Sunday, April 17, 2005

Doctor Spectrum

Supreme Power is one of my favorite current running series and is, in my opinion, one of the best comics being published at the moment. There are a lot of other people that feel the same way, but then there's also the other extreme that hates it with a vehemence that is hard to rival. I've rarely seen an opinion in the middle ground. Either you think it's a fascinating reimagination of the JLA being told in a realistic manner or else complain that it's nothing more than a overly decompressed T&A book. It doesn't really matter what camp you fall into because it sold well enough to warrant a mini-series off-shoot, Doctor Spectrum.

If you thought that Supreme Power was overly decompressed, then I would stay miles away from this mini. You'll be lucky to get more than a couple dialogue balloons on most pages, but just because there's a lack of dialogue doesn't mean it's decompressed, I know. The problem is that nothing really happens throughout the course of this mini. For the entire run, up until the end of the last issue, Doctor Spectrum is in a coma battling it out with the crystal attached to his hand in his subconscious.

While he's reliving parts of his life he'd rather have forgotten, the doctors that have been attending to Spectrum are trying to figure out how to remove the crystal. They make a couple of attempts, each ending horribly, so then they try to activate it by bringing in Hyperion (the Superman of the Supreme Power universe) to see if it'll activate the crystal. No go. They eventually take him next to the spaceship that brought the crystal to earth, which does set him off, but it feels very anti-climactic.

There's only so many times I can read the same basic thing over and over again. Doctors are trying to revive Spectrum or remove the crystal. They keep failing. Spectrum is caught in his subconscious arguing with the crystal about who he actually is. In the end the big reveal, which isn't even much of a reveal, just restates what you've known about Spectrum all along.

I was rather bored most of the way through this mini, which is really a shame because it reflects bad on the Supreme Power universe. I felt this mini was simply put out there to exploit the Supreme Power fans into throwing more money to Marvel to read something that really doesn't add anything to the Supreme Power universe.

The art is also light years behind Frank's meticulous pencils in Supreme Power. The art wasn't bad as much as it just wasn't anything unique. It was very basic, rudimentary, and realistic. There was nothing to separate it from the 50 or so other artists that use the same style.

If you are a Supreme Power fan, you might enjoy this mini a little bit. If you're not a fan, you'll hate this mini even more than Supreme Power. Really this is something that could have either been squeezed down into a prestige format one-shot or even explored in the actual series. There was really no reason for it to exist as a six issue mini-series.

Art: 2.5
Story: 2.5
Overall: 2.5

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