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Doc Savage (1988 series) #23 Comic Book

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Hermes, Messenger of Death!: The Asteroid Terror, Part 2

Date of Publication
September 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

1990: Doc Savage and his team are tracking another deadly asteroid which is on course to hit the Empire State Building itself. Doc recalls his previous encounter with Artemis Lear in 1937: Lear’s wife Amanda visited Pat’s beauty salon in a hail of gunfire, asking for her help in contacting her cousin Doc. Escorted by Pat to the 86th floor, she asks Doc to recover her daughter Cordelia from her mad husband. She has also unwittingly carried a bomb into Doc’s presence but he spots it and manages to lock it in a safety device and minimize the effects of the blast. Doc then receives a call from the President informing him the Lear is claiming responsibility for the imminent collision of the asteroid Hermes with the Earth, accompanied by extortion demands. Monk analyses the bomb’s components and discovers that it was developed by the late industrialist Compton Moore. Doc takes his men on a trip to Moore’s upstate lab; they enter the building and find it booby trapped. Narrowly escaping harm, they uncover Lear’s real plan: he has captured Long Tom and, with the help of drugs, has gained all the information he needed to perfect a massive electromagnet. Doc, however, has managed to recover the radio used by Lear’s henchmen and uses it to track Lear to his stronghold in Canada. Using dummies on parachutes as a decoy, Doc and his men invade the fortress, overpower Lear’s thugs and shut down the electromagnet. Lear then reveals the truth: he was not controlling the asteroid but attempting to prevent a natural disaster, and now Hermes is too close to repel. Doc tries a daring scheme: he uses the electromagnet to draw the asteroid to Earth more quickly so that it burns up completely in the atmosphere. A bitter Lear draws a gun on Doc and is knocked back into the machinery, electrocuting him. Lear’s young daughter, who idolized her father, swears vengeance. Back in 1990, a fax arrives for Doc: the new threat is the work of a vengeful Cordelia Lear. But Doc has an ace in the hole: his grandson Chip has returned to join Doc in stopping the menace.



Peter Silvestro (February 15, 2010)
a) Continuity notes: there are references to Compton Moore (the villain from The Conflagration Man) and the events of The Olympic Peril; b) no explanation why Lear doesn’t look much older in 1937 than he did in 1908; c) story gives the impression that Long Tom told Lear how to build the giant electromagnet and gave them time to construct it in only a few hours; presumably Lear already had it built and Long Tom merely helped him work out the bugs in the system; d) oops: Patricia is called “Pamela” on page 6.

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By Peter Silvestro
The second part of the creative trilogy is just a standard “villain threatens the world” plot, this time cribbed from the Fleischer Superman cartoon THE MAGNETIC TELESCOPE (even more obvious from the cover).

Score: 3 (out of 5)