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Doc Savage (1988 series) #20 Comic Book

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Dirigible of Doom: The Air Lord, Part 2

Date of Publication
June 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

Aboard the burning Hindenburg Doc Savage battles the Air Lord’s men and escapes with Ernst Kleinmann; the villain’s henchmen are not so fortunate: the “inflatable suits” given them by their leader turn out to contain bombs, to silence the luckless thugs. After doing what they can to aid survivors of the disaster, Doc and his men return to their HQ to meet with Kleinmann, the Hawks and Bullock. Kleinmann is hoping to marry Kitty, who can purchase Bullock’s helium mine (the sale of helium to German nationals is banned by the Treaty of Versailles) and they can create a safer form of zeppelin travel. The Hawks consider him an unprincipled competitor, and suggest he is the Air Lord. Doc, Renny and Long Tom go to the murdered Paul Terwilliger’s apartment seeking clues and end up fighting some Air Lord thugs. When a search turns up cash and Nazi gold, Doc deduces that Terwilliger had been paid off by the Air Lord to betray Ernst Kleinmann and later got cold feet and tried to warn Doc Savage; the thugs had been sent to recover the gold. They question one of the captured thugs, Shanks, who realizes his boss had nearly tricked him into taking poison. Doc disguises himself as Shanks and convinces the other hoods that he killed Doc Savage and his men. They take a small plane to the Air Lord’s base, a massive armed dirigible, and present themselves to their leader. Suspicious, the Air Lord produces his hostage, Betsy Arnold, Bullock’s secretary, and orders his pet falcon to attack her. Doc comes to her rescue, revealing his true identity, and the Air Lord presses a button opening a trap door and dropping Doc and Betsy into a room where the deadly hydrogen vitalizer is ready to kill them.



Peter Silvestro (February 15, 2010)
Additional credits: Cover by Andy and Adam Kubert. a) Classic Doc Savage moment: Doc catches the darts and throws them back at his attacker (page 4); b) classic line: “What am I to do, he only loves me for my helium!” c) we knew it all along: Doc has two bronze roadsters; d) Kitty Hawk??

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By Peter Silvestro
The most notable aspect of this chapter is the expanded role for Renny and Long Tom, with Monk and Ham’s bickering being pushed into the background. It’s about time the three “lesser” aides had their moment in the sun. The artists show their prowess at drawing airships, both actual (beginning) and fantastic (end).

Score: 3 (out of 5)