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It’s been quite some time since I reviewed Solitaire #1. What I like about the Ultraverse crime-buster is that he was designed to be a very agile combat expert with the ability to regenerate. Apart from being a very capable fighter, Solitaire is also very skilled detective and has lots of connections (with informers). Some comic geeks compared him to Batman and Wolverine but within the Ultraverse, Solitaire is unique.
Now we can take a look back at Solitaire #2, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story by Gerard Jones and art by Jeff Johnson (inked by Barb Kaalberg). This particular comic book is connected with the Ultraverse crossover event Break-Thru.
The story begins in Small Town, U.S.A., a place described to be happy with the air full of laughter, the chatter of children and music played by a band. Solitaire arrives and quickly an arrow was launched at him and missed. The place’s defenders are already aware of him.
The place turns out to be an amusement park filled with tourists who paid for rides, sights and fun. In the middle of it, Solitaire is on a mission. Another arrow was fired at him but thanks to his reflexes, he grabbed it, allowed himself to fall into the water. A lady with a bow and arrows arrives to check on him but Solitaire quickly got back at her, restraining her.
After he asked where the bomb is located, she points to the moon. Suddenly another arrow is fired and hits Solitaire on his left thigh…
Now that the establishment of Solitaire’s origin and superhero nature has been done, this comic book’s story is pretty adventurous to read. The good news is that it is a well-made adventure that not only delivered the fun but also established Solitaire’s place in the Ultraverse (thanks to the link with the Break-Thru crossover). When it comes to developing Solitaire not only as a crime fighter but as a person, I like the use of flashbacks from his past recalling his time as a much younger visitor to the amusement park complete with his mother remaining a hole in his memory.
More on the story, it is not only adventurous but also packed with action. This time, Solitaire does not fight the stereotypical thugs but rather lady defenders of the Moon Man who are so willing to do their jobs, they attack Solitaire even if it means harming the tourists. The build-up leading to the encounter with the villain was nicely paced and was a worthy pay-off.
When it comes to the art, this is one very nice-looking comic book thanks to Jeff Johnson. The illustrator knew how to pace the story visually and when to add punch to the action scenes and stunts.
Solitaire #2 is a fun-filled Ultraverse comic book that is worth reading again and again. What it lacked in character development, it bounced back big time with action and adventure elements.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Solitaire #2, be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $4 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $8.
Overall, Solitaire #2 is recommended!
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