Writer: Mark Waid
Artists: Neil Edwards & Roberto Castro
Colourists: Luigi Anderson & Mauricio Wallace
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
It is never easy rebooting an early comic book series, especially something as bizarre as Doctor Spektor: Master of the Occult. After all, just look at the way they introduce him:
“TV Legend. Wall Street Wolf. Internet Mogul. Tabloid Bad Boy. Master Metaphysicist. Spiritualist. Monster Hunter. Adam Spektor was all these things…until he saw beyond the world he knew. And his TV producer Lenny was killed by forces unknown. And his assistant Abby became the only person he could trust.
Now Doctor Spektor is a man hellbent on unlocking the truth, even if he has to go through a Robot Fighter, a Dinosaur Hunter, or a Woman Of The Atom to do it…”
For newcomers this certainly is a rather strange way to introduce what has been the strong revival of one of the comic world’s more obscure series. And boy does it show in this issue. The comic wastes no time in throwing readers into the deep end of the action where simultaneously we have both a jailbreak story and a warning from a cosmic being. The pacing of the story is certainly done well, cutting from the frantic warnings of the mysterious Magnus to the escape of his assistant who seeks to be reunited with her employer. Admittedly, despite the crazy context, the dialogue seems rather natural and punctuates the personalities of each character well. This can be shown from the Doctor’s light hearted quips to the more sombre tone of his counterpart Magnus as well as the desperation of his assistant.
From a technical standpoint, the artwork is pretty good in illustrating the various feelings each character seeks to express, although I will admit sometimes they suffer from cardboard face syndrome. You know the one where their faces are twisted into expressions of either brooding silence or chronic constipation. On the one hand it can capture the emotion of the scene while other times it looks as if they are wondering whether or not they left the oven on at home. But in all seriousness, it is a solid effort from both Neil Edwards and Roberto Castro which does its job in illustrating what it needs to. Although I will admit, Doctor Spektor scarily resembles Robbie Williams at times and I do not know if that is meant to be a good or a bad thing.
However, there are certainly a few faults that hold this story back from being a fun-filled adventure into the unknown, and instead degenerate into a conglomeration of confusing storytelling. A scene that comes to mind is when Doctor Spektor is exposed to a rather harrowing moment, one which should illicit a strong emotional response from him. However, his reaction is, to be frank, pretty anti-climatic. Even after the big reveal it seems as if there is a great sense of apathy making it all the harder to try and sympathise with these characters. I suppose it is easier for fans to follow the Doctor’s plight but for others it just seems confusing as to why the characters act in the way they do.
Overall, for all those fans of Doctor Spektor I would recommend it as it is, to an extent, a well-paced continuation of the series, leaving the reader wanting more from the spiritual physician. As for new fans curious about the series I would suggest starting from the beginning as even I struggled to know what was going on. This is certainly not perfect, heck it isn’t even that great. Despite having some really interesting concepts laced through the tale, I’m afraid that this edition does not quite hit the mark. Here’s hoping that the next check up with Doctor Spektor will produce better results.