Thursday, May 29, 2014

Review - Doctor Spektor: Master of the Occult #1

"I'm at the ruins of Norway's 13th century Hamar Cathedral. My global pursuit of an ancient evil ends here, with its death...or mine."

Society today is rather obsessed with the idea that anyone can be a star. And more often than not, people will go to great lengths to achieve that goal, even if it means putting their entire life on display for the world to see. Some of us though are more interesting and capable than others in that regard and Dynamite Entertainment ventures down this path in Doctor Spektor: Master of the Occult #1. The issue is written by Mark Waid, illustrated by Neil Edwards, colored by Jordan Boyd and lettered by Marshall Dillon.

Doctor Adam Spektor's resume reads something along the lines of TV legend, Wall Street wolf, internet mogul, tabloid bad boy, master metaphysicist, spiritualist and monster hunter. He puts those talents to use in getting rid of werewolves, vampires, ghosts and all other manner of things that go bump in the night. The big thing is that he does it in front of a TV audience, makes lots of money doing so and is quite the hit with viewers. Despite all the success, there's something within he's grappling with and when a show filming goes awry, it's very possible he'll find out more about what it is he's missing.

Doctor Spektor: Master of the Occult #1 starts off at an impressive pace and doesn't really slow down at all. Doctor Spektor is brash and cocky, knowing full well he can handle just about any supernatural situation that comes his way (and handle it well). Waid's infused him with plenty of confidence and presents him as someone who enjoys his work about as much as it brings him money. It's clear that Spektor is searching for something else and that's where Waid's script gets really interesting, as it takes a pretty tragic accident to get him on the right path to that something else. Spektor is somewhat endearing (despite his ego) to the reader and is definitely moving from one weird situation to the next. Waid will likely delve further into his past and abilities as the comic progresses, which will only further get the reader more engaged.

Spektor's boastful nature shines in Edwards' illustration of him. His facial expressions and mannerisms are very domineering, showing little respect for those around him and knowledge that--most likely--Spektor will emerge triumphant. Some of the more supernatural elements are illustrated in a way that reminds the reader this book isn't necessarily grounded in reality. The appearance of spirits feel just human enough that you feel they're tangible, but are colored with pale blues by Boyd that reinforce their ethereal nature. Spektor wants his audience fearing for his safety as they watch and Edwards offers some rather gorgeous looking foes for him to contend with.

Dealing with the supernatural certainly isn't a new premise or storyline, but doing so as part of a reality TV show is quite an intriguing twist. There's an aspect inherent in human nature that even though many things scare of us, we have this strange fascination with encountering them nonetheless. Waid offers a character in Spektor who's not only capable of handling those creatures, but does so in a way that brings him fame and money and gives the viewer what they want in the encounter. Their eeriness is further amplified by Edwards' illustrations, presenting things going bump in the night in rather epic fashion that really encourages the reader to feel there's something to fearing them. Doctor Spektor: Master of the Occult #1 is pretty engaging and Spektor exhibits some fascinating characteristics that draw in a reader's attention.

Doctor Spektor: Master of the Occult #1 is in stores now with interiors below.


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