Brian Azzarello and Phil Noto team up to bring us one of the best Batman spin-off issues of the year. The Batman/Doc Savage Special is a unique and fresh approach to writing the character. This issue will also present you with some fantastic artwork by the very talented, Phil Noto.
Azzarello takes an original idea and expands upon it. Bruce Wayne is portrayed as a young and cocky character who is still adapting to the new gig. This issue also marks as a sort of preview to the First Wave line of comics that will debut in 2010. The story is set in a sort of modern, yet old school Gotham City where Batman has been around for only a month. We also see that Batman carries two pistols which, to me, give the character an interesting dynamic. Bruce is still learning how to fight crime and it also refers back to the first Batman comics when he did carry a gun. The plot revolves around a mobster that is murdered with many questions left unanswered. Doc Savage steps in to investigate, and take down the dark knight if needed. What we get is a great adversarial match up between the two characters. We see that while these two men are very different, they are also very similar. A young Jim Gordon also appears in the issue, ranting that Batman is the enemy and not a partner. After an altercation, Batman and Doc Savage meet and show that they have great respect for one another. However, after their discussion, Batman makes it very clear that Gotham is his’ city, and he needs to do this himself. I thought that Azzarello did a terrific job weaving the characters together. You get a real noir-like feel while reading this book. I feel that Azzarello’s characterization of Bruce Wayne is a fresh approach. I think he has big plans for the character’s development throughout this First Wave line. He also makes it very clear that this is a Gotham where scum is everywhere and while Batman is questioned, he is their lone hero. You also get a great contrast in personalities between Bruce Wayne and Doc Savage. You see that while Savage is far older than Bruce, Bruce is wise well beyond his’ age. I think that Azzarello has given us a taste of some new and exciting material to come next March.
I cannot say enough about Phil Noto’s artwork in this book. Noto’s art is clean and polished; it also works extremely well with in the storyline. He also draws some fantastic facial expressions throughout the issue. My only complaint is that, while the art works perfectly with Azzarello’s storytelling style, Noto can be inconsistent at times. It seemed that during Batman and Doc Savage’s fight sequence, he sped through those panels, leaving them with less detail compared to the prior and later panels.
This series has a lot of promise; it takes us to an alternate universe that I cannot wait to read more about. This one-shot was better than any of the other bat-book miniseries that involve Bruce Wayne. This issue felt very much like a pulp story, and I feel that this is a nice change of pace in comparison to the Batman Reborn titles currently taking place. I think this was a great introduction to a new line of comics that could turn out to be something very fun and interesting.
Batman/Doc Savage Special:
Reviewed by Zfactor