November 12, 2009

On Wings of Bronze

To be honest...I've never really liked Doc Savage in comics.

I'll grant you, the Milennium Comics run hit the right spot, but pulp characters are often hard to translate into comics. Sometimes, you just have to plop them into their own world (much like Tim Truman did with The Spider and give them enough juice to make it through.

Fortunately, Brian Azzarello has taken Doc, mixed him and Batman (one of his "sons", pop culturally speaking), plopped them down in an inspired, non-powered world...and in DC's Batman/Doc Savage special, has given us a nice, pulp-influenced comic tale that really raises the stakes - and builds interest - in DC's First Wave series.

If you're expecting another 100 Bullets-type noir drama, well...Azzarello's writing doesn't go that dark. By balancing some more fantastic aspects (like dirgibles) amongst the more mundane, it has a nice, noir-esque feel. Some might argue that Doc belongs in the 1930s rather than this "timeless" present period...but for me, it works. I think Phil Noto's art helps capture that, giving this a really strong present-day feel but with a nice coloring of vintage era atmosphere. (It helps that at least one character looks as if he's modeled on Lee Marvin...I think Noto must have been watching Point Blank while drawing this book, and that's not a bad thing.

As far as Batman goes...there seems to be a little Chaykin charm in this version of Batman. Young, aggressive, even personable, Azzarello doesn't opt for the moody, Travis Bickle-style Batman from Broken City - if anything, this is a more "likable" Batman than we've seen in awhile.

(Granted, this is a Batman who carries a pair of .45s...but there's something about this version that feels much more accessible than we've seen in awhile).

I'm liking this book - it's not the second coming of Doc Savage, but somehow, for DC's newest "First Line"'s a pretty awesome start.

And actually reminds me...I have some Nostalgia Venture Doc reprints to read.....

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