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Review: Stealth #1

Stealth #1

Stealth is a hard read, as is the case with most stories dealing with mental illness. It holds nothing back as it takes a measured look at the dynamics between a father and son struggling to make sense of a particularly rough psychiatric condition. Of course, everything’s made harder when it’s revealed the father’s a superhero that can confuse innocents with criminals due to his mental state. Needless to say, this comic lands as hard as a punch to the gut—and then some—and it has every intention of saying something important about the subject matter.

Written by Mike Costa and illustrated by Nate Bellegarde Stealth centers on a Detroit-based black superhero—the titular Stealth— as he faces a crisis-like challenge: Alzheimer’s. His son, reporter Tony Barber, is already aware of the situation, just not of the fact his dad is a superhero. That is until he walks in on his dad in full hero getup, looking as if lost in his own home. From there we get to the central question of the story: should Stealth be taken out of the superhero game, even if it means leaving a crime-riddled Detroit without its protector?

Costa and Bellegarde do a great job of balancing classic superhero tropes with the metaphors and messages surrounding the overarching narrative, which is driven by Stealth’s condition. They seem to be aware of the importance of not letting the mental illness factor drown out the superhero element, and vice versa. One of the ways they do this is by mixing tried and true superhero traditions in order to shape them into something easily recognizable.

Stealth is basically a combination of Sam Wilson’s Falcon, Batman, and a hero’s burning need to save a city. Daniel (Stealth’s real name) wears each influence on his sleeves. Some of Sam Wilson’s influence can be found in Stealth’s suit, a high-tech winged suit that looks like it was taken from one of the most recent iterations of the character in the current Marvel universe.

That he is a black superhero, though, opens up a whole slew of racial politics that can make their way into the treatment the character’s alter ego, especially when considering Detroit’s actual track-record with the black population. It feels as if the city will stand for something more than just another innocent worth saving.

Image Comics

In fact, echoes of Batman come through with the comic’s surprising focus on the city of Detroit itself. Costa and Bellegarde take every chance they get to show just how important Stealth is to the city and its continued safety. You get the sense that benching Stealth in this story would be as catastrophic as taking Batman out of Gotham. This is magnified by Bellegarde’s designs for Stealth. He’s always presented as a towering figure, a superior agent of justice.

And yet, that same degree of care that’s afforded to the hero’s presence is then flipped to ramp up the tension surrounding the situation. Once we’re made aware of Stealth’s diagnosis, the story’s emotional spectrum opens up and we’re left with a heartbreaking portrayal of a man that can end up doing a lot of damage in his attempts to do good. Costa’s script does wonders in putting the reader through a revolving door of emotions that makes one scared for the hero but also for those that can get badly swept up in his path. Again, what would happen if Batman could no longer distinguish friend from foe?

Tamra Bonvillain’s colors add to this play of superheroes tropes and mental health representations by going for the spectacular during action scenes, on one hand, to then going for a more restrained touch for the more intimate sequences. It makes everything blend in organically as it essentially guides readers through the multiple metaphorical worlds contained in the comic with smooth transitions. The colors here set the tone and then account for each change in it.

Both versions of Stealth, new version on the left, original version on the right.

It should be noted that Stealth is based on a Robert Kirkman and Marc Silvestri comic that sticks to many of the same storytelling beats of the original story but with some key changes. Kirkman and Silvestri’s Stealth is a white man and his son is navigating what appears to be a recent divorce. This changes the dynamic quite a bit. Skin color can ultimately dictate the feel of the story, whether it wants to or not, and the expectations that come with black characters in terms of representation are already felt throughout Costa and Bellegarde’s Stealth.

Additionally, I consider Costa and Bellegarde’s Stealth to have a much better hold on pacing. Costa’s script pulls off a brilliant gamble with misdirection early on that focuses on the son and the real identity of Stealth, leading to a reveal that was very well orchestrated. Kirkman’s script lets you in on most of the story’s secrets early on and, as a result, doesn’t feel as profound as it does in the new version. It’s still an interesting read, but I prefer Costa’s and Bellegarde’s take.

Stealth #1 presents a world of conversation starters regarding mental illness, hero worship, and straight up comic book storytelling. It’s a story about checking in with our heroes to know when they’ve reached their limit and when to flip the roles to take care of them. It’s about a kind of responsibility we need to own up to more than we actually do.

Script: Mike Costa Art: Nate Bellegarde Colors: Tamra Bonvillain
Story: 10
Art: 10
Recommendation: Buy, and get ready to shed a tear or two

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review.

Robert Kirkman and Marc Silvestri’s Stealth in Development with Universal and Out in March 2020

Image Comics and Skybound Entertainment presents an action-packed, six-issue vigilante miniseries this March—Stealth—from the minds of Robert Kirkman and Marc Silvestri, written by Mike Costa, drawn by Nate Bellegarde, and colored by Tamra Bonvillain.

The series features covers by Jason Howard and is concurrently in development with Universal Pictures and Skybound entertainment.

Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby will write the script for the forthcoming Stealth adaptation. The writing duo’s credits include Iron Man and Cowboys & Aliens. Oscar-nominated Lee Daniels will direct and produce along with his partner Pam Williams. The film will be produced by Skybound’s film team—including Kirkman, David Alpert, Bryan Furst, and Sean Furst—and Universal Executive Vice President of Production Matt Reilly will oversee the project on behalf of the studio.

For decades, Stealth has waged war on crime in Detroit, but now he’s taken his pursuit of justice too far. Only reporter Tony Barber knows that behind Stealth’s reckless behavior is an older man battling Alzheimer’s—his father. A father unwilling to accept that he’s no longer the hero this city needs…with enemies all too eager to force his retirement.

This pulse-pounding new series is Black Panther meets Iron Man and is a must-read for Dead Eyes fans.

Stealth #1 (Diamond Code JAN200138) will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, March 11.

Stealth #1

Preview: Venom: First Host #5 (of 5)

Venom: First Host #5

(W) Mike Costa (A) Paco Diaz (A/CA) Mark Bagley
Rated T+
In Shops: Sep 26, 2018
SRP: $3.99

• As if things couldn’t get any worse, Tel-Kar, THE FIRST HOST, has set his sights on Earth!
• Though this Kree soldier may have been a war hero for his beloved homeworld, he has no such affections for Earth…
• …and all that’s standing between him and the planet…IS VENOM!

Preview: Venom: First Host #4 (of 5)

Venom: First Host #4 (of 5)

(W) Mike Costa (A) Paco Diaz (A/CA) Mark Bagley
Rated T+
In Shops: Sep 19, 2018
SRP: $3.99

• Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote have been SEPARATED, but Brock isn’t giving up without a fight!
• With a pair of unlikely allies, Brock takes the fight to his symbiote’s home turf…outer space!

Preview: Venom: First Host #3 (of 5)

Venom: First Host #3

(W) Mike Costa (A) Ron Lim (A/CA) Mark Bagley
Rated T+
In Shops: Sep 12, 2018
SRP: $3.99

After the extraterrestrial ambush of last issue, the Venom symbiote will have to choose between allowing its newborn offspring to die…or separate from Eddie Brock!

Preview: Venom: First Host #2 (of 5)

Venom: First Host #2 (of 5)

(W) Mike Costa (A) Ron Lim (A/CA) Mark Bagley
Rated T+
In Shops: Sep 05, 2018
SRP: $3.99

• The mystery of VENOM’S first host continues to unfold as EDDIE and the VENOM are ambushed by a Skrull only to be saved by an unlikely ally, a Kree soldier named TEL-KAR!
• But why are these two following Eddie? And why did TEL-KAR call it HIS symbiote?

Preview: Venom: First Host #1

Venom: First Host #1

(W) Mike Costa (A/CA) Mark Bagley
Rated T+
In Shops: Aug 29, 2018
SRP: $3.99

MIKE COSTA AND MARK BAGLEY REUNITE FOR A VENOM STORY UNLIKE ANY OTHER!
Before the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN…before VENOM… There was the FIRST HOST. And that First Host has returned in need of Venom’s help – only by reuniting can the two avert cosmic ruin! Can Eddie and the symbiote trust one another long enough to save the galaxy, or will the FIRST HOST prove to be Venom’s undoing?!

Review: Amazing Spider-Man: Venom Inc.

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got Spider-Man and Venom!

Amazing Spider-Man: Venom Inc. collects Amazing Spider-Man: Venom Inc. Alpha and Omega, Amazing Spider-Man #792-793, and Venom #159-160 by Dan Slott, Mike Costa, Ryan Stegman, Gerardo Sandoval, and Brian Reber.

Get your copy in comic shops today and book stores on May 22nd. To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

 

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Preview: Venom #165

Venom #165

(W) Mike Costa (A) Mark Bagley (CA) Ryan Stegman
Rated T+
In Shops: Apr 25, 2018
SRP: $3.99

THE NATIVITY Part 2
• As Eddie and the symbiote find themselves less trusting of one another than ever before, a new enemy emerges and threatens to tear the two of them apart…and not just from each other!
• IN THIS ISSUE: Startling revelations that set the stage for the Venom epic of the fall!

Preview: Venom #164

Venom #164

Story: Mike Costa
Art: Mark Bagley
Ink: Scott Hanna
Color: Dono Sanchez-Almara
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover: Ryan Stegman, Morry Hollowell
Venom 30th Anniversary Variant Cover: John Tyler Christopher
Executive Editor: Nick Lowe
Editor: Devin Lewis
Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman
Rated T+
In Shops: Apr 04, 2018
SRP: $3.99

THE NATIVITY Part 1
• EDDIE BROCK, together with his symbiote partner, is VENOM! But just when things seemed like they were going back to normal, Eddie learns a terrible truth: the symbiote has been keeping a secret from him.
• And after years together, this is the one secret that their relationship might not bounce back from…
• The march to Venom’s 30th Anniversary starts HERE!

Almost American
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