Tony is a meek journalist living in crime-ridden Detroit who struggles to see the sunny side. But he’s got bigger problems to deal with — like his dementia-stricken father donning a suit to viciously fight crime as the anti-hero Stealth.
A big problem in the first issue I had was with Mike Costa’s blunt writing. But I countered that by saying: “But at the end of the day, the creative teams’ hearts are in the right place, so these aren’t crippling problems.” Well, for #2, the lack of any subtlety does a lot more damage.
The dialogue, pacing, characterization, and plot are brutally leaden. There’s a total lack of nuance, leading to a barrage of cliche exchanges and moments. We need a scene of Tony confronting his father, so instead of letting the art or subtext speak, they explain everything they’re feeling to each other in wooden dialogue, like:
“Dad…how can you even be sure what you’re doing? Do you understand how dangerous this is?” Yes. We saw that in the last issue.
“Tony, do you know how long I’ve been doing this for? I understand you’re angry — I kept this secret from you for a long time and maybe that’s not fair — but you are out of line. You have no right to pass judgement on what I do.” Yes, I do know how long you’e been doing this for. We saw that in the last issue and you spend pages afterward explaining your origin story.
Speaking of which, the origin of the Stealth suit revealed here is incredibly underwhelming. It goes so far into the wacky sci-fi realm, it loses sight of the sharp urban commentary built in #1.
Ultimately, Stealth doesn’t have characters or dialogue. Instead, it has automatons spouting exposition and bullet points.
Who I assume is the main villain, Dead Hand, shows up with a whimper in #2. While Stealth is already borrowing liberally from Iron Man and Black Panther, it decides to rip off Two Face and Ghost Rider at the same time for its villain.
Thankfully, Nate Bellegarde and Tamra Bonvillain’s art is even better than #1. These pages are thick with atmosphere through the choice amount of details Bellegarde chooses and Bonvillain’s sweltering palettes. Unfortunately, Bellegarde’s compositions are still a bit too flat at times. But his style is a fetching reminder of Ryan Ottley and Brian Stelfreeze (or even Chris Samnee if you’re feeling very generous).
Bogged down by exposition, bad dialogue, and a boatload of cliche decisions, Stealth #2’s improved art can’t save it from mediocrity.