Hot on the heels of the relaunches of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, Magnus: Robot Fighter and Solar: Man of the Atom, Doctor Spektor: Master of the Occult #1 rounds out Dynamite Entertainment’s attempt to revitalize the Gold Key Universe. It’s illustrated by Neil Edwards and colored by Jordan Boyd, but pretty much the only reason I needed to pick this up was that it’s written by Mark Waid (Daredevil). Is it good?
Doctor Spektor: Master of the Occult #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
I’m resisting the urge to look up Doctor Spektor on Wikipedia right now. One of the challenges of critiquing licensed material is that it can be difficult at times to figure out whom to assign credit or blame to. How much credit should Jack Kirby get for Dan Slott and Mike Allred’s excellent new Silver Surfer series, and on that same token, how much credit can Slott and Allred take for putting a fun new spin on what was already such a winning concept in the first place? I’ve loved Batman for as long as I can remember, but until recently that had little to do with direct exposure to the work of Bill Finger, and it certainly had almost nothing to do with Bob Kane.
But at least with most Marvel and DC superheroes, I have usually had some vague awareness of their characters’ history before reading their comics, watching their television shows, or seeing their movies. But I had never even heard of Doctor Spektor before reading this comic. So instead of trying to parse out how much credit I’ll give to whom, I’ll try my best to judge Doctor Spector: Master of the Occult #1 as a singular product.
Doctor Spektor runs on a simple, intriguing premise: a reality TV/talk show host that hunts actual, literal ghosts and vampires for public broadcast. It’s been said before that Mark Waid is a master of the first issue, and while Doctor Spektor is far from a masterpiece, Waid’s talent nonetheless shines through as he introduces readers to the characters, concept, and general tone of this title. Wisely, Waid chooses to focus a bit more on the television-star aspect of the titular character than he does on the monster-hunting, because the former is so much more unique. And as one can always expect from a Mark Waid comic, the dialogue is absolutely first rate.
Doctor Spektor is a bit weaker on the art side. As fellow AiPT contributor David Brooke pointed out to me, Neil Edwards’ art is a bit reminiscent of Bryan Hitch, but then again, I’ve never been much of a Hitch fan anyway. It’s not bad, but it’s not particularly exciting or dynamic either. The characters often appear flat and stiff, and their facial expressions often are either too exaggerated or not displaying the wrong emotions altogether. The art is functional, and that’s about it.
Is It Good?
Doctor Spektor: Master of the Occult will probably not reach the heights of other Mark Waid projects like Daredevil and Kingdom Come, but it’s nonetheless an intriguing premise with a fun execution, albeit with some mediocre art.