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Doc Savage Annual (2014 series) #1 Comic Book

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Characters

Listed in alphabetical order.


Doc Savage, Ham Brooks, Johnny Littlejohn, Long Tom Roberts, Monk Mayfair, Renny Renwick.

Title:

(No title given)

Date of Publication
May 2014
Cover Price
$5.99

Our Rating:
3.5 stars

Credits:

Shannon Eric Denton
Writer
Roberto Castro
Penciler
Roberto Castro
Inker
inLight Studios
Colorist
Roberto Castro
Cover Penciler
Roberto Castro
Cover Inker
Roberto Castro
Cover Colorist

Comic Book Synopsis / Plot

Written by Peter Silvestro

New York City 1930: Doc's aides are in two vehicles speeding along a waterfront road, firing (with mercy bullets) on a pair of hydrofoils manned by criminals of the Sea Spider Society. The good guys are trying to stop the terrorists from detonating a bomb in the city. Doc Savage arrives on a motorcycle, machine gun a-blazing, as the villains accidentally sink one of their own crafts. He rides off the end of the pier and crashes into the water. Is Doc dead? No, his Aquo-Aero Bike converts into a mini-sub and Doc leaps off and has it explode, sinking the second hydrofoil. The Man of Bronze then boards the ship and takes out the last crewmen….

Back at his skyscraper headquarters, Doc receives a telegram informing him that his old friend Jimmy Cross has died. Doc and his aides head to the Hopi Indian reservation in Arizona, to pay their respects to Jimmy’s family. They stop off by the gravesite where he recalls an incident during the War. Doc, his future aides, and Jimmy were huddling in a trench when a comrade was trapped in barbed wire and cruelly shot by the enemy. Doc went crazy, leaped into the German trench and killed them all; it was Jimmy Cross who suggested that Doc is destined for better things, if he can control the darkness within him.

For peace and comfort, Doc goes to Tampico, Mexico to take up with an old girlfriend named Teresita. After they make love, she casually mentions that some men are coming to kill her; Doc and Teresita fight them, with the Man of Bronze using non-lethal methods and the Mexican spitfire just shooting them. They escape by motorcycle to a camp outside the town—which is soon invaded by ghosts, one of which Doc sees as Jimmy Cross (they are hallucinations caused by a nasty gas weapon wielded by counter-revolutionaries). Doc is knocked out and awakens a prisoner of the rebels who is working for the masked leader of the Sea Spider Society. When they bring in Teresita and place her in a gas chamber, Doc rips his chains out of the wall and clobbers all the guards. The mastermind escapes in a minisub while Doc administers an antidote to his beloved. The Man of Bronze pursues the sub underwater, disables it with some well-placed gunshots and watches as the baddie is eaten by an alligator.

On the final pages, Doc muses on the mission his father has been training him for, to fight evil. He informs his aides of his decision but he postpones plans until his father returns from South America; in the meantime, he will be at his Fortress of Solitude. The final page is an action portrait of Doc and his aides, with the Doc Savage oath at the top.

 

Comments


Peter Silvestro (June 3, 2014)
Comments: Story takes place immediately before the first Doc Savage adventure THE MAN OF BRONZE. Johnny wears a patch over his left eye. Doc refers to “Allard” at one point; that’s Kent Allard, The Shadow, who also uses mail tubes to send and receive secret information. .

Peter Silvestro (June 3, 2014)
Review: Good news! This issue is better than that cover, which makes Doc Savage look like Biff from BACK TO THE FUTURE! An adventure set just before the first canonical one, this shows Doc still trying to get his life together. The focus is on Doc’s character development, harnessing the darkness within for the cause of justice. The writing is serviceable but flawed: the aides have nothing in particular to do, the leading lady is a pure stereotype, and the generic mysterious masked villain is pure cliché. And I was assuming that the plot would hinge on Jimmy Cross’ death yet it turns out to just be a pretext for Doc questioning himself; this leaves the story feeling a bit incomplete (and was there a reason other than “diversity” why Jimmy was a Native American?). The art is more dynamic than the rather static stuff in the main series; Doc has the standard Bama look, muscular, with hair that looks like a skullcap, and wearing the usual jodhpurs and vest that is second only to a torn shirt as a “costume” for Doc. Again, a Doc Savage comic from Dynamite which seems more a vignette than a full story.

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