Story: David Avallone
Art: Dave Acosta
Colors: Morgan Hickman
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
What They Say:
1938: Amelia Earhart is missing, volcanoes are going off under US Navy bases, Silver Death’s Heads are trying to kill Doc Savage, and FDR is quite concerned about all of this. Return to the 1930s for a thrilling four-issue miniseries reuniting the Twilight Zone: The Shadow creative team of writer David Avallone and artist Dave Acosta!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The last Doc Savage miniseries was an interesting experience as it worked past and present as well as it could and showed a way to try and modernize the characters while holding onto who they were in the past. With this series, Dynamite has the creative team working strictly in the thirties so that it’s a full on period piece, which is what works best. David Avallone captures the tone of the cast pretty well while making the small nods toward the gender issues of the time that come up while Dave Acosta really grabs onto the visual design well, from the aircraft and costume design of the military to the more intimate pieces with Pat and some of the others. It’s a book that feels like 1938 without banging you over the head with it, which is the best approach.
The story is one that in some ways will read better collected, especially as the first six or seven pages are basically wordless pieces. Acosta handles it well as we get to see the dream that Pat is having that involves the loss of Amelia and the arrival of a strange volcanic type person amid the flames and chaos of a volcano itself. That it comes at the same time that out in Palmyra Island there’s a new volcano forming suddenly? Well, that’s something that even Doc Savage can’t write off completely, though he puts Pat’s dream about the loss of Amelia to the side for now. After all, President Roosevelt is getting in touch with them to investigate this sudden new volcano and the potential of an enemy that could create them seemingly anywhere at any time and cause a whole lot of destruction.
As an opening installment, Ring of Fire does a solid job of introducing us to the characters without trying to do a from the ground up approach with them in who they are, instead allowing the details to come through in small and natural ways. The interaction with Roosevelt is certainly fun as he’s like a kid in a candy store with the new technology but there’s also the serious edge with the threats the country could face with this technology. So seeing Doc put the plan in to go and investigate is smooth and problem free, though the execution is anything but that. While the wordless piece has its own action to it, the end of the chapter has some fun with Doc’s crew on board the plane being attacked by another flying platform with strange hooded men. It’s an interesting piece but one with no real answers, instead made enjoyable for Acosta’s flow of panels and the way he handles their approach to fighting and sacrificing themselves.
Doc Savage: Ring of Fire brings the familiar elements of the 30’s era of the character to life here and has the right kinds of basic pulp story ideas that you’d expect. It’s smoothly written and has some solid artwork about where both aspects capture the time and feeling of it all well. It’s not the strongest opening for a story but it’s one that leaves me curious with what’s creating the volcanos and what really happened to Amelia since Pat’s dreams really do indicate something else going on. It’s a fun book that does what it needs to right and I suspect we’ll have a solidly enjoyable adventure with it when it’s all said and done. But it’s not a first issue that will blow you out of the water and demand you come back for more right away.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: March 29th, 2017