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Somebody’s First Comic Book: Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom (1962 Series) #30

June 21, 2010 1 comment

Wondering what Somebody’s First Comic Book is all about? The explanation is on this page!

TITLE: Inferno!

CREDITS:

Writer: Roger McKenzie
Art:
Dan Spiegle
Publisher:
Whitman Comics

PRIOR KNOWLEDGE: None, but “Solar”? So this guy has sun powers, right?

IMPRESSIONS: When the story kicks off, we seem to have a bunch of scientists very excited about a man named Eric Dante, who has scheduled a press conference about some top-secret project. As everyone is getting ready, we see Doctor Solar save a town from a bursting dam by using his powers to hold back a torrent of water until the National Guard can evacuate everyone. Watching a guy hold up a force field for two and a half pages may not be the most exciting thing in the world, but the inner monologue cues us in on the fact that Solar here has radioactive powers that sort of leave him separated from the rest of the human race, although apparently he’s not so radioactive that he can’t save a kid and a puppy once the force field drops.

Our scientist friends go to visit this Dante guy in a bubbled underwater city he’s calling New Atlantis. Solar (who apparently can shape-shift) disguises himself to mix in with them, and figures out that Dante is actually planning to kill all of the scientists and other notables in the city. Turns out he’s actually an evil robot called King Cybernoid. I’m guessing Doctor Solar has fought him before, and he does it again, and saves the world. Pretty straight forward. But… wait, what’s this? There’s another story in this comic!

TITLE: Where Angels Fear…

Writer: Roger McKenzie
Art: Frank Bolle

PRIOR KNOWLEDGE: None, again, but the character is named “Magnus Robot Fighter: 4,000 A.D.” I’m going to take a wild guess and say this is about a guy who fights robots in the year 4,000.

IMPRESSIONS: Magnus, according to the caption at the beginning, fights evil robots who have rebelled against their human masters. Apparently this Roger McKenzie guy had a serious anti-robot prejudice. Magnus is looking for a girl named Leeja Clane, who has been kidnapped by one of these evil robots. We get a quick flashback sequence that tells us that:

A: Magnus was raised by a good robot to fight the evil ones.
B: This Leeja is his girlfriend, and…
C: Her father is a senator in “North Am.”

Magnus tracks down the evil robot, destroying a bunch of other robots along the way, and finally finds the big bad, who (in case we couldn’t figure it out) actually has the letters “EVL” stamped on his chest. Presumably, they do this so Magnus knows which robots to fight and which ones to allow to continue vacuuming the high-rises of North Am.

Overall, this comic is fairly easy to understand. Solar gives me everything I need to know to understand his predicament and, while it’s clear the bad guy has been seen before, I don’t really need to know anything about him to get the story. Magnus, similarly, is easy to understand. Man fights robots, evil robot kidnaps his girlfriend, man fights specific evil robot. Minus points for stereotypical gender roles, but a bonus for clarity.

GRADE: B+