Regular readers of this blog know that I am a huge Doc Savage fan. So, when I ran across a copy of the trade paperback pictured above at Half Price Books yesterday for nine bucks, I popped on it.
THE SPIDER'S WEB by Chris Roberson and Cezar Razek is a solid enough super-saga that falls short of the best comic book version of Doc and way ahead of the worst Doc comics. The best, in my humble opinion, remains the black and white DOC SAVAGE magazine published by Marvel Comics back in the 1970s. The original, extra-long stories by Doug Moench, John Buscema and Tony DeZuniga, were all first rate adventures which perfectly captured the look and feel of the best Doc stories of the 1930s. The worst? Anyone remember that godawful FIRST WAVE atrocity that DC published a few years back? You know, the shared universe that was populated by Doc, Batman, the Spirit, Rima the Jungle Girl, Blackhawk and I forget who else. Boy, was that one a stinker.
SPIDER'S WEB covers a large chunk of Doc's crime fighting career with each of the five chapters focusing on a case set in a different decade up to present day. Each episode, while appearing to stand alone, ultimately ties together in the final chapter when the villain behind the years long plot is finally revealed. Yep, Doc's nemesis in this one is Stephen Hawking, or at least a character who looks remarkably like that famous genius.
Chris Roberson's story is good with the narrative being entirely told through dialogue. Whatever happened to caption boxes? I miss 'em. The art by Cezar Razek is, like so much art in so many other Dynamite comics, merely average. It's better than some I've seen in some Dynamite titles but it's not quite slick and polished enough to suit me. However, the storytelling is clear and easy to follow, which is a plus these days.
I'm keeping THE SPIDER'S WEB and putting it on the shelf alongside my other Doc material. It's not great but it is a serious treatment of the character giving Doc, Pat and his other aides the respect that they deserve.