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Doctor Spectrum #3

Posted: Wednesday, November 10, 2004
By: Jason Cornwell



"Full Spectrum, Part III of VI"

Writer: Sara "Samm" Barnes
Artists: Travel Foreman (p), Nelson DeCastro and Scott Koblish (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot:
As Joe Ledger battles for control of his own mind with the alien crystal that has embedded itself in his right hand, we see his government controllers have decided to amputate his hand so they can continue their experiments on the crystal. As Joe Ledger and the alien presence continue their tour of Joe's less than wonderful life, we see back in the real world the attempt at surgery goes rather poorly.

Comments:
The problem with this miniseries rests in its decision to have the story acting as a expanded look at the early moments after the character had the alien crystal fused to his hand, as readers who have been following the regular series, which I'm guessing makes up the large percentage of the readers, already know how key elements of this story are going to end. I mean it's difficult to get overly worked up by the idea that the impatient government operatives are making plans to amputate Joe Ledger's hand, when we know the character is running around in the monthly series with both his hands. As for the material that is set within the mind of Joe Ledger, to be perfectly honest there's no real jaw dropping revelations, as Sara Barnes seems perfectly content to offer up a number of rather predictable stock scenarios, from the young man who runs away from home into the waiting arms of the military, to the aggressive drill sergeant who takes our young hero and berates him into the model solider. Now we get a flash of something more interesting that he's trying to keep locked away from the alien presence, and I'm mildly interested in learning how much control will Joe Ledger have when this miniseries wraps up, but in the end this miniseries still hasn't convinced me that it's little better than a make work project, as the character insight it's offering up are hardly earth-shattering. Still, it has three issues to prove me wrong, and I sincerely hope it does.

Travel Foreman's work strikes me as becoming less detailed as the miniseries moves along, and it doesn't help that the action that is set within the mind of Joe Ledger is set within a featureless void. The art also seems to struggle with the concept of body language, as his characters are unnaturally stiff, and the range of emotion that is reflected using the character's facial expressions is also a bit limited. Now the story is full of serious minded characters, so I don't expect a wide range of emotions, but there's only so many times the art can offer up the close-up shot of the steely-eyed stare before it becomes a boring visual. Still, I will give the art credit for its work on the scene where the crystal reacts to the attempt at surgically removing it from Joe Ledger's body, as it's a great display of the raw power that the crystal is capable of.



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