TITLE: Solitaire – Vol. 1, Issue 1
YEAR: November 1993
COMPANY: Ultraverse/Malibu Comics
Written by Gerard Jones
Penciller: Jeff Johnson
Inker: Barbara Kaalberg
Letterer: Tim Eldred
Color Design: Keith Conroy
Editor: Mark Kanalz
Interior Colorists: Foodhammer
Back in 1993, writer Gerard Jones and artist Jeff Johnson created a new Ultraverse superhero known as Solitaire. With only 12 issues published (after it’s eighth issue, the series was changed into a mini-series and ended with issue #12).
Unlike other Ultraverse superheroes which focused heavily on characters within the universe and fighting others with superpowers, “Solitaire” was different as it featured a one-man war on crime. A hero that works within the streets with detective skills, top-notch fighting skills but also rapid healing ability. And it was a series that took on real-world problems and very different compared to other Ultraverse series.
Solitaire’s true identity is Nicholas Lone, the son of the Los Angeles major crime lord, Antone Lone. A man who tried to kill himself when he discovers his father’s crimes and the secrets within the family. Near death, Antone had his son implanted with nanomachines that would repair his body.
Given a second chance at life, Nicholas dons the uniform of Solitaire to defeat the crime lords in the city.
In the first issue, which is set in a bad part of Los Angeles, a young woman is trying to escape a crime lord known as “The King”. She is his favorite plaything and she tries to run away, saying that she would die than go back.
When the woman is about taken, she is saved by a mysterious superhero named Solitaire. As Solitaire defeats the two men, when he tries to get info. to find out where “The King” is located, the King’s men kills them.
While Solitaire delivers the woman to safehouse, he uses his detective skills to plan a way to find where the King is located and infiltrate his mansion which is heavily guarded.
Overall, “Solitaire” was an entertaining series but much too different from other Ultraverse comic books which were superhero driven. While comics such as “Firearm” featured a normal man taking on people with Ultra powers, the universe stayed within the confines of integrating people or villains with Ultra powers, whereas Solitaire was defeating criminals with not many Ultras appearing in the comic book series.
While I enjoyed it as it reminded me of “Batman” and also “Daredevil” storylines, the comic series unfortunately was canceled, while the character would appear as a supporting character in other comic book series. Also, it didn’t help that the Ultraverse was growing in titles and while the imprint earned its legion of fans, as I was one of them, there were way too many comic books coming out that others were collecting that people had to pick and choose which titles to get. It was a crowded early ’90s for comic book companies for sure and unfortunately, “Solitaire” was one of the few Ultraverse series that didn’t last that long, despite having an exciting storyline.