Here it is, the issue of the giant panel. Steve Austin fighting on a train and writer Van Jensen had artist Ron Salas do it all in one panel that goes over the length of the book. Jensen talks with Byron Brewer about how Austin is now at odds with the organization that made him and just what that might mean for his future. Six Million Dollar Man: Fall of Man #3 is on sale now from Dynamite.
BYRON BREWER: Seriously, Van, in the current issue of Six Million Dollar Man: Fall of Man, you have our hero Steve Austin battling agents from his own organization?! Will Steve ever work for the OSI again?
VAN JENSEN: Certainly it doesn't look possible, does it?! It seemed like a story that's kind of fitting for today, an era in which distrust of government is pretty high again. The main thing I come back to is that organizations themselves have no moral value. It's all about the people within the entities. And that's going to be key to the way Steve views OSI going forward.
BB: A lot of this issue touches on something I do not think was ever approached to this degree in the iconic series, and that was bionics vs. humanity. What effect has this had on Steve and his actions throughout this chapter of his life?
VJ: It's a little like Icarus' wings, I guess, in that bionics have enabled Steve to become something far beyond ordinary. But it also takes him so far away from humanity that it leads to peril. What we're seeing is him realize he's approaching that boundary and making some desperate efforts to slow his progress, if not turn around completely. I think there's also a dash of mid-life crisis in there, too!
BB: For those who may not have picked up #3, I know that this is a very special issue ("We just had to break the mold," the solicit says). Tell us what you can about that.
VJ: I remember distinctly reading G.I. Joe "Silent Interlude" (the issue without text) as a kid and seeing the format of comics for the first time, the underlying structure. Part of being a writer is using the structure in the telling of the story. So, for me, #3 was an opportunity within the story to do some wild formal experimentation, crafting a single issue that is all one 22-page spread—a chase across the top of a train. So much credit goes to the editors and Ron Salas for believing in the idea and bringing it to life! If nothing else, I hope it's an issue that some kid somewhere will read and see all of the possibilities of what can be done with comics.
BB: Ron has really been hitting these pages out of the park! I cannot wait to see his rendition of the German sites while also handling 1970s period clothing, etc. You are a cruel task master, Van!
VJ: It doesn't help that I regularly call Ron and yell, "Draw faster! Draw! Draw!"
BB: I don't know why, but I think there may be another twist or two in this saga re the OSI. Any comment?
VJ: Only two? Things get pretty weird in #4, which will finally see the revelation behind the computer voice in Steve's head (and why it's so profane). And then things get even more bizarre from there.
BB: How fun has it been to try and duplicate the TV series' iconic "effects" in comic book form? Or HAS it been fun? (laughs)
VJ: I just type veeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyy slowly.
BB: A little hint about what's coming up? Non-spoilery, of course.
VJ: Robots. A video game savant. Backstabbing. Defenestration. And much, much more.
This interview was provided by Dynamite Entertainment.