The original TV show for the Six Million Dollar Man was before my generation. The basic idea is that a former astronaut by the name of Steve Austin was injured and rebuilt into a cyborg. That’s really the only way to view, but in the reality of TV it was just special effects and a normal dude. My problem when viewing the show is the same problem that I had with this comic book. The fact that Steve Austin is a cyborg never plays into the story telling in a way that is relevant to his humanity. This issue begins the six “season” of the original TV series and while some may care or remember what happened in the fifth season… I did not. There are two plot lines introduced; the first is a satellite that was sent to Venus and disappeared when it hit some space radiation and now has returned to earth intact many years later. The big mystery is what changed its course and protected it upon reentry. Steve is to help retrieve the satellite and of course there’s a female acquaintance there for him to hit on.
The second part of the story is some evil fuck company building androids that look exactly like Steve. I have no idea why their android needed to resemble Steve, but they do. What’s their plan? I don’t know, but it seems to be that you don’t display your new killer android to the U.S. government when you have nefarious plans involving them.
While the plot lines are very basic, that’s okay. It is based on an aged TV show and frankly the world has moved much farther than the creators and writers of the original show could ever have predicted. I wasn’t expecting that part to be anything short of predictable and it wasn’t.
The problem is Steve Austin because he is a cyborg, but never once does he deal with that. He never once battles or even thinks about whether or not he’s more machine, than man. He doesn’t deal with the possibility that he’ll never be able to have a normal future because he’s a cyborg. Instead he hits on every woman he sees and at one point is called, “very charming.” If my personal assistant announced anyone in this way I would first be happy that I achieved a status in life that required a personal assistant and then I would instruct them never to inform me about who they thought was “charming.” It was clearly there to inflate Steve’s personality to the reader and show that he’s “still got it.” Instead it dated the story and reminds the reader of a time in which female actresses were actually given terrible dialogue like this to perform with. If she had suddenly spilled water on her chest while saying “call me later” I wouldn’t have been surprised because it was that bad.
A top-secret human project never works. There’s a show on TV currently called Intelligence and it shares one aspect with the Six Million Dollar Man; they both have human stars with top-secret government tech in their bodies. The problem is that they’re not allowed to tell people and so when they do something impossible in front of them there’s only two ways out: tell them or never acknowledge it and move on. Dollar Man chooses the former of the two as he’s attacked by a great white shark and it breaks his robotic arm. Going back to Steve’s lack of a struggle between machine and man, he’s more concerned that he leaked radiation than exposing himself to have a robo arm. Not that he has to say at that point because a group of people watched him practically hover above water and punch the shit out of a shark. It leads me to believe that no one in this world has a problem with a cyborg running around as long as he’s a smooth talker and can punch sharks. Personally I wouldn’t be so trusting and I think that’s the normal human response.
It is worth noting that the artwork is era appropriate (for the most part) and actually very solid. Much like the plot though, it was what you’d expect.
This series is only for one group of people: fans of the original Six Million Dollar Man. It offers nothing for people freshly exposed to the franchise and when you consider how much content is similar or better than this that’s been made since the show went off the air… well it doesn’t look like Steve Austin has much of a chance to win over new fans with his form-fitting long-sleeved tees and tight jeans. The bottom-line is this issue tried really hard to pick up right after the end of the fifth season and it succeeded… but that’s not a compliment.
Writer: Jim Kuhoric Artist: Juan Antonio Ramirez Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 3/12/14