Tuesday, April 20, 2010

'Doc Savage' issue No. 1 ('First Wave', DC)

DC just launched the first issue of another of their ‘First Wave’ imprint titles, this time it’s a series devoted to the Man of Bronze, Doc Savage:

Things start off without much of a preamble as Doc, piloting his airship, encounters some deadly lightning attacks on his skyscraper in the heart of New York City:

I’m unsure about this latest series for Doc Savage. The placement of Doc in the modern era seems a little unconvincing despite the studied use of the Art Deco motifs to the illustrations. While the effort to start things off from page one with a great deal of action is understandable from a point-of-sale marketing standpoint, the book doesn’t do much to try and orient the reader as to exactly who Doc and the Fabulous Five are, settling for some dialogue-mediated self-disclosures by Doc, even as he’s plummeting down an elevator shaft with two kids in his arms. 
I’m concerned that for younger comics readers, who may have little in the way of advance knowledge of the Doc Savage canon, this series will come across as just another effort by DC to try and get something out the door before their licensing rights lapse.
The book also includes a supporting strip, ‘Justice Inc.’,  starring the other major Street and Smith character authored under the house name ‘Kenneth Robeson’: ‘The Avenger’. The artwork, atmosphere, and storyline for this supporting tale are well done, coming across as something from a Vertigo imprint title; this section of the book actually impressed me more than did the main feature.

Unfortunately, previous efforts over the past four decades at a successful Doc Savage comic, by a variety of publishers, were mixed financial successes. Hopefully this iteration by DC will break the trend, but it’s too soon to tell. I will go ahead and pick up the second issue of ‘Doc Savage’ and see if writer Paul Malmot can do something new and noteworthy with the franchise......

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