STEALTH #6, available from Image Comics on October 14th, opens the door (literally and figuratively) to answer all the questions about the origin of Stealth’s suit and the fate of Detroit. Writer Mike Costa’s finale ties up all the loose threads with a low-key climax that’s heavy on satisfying answers.
Jason Howard’s cover art shifts the specter of danger away from Dead Hand into a dramatic visage of Stealth. The winged hero’s shadow towers over his arch-nemesis and his son as he prepares to swoop down for the kill. It’s a great, dramatic composition that echoes the final battle in this issue.
Costa’s finale wraps up the mystery of Stealth’s suit efficiently and effectively by adding in a sci-fi trope that comes out of nowhere – time travel. Within the context of the story and how it all eventually comes together, it makes total sense. Using time travel as the deus ex machina for the story also adds an interesting twist to the nature of Stealth’s illness and Dead Hand’s power. Costa takes what could have been a predictable origin story and flips it on its head to open the door for a whole range of story possibilities in the future… the very far future.
As a story, it works. In service of tying up all the loose threads and open plot points throughout the miniseries, Costa’s twist is unique and satisfying. That said, the revelation of time travel is so potentially huge and fraught with potential that I wish it had been dropped in an earlier issue to give it time to breathe. It felt a little awkward introducing that plot point so late in the series. I wanted more time (no pun intended) to see where this story goes; that’s a criticism and a compliment to Costa’s writing.
Nate Bellegarde’s art style works well for giving the characters and scenery a high degree of grounded reality. It would be easy to see this series getting picked up by some network or streaming service for a series ala Netflix. Bellegarde infuses so much realism into the characters on page as to be almost photo-realistic. Tony is bedraggled in every possible way given the gauntlet of fights he’s endured over the last few issues. Dead Hand looks frighteningly malignant but not in a cartoonish way. And Stealth’s action scenes rival anything you’d see in a recent MCU film.
Above the style, I give Bellegarde big credit for the emotional punch at the end of the last battle. The timey wimey revelation at the last battle’s end was trippy and mind-bending in a way not seen anywhere else in the series. Yet, Bellegarde integrated the tunnel, visions, and memories(?) into the issue in such a way as not to distract from the realism of the series but add a whole new layer. Great work from Bellegarde.
Tamra Bonvillain really shows off some impressive psychedelic coloring techniques in this issue. Stealth’s blue radiation glow and the explosion from a wrecked car have been the only types of eye-catching pop over the sum of the series so far, but we get a little more here. The singularity, the tunnel, and the merging of events glow and flow like nothing we’ve seen before. It’s beautiful and expressive as a force of nature that makes complete sense.
Sal Cipriano’s lettering gets high marks for doing exactly what it needs to do in an exposition-heavy comic – keep things moving. There’s a LOT of exposition, and Cipriano moves your eye through the dialog without feeling like your reading an instruction manual. The best kind of dialog is the dialog that doesn’t force you to stop and think about with every panel. This issue moves fast, and Cipriano gets a lot of credit for making that happen.
STEALTH #6, available from Image Comics on October 14th, takes a quantum leap into a sci-fi subgenre to open up a whole world of future stories with the main character. The plot is inventive, and the art adds depth and dimension to the finale’s twist. This is a solid finale from the whole team.