Tech Jacket is a graphic novel series about Zack Thompson, a teenager who is given a set of powered armour by a dying alien and uses it to become the hero Tech Jacket. The series ran to eight issues collected into two volumes.
Originally written by Robert Kirkman, the comic ran from November 2002 to April 2003.
The series shares a universe with the Invincible, Brit and Capes with Zack (as tech jacket) appearing in several Invincible comics.
This series provides examples of:
- 24-Hour Armor: The Geldarians' bodies are particularly small and weak. They developed the Tech Jackets to help them do mundane physical tasks that able-bodied humans take for granted. The Tech Jackets are bonded to Galderians the moment they are born and are worn at all times, only removed at the Geldarian wearer's command. When Kelda attaches his armor to Zack, the latter finds he is unable to remove it.
- Alien Non-Interference Clause: The Geldarians have a law against their technology falling into the hands of less advanced species. Kelda, the Geldarian who crashes on Earth, breaks this role by giving Zack his Tech Jacket to protect the boy from his ship's explosion.
- And the Adventure Continues:
- The original series ends with Zack taking armoring up to deal with his first crisis after the Geldarians return home and leave him with a new satellite base.
- The series ends with Zack having stopped defending Earth due to Robot's takeover of Earth making his job obsolete, but still fights threats outside of Earth and is last seen heading off to defend Geldarians from Kresh remnants.
- Beware the Nice Ones: When a Kresh soldier kills a Geldarian woman and her baby whom Zack tried to protect, he flies into a berserker rage and kills every single Kresh in reach.
- Clothes Make the Superman: Without the Tech Jacket Zack is an ordinary human.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Zack has a crush on a girl named Rebecca, whom he learns is already going out with jock Brad. Later on, Rebecca apologizes to him for blowing him off, since Brad has a car. Zack understood and leaves in a hurry (to deal with the Tech Jacket), leaving Rebecca upset at his "rudeness".
- Enclosed Extraterrestrials: the Geldarians, who are always wearing their Tech Jackets as Twenty Four Hour Armor due to their weak bodies, but their helmets are retractable.
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: Lin.
- Hammerspace: Where the tech jackets disappear to when not in use.
- How Do I Shot Web?: In the second issue, Zack gets a taste of what the armor is capable of when he manifests extensions and uses them to fight off Mr. Cappella's men. The following morning, Ed and Zack begin exploring what other features the armor has.
- Humans Are Cthulhu: Or more accurately sentient life is cthulhu. The final foe that is faced at the end of the second series is revealed to essentially be reality’s immune system that views sentient life as a virus and wipes out any species that starts to become too advanced.
- Implausible Deniability: The Thompsons' neighbors witness Zack's fight with the Kresh and notice the very large pile of alien scrap metal in their yard. The Thompsons briefly try to deny it before giving up.
- Hurl It into the Sun: This is how Zack takes care of a Kresh warship that attacks him and his father in issue #6.
- Insistent Terminology: Zack prefers to be called a "galactic guardian" rather than a superhero, since he's mostly involved in galactic events.
- Little Green Men: The Galderians all have green skin and are incredibly short, with the average Galderian adult being at least a head shorter than Zack.
- Loan Shark: Mr. Cappella is a man Zack's father Ed borrowed money from to keep the store afloat. When Ed gets behind on payments, Cappella sends two thugs to rough him up. The second time they show up, Zack uses the Tech Jacket to protect his father. Cappella cancels his debt with the Thompsons entirely after Zack comes to his office and threatens him.
- Male-to-Female Universal Adaptor: Aversion, Zack and Lin find this out when attempting to get intimate.
- Mechanical Animals: In issue #7, the Geldarians' ship is attacked by a robotic, reptilean beast called a Scavengine which is trying to eat their ship. According to Kanda, Scavengines usually feed on abandoned ships, derelict space stations or discarded technology, meaning that this very hungry if it is attacking a functioning ship.
- Portal Door: The Geldarians install a portal to a new satellite base in Earth's outer atmosphere in Zack's closet.
- Power Armor: The tech jacket, worn by the Zack and all Geldarians. In a interesting twist while the tech jackets increase the strength of the wearer, the jackets themselves are strengthened by their users. When used by a human they are vastly more powerful than used by the physically weaker Geldarians.
- One-Man Army: As humans are stronger than Geldarians by a wide margin, Zack's physicals receive a far greater boost from the Tech Jacket. This allows him to easily annihilate multiple opponents. In issue #4, he obliterates a Kresh stronghold and then proceeds to singlehandedly end the Geldarian-Kresh war in mere minutes upon returning to the battle on Geldaria.
- Open-Minded Parent: Ed and Lynn Thompson are concerned about their son's safety but support him in his new role. Ed even mans a satellite base to help Zack out.
- Self-Destruct Mechanism: The Geldarians have a law against their technology being used to aid lesser-developed planets and their ships are programmed to self-destruct in the event of a off-world crash. Kelda, The Geldarian who originally owned Zack's Tech Jacket, broke this law by giving him the armor so that Zack would survive the explosion of Kelda's crashed ship.
- Swiss-Army Weapon: The Tech jacket can produce or transform into a variety of weapons and tools. This includes Combat Tentacles, Arm Cannons, blades, Deflector Shields, a drill and a chainsaw.
- Time Dilation: Zack finds that a few months have passed after he returns from Geldaria.
- Too Dumb to Live: One of Mr. Capella's two henchmen keeps antagonizing Zack even after seeing what the kid can do. After seeing Zack threaten Mr. Capella for information on his parents the henchman offers to go after him. Capella tells him in no uncertain terms that he wants no further dealings with the Thompsons and cancel's Ed Thompson's debt.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Zack kills many, many Kresh (gas based lifeforms in robot suits) with no issues but is quite troubled after killing two human looking aliens in self-defense.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Zack's best friend David, Rebecca, and the thugs whom Zack's dad owes.
- Worthless Yellow Rocks: The Geldarians describe gold as a 'trash metal' only useful in some electronics and pay the mayor in lumps of it so they may stay in town until a new ship arrives.
- Your Eyes Can Deceive You: While training Zack to use the Tech Jacket, Kanda encourages him to rely on the suit's sensors and targeting system rather than his own normal senses.