Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Doctor Spektor, Master of the Occult #1 and #2 (Dynamite Comics)
If there's one big positive I can give to Dynamite's new Gold Key line, it's that the plots sure are varied! One series is about Native Americans battling Crusaders with dinosaurs, another is about fighting robots in an oppressive post-apocalyptic future, and this most recent one, Doctor Spektor, Master of the Occult, is about legit reality TV monster hunting!
Dr. Adam Spektor is the host of a reality TV series where he investigate the supernatural, and fights monsters if need be (which make for great ratings pulls). For a long time, Spektor has been having the ethereal memory of a woman he's never met, and these mysterious vision have taken their toll on him, leaving Spektor depressed after every high he gets on his show...
Out of all the Dynakey lines' opening issues, this is by far the most interesting, if not the best. The plot is well-written, and tells a bearable amount of story for one issue, thus not feeling like the monthly quarter of a tiny four-part story stretched out to nothing.
Spektor is given pretty ok characterisation as a guy who's overdramatic in front of the cameras, and miserable when alone, but after the vampire battle, it's mainly just people talking about what kind of a guy he is, which can feel a bit cheap at times.
Adam's producer Lenny is pretty likeable, which makes what happens to him at the climax depressing, but at least he's not totally gone, given 'circumstances'. And Abby Horne, Adam's new secretary, is ok-Likeable-ish, but doesn't have any character to her.
I do have a couple of little problems with this issue. The first is the way Spektor defeats the vampire at the start. He gets his crew to do some light beam thing with one of their satellites, conveniently hitting conveniently placed panels in exactly the right way that the beam conveniently hits the vampire, and all before he rips out Spektor's throat, too! Frankly it would have been a tad more straightforward had Spektor just stabbed the vampire with a stake, but what the hell do I know about monster hunting?
Also, I find it stupid that Lenny didn't tell Abby that part of her job as secretary was taking care of Adam when she first applied, but rather two weeks later.
This is the first of the Dynakey line to show any kind of inter-continuity with the others. If you're wondering how a world where publicly known magic exists alongside the world from Solar...Well, it doesn't. This is a different universe, and according to psychic medium Madame Rose, those who die in all universes all end up in the same afterlife, hence how she's able to see them.
The art is pretty good, and definitely pleases the eye. Though there's a mistake with Adam not being injured and covered in blood after the attack at the climax. You could say that's because an illusion was attacking him, and when it'd go away, he wouldn't show any outward signs of harm, but someone killed by it was in a pool of real blood after the illusion was destroyed (err...somehow. It's not explained in the slightest how). The cover is pretty 'eh'. Spektor's face looks sketchy and weirdly drawn, and the background is a cluttered jumbled mess!
To summarise, Issue #1 of Doctor Spektor was a pretty darn good introduction to this series. The follow-up issue, on the other hand...
What the fuck did I just read?!
For all the crap I've given Dynamite's Turok, Dinosaur Hunter (I've even edited comparisons out of my upcoming Ms. Marvel review because I didn't want to keep harping on it), at least for all its faults, it's a point A, to Point B, to Point C storyline. Issue #2 of Doctor Spektor, on the other hand, started at Point Z, zig-zagged to Point Alpha, murdered Point Cherry, made out with Point Lola, flipped off Point Time, banged Point Sense's wife, then settled at Point Wow Wow Wibble Woggle Wazzie Woodle Woo! Issue #1 was straightforward enough. Adam Spektor is a reality TV host who fights the undead for ratings, and is tormented by the lingering sensations from a female phantasm. But here...!...let's get into the nitty-gritty.
First things first, the time-scale of this issue is screwed up. Page 1 is of stuff happening in 'Present day', Page 2 is stuff happening 'An hour ago', Page 3 is back to the present, Page 4 is back to an hour ago, etc. Originally I was going to mock that confusing layout by having a faux post of this all jumbled up, but there's so much else to complain about that doing so would just take up too much time.
Then things really start to get confusing! There's a visitor at the door of Spektor's office, Abby answers it, and it's a shocked doppelganger of her. Then Abby is out getting some supplies, she goes back only to find Adam kinda doesn't exist there anymore, and the doppelganger scene is mirrored with an older woman. And then Spektor suddenly sees Lenny alive, but he's a jerk, and has never heard of Abby. She's arrested, then Spektor suddenly goes to some super science lab which is suddenly attacked by a giant robot fighter! And no, I didn't just describe key scenes and leave out the explanations, nor did I summarise the plot all at once to try and make it confusing. That's the plot there, no beats in-between! There's no rhyme or reason to the mangled structure! I guess what's happening is dimension hopping, but there are zero transitions! You won't even realize anything's happened. You'll just be wondering why Abby is being arrested out of nowhere by a cop who I originally thought was also Lenny (due to poor dialogue), or why Spektor randomly decides to go watch a giant science machine straight outta Isaac Asimov's wet dream, or why the comic has a completely superfluous fascination with the 'philosophy' of Thelonious Monk.
This issue further solidifies a connection with the other Dynakey lines by having Magnus (Robot Fighter) appear to beat the crap out of Adam...And that's it. At first it seemed like this was a completely superficial crossover, and we were simply reading a dialogue-less Magnus fighting Dr. Spektor just because, but he does get some dialogue at the end vaguely talking about some interdimensional threat, so I can't really complain about this yet.
This issue's worst crime of all is that it's completely ditched its own concept! Did you think you were reading a supernatural thriller series about a snarky monster hunter with a chip on his shoulder? Sorry, but apparently the series' writers thought their own plot was passe only one issue in, and have hurled it out the window for confusing inter-dimensional hijinks! Hijinks that might only last for two more issues, unless there's a grievous typo on Dynamite.com's summaries for the series! If the writers weren't going to actually use this interesting concept for this series, why didn't they save it for another one, and have the protagonist of this be some other guy.
The art is the same as before-decent-and the cover is kinda cool, kinda blank, and totally a non-sequitur. And again, Spektor's face is drawn a bit weird on it.
Uuuuggggh! Well that's enough out of me about Dr. Specter, Mistress of the Craft (Which I'll refer to it henceforth until it gets its shit together!) for now. I'll be back to talk about either it's miraculous rise, or predicted decline and fall in a couple of months. Seeya then...