Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Silver Pyramid!

The Silver Pyramid is one truly weird Doc Savage adventure. This limited series, originally published by DC Comics in the late 80's but reprinted only a few years ago when DC again had the Doc license, is a Doc Savage tale for the ages, and span the ages it does moving from the 40's into the then modern day of the late 80's.

At the end of WWII when many are weary of the long struggle against the foreign threats, Doc and his aides are to have dinner to celebrate the end of the struggle when they are brutally attacked by Nazi sympathizers. The attack was arranged by a Nazi madman named Wessell who Doc and his men seek out in South America, but not before it is revealed that Doc has fathered a child. On that trip into the jungle they find a magnificent silver pyramid in which Wessell has found and operates a weird weapon. He uses it on Doc and he is seemingly killed. And that's just the beginning.

The story then shows us the fates of Doc's descendants, first his son and grandson "Chip". None of these latter Savages seem to meet Monk Mayfair's expectations and he constantly suggests they have "thin blood". Doc's aides in the meantime become older and older men, always trying to recapture the glory of Doc's mission, but always falling short. They remain together save for Tom who becomes a monk.

The story is about what happens to these men and those inspired by Doc's long ago mission. But it is a story told by a writer who does not it seems have much sympathy for the kinds of yarns spun by Lester Dent so long ago. Denny O'Neil seems to want to deconstruct the Doc mythology a bit, allowing it its bravado but rejecting to no small extent the sense of virtue which informed it. The Doc Savage of this story is a flawed man, and the aides are grumpy old farts far from the resolute hard chargers of the classic tales.

Having said that, I found myself taken away by this story, eager to find out what happened to the folks involved, and I have to say that despite a few plot details which ring a tad false, the story holds up well enough, though I'd be hard-pressed to call it a Doc Savage adventure. It seemed finally a bit too fantastic for that.

The artwork by the Brothers Kubert is pretty keen, though it seems obvious to my eye that someone has confused Doc's aides Long Tom and Renny throughout the story. Again, this seemed produced by folks who had no specific love for Doc Savage, but did know how to produce a fascinating comic book. 

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