Written by: Joe Keatinge
Published by: Image Comics
There are definitely a few pacing issues when it comes to “Tech Jacket #1” but it also serves its purpose as a debut comic, leaving you with a splash page cliff-hanger that warrants at least turning up next month to see where the creative team can go from here.
Writer Joe Keatinge really gives us a mixed bag with this comic. For readers new to the series you’ll find yourself asking some questions that you don’t get satisfying answers to. Such is the problem with first issues because the writer must somehow balance the proper amount of exposition with the proper amount of Give me something cool so I buy your book next month. In the second respect Keatinge delivers. As does his artistic collaborator Khary Randolph. Randolph provides this space adventure with enough visual flair to assuage any concerns about how this book is going to look. Because it’s going to look awesome. Get over it.
While the art delivers the appropriate amount of gravitas to each scene, the script doesn’t do its counterpart enough favours to propel this book into “must-read” territory. Don’t get me wrong, Tech Jacket has the makings of being a must-read book, but the pieces haven’t fallen into place just yet. This is partly due to the lack of compelling character work and not enough bad guy backstory to really understand and appreciate the conflict we’re being thrown into.
The characters aren’t as nuanced as they could have been and the dialogue is at times too snappy and too melodramatic at others. Given more time Tech Jacket will likely solidify its voice but this first issue bounces around a little too much. Likewise, we aren’t given information about much of anything here. We get the most cursory introduction to the characters and the basic premise and are shown one Earth-bound threat and one in outer space but essentially no explanation is given as to why either should be very compelling past your own curiosity. This fast pacing could become an asset for the series going forward but it didn’t do the creative team any favours this time out as they’re constantly shifting gears.
Randolph definitely possess the skill-set needed to carry a book that features many science-fiction influences and also revolves around a young protagonist. This book has the look and feel of being able to compete for your money when placed next to Nova, the comic that is most like it on stands. Randolph is at his best when the focus is on outer space and he has a great eye for detail when it comes to the little bit of action that we see in this issue. This series shouldn’t want for a unique artistic voice so long as Randolph and colour artist Dave McCaig are onboard.
When this high-flying issue was complete I was equal parts enthused and frustrated. The extreme lack of detail when it came to characters and backstory didn’t allow the “shocking” revelation to actually shock. That said, “Tech Jacket #1” does provide enough incentive to check back because of the promise shown in the science-fiction elements of the book and the classic entertainment value found in the Peter Parker-ian hero. It’s not the most impressive debut of the week but it’s good enough to warrant checking it out to see if the series is something you’re interested in.