Review: Doc Savage #1
In 1933, readers were first introduced to Doc Savage, the Man of Bronze. Raised from the cradle to be the pinnacle of mental and physical perfection, Doc Savage travels the world using science and sinews to right wrongs, aid the oppressed, and liberate the innocent. With his team of able associates at their headquarters high atop the tallest building in the world, Doc Savage is tireless in his pursuit of knowledge and justice. Writer Chris Roberson brings Doc Savage from 1933 through to today. And with “Easter eggs” along the way that will help pave the future of Doc, in a story only Chris (Roberson) could tell.
The Man of Bronze is back in action this month thanks to Dynamite’s new series about the pulp hero. Doc Savage #1 is written by Chris Roberson with art from Bilquis Evely. Daniela Miwa handles colors with Rob Steen providing lettering. Doc Savage may be the man of Bronze, but does his first issue bring home the gold?
It’s 1933 and Doc Savage is giving a presentation at Princeton about his recent findings when he’s interrupted by two of his cohorts. There’s trouble in the city and only Doc Savage can help. There are weird lights in the sky and for some reason every man, woman, and child are attacking each other. It’s only momentary though. Doc, Monk, Ham, Johnny, Long Tom, and Renny are trying to get to the bottom of the strange goings on, but progress is slow. Doc can do anything he sets his mind too, so the cause won’t be a mystery for long. With the help of his friends and a lot of determination, they will get to the bottom of it. Can they stop the spreading madness in time though? Will Doc Savage first adventure also be his first failure?
Roberson writes an apt first issue. He’s an admitted lover of Doc Savage, and it shows. He makes it feel very much like one of the good doctor’s novels, even going so far as to narrate a lot of the events. It feels like a novel in a lot of ways. While it’s faithful to the source, it does feel a little hollow. If you’re coming into this with no prior knowledge, you’ll learn about Savage’s companions, but the titular character isn’t fleshed out too greatly. You get a small sample of what our hero is like. There are great lines like “He had fists the size of hams, and he was putting them to use” but there isn’t an inspired threat or character work. Evely’s art is very detailed, however some of the characters meld together. Doc and company are all square jawed dashing heroes, though a few of them look too similar. There could be a little more distinction in that area. The artwork is fantastic when it comes to the scenery and settings though. Miwa’s colors are great. The odd lights in the sky are really well done.
Bottom Line: Doc Savage may be the Man of Bronze, but his first issue packs a punch of aluminum. Chris Roberson does pulp fantastically well, but this first issue feels like a quick one-shot before things really get rolling. Some may lament the ‘men standing around and talking’ heavy story though they would be wrong in that assessment. That’s Doc Savage and that’s pulp. It’s actually much deeper than ‘standing around and talking’ anyway. There’s enough here to warrant a return with the writer and artist getting along together really well, but there needs to be a little more bite to the story. 2.5/5