Doc Savage #1 Review

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.

DocSavage01CovRoss

Batman Meets Doc Savage

Newsarama has a glimpse at some of the goodies being released in March from DC Comics, including he first issue of their universe melding First Wave series. The idea behind this series is to create yet another alternate universe, one in which pulp-leaning characters such as Batman (now with twin pistols) and Black Canary exist in the same world as Doc Savage, The Spirit and others. Details below.

FIRST WAVE #1
On sale MARCH 3 • 1 of 6 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US
Written by BRIAN AZZARELLO
Art by RAGS MORALES
Cover by J.G. JONES
1:10 Variant cover by NEAL ADAMS
DC’s shocking new pulp universe is finally unveiled! In the shadows of the War, the roots of the Golden Tree cabal grew deep into the heart of a fallen world… and the leaders at the heart of this secret organization see no place in their utopia for heroism. Doc Savage, struggling with the loss of his father, has been blind to their advance – until now. Central City’s mysterious Spirit has caught wind of their plans as well. But whose side have the Blackhawks chosen? What is the Red Right Hand? And where is the Batman? Eisner Award winner Brian Azzarello (100 BULLETS, JOKER) and superstar Rags Morales (IDENTITY CRISIS) craft a DC universe like you’ve never seen before! It’s a world with no supermen, only mortal men… Death can come at any moment, and adventure can still be found at every corner of the map! Will Doc Savage be the first to lead the coming world or the last to be crushed under its heel?

On the same subject, Greg Hatcher at CBR has a great post about all the classic illustrators fom pulp novels back in the day, with some looks at vintage Doc Savage covers. It’s well worth a look to see an impressive gallery of old-school covers.

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