Review - First Wave #1

Well folks, a couple of weeks ago Jim Lee, Geoff Johns and Dan DiDio moved into new leadership roles at DC. Lee promised change and exciting things to be coming from one of the oldest and most storied comic publishers in DC Comics. If First Wave is any indication of what's to come, I think we should be really excited. First Wave #1 is the first of a six-issue miniseries that teams up Doc Savage, The Spirit and Batman together in an pulp noir style story. Written by Brian Azzarello and illustrated by Rags Morales, the issue primarily focuses on three characters: Doc Savage, The Spirit and an unnamed war veteran in an uncharted country. Doc Savage is attending his father's funeral and arrives with the requisite Doc Savage fanfare. He's a celebrity in the world this comic illustrates, but not necessarily in the "celebrity" sense. The Spirit is happily napping in a graveyard and is tipped off by Dolan (his detective "partner") about a mysterious man arriving at the docks in the near future. Batman is mysteriously absent in this issue, as I'm sure Azzarello is working him up for a grand entrance. You'd expect tons of action with Doc Savage, The Spirit and Batman (not yet) involved, however, what we're presented with instead is tons of setup. Azzarello does an excellent job in setting up the storylines to cross, as both Savage and Spirit are introduced via graveyards. I really like the symmetry between the two characters, beyond just starting in the graveyard. Savage is at a graveyard mourning his father's death while Spirit it at a graveyard to just sleep. They're both seeking coffins for different reasons: Savage to discover what killed his father and The Spirit to find the man Dolan mentioned arriving (and are both in for a surprise by the end of the issue). The third character mentioned is an unnamed man in the jungle somewhere, presumably somewhere near the Amazon in South America (Azarello refers to it as "Uncharted Territory"). For reasons unknown he's fleeing something, and all we're told about him is he was in a war and he longs for a woman that was in his life. He's wounded by a giant robot (no clue where that came from) and is tended to by a tribe that is mostly eradicated by a group called "The Red Hand." I think we have our protagonists and antagonists! As I mentioned earlier no Batman, but I'm sure he'll show up in the second issue. Azzarello always amazes me with his ability to craft these types of stories. Doc Savage and The Spirit are very much pulp superheroes (even Batman is to an extent) and Azzarello characterizes them awesomely. Tip of the cap to Rags as well, for he manages to successfully blend together three characters that represent different eras and locations. I'm going to guess that the "man worth a great deal to the proper authorities" is probably Batman and we'll be treated a to a great first encounter between Batman and The Spirit. The Red Hand has the potential to be pretty nasty and really challenge the newly teamed trio, and I'm excited to get into Doc Savage. I don't know much about the character at all really (and my knowledge of The Spirit is limited mainly to the film of the same name), but I'm sure there are many, many others like me. Check out some interiors below, and the issue is in stores now. It's definitely worth the read if you're a fan of Azzarello, Morales or any of the series' characters.