.: Doc Savage - Man of Bronze - Clark Savage Jr. :.
.: Doc Savage :.

Doc Savage (1988 series) #21 Comic Book

  Issue Index. Click on the cover to access that comic.
> See the complete Doc Savage Comics Library

Death in the Heart of Texas!: The Air Lord, Part 3

Date of Publication
July 1990
Cover Price

Our Rating:
3 stars


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

Comic Book Synopsis / Plot

Written by Peter Silvestro

Trapped in a room with the deadly hydrogen vitalizer, Doc Savage orders Betsy to spray hydrogen at the beam, slowing the weapon down, while Doc rips out the Air Lord’s closed-circuit TV, and they escape through the wall. Doc manages to elude the guards, seize a small plane and fly Betsy to safety, outmaneuvering the villain’s pursuing planes. Back at Doc’s HQ, the assembled principals are accusing one another of being the Air Lord when the building is fired upon by planes, which also deliver another reel of film containing a challenge from the villain. Doc announces immediate plans to fly to Germany to confront the Air Lord on his home ground, but sending Johnny and Renny back to Texas with Hiram Bullock as protection, as Kitty and Ernst plan to be married at the Bullock ranch. On the way out, Doc tells his remaining men that Germany was merely a red herring on the part of the Air Lord: their real mission will be to follow the others to Texas in Doc’s dirigible, the Amberjack. In Texas, as the wedding festivities are proceeding, the Air Lord’s men bomb Bullock’s helium mine. Doc boards the villain’s airship and sabotages it so that the hydrogen in the ship is converting itself to hydrochloric acid. As the ship heads to the ground, Doc unmasks the villain as Hiram Bullock, whose helium mine is worthless; his scheme was to sell it to Ernst Kleinmann, then destroy it as the Air Lord to cover up the fraud. Bullock escapes by parachute, discovering too late that acid had eaten large holes in the silk, and he plummets to his death. Doc makes his getaway with his portable wings.



Peter Silvestro (February 15, 2010)
Additional credits: Cover by Andy and Adam Kubert. a) Some uncharacteristic Doc actions: flirting with Betsy (page 10), joking about Monk and Ham (page 17), and most shockingly, killing the pilots of the pursuing aircraft (page 8); b) the story gives us the inside info on how helium is produced; c) Doc is in error: on page 23, he refers to 63 people being killed in the Hindenburg disaster, but he’s transposed the digits, it was 36 (as mentioned in the previous issue); d) Doc should have guessed the identity of the Air Lord a lot sooner: only one suspect had enough cash to mount such a massively expensive operation; e) Kitty Hawk???

Leave your comments about this comic using your Facebook account:



By Peter Silvestro
The story ends on an indifferent note, a bit too formulaic but hey, it worked for Lester Dent. Though the O’Neill issues were only sporadically faithful to the originals, at least they tried to add something to the stories in terms of characterization and themes; Barr seems to have jettisoned all complexities along with Chip. While his dedication to the character is to be appreciated (I prefer his stories to O’Neil’s), one could have hoped for something a bit more, as Doug Moench tried to do at Marvel. His chief contribution here is to expand the roles of Renny and Johnny, a worthy goal. The artists show themselves to be good at the specialized subject of aeronautic adventure and acquit themselves nicely.

Score: 3 (out of 5)