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Doc Savage Annual (1989 series) #1 Comic Book

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The Olympic Peril!

Date of Publication
January 1989
Cover Price

Our Rating:
4 stars


Mike W. Barr
Gabriel Morrissette
Rick Magyar
Tony Tollin
George Pratt
Cover Penciler

Comic Book Synopsis / Plot

Written by Peter Silvestro

Young Clark Savage, Jr. was placed by his father in the hands of experts, training him to be an avenger for justice. The training supervisor, Dr Gunter Asch, stole Savage, Sr’s theories and left to create a rival program, which would have repercussions decades later…. July, 1936: Doc’s aides receive a visit from a Brenda Sinclair, distraught over her brother’s kidnapping and seeking the aid of Doc Savage. Costumed thugs break in, subdue the aides with gas and carry off Brenda. Her notebook, left behind, direct them to a meeting at an abandoned amusement park, where Brenda and her men spring the trap so elaborately set and capture the aides. Doc Savage arrives and uses a super-sonic whistle to subdue their foes, who kill themselves with poison gas to avoid capture. To throw his enemies off the trail, he releases a report that he and his men were also killed, and visits his cousin Pat, with the information he’d uncovered: Brenda Sinclair was actually SS Agent Brigette Schuller, involved with Nazi Operation “Victorious Peace” or “Siegfried,” which recalls for Doc and his aides their days in the Great War…. Doc and his friends first met in the German prison camp Loki, where Dr. Asch had a secret lab, working on creating supermen like Siegfried. When Doc and Asch spy each other, the scientist orders Doc's immediate execution but Doc manages to elude the firing squad by breaking through the ground into the prisoners’ escape tunnel where they rescue Monk and Ham from the lab and Doc confronts Siegfried. The friends escape to safety while Asch and his creation are thought to be killed in an explosion. Back in 1936, Doc and his men cause a sensation by arriving at the Berlin Olympics, but Pat is also there, disguised as Brigette Schuller. Later Doc’s aides and Pat are trapped by Siegfried and brought to the Olympic Stadium, where Asch explains the scheme to replace visiting dignitaries with Nazi doubles. Doc arrives and does battle with his Nazi counterpart; when Doc gains the upper hand and Siegfried pleads for mercy, an outraged Asch shoots his creation who falls into the flames, then plummets onto his creator, immolating them both. Doc and his men free the imprisoned dignitaries and make their getaway before Hitler discovers what has happened.



Peter Silvestro (February 15, 2010)
a) First comic account of Doc’s origin and meeting with the aides; b) first comic appearance of Clark Savage, Sr.; c) first DC story set in the 1930s; d) first DC description of Doc’s eyes; e) first DC appearance of Chemistry, with Habeas Corpus alluded to by means of a toy pig; f) Doc’s birth year is given as 1901; g) Doc’s use of “Wilder” as a pseudonym is a nod to Philip Jose Farmer’s biography of Doc; h) anachronism: if you look carefully at the newspaper on page 16, dated July 12, 1936, you can make out the phrase “former President Jimmy Carter” and the name of Manuel Noriega; i) published the same month as issue #10.

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By Peter Silvestro
Barr’s story manages to combine a more historically based adventure with an account of Doc’s origin, integrating the latter into the story; wisely, in my opinion, since the tale couldn’t support being stretched to a full-length issue without having to be padded (as Phil Farmer would later demonstrate). The plot is serviceable with its introduction of the Anti-Doc, though the ending seems a bit rushed. The new art team does a good job of maintaining the series’ “look” with a more accurate presentation of the aides than previously seen in the DC version, including giving Johnny a monocle rather than glasses. A few problems for the colorist arise: Pat lacks her cousin’s bronze hue, and the aides’ hair color isn’t consistent (note Johnny on page 30 and Renny on page 42). The only real liability to the issue is that dark and ugly cover with paint slapped on canvas by an uncredited artist. What a turn-off.

Score: 3 (out of 5)