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Doctor Spectrum #6

Posted: Tuesday, April 12, 2005
By: Jason Cornwell



"Full Spectrum, Part VI of VI"

Writer: Sara "Samm" Barnes
Artists: Greg Tocchini (p), Mark Morales with BATT (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics


Plot: As the alien crystal continues to explore the inner psyche of Joe Ledger, the body of our comatose lead character is rescued by Hyperion who is briefly made aware of a connection between him and the man inside the speeding ambulance. Joe Ledger is then forced by the entity to admit that he enjoys killing people, and as such he's the perfect host for this power gem. With this personal admission Joe Ledger wakes up.

Comments: Considering Sara Barnes had six issues to flesh out this character, I have to say I'm rather disillusioned by the fact that the sum total of new insight that we learned about this character is so shallow and lacking any real sense of importance. This issue's big eye-opening climax has our hero admitting that he's a killer, and even more shocking, he enjoys killing. Now this sounds like a pretty important revelation, but it's not like this character is killing people indiscriminately. In fact, looking at the murders that he committed in this miniseries, he killed his stepfather who was little better than the abusive drunk stereotype, while the other murder was the person who killed his mother. It's all well and good to have the character admitting that he enjoys killing, but this admission isn't all that shocking when the story takes great pains to provide justification for the killings. In the end this miniseries feels like Sara Barnes was given the task of developing this character’s back-story, and whether it's due to a lack of imagination, or limitations that were imposed upon her by J. Michael Straczynski, she didn't run very far with the ball. This was a classic example of a writer spinning their wheels as this miniseries went nowhere, and it took its sweet time getting there. Now there's some attempts at delivering profound observations, but I seriously doubt that anyone that's ever ridden a rollercoaster was disappointed that they were back at the same spot when the ride was over, as the entire point of riding a rollercoaster is the artificial sense of danger, and not the actual journey. Still, in the end they got my money, so I guess the joke's on me.

The missed shipping dates and the fact that Greg Tocchini provided the art for this final issue provides the sense that this miniseries ran into some problems. What really surprised me though was that editor Warren Simmons wasn't able to find a better match to the work of Travel Foreman. If this miniseries is ever collected in trade paperback then this shift in style on the last chapter will be quite jarring. Greg Tocchini's work has a decidedly more stylized approach and while there's a nice sense of energy to some sections of the book, the scenes where it's more of a mood piece aren't all that effective, as the art simply doesn't do all that good a job of selling the various emotions of the cast. The scene where Hyperion brings the ambulance to a halt also could have conveyed a greater sense of impact, as the vehicle looking like it floated into Hyperion's grasp rather than slamming into him at full speed. The scene where Joe wakes up also could have been delivered in a more dramatic fashion.



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