Chris Hastings’ Writer’s Commentary on The Six Million Dollar Man #5 – ‘Meet The Jerk That Steve And Niko Have To Save’


Chris Hastings delivers a Writer’s Commentary on The Six Million Dollar Man #5, on sale now from Dynamite. He writes,


Okay, last chance to appreciate Michael Walsh’s covers for this miniseries as a whole. They’re all just perfect encapsulations of not just the plot of the book, or depictions of the characters, but they sell the tone of the book too with such style. Good design and a sense of humor?! Yes, please!


Hey, remember Rick? The helicopter pilot from the first issue? You don’t? That’s okay, that’s why I’ve typed this.



We probably could have fit a whole other issue’s worth of fun in the catchup that Rick and Niko are providing Steve with here. When he hit the ground his body basically exploded like a GI Joe action figure (I would say a Six Million Dollar Man doll, but I’m specifically thinking of the smaller GI Joes that had rubber bands inside them that kept them together) you throw off a bridge. Niko had to parachute after him, find all his pieces, avoid detection by base security. Then there’s all the stuff with the Soviet plane escaping U.S. jets while Amari’s plane stealth landed. Rick was up to some pretty cool stuff in his garage probably…

…but this is the last issue and comics are a condensed storytelling medium, so TALLY HO.


One of the guiding goals we had for this series was to make Steve and his tech a little more rough n’ ready. When you look back at the TV show, we see the limits of special effects of the time, but we didn’t have to worry about that in the comic. So what if we lean in more on the limits of Steve’s cyborg tech? He falls apart, and he needs a car battery to stay alive.


Hello, meet the jerk that Steve and Niko have to save. I think if we stuck to the actual history, this would have been Jimmy Carter or Gerald Ford running against each other for President. But then our villain would have had to have some kind of grudge against Carter’s peanut farming or something. So we stuck with a fictional VP who somehow had something to do with the U.S. bombing Japan earlier in his career.


“Steve Austin died in a test flight accident” is one of those things that’s just really fun to sneak in to a book that implies a bigger history, like Steve Austin had some renown as an astronaut, and to make him a spy they just left him “officially” dead.

When I was trying to figure out the Patterson ’76 slogan, I found a FASCINATING list of older campaign slogans.

That’s a nice carpet design.

Despite all the home-brew gas powered mods just to keep Steve alive and FAR less than super-powered, he does manage to have a fully functional cyborg eye with it’s… not exactly hard defined abilities? So yeah, he can see nuclear radiation, and is using it to track Amari.

Not just nuclear sludge, but like… weird mutated fungal nuclear sludge. It’s incredibly gross, and I have a feeling that David and Rosh had a fabulous time rendering it.

Ha ha, hell yeah! THAT’S something you don’t see on the show! Also, shout out to Ariana and Zack for making sure our Japanese radioactive fungus monster doesn’t barf acid in English.

Much like how Steve Austin was destroyed by the limits of U.S. crafted technology, and then rebuilt with wealth and science, Takeshi Amari was similarly ruined and rebuilt. The difference is he put all his money into weirdo genetically modified plants, animals and fungus to keep himself alive, all mixed up with a heavily radiated body. Also Amari is just pure anger, and Steve’s pretty chill.

All lines about pants or butts were added after I saw this artwork.

“Arrest that creature” really shows a level of confidence (or arrogance?) that I don’t know I could ever achieve.

Nice of OSI to finally show up.

The Soviets and the caretaker were in cahoots! The true villains escape to threaten democracy another day.

I hope you didn’t think we forgot about Oscar Goldman.

Just kidding about the villains escaping. (wink)

Thank you for reading our take on Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man! This project was a blast to work on, top to bottom. From the earliest stages of building the story with my editor, Nate, to the very last bits of seeing all the joyful collaboration between the rest of the team. The whole thing has been a real “comics are pretty great sometimes” affirmation for me. I hope you think so too.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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