Pilot Season: Stealth #1

Set in Dearborn, Michigan, this book hits like the Image books of yesteryear. It sets up a believable world with the first image and doesn’t slow down from there. We meet Todd as he returns home — a home he is trying to establish as a recent divorcee. His ex-wife is trying to make the transition easy for the two of them, but Todd has also taken on the task of caring for his elderly father in addition to trying to stay connected to his daughter who is away at college.

Peppered into the revelations of Todd’s situation are the adventures of Stealth, a locally popular superhero. Stealth appears to be a hybrid of Falcon and Batman with all of Batman’s attitude, decking a set of kids spray-painting a building with a ferocity that might be better directed towards homicidal maniacs. The beatdown raised an eyebrow from me, but not much more than that.

While I may not be familiar with Sheldon Mitchell, I am quite impressed with the effort put forth here. Mitchell’s style is as close to a house style as Top Cow has. Keeping in mind that Marc Silvestri is the head of the house of Cow, certain artistic comparisons are unavoidable and Mitchell should be proud to share those comparisons. The art on this book isn’t going to set the world on fire, but it is solid, consistent, and dynamic. Mitchell does a great job of varying the characters in the book. The doctor Todd consults with isn’t a cookie-cutter clone of the protagonist, and Todd’s ex-wife, Alicia, isn’t a pin-up model labeled as a supporting character. This is a book that looks like the real-life adventures of Todd.

“Stealth” packs a surprise twist that caught me off-guard. When I saw the preview, I was ready to brand this book a cliche, not seeing much to distinguish this character from Batman, Falcon, Aztek, or any other of a number of vigilantes who float or glide their way through crime. I quickly discovered that would it be a misnomer to brand this title in that fashion. Following the big reveal in this issue, the aforementioned spray-painter beatdown takes on an entirely new dimension.

Like the other one-shots of the “Pilot Season” program, this story has potential, but whether or not that potential gets realized is up to the readership. I, for one, am fascinated by the potential repercussions of the set-up here. There’s room for this story to grow, for new ideas to be investigated and new concepts to be given wings. This isn’t ground-breaking new comics here, but the story is offbeat enough to be intriguing.

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