Tech Jacket #1
Written by Joe Keatinge
Art by Khary Randolph
Published by Image Comics
Tech Jacket isn’t quite a revival of an old series, but it’s an opportunity for Image to revisit a character who hasn’t been written about in some time. Originally created by Robert Kirkman, “Tech Jacket” is a high-school age boy named Zack Thompson who acquires an alien suit of power armor and goes on to become a guardian of the galaxy. In the spirit of full disclosure, I must say before I offer any more of insights into this issue that I had never read any of the series until now. Having said that, this is a good first issue even if you aren’t familiar with the mythos of the series.
The issue begins with a flashback to Zack and his father staring up at the stars and discussing whether or not alien life exists. We then fast forward to the present day, where it’s business as usual while Zack defeats a monster. The greater concern is that his father is filing for unemployment and the forms are difficult to fill out. Elsewhere, one human, Mr. Crowe, and one alien, Stanley, are discussing Zack Thompson and his relationship with the Geldarians. They plan to use Zack as a means to lead their own soldiers in powered armor. Elsewhere in space, a continent sized ship appears near Mercury and attacks the Geldarians, provoking Zack into attacking the ship to figure out just what it is and what’s happened to his girlfriend.
Part of what makes Tech Jacket endearing is the way that it mixes the banal and the fantastic. Reading Zack’s dad in anguish over filling out unemployment forms while a tongueless alien is in the same room is pretty amusing. Likewise, Zack talking about avoiding donuts is good for a laugh, considering he’s watching his weight for an alien princess. The dialogue between Mr. Crowe and Stanley nearly took a turn for the clichéd but thankfully averts the laughing villain trope by trying to subvert Tech Jacket. I do worry that the series might fall into the trope of harming Lin just to motivate the male character, but I’ll wait and allow my expectations to be subverted.
There’s not much else to say about this series, especially given that it’s just getting started. The artwork is stylized and brings out the fantastic elements in Tech Jacket’s world; the details and coloring of all the aliens really pops in this book. I’ll be curious to read the second issue and see how they explain the attack on the Geldarians.