THE 6 MILLION DOLLAR MAN IN JAPAN collection, available from Dynamite on March 18th, is a fresh take on the 70’s cyborg. Written by Christopher Hastings, this is the complete collection of Steve Austin’s very first mission, but a less faithful adaptation of the original TV series. Does it stir all the right nostalgia feels? Let’s find out.
Hastings chose to take Steve in a slightly different direction for the character’s first outing. In the original TV show, Steve is more serious and determined. Here, Hastings has written Steve as a cavalier and joking character. Hastings stops just short of slapstick, but you get a distinct Deadpool vibe with the constant stream of jokes. It’s different, and it’s a lot of fun.
David Hahn opted for a comic strip style with the artwork, and it fits the tone to a tee. But make no mistake, the lines are sharp when necessary and flowing when called for. For example, Steve’s exposed bionics are sufficiently mechanical looking to suit what robotics should look like for that time period. Hahn’s art works really well.
Favorite Panel/Page: By far, my favorite is the last page of issue #4 in the collection. Steve recklessly jumps out of a plane in an attempt to use his metallic body as a projectile and ram another plane. His plan fails in spectacular (and hilarious) fashion.
Roshan Kurichiyanil’s coloring work is bright and cheery, which compliments both the tone of the story and Steve Austin’s personality. Excellent work.
Hats off to Ariana Maher for the lettering in this collection. It’s difficult enough to letter for English in assorted modes of conversation – shouts, whispers, normal speech – but more impressive to also correctly letter in Japanese AND Russian as well. Hats off, indeed.
Michael Walsh’s cover art matches the bright and fun style of the internal pages. The costume design and background imagery fit the 60’s/70’s aesthetic of TV shows with fantastical elements ala Man From UNCLE, Get Smart, and I Dream Of Jeannie. Oddly, Walsh creates a style more reminiscent of the 60’s than the mid-70’s (which is when the story takes place) but it works.
THE 6 MILLION DOLLAR MAN IN JAPAN collection is a departure from the Steve Austin you know and love, but the series is thoroughly entertaining. Pick this book up if you like your sci-fi light, with a lot of action and plenty of humor.