Review: Doc Savage #2
It is 1949, and Doc Savage and his aides return from an adventure in far off, exotic locales to find danger waiting for them much closer to home. Someone has discovered the location of Doc’s “Crime College,” the hidden hospital where he “cures” prisoners of their criminal tendencies. And Doc faces an impossible situation when forced to choose between the greater good and the life of his own cousin, Patricia Savage.
Doc Savage is back in action this week with the second issue of his new series from Dynamite. The story is written by Chris Roberson with art by Bliquis Evely. Daniela Miwa handles colors and Rob Steen provides lettering. The first issue got us through the introductions, but now that we know the players do things get rolling along?
The year is now 1949. It has been about 16 years since the first issue and now Doc is off working on experiments in his fortress of solitude. He doesn’t leave the world completely defenseless while he’s gone though. His band of companions are still out there fighting evil, but his cousin Patricia is holding things down as the leader. When she and Doc’s companions put a stop to Professor Archibald Vitas and his devitalizing ray, the villain is taken back to the Crime College to get some ‘treatment.’ Vitas had prepared for this moment and springs his trap. Patricia and the staff of the Crime College are in danger, but can Doc get the message in time? Will he be able to swoop in and save the day once more?
Roberson writes a stronger issue this time around. Doc is still a complete man of mystery tinkering and doing experiments, but his supporting cast get fleshed out a little more. Patricia is essentially an exact female copy of Doc, and it shows. Things go from bad to worse, but there’s no real sense of urgency to the events. Even the big shocking final action has a weak punch when Doc comes on the scene. Even any exploration behind the morality of Doc lobotomizing patients is relegated to a few panels. Roberson clearly loves Doc Savage and it shows, but these feel like novels roughly adapted to the comic book form. There’s an overarching story in play, but we’re not seeing it too clearly just yet. Evely’s art is great. The artist differentiates the male cast a lot more than the introductory issue and that makes reading, and looking at the book for that matter, much more enjoyable. There’s some action scenes and thrilling derring-do this month, and the artist really brings that to life with a good eye for the action. Miwa’s colors make this feel like a very pulp-y and 1940s story, elevating the art that much more.
Bottom Line: Doc Savage is a great piece of nostalgia, but if you’re not already a big fan of the good doctor you probably won’t get your fancy tickled. Roberson has crafted an intriguing story but hopefully we start to see what makes Doc such a classic hero beyond just being a smart guy who shows up in time. 3/5