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Doc Savage (1988 series) #22 Comic Book

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The Asteroid Terror, Part 1

Date of Publication
August 1990
Cover Price

Our Rating:
3 stars


Mike W. Barr
Rod Wigham
Steve Montano
Tony Tollin
Adam Kubert
Cover Penciler

Comic Book Synopsis / Plot

Written by Peter Silvestro

1937: Doc Savage receives a visit from an old friend, Professor Eliot, with evidence that a giant asteroid is on a collision course with Earth. Doc recalls the events that foreshadowed this disaster: June 30, 1908 a huge meteor hit Siberia, causing massive devastation. Professor Eliot approached Clark Savage, Sr. about his financing an expedition to search for and mine gold from this asteroid. Savage Sr., in need of funds for continuing his project of raising his six-year-old son to be a superhero (a program that does not always sit well with young Clark’s mother, Brenna), agrees. At this point, masked thugs break into the house, attempting to steal the rock sample Eliot is carrying but they are unsuccessful. In Siberia, the expedition recovers the asteroid but the next morning, some of the workmen are found murdered, with a note attached to their bodies: a drawing of the constellation Orion. The party is then taken prisoner by a gang led by a young Artemis Lear, who ushers them into the presence of his boss: Edgar Thayle. Thayle is Brenna Savage’s first husband, convinced that he is the real father of Clark, Jr. and now claims his son (having unsuccessfully tried to seize the boy on the night of his birth). Savage and his son fight against the madman, and in the fracas, Brenna Savage is fatally shot. An embittered Savage sets fire to the tent holding his wife’s body and an incapacitated but fully conscious Thayle. Outside he apologizes to his son for his cruel methods and makes his son promise to find a better way to deal with human evil. Lear, meanwhile, has escaped with the asteroid, which was his secret goal all along. Back in 1937, Eliot reveals the final ominous detail about the deadly asteroid threatening Earth: it is the work of a vengeful Artemis Lear. 



Peter Silvestro (February 15, 2010)
a) Doc’s mother is named for the first time: Brenna; b) continuity: Dr Asch (from The Olympic Peril) is mentioned; c) the story includes a rare flashback-within-a-flashback; d) the cover, while disturbing, is not accurate to the story.

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By Peter Silvestro
An unusual three-part storyline spanning several decades distinguishes these three issues, though the tale is naturally flawed. This installment provides a rare look at Doc’s childhood, a more elaborate account of his upbringing than has appeared anywhere else up to this time. The problem is that the Edgar Thayle plotline seems to come out of nowhere in the Doc Savage mythos and is wrapped up far too hastily. Plus, Doc’s having witnessed his mother’s murder seems a bit too derivative of Batman; nothing in his character required a writer to provide him with an early trauma. Very creative but a bit unsatisfying. The art is good, with the scenes of Siberian devastation very evocative and the black borders in the 1901 flashback were a nice touch.

Score: 3 (out of 5)