The most recent volume of the adventures of the man of bronze in “Doc Savage” #1 proves to be a surprisingly ensemble cast as Clark Savage, Jr. is joined by pals Monk, Ham, Johnny, Long Tom and Renny with writer Chris Roberson and artist Bilquis Evely.
Set in 1933, Roberson opens the adventure up with a conversation between Doc Savage and Professor Einstein, giving the reader a quick overview of the type of company the good doctor would prefer to keep when he’s not adventuring with his band of brothers. By the third page, Roberson has set the stage for the reader to meet the entire cast surrounding Doc Savage as well as a chance to get some insights into their personalities, including Ham’s snobbish treatment of Monk. The complication, however, is with an inordinate amount of attention paid to the supporting cast; the titular character gets considerable short shrift. Sure, readers get Savage in action and get a sample of his interest and thoughts, but not enough to prove interesting or noteworthy.
The art from Bilquis Evely includes an Einstein that isn’t quite on and a number of men that share very similar characteristics with one another. The antagonist of the story bears more than a passing resemblance to one of Savage’s entourage, but isn’t. “Doc Savage” #1 is filled with detailed artwork, with intense effort visibly exerted. The cast of characters could use a little more definition and distinction to separate them one from the other, especially since they don’t have the benefit of uniforms or distinguishing costumes. Otherwise, Evely does a fine job of filling the scenery with details and intricacies, detailing an operating room and constructing skyscrapers in New York.
“Doc Savage” #1 could open up with bombastic adventure, but checks in as something much more pedestrian. The scheming plot that threatens Doc Savage is not overly exciting, but provides enough of a menace to keep the comic book moving along. Roberson and Evely are clicking together nicely, but the story they’re sharing just needs a bigger charge of excitement. The adventures of Doc Savage should be exciting and electrifying, not typical and uninspired. The creative talent on “Doc Savage” #1 is present; they just need to collaborate on an inspired tale for Doc Savage and his crew.