Richard Anderson, the man who played Oscar Goldman in The Six Million Dollar Man TV series tried for years to get a Bionic Man movie off the ground. Many different writers took a stab at a script. In the mid-90s, Kevin Smith famously wrote a script for a Bionic Man movie that was a reboot of the TV series. I was very excited about this prospect as, at the time, I was a big fan of Kevin Smith and loved the idea of him re-imagining the Steve Austin universe (of which I was a big fan). Unfortunately, nothing ever happened on that project. It just disappeared. Then, in March 2011, Kevin Smith announced that his unproduced script would be re-adapted into a comic book series for Dynamite comics. The comic’s script would be written by Phil Hester and be based on Smith’s movie script. The book’s interiors would be drawn by Jonathan Lau, it would have Alex Ross variant covers and the name would be Kevin Smith’s The Bionic Man. The first issue would be released in August 2011.
Up to this point I have read the first 14 issues of Dynamite’s The Bionic Man. The first 10 issues contain the story arc that is taken directly from Kevin Smith’s unproduced script.
Essential Plot: It starts off very similar to the original TV show/novel. The events have been updated a bit and a few things changed. We actually start off, not with Steve Austin, but with a break in at a government laboratory. An unknown assailant kills all the scientists and steals what looks like a bionic arm. Then we cut to Steve Austin at home. He’s still a test pilot. He’s engaged to Jaime Sommers. Austin is about to retire as a test pilot and marry Jaime. He just has one more test flight to make. And what happens is exactly what you expect. Something goes wrong with the flight, Austin crashes and loses both of his legs, his right arm and his left eye. In this story he’s good friends with a younger version of Oscar Goldman. They convince Steve to become a part of their bionics experiment, so the government pronounces him dead and begin the operations to graft on the bionic limbs. There are several issues devoted to Steve’s recovery and coming to grips with the fact that he’s now part machine. In issue #7 Jaime returns as Steve unexpectedly finds himself at her house and reveals to her that he’s not, in fact, dead. In this issue we also discover that the earlier mysterious assailant from issue #1 has ties to Austin and the bionic program, so the rest of the story arc is discovering information about this assailant and Steve going after him to put a stop to his plans.
The next issue after the Smith arc, #11, was a standalone issue. Steve goes back to his parents’ ranch for some soul searching. We meet his parents and see that his father is dying.
Issue #12 begins the first new wholly original story arc. It’s written by Phil Hester and Aaron Gillespie and drawn by Ed Tadeo. This story introduces the fan favorite bionic Bigfoot from the TV show into the new bionic universe. Austin discovers some unscrupulous people are attaching bionic parts to Bigfoot creatures so he teams up with one of them to help.