I’m not sure what it is about this pulpy noir pocket universe that DC’s got brewing with First Wave, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes out of it. It started with the Brian Azzarello-written, Phil Noto-drawn Batman/Doc Savage Special 1-shot which was both beautiful and a ton of fun to read. I’m no fan of Doc Savage, not because I dislike the character, but because I haven’t been exposed to him. I tried reading Tom Strong who takes more than a few plays from the Savage playbook and never got into it, but I did really like the pulpy stories in the Lobster Johnson mini series from Dark Horse and the Orson Randall stories in Immortal Iron Fist which were also inspired Savage. The aspects of those two stories that I really dug were the heroes’ network of helpers and of course, that’s something Savage brought to the table and show up in the special.
See, the idea is to take badass, powerless characters like Batman, Doc, Black Canary, The Spirit, the Blackhawks, Justice Inc. and Rima The Jungle Girl and tossing them up against some crazy villains while keeping the books and characters securely rooted in the pulp/noir/crime playground. And don’t think of this as your regular Batman, this is some pure Golden Age Batman goodness with him packing heat and firing on anyone who messes with him. If the list of characters above left you scratching your head, check out this link which has scans of character sketches and descriptions from Batman/Doc Savage. After the 1-shot kicks things off, we’ll be getting into the First Wave miniseries in March which will be written by Azz and drawn by Rags Morales who hasn’t done much of interest or real quality lately, but the pages they’ve been posting over on DC’s The Source have looked pretty fantastic, just check out this page starring a giant robot. Then in March the empire expands with two ongoings: Doc Savage written by Paul Malmont with Howard Porter art and The Spirit by Jason Starr and Scott Hampton with Justice Inc. backup stories. Now, I don’t know anything about these writers other than the fact that they’re crime novelists, but I’m hoping they’re good at this whole comics thing. I’m sure some people don’t want another universe to keep track of, but at least this way it’ll be easy to ignore them if you don’t like the books or just don’t care. Frankly, I prefer this course of action to shoehorning outside characters into the established comic universe like DC did with the Red Circle and Milestone characters. I’m looking forward to seeing Azzarello doing what he’s really good at, telling complex, fast paced and absorbing stories with badass characters. 100 Bullets is one of my favorite comics of all time, but his other superhero stuff hasn’t been so great (except Doctor 13, which is amazing), so I’m hoping he’ll be able to play to his real strong suit with First Wave. After that? Who knows? I don’t know much about the characters, but something about this project has me really really intrigued and excited for some hopefully great comics.