Saturday, March 6, 2010

'First Wave' Issue # 1 (DC Comics, March 2010)

Back in November 2009, when ‘Batman / Doc Savage’, the preview issue of the forthcoming ‘First Wave’ series from DC was released, I had mixed feelings about the direction of the comic; the premise of showcasing heroes from the pulp era showed some promise, but the art style seemed a bit too calculating in its efforts to capitalize on the success of the  'Mad Men' aesthetic that is currently so prominent in hipster culture.
Now it’s March 2010 and the first issue of First Wave is on the stands. The story is written by Brian Azzarello and art duties are handled by Rags Morales.
While the graphical presentation of the preview issue was a mashup of Art Deco and early 60s ‘New Frontier’, and’ Mad Men’ influences, Morales’ artwork here is much less stylized, and quite restrained, by comparison. The color palette stays close to browns, grays, and blacks, as shown in the excerpt I’ve posted here. The artwork is also more contemporary in terms of design and avoids the retro imagery that was so prominent in the preview issue.

I won’t reveal much about the plot, save to say that a unique character from the Savage books makes an appearance. Along with Doc and his crew, the Spirit is the only other hero to appear in this first issue; Batman will presumably be showing up in future installments.
It is of course too early to make any judgements about 'First Wave', but writer Azzarello seems conscious of the Doc Savage canon in terms of his plotting, which is a good sign.

How the narrative will successfully work in appearances by all the pulp era icons listed in the preview issue remains to be seen; it may be a case of lots of cameos. But so far, I've decided   to pick up issue 2 when it appears on the stands.

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