Following on the heels of the exciting espionage and intrigue-filled series The Bionic Man, this year’s The Six Million Dollar Man Season Six unfortunately didn’t pack the same punch needed to continue the series beyond its first six issues. It begs the question of whether five seasons really was enough, or whether it’s just too difficult to grab a modern audience with the story of a cybernetic human from the 1970s and 1980s when technology has moved so far past that era.
The reboot via Dynamite Comics’ license for Steve Austin began with a script by Kevin Smith that was then taken over by Phil Hester and wrapped with Aaron Gillespie. Their series retold Steve Austin’s story of a test pilot crashing and being saved from death via cybernetics in the modern day. It was a great read that blended the best of the TV series with technology of today. The mistake may have been discontinuing that series for a reboot aimed to leverage the current marketing hook that worked so well for other TV series continuing in comic book form, the best being Dark Horse Comics’ multi-season Buffy the Vampire Slayer Seasons Eight through Ten, and IDW Publishing’s The X-Files Season Ten.
Why weren’t readers pulled in for the Bionic retro-fix? The fact the story was necessarily planted in the past? The lack of photo-real interior artwork? With a new Bionic Man movie in the works with Mark Wahlberg, it may be the next time we see a Steve Austin comic book series is an adaptation of that movie.
Regardless of your thoughts on the short The Six Million Dollar Man Season Six–only six issues–you can’t deny the stunning, painted, photo-real cover art that accompanied the series, thanks to Bionic Man fan Alex Ross. Ross’s cover run for the series was at the top of his work for 2014.
For those who missed the six-issue Season Six this year or for Bionic Man completists, just in time for Christmas, Dynamite Comics is releasing the trade paperback edition Wednesday, December 24. You can pre-order it here at Amazon.com or order a copy from your local comic book shop.