Saturday, April 8, 2017

On The Shelf: Doc Savage tries to find a missing legend, and more

Dynamite Entertainment brings back Doc Savage, this time for a period piece that's more appropriate for the Man of Bronze. In the 4 issue "Ring of Fire", Doc and his team, along with cousin Pat are on the trail of missing aviatrix Amelia Earhart. Savage's only known nemesis, John Sunlight, factors into the mix. At least this time, they're getting it right, but we'll reserve a rating for after the conclusion.

As will be the case with the DC Universe-Looney Tunes 1-shots coming in June, the crossovers with classic Hanna-Barbera characters are a clear case of fan-fiction service, coupled with writers and artists letting their imaginations run wild. Literally.

Take for example the pairing of the Suicide Squad with the Banana Splits. Artist Ben Caldwell (Prez) has reimagined the bubblegum rockers with more realistic appearances, including giving Fleegle a lisp, due largely to missing a couple of front teeth. Snorky is bigger and meaner, and Drooper & Bingo look more like a true lion & gorilla. Just don't ask how they learned how to play musical instruments. Anyway, when Harley Quinn, Deadshot, & Killer Croc go missing on a mission off the grid, Amanda Waller conscripts the Splits for a rescue mission.

Meanwhile, Snagglepuss is in the backup feature, and they're trying to explain his particular image in a way that his creators at H-B never imagined. We think. Augie Doggie & Peter Potamus make cameos.

Rating: B.

Next, Green Lantern, in this case, Hal Jordan, meets Space Ghost. The angle of the Phantom of the Spaceways as a "peacekeeper" carries over from his 2003 miniseries. Artist Ariel Olivetti worked on that miniseries, so he was an easy choice. Co-author James Tynion IV did his homework for this one.

The backup story brings Ruff & Reddy back to comics, as Howard Chaykin offers a sort-of origin of how the two came together. Both, according to Chaykin, started as nightclub comics. Ruff, you see, can't hang on to a partner. One died of a heart attack on stage. Another, a human female, gives Chaykin an excuse to get in some adult humor that doesn't really belong. As with Snagglepuss, the plan is to try out R & R in their own series down the road. They just have to rein in Chaykin.

Rating: A-.

Adam Strange crosses into the world of Future Quest, and not only meets Jonny Quest and his team, but also Dino Boy, who had made his DC debut in the pages of Future Quest. This story is the followup to the conclusion of Future Quest, which will be out in a couple of weeks. Watch for a cameo by the Herculoids and Birdman. Clearly, DC has something planned after their summer events. Top Cat appears in the backup, and somehow finds his way to Gotham City, crossing paths, not only with Batman, but also Catwoman. Phil Winslade's artwork is on point, as TC retains his familiar look, but on his world, it's an all cat world now, as even Officer Dibble is a feline. Writer Dan DiDio finally got something done right.

Rating: A.

Haven't read the Booster Gold-Flintstones book yet, as that figures to be closer to a coda for the latter book, which ends in June. The next wave of Hanna-Barbera books figures to be out either during the summer or fall.

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