Batman/Doc Savage Special: The Return of Pulp
Posted November 14, 2009on:
With his work on such original titles as Jonny Double, 100 Bullets, and Filthy Rich as examples, Brian Azzarello is clearly a huge fan of pulp and noir style comic books. Hell, even his prior superhero work occasionally ended up tapping more into the seedy underbelly of the crime world than just straight up superheroic action (such as Joker being from the perspective of a henchman). Despite all this, when I had heard that Azzarello was both going to be writing for legendary pulp comic character Doc Savage and making it a crossover with Batman, I was somewhat skeptical. After all, would Savage, a character who hasn’t changed one bit since his first appearance in 1933 radio serials, work in a 2009 book?
At first glance, the oversized one-shot (illustrated by Phil Noto with an awesome J.G. Jones cover) seems a bit like it should be under the Elseworlds imprint. Batman is running around Gotham City trying to take down organized crime with not only his own cunning, but a pair of .45 pistols. Gotham is all a twitter, believing that the Batman has murdered and robbed a notorious porn producer / nightclub owner. Immediately following the death of his father, a grieving Doc Savage leaves New York City and arrives in Gotham with the hopes that taking down Batman will make for a good distraction. James Gordon is a lowly cop boozing it up in a local bar, swearing that Batman is nothing but trouble. And, perhaps most important of all, there are no superpowered heroes. Things are drastically different in Gotham City, more on par with how life was in the 1940s Doc Savage comics than in the modern DCU.
Without really ruining anything about this book, it’s much more of a prologue for the upcoming Brian Azzarello / Rags Morales mini-series First Wave than it is the advertised one-shot. I suppose I’d recommend picking up The Batman / Doc Savage Special if you are either a fan of Marvel’s Noir series or feel like you might end up invested in First Wave (a Batman / Doc Savage / the Spirit / Black Canary / Blackhawks cross-over? How could I not?). I’d just recommend maybe going back and reading some of the older Doc Savage books (or listening to those radio serials, which are pretty awesome) to get more acquainted with the character.