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Doc Savage (1988 series) #19 Comic Book

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The Air Lord! [Part 1]

Date of Publication
May 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

May 5, 1937, a nervous man waits on a street corner for a late-night meeting, unaware he’s being watched by Monk and Ham. An itinerant knife sharpener reveals himself to be Doc Savage in disguise. The man’s warning for Doc is interrupted when he is blasted by a mysterious tendril of light which absorbs all hydrogen from his body. Doc, Monk, and Ham try to apprehend the killers but the thugs themselves perish at the hands of a booby-trapped weapon. A slip of paper in the victim’s pocket directs them to Idlewind Airport to meet an early morning flight. Doc and his men arrive to find the staff of Kittyhawk Airlines held hostage by hoods preparing a warm reception for the VIP arriving on the flight. Doc uses a remote controlled car and smoke bombs to overpower the enemy and meet the plane, which carries only two passengers, Texas tycoon Hiram “Bull” Bullock and his secretary Betsy Arnold. Bullock is in New York to meet a German scientist, Ernst Kleinmann, who is arriving aboard the Hindenburg. By coincidence, Ernest is the fiancé of Kitty Hawk, daughter of the small airline’s head, Samuel Hawk. Ernst is also the enemy of Hawk and his son, Sam, Jr. because of Ernst’s plans to purchase Bullock’s helium mine to set up a zeppelin air service, which would compete with their traditional airline. The man murdered earlier is discovered to have been the Hawks’ partner, Paul Terwilliger. A reel of film in the hoods’ possession contains a message from a masked villain introducing himself as the Air Lord, scheming to control all the world’s airlines, and promising a demonstration of his power. Doc deduces that to be a threat to the Hindenburg arriving that day at Lakehurst NJ. Doc intercepts the giant airship and boards her by means of portable wings. He attempts to investigate disguised as a crew member but is spotted by suspicious Nazi police. Doc links up with Ernst Kleinmann, and they discover and disarm a bomb planted aboard. While Doc fights crew members, a second bomb detonates, turning the Hindenburg into an inferno, to the shock of his assembled team on the ground below.



Peter Silvestro (February 15, 2010)
Additional credits: Cover by Andy and Adam Kubert. a) Doc demonstrates his talent for drawing; b) Johnny is big-wordier than usual; c) the issue contains a rare glimpse of Monk and Renny smoking cigars; d) “Idlewind Airport” is not a misprint for the famous “Idlewild;” construction on the latter was not begun until 1942 and it opened for business in 1948; e) Kitty Hawk?; f) issue includes a letters column.

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By Peter Silvestro
Another period piece, this time with an historical angle, seems a bit familiar after The Olympic Peril, and part one is superficially similar to The Conflagration Man, with a title that echoes The Sea Baron. Nevertheless the story is an acceptable addition to the canon if not a standout. The best news is the return of the series’ best art team, Wigham and Montano, who outdo themselves with that final page.

Score: 3 (out of 5)