Thursday, December 12, 2013

Doc Savage #1

   I've written before about my love of the original Doc Savage pulp stories, which were reprinted in a series of Bantam Books paperback (I recently tracked down the last one I needed to complete my collection) - but Doc's track record in comics has been pretty shaky, so I approach each new series with fear in my heart.

   For my money, the only great comics adaptation of the character can be found in the pages of the black-and-white magazine published by Marvel in the '70s, as written by Doug Moench - mostly because they were set in the '30s and followed the classic formula.

   Which brings us to Dynamite's new comic about The Man of Bronze. (You have to love that Steranko-esque cover by Alex Ross.)

   I'm sorry to report that it's not great - but it is pretty good.

   As always, with a premiere issue, there's a lot of ground to cover, characters to introduce, and the story often suffers because of it.

   But give credit to writer Chris Roberson, who manages to pack in all the characters, including Doc and his five "assistants" - Monk, Ham, Renny, Johnny and Long Tom, and establish them as Science Heroes in the '30s.

   They're confronted by a mystery as groups of people in Manhattan inexplicably go insane - and Doc and his friends tackle this in a calm, scientific manner.

   It's a slow-paced story that never quite reaches the level of menace we might want - but it is faithful to the original style of the pulps, and while the story is "done in one" issue, it is obviously part of a bigger story that will spill out over future issues.

   The art by Bilquis Evely is good, with the look of Doc and his men harking back to the original look (more of a regular guy, and not the James Bama "skullcap hair" look)  - it only suffers in comparison to that Alex Ross cover.

   So, a fair start and I'm certainly going to come back to see where it goes from here. I'm not completely sold, but it's definitely a cut above all recent efforts.

Grade: B+




-> Ray said...

I thought Millennium's take on Doc was the best in comics.

Glen Davis said...

Have you ever read the Street and Smith's comic stories of Doc?

Chuck said...

Ray, you're right, I do remember Millennium's being good - or at least better than most.

Glen, I have to admit I haven't. Some of those were written by Lester Dent, is that right? I'd love to see them, but they were before my time.

Reno said...

I guess as this series progresses, we'll see Doc morph into the skullcap version. Some foreshadowing was established with the helmets they used.