Review: Doc Savage #3

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The Man of Bronze, The Fabulous Five, and Cousin Pat! Only this combination of heroes can take on the Lord of Lightning in the latest installment of Doc Savage from DC Comics.

Doc Savage #3
Writer: Paul Malmont
Artist: Howard Porter
Inker: Art Thibert
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Covers: J.G. Jones, John Cassaday

Previously in Doc Savage: It was a average day in the life of Doc Savage, when suddenly (gasp!) lighting from the sky became a weapon to attack the city, or more specifically, targeting Doc Savage and his crew. Long Tom Roberts is out of the adventure for the most part, as his wife has been gravely injured in the attacks. When the remaining crew paid a visit to cousin Pat Savage’s television station, a physical assault from a group of shock troops resulted in Monk Mayfair being kidnapped, and Doc falling from the rooftop of the building.

PULPY GOODNESS

Even when things look most grave, we really need to remember that the hero isn’t going to die. That’s the case for Doc, as he manages to land on a grounded Wayne Airships dirigible – which he promptly commandeers to chase after the group’s attackers. Malmount does a good job of taking a a typical hero-saving moment and making it work; not by some random bit of writer’s whim, but rather a logical result of actions set up previously in the story. While it is surprising Doc would allow the passengers to be put in danger, it does create a bigger risk for what happens later in the issue.

Meanwhile, readers learn that it wasn’t Doc, but Monk the attackers were after, and it appears as though The Savage Institute for Criminal Rehabilitation (the place where lobotomies are the norm) has been taken over by the inmates, and those that Savage once thought were allies, now enemies.

There’s no John Sunlight reveal just yet, but we do get a glimpse of the massive airship being used to attack the city, and how the Secretary of State is involved in the entire Lord of Lightning story arc. And yes, there is another life or death cliffhanger to get us back for the next chapter.

I do like the tale we’ve been presented with to date, but one thing I’ve noticed in Malmount’s writing is it does take him quite a while to get to the point. It’s kind of happening here, with the entire issue being one big chase across the sky of Manhattan. I’m hoping more is revealed in the next issue, with two additional issues left for a wrap up in the now so typical six-issue arc.

As far as world building goes, I do like the Bruce Wayne callback that occurs, and the reference to the Cobalt Club means we could see The Shadow appear in First Wave soon.

STOP WITH THE SHIRT RIPPING!

Complementing Paul Malmount’s writing is the art from Howard Porter. He’s done a great job of combining the old and new technology in this new universe, and for the most part it works. HIs character designs are solid, and his interpretation of a villain uniform is interesting.

One thing that has already worn out its welcome though is Doc Savage constantly walking around in a ripped shirt. Yes, it was a very dynamic change when Bama introduced it in the 60s, but to constantly use it again and again is getting really old – especially when other characters running around and doing the same or similar actions are still dressed to the nines. It’s time to stop using that old chestnut and move on.

JUSTICE, INC.
Writer: Jason Starr
Artist: Scott Hampton
Colors: Daniel Vozzo
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Editor: Joey Cavalieri

The second feature once again gives new readers a chance to see how Justice, Inc. works, and more importantly how imposing The Avenger is even when under a layer of makeup. This issue reveals who has kidnapped Josh Monroe, but the bigger question of why still eludes us. Jason Starr serves up an interesting chapter, but I’m still not sold on Scott Hampton’s style. It’s different than most traditional comic style, and as with anything different, we don’t like it at first.

BOTTOM LINE: WORTH A LOOK

Doc Savage as a property has been one of those properties that has had more failures than successes over the years, yet the publishers come back time and time again to try and make Doc Savage relevant to today’s readers. Having dumped on Doc Savage before, DC looks to have finally nailed it by creating a whole new universe for characters of this type to play in. Hiring Paul Malmount to write the series was a wise choice, as he not only understands the characters, but the time period in which they thrived. There are a few cracks starting to show in the story, but it is still worth look, and Doc Savage #3 earns 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

Rating: ★★★½☆