Tech Jacket

Tech Jacket is the second book I’ve read written by Robert Kirkman, of Invincible fame. It appears to be a series which has gone on indefinite hiatus. I can’t find any evidence that any more than six issues were made, which were collected in one manga-sized trade paperback.

The story is about Zack, a young man who’s life is changed the moment he encounters a downed spaceship. A highly sophisticated alien suite of armor,a “tech jacket” jumps to Zack’s body right before the ship explodes. Thus, Zack’s now gets awsome super powers, curtesy of a body armor he cannot remove.

Turns out human physiology works with the armor 100 times better than the aliens who built it. Zack gets to come to the aide of an alien civilization, singlehandedly save them all, fight some generic badguys, win the adoration of an alien princess… yadda yadda yadda.

Robert Kirkman often blew off the superhero aspects of Invinvible, and it worked beautifully, because there were so many other interesting things going on in that story. Unfortunetly, in Tech Jacket, the scifi elements are rather dull and generic, and the book often lacks other stuff to make up for it.

The Tech Jacket itself is a rather cool invention, it appeals in a Transformers sort of way, but Kirkman fails to explore the idea of an advanced, self evolved piece of alien weapondry. We get an initial glimse of an onboard AI, which is soon completly dropped. At one point in the book, Zack is actually “trained” by one of the aliens… which consists merely target practice lesson. Zack picks up on everything immediatly, and its off to the next generic scifi scene, zip, zap pow!

The story ends on a stronger note, exploring issues with Zack and his father. But then, everything is suddenly interrupted by another generic alien attack: kaboom! The evil aliens never get a single line of dialogue, it’s almost humerously dumb. Kirkman’s a decent writer, maybe he plans to characterise the aliens later on, but for now, it just doesn’t work, it’s stupid.

The art, however, is fantastic. Not to detailed, sort of cartoonish, with great exessions and character design. The copyies I read were in color, but the collection is in black and white; I can’t comment on how well the book holds up there. The artist, however, is unable to make Kirkman’s fight choreography any less dull.

I give the story a 3 for some strong personal life moments when Kirkman isn’t doing the scifi thing. Cool art, somewhat generic fun.

Publisher: Image
Authors: Robert Kirkman and E.J. Su
Volumes Reviewed: 1

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