Tech Jacket was the original hero in the Invincible universe, premiering several months before Invincible came on the scene, but unfortunately, as Robert Kirkman got more involved in titles like Invincible and Walking Dead, Tech Jacket fell by the wayside and ran only for a 6-issue mini series. He’s appeared now and then in Invincible, but as a character with his own book, he’s fared badly.
Until now. He comes back in his own 3-issue digital-only mini-series called Tech Jacket Digital and it’s about time!
Zach Thompson, who was bonded with the Geldarian armored suit against his will and given the position of Galactic Guardian, whether he wanted it or not. The original mini-series dealt with how he managed to come to grips with that responsibility. Shift forward several years and you’ve got a much more mature Zach Tompson, who is confident in his position and whose father has adopted the role of watcher from a Geldarian satellite in space. Zach has found a Geldarian girl that he’s fallen in love with and everything seems good in the world.
Well, except that we pick up around Invincible #60, where Zach is getting the crap beat out of him by various and sundry incarnations of Invincible, during the Invincible War. He gets trashed and put into the hospital for several months, during which the Geldarians repair his suit. He and his girlfriend Lin go off on a vacation so he can get his head back in the game and while there, they discover that human and Geldarian physiology doesn’t exactly play well together. Upset, Zach sends Lin away and then falls right into Null, a galactic bounty hunter for hire that’s been assigned to take his armor away from him at any cost, even his own life. Can he survive the onslaught or will this be the last mission of Zach Thompson, Galactic Guardian of Earth?
Of course he survives, but you’re not used to seeing a superhero spending so much time in the hospital on the verge of death. That’s actually a welcome change if you ask me, most superheroes take a ton of damage that they realistically shouldn’t be able to take and come back for more. Here, Zach is a regular guy in a super suit and there are consequences to his actions. Tech Jacket, like most of the comics in Kirkman’s stable, are about people, not about mindless combat. Sure, there’s plenty of fights but at the end of the day, whether it’s Zach Thompson or Mark Grayson or Gary Hampton, these are people living relatively normal lives until something extraordinary is thrust upon them. They’re not perfect people, they have their flaws but they work their way through them. They have relationships, they have fights, they have their ups and their downs, their triumphs and their disappointments and it isn’t just a means to get the characters out beating up bad guys, in fact, the bad guys often get in the way of what’s important, being decent human beings. That’s really something that I like about Kirkman’s superhero stuff, that there are genuinely nice guys behind the masks.
This online mini was done by Joe Keatinge and Khary Randolph and they perform admirably. Granted, we haven’t seen a lot of Tech Jacket to gauge by, but it feels very… Tech Jackety to me, the characters come off as real and the art is quite well done IMO.
I really wish they could get a Tech Jacket ongoing series going. There’s certainly a lot of potential behind the character and we haven’t explored much of what this character can do, although I understand that there isn’t a huge difference between Tech Jacket and Invincible in terms of storylines so maybe focusing on one character is the best way to go. Still, I think I’m going to miss the adventures of Zach and his team and maybe Image can find a way to get Keatinge and Randolph back for a full-time series of the Galactic Guardian of Earth. I sure hope so.