For nearly 15 years, Doctor Adam Spektor has been a monster hunter, slayer of stuff what goes bump in the night. Now, he’s about to find out what happens when he finds more than just some garden variety werewolf or ghoul. Your Major Spoilers review of Doctor Spektor #1 awaits!
DOCTOR SPEKTOR: MASTER OF THE OCCULT #1
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Neil Edwards
Colorist: Jordan Boyd
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
Editor: Joe Rybandt
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Doctor Spektor – Master Of The Occult: “TV legend. Wall Street wolf. Internet mogul. Tabloid bad boy. Master metaphysicist. Spiritualist. Monster hunter. Doctor Adam Spektor is all of these things… and less. For fifteen years, Spektor has traveled the globe to smoke out and defeat werewolves, vampires, ghosts and everything else that goes bump in the night. Yet his success has brought him no peace. Some part of him is missing, something he needs but can’t name. But he’s about to find what’s missing, in an unlikely place…”
DOCTOR PHIL WITH MAGIC
We open with Doctor Spektor recording an episode of his highly-rated reality show, tracking some sort of thing that goes bump in the night, while his crew tries to get all the best stuff on tape. Where it gets wacky is the point where the vampire reveals himself and attacks Spektor flat-out, even mocking him because he uses jade (“the rich man’s undead repellent”) rather than garlic or holy water, leading to a moment where Spektor destroys the creature with extreme prejudice thanks to the magic of technology and consumption. His exit interview is a fascinating bit of character explication by Waid, as Spektor shows himself to be incredibly media-savvy, playing to his audience and thanking them for supporting him in his arcane travels. It’s a moment that shows us that he’s a consummate showman, a bit of a cynic and clearly someone with motivations that work in a real-world context, even though we’re dealing with vampires and such. In his personal life, though, Spektor is driven by visions of a ghostly woman that he doesn’t know, and when he chooses his next debunking victim, a woman who he believes to be a false medium, Doctor Spektor unknowingly sets into motion the events that will change his whole world.
STRONG ART, MONOTONE COLORING
The most interesting sequence of the issue comes when the supposedly fake medium taps into a real vision showing Doctor Solar, Turok: Son of Stone, and Magnus: Robot Fighter, showing the first inkling that the Gold Key Universe is going to be tied together somehow, which is something that I kind of didn’t expect (although I don’t know why.) As we get into the meat of the story, we also find the greatest weakness of the issue, as the entire sequence is for some reason covered with a green pall that makes the art very one-dimensional. It’s a problem that actually pervades the entire issue, and while it seems to be an intentional effect, it’s one that I don’t like. As the issue comes to an end, we find what seems to be a major character killed and Spektor’s secretary seems to also share his ability to speak to the dead. Artistically, Neil Edwards delivers some good art, but his facial features are occasionally sketchy, leading to some confusion as to which character might be which (made worse by the weird coloring.) There is also a LOT of discussion going on in this issue, not all of which works to further the plot or support characterization, with the middle third of the book especially feeling very overwhelmed by the talky-talky…
THE BOTTOM LINE: INTRIGUING BUT TALKY
All in all, though, it’s an interesting first issue for the fourth of the Gold Key Heroes, even if it’s the least interesting to me. Doctor Spektor has never been a major player, and has not (to my memory) been revamped before in the previous Solar/Magnus revamps, but that means that he has the most potential, and Mark Waid is the man to bring it such an odd concept to life. Unfortunately, Doctor Spektor: Master Of The Occult #1 is hurt by the odd coloring and some indistinct art, with a small enough sampling of story that I’m a little confused as to what the focus of the book is going to be, earning a slightly disappointed 3 out of 5 stars overall. I’m willing to stick with the book thanks to Waid, whom I trust implicitly, but I’m hoping that Adam Spektor turns the corner out of jerkassville sooner rather than later…