Soldier Zero is all about the pink!

Head's up, True Believers! It's Sunday, October 17, 2010, I need to get a birthday card for my mother the would-be cyborg, and this is The Side. *Cue the theme song here.*

One of these days I going to stop shamelessly ripping off Toby Turner's openings. I'm really going to have to get a theme song too. But even if i had one I wouldn't stick it on here, because I hate it when I click on a sight and suddenly it starts playing music I never asked it to. And I love music. If I didn't love music I wouldn't include different songs on here even post.

Ah well. Here's some stuff. Have at it.


The first of Stan Lee's projects with BOOM! Studios hits this week. SOLDIER ZERO is about an astronomy professor in a wheel chair who gets an alien war suit bonded to him in an accident. Its written by Paul Cornell with Javier Pina on the art chores. There's been a lot of fuss made over good ol' Uncle Stan's colaboration with BOOM! He's still a very creative fellow and he's created some interesting properties to be handled by some very talented writers and artists. Sounds totally like win. So I was practically giddy diving into issue one. Cornell has knocked my socks off with his run on ACTION COMICS. He gave me a bit of treat with KNIGHT AND SQUIRE which debuted last week. I went in expecting to have a trifecta of a love fest.

I really want to say I loved this book. I really do. But I can't.

Our hero, Stuart Trautmann, is a very nice guy. He works at a university where he's well liked and respected. His brother is a bit over protective of him, but is genuinely an alright fellow. The girl he likes, Lily, is cute and their relationship is genuinely believable. Even the way he gets bonded to the alien suit is really cool and as far as superhero origins go, its a pretty damn good one. The art by Pina is great. He's got a nice clean style that I like. It looks fabulous, and there's a lot of good stuff in there.

With all that good stuff though is seems like one nearly every page in which something isn't falling out of the sky we are hit over the head with how terrible, and awkward it is being in a wheelchair. We meet Stuart wanting to go into a store owned by someone he seems to know and who seems to know him, but he can because the store doesn't allow people in wheelchairs. OK, I get that Cornell wants to establish the adversity Stuart faces being in a wheelchair, and its admirable that he wants to show the everyday plight of someone with a disability. However, its 2010 and its 2010 or thereabouts in this story. I haven't seen a store anywhere, or any building for that matter in this day and age that is not wheelchair accessible. So I didn't get off on the right foot with this book to begin with.

There's little things in there that work like when Stuart says he should get a t-shirt made that says "You can say 'run'." However everyone treating him like he's helpless chaffs of nerves of Stuart and myself. Can he really be surrounded by that many clueless people who can't get past him being in a wheelchair? He doesn't harp on it. He doesn't ask for help because he's still capable of a lot of things. He's a good guy, and still pretty tough, so what's the deal. Every other time we see someone in a wheelchair in media, be it comics or television or movies, we are given the message of look past the chair and at the person. This is the exact opposite, which gives me a taste of Stuart's frustration, but at the same time it comes across too heavy-handed to point where I want to throw my hands up and say "OK, I get it, being in a wheelchair sucks."

There's some other things that I'm trying to work through, like how does a guy with the potential and ability to become a professor of physics get put in the front lines in Afghanistan by the Marine Corps? I have to assume that's what he signed on for since the military has a lot better use for talented hard science guys. It also provided an opening for a knock about how terrible war is and its never worth it. Not a shining moment in the book especially when its a direct reference to current real events. Yes, war is a terrible thing, and certainly we should honor our fallen who fight to protect and preserve our freedoms. I can even understand why Stuart would want to go to rallies and speak out against the war because if I ended up in a wheelchair I'd be pretty damned pissed off about the circumstances that landed me in it. Still, as someone who firmly supports our troops and our mission I found the scene off-putting.

My many gripes aside, its not a horrible book. Its pretty solid, and I'm interested to see what happens to Stuart now that he's bonded to an alien warsuit that seems to have a mind of its own. The action was sparse in this issue, but that's how it is with a lot of origin issues, so no trouble. I want to see what Stuart can do with the suit, and I want to see more of him and Lily. So issue 1 didn't really thrill me, but there was enough good stuff there to make me want to see what happens in issue 2.


October is National Breast Cancer Awareness/Prevention month. What this means to people who don't care is that they'll see pink stuff with slogans like "Save the Ta-Tas". Breast Cancer isn't typically my cause, as I tend to do more for pediatric cancer in terms of fund raising and donating. My most notorious act to raise money was getting my head shaved couple of years ago, which raised about $300. Worked out alright, because money went to a good cause, I look great bald, and it helped raise awareness. Downside was my head later got sunburned, and that sucked.

I've just found out about salon in Kansas doing their part for the cause this October. For $10 they'll put a pink streak in your hair and all the money goes to charity. This is a small, privately owned salon in a modest town. At last check a few days ago they had raised nearly $800. They unfortunately don't have a website, but you can find them at:

The New York Hair Affair
433 New York Ave.
Holton, KS 66436
(785) 305-1973

What do we learn from this? First, that even in tough economic times people still have giving hearts. Second, pink hair is worth more than my lack of hair.


The Danger Days are coming and they're sounding completely awesome.

That's a wrap for today. Starting Wednesday I'm starting a two week long Halloweenfest. Expect some spooky fun. See y'all then.

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