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Doc Savage #3

Posted: Monday, June 14, 2010
By: Andre Lamar

Paul Malmont
Howard Porter, Art Thibert (i) & Hi-Fi (c)
DC Comics
Although Doc Savage is a character with years of history, many younger readers, and possibly some older ones, arenít too familiar with him. Back in April, the debut of this series couldíve been a great opportunity for writer Paul Malmont to revamp Savage and his squad. However, three issues later, weíre presented with a seemingly invincible Doc Savage that can breeze through any dilemma, along with his crew (Monk, Ham, Renny, Long Tom, and Littlejohn) in which their roles remain insignificant.

For those new to this mini-series, a mastermind has set an attack on New York and Doc Savage. In issue #3, Malmont gives the reader a peek at who the brains behind the operation are, or at least a key player that has access to him. The mercenaries from the previous issue are back, and they wont quit until Savage is captured or dead. Aside from this, not much new information is revealed.

Malmontís writing reminds me of a vintage hero where the protagonist has a moral conscious and he always catches the villain and saves the girl. Now, there isnít anything wrong with an unflappable hero, per say. However, thereís more intrigue about a character that has to struggle to find victory. Unfortunately, Doc doesnít seem to struggle or become stressed under pressure situations. Due to his extensive qualities as a scientist, physician, adventurer and et cetera, everything comes too easy to him.

Despite a group of sidekicks that include a chemist, geologist, engineers, and a sword carrying attorney, Savageís team has had limited impact with assisting the hero. Malmontís disregard of Docís supporting cast is unsatisfactory, considering heís shown examples of how the characters can co-exist with Savage. For instance, issue #2 features a cool scene where Ham, the attorney, subdues a mercenary and jams his sword through the scope of the soldierís assault rifle. Doc Savage #3 reveals another scene in which Monk pretends to be unconscious, after being captured by a group of soldiers. An arrogant soldier hovers over him and remarks, ďI expected these guys to be tougher.Ē Suddenly, Monk head butts the mercenary, knocking him out cold, and replies ďThat tough enough for ya!?Ē

Howard Porterís art is alright, but it isnít without its flaws. The sequence of Docís cliffhanger moment, where heís holding onto an airship, is drawn-out. Porter attempts to use visual storytelling to show how Doc falls onto the airship, and hangs on to one of its wings. Instead of using four panels to depict this scene, three panels wouldíve sufficed. Also, Savage seems too bulk sometimes.
Art Thibertís line-work is precise, and Hi-Fiís coloring is hit and miss. There are moments when the coloring appears too plain, and without texture.

Though Doc Savage has an arsenal of abilities, Paul Malmont isnít allowing the character to be challenged. And his squad of teammates remain uninspired, because the author hasnít developed their potential. Honestly, this book just isnít worth $3.99.



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