and let us admire or even fear what's taking place.
As I stated above, I'm a new reader when it comes to this character, and I imagine I'm hardly the only one out there. Sure, relaunching a character is obviously reaching out to the preexisting fans, but it's attempting to generate new ones, too. That means this premiere issue is faced with the challenging task of making sure new readers are invested enough to shell out another $3.99 when the second issue drops. Well, this first issue has left me feeling somewhat down the middle with this. Naturally, many of us can't add $3.99 title after $3.99 to our pull list, and while this is a well-written first issue, a fair amount of it was teasing new plot points without investing too much in them. While this may be very alluring to longtime fans of the character, I can't help but feel as though not quite enough was done to make me anxious or absolutely certain about picking up the next chapter -- I don't quite feel an emotional connection after reading this. That's by no means saying it's bad, but with so much great competition out there, I imagine this won't standout too much unless you're already invested in the character or are particularly passionate about math and science.
It's not a huge deal, but the perspective in panels kept jumping from angle to angle. I understand they don't want the pages to feel static, but it was a little jarring at times how the focus kept shifting.
If you're already familiar with Solar, this should be an obvious purchase for you. And if so, odds are the cliffhanger will do more than enough to assure you stick around for the second issue. However, I'm left feeling uncertain on where my fellow new readers will stand once they put the issue down. Barbiere's first issue does a fine job with the pacing and begins to slowly reveal the world we're stepping into. Furthermore, the character work in the issue is consistently solid and there's no denying how appealing Solar's powers are. However, seeing as this first issue is primarily build-up, it makes it somewhat difficult to feel truly invested in this new universe or very inspired to remove something else from the pull list to make room for this title. Personally, I'll give the series another issue or two so it can tell a little more of its story and offer a chance for me to feel more connected to the characters before I decide whether I'll stick around for the long haul.