It makes sense that Dynamite would eventually publish Doc Savage, one of the most famous old-timey adventure heroes from the pulp era of the ’30s and ’40s. The publisher have had success with creating comics showing new adventures of other characters from that time, such as Zorro, Green Hornet, and The Shadow.
It also makes sense that they’d get Chris Roberson to write the series, as he has an obvious respect for the era, with his previous work in novels, as well as his work on the 8 issues Masks series which sees the aforementioned heroes, and others, team up. (The collection of Masks is sitting on my bookshelf to be read, and I will, seeing as it has Alex Ross’ first interior artwork in years).
It’s a shame that Doc Savage hasn’t been in the forefront of pop culture for the last few decades really. much-maligned film in the ’70s, and an almost Arnie film, but now will become a blockbuster (hopefully) as long-time Savage fan, screenwriter and director Shane Black brings it to the big screen, after his massive success with Iron Man 3.
This first issue handles the complications of the character’s rich history ell, for a newcomer like myself. There’s not a lot of manly heroics here, so don’t expect the ripped, bronze physique of the shirt tearing Doc Savage here, but there’s enough of the supporting cast and the setting to encapsulate a sense of adventure. This debut tells the tale of a disgruntled scientist trying to prove that mankind are nothing but animals, with a device that sets of a specific radio frequency, turning people in 1930s metropolitan America in to crazed brutes who beat each other up.
Savage and his smart friends, who are summed up well with captions and dialogue, sort out the cause and solution rather quickly. To some, this may be an underwhelming issue, expecting more high stakes, glob trotting and machismo fisticuffs, but this is an entertaining and well-rounded intro to Savage’s world. Roberson’s script is text-heavy, complete with old-school inner thought speeches, but with talented newcomer Bilquis Evily’s artwork, it works. Evily’s clean lines, yet somewhat scratchy approach remind me of Sean Murphy in a way and he fills the pages with spot-on details. The architecture, the fashion – it all looks like ’30s America.
Judging by the description for next month’s issue, this is a done-in-one tale, which means I’m looking forward to further issues and continuing adventures.
Check out a preview of this issue right here.