Tech Jacket #2
Written by Joe Keatinge
Art by Khary Randolph
Published by Image Comics
Tech Jacket continues its quirky brand of storytelling, switching between Tech Jacket’s cosmic activities and his father’s somewhat-normal paternal struggles. This is neither a bad issue nor an outstanding issue. It’s one of those whose strength will be determined by its subsequent installments, so at the moment we’re just along for the ride.
The comic opens with a flashback to Zack’s birthday party, when his father was unable to get him a telescope. In the present, he’s fighting to move through the layers of muscle in the ship, when he realizes that he’s somewhere in the stomach of the creature. His father watches on the news and agonizes over whether or not to cancel Zack’s birthday party. In despair, he starts eating Zack’s cake and is scolded by Zack’s mother. Elsewhere on Earth, Stanley and Mr. Crowe scheme on how to co-opt Zack and acquire the suit to develop their own powered armor. Zack, whose suit has totally stopped working, realizes there’s a city in the beast-ship and is attacked by some natives who intentionally recharge his suit to get his translator working. After fighting for some time, he meets the apparent leader of the aliens.
This comic is kind of beating up on his dad as being perennially helpless. Admittedly, I’m not a regular reader in the Tech Jacket mythos, so it may be that he’s always sort of hapless. Still, him going to stuff his face full of cake came across as especially pathetic. As I noted in my last interview, the appeal of the comic is the way that it mixes the banal and the extraordinary, so I like seeing Zack’s dad mixed in with all of this alien action. I can only assume Zack’s dad’s feelings of emasculation will figure in later in the comic. What we really need to make Zack’s relationship to his father feel alive is for them to spend some more time together.
The action on the alien ship isn’t quite as gripping, given that we don’t really learn that much until the very end. Even then, the comic’s end reveal doesn’t give us any clue as to the end game with this ship. Also, Zack sustains an injury that seems to me like it would be fatal pretty quickly, but perhaps there’s some canon explanation for why he doesn’t immediately drop dead. As for the two schemers on earth, they only get a couple pages of action and are continuing what they started last issue. My gut feeling is that they’re offer is to going to be a compromising one in relation to Zack’s dad, but things could prove differently.