THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF DOC ATLAS
By Michael A. Black & Ray Lovato
Over the years there have been way too many Doc Savage clones created by want-to-be pulp writers; some good, some atrocious. Before going any further, let’s get one thing straight, Doc Atlas clearly resides in the good camp. In fact, his exploits, as penned by Misters Black & Lovato far exceed mere pastiches, giving Doc and his supporting characters their own unique identies and clearly establishing them as some of the finest heroes created in the New Pulp era.
This collection, first published back in 2011, features five highly charged adventures and is a wonderful introduction to the series. Doc Atlas naturally is the hero; a man of both science and action. He’s aided and abetted by fancy lawyer Edward “Ace” Assante and Thomas “Mad Dog” Deagan; both former military officers he served with in the past. And lastly there is the lovely spitfire reporter, Penelop “Penny” Cartier whose affection for Doc is a cause of concern as she is forever wanting to join him and the others on their dangerous missions. Author Lovato kicks off the volume with a wonderful introduction explaining how to childhood pals grew up to become pulp addicts and ultimately writers. It’s a intimate peek at what wonders are possible when conceived in friendship.
“The Riddle of the Sphinx” has Doc, Ace and Mad Dog journeying deep into Mexican jungles in search of a missing archeologist. In this one Doc is reunited with an old flame much to Penny’s chagrin and as ever, the action is hot and heavy throughout.
Next up is “Desert Shadows.” Shortly after spotting weird lights in the sky, several planes crash in desert near the small town of Roswell, New Mexico, and Doc and company head west to find the truth amidst the quickly growing hysteria of visitors from outer of space. Naturally the real answer is more realistic but equally sinister.
In the third story, “Killer Gorilla,” a vicious gang boss about to be electrocuted in prison vows to return and wreak vengeance on those who put him away. Days later several of these men are found brutally murdered as if torn apart by a wild animal. Could the dead man’s brains have been transplanted into the body of a mountain gorilla?
With “Artic Terror” the authors tip their hats to Howard Hawk’s monster flick, “The Thing.” A supposed alien spacecraft has crashed landed in the frozen north sending Doc, his team and a group of soldiers to the aid of a research facility. By the time they arrive, half the scientist are dead, victims of a bizarre, glowing creature.
And finally we have, “The Satan Plague,” in which our heroes cross paths with Senator Joe McCarthy and his notorious public witch hunt for communist spies. Truth is, a group of ex-Nazi scientists are about to unleash germ on an unsuspecting public unless Doc can foil their insidious plans. A powerful, gripping finale to a great collection.
Doc Atlas is a terrific New Pulp hero and if you remain unfamiliar with his adventures, now is the time to jump on board. Airship 27 Productions recently announced they will soon be publishing the brand new adventures of the Golden Avenger courtesy of Misters Black & Lovato. Something truly special to look forward to.