Doctor Spectrum #3 Review

Reviewer: Tim Stevens
Story Title: Full Spectrum Part 3 of 6

Written by: Sara “Samm” Barnes
Penciled by: Travel Foreman
Inked by: Nelson DeCastro & Scott Koblish
Colored by: Studio F
Lettered by: VC’s Dave Sharpe
Editor: Nick Lowe
Publisher: Marvel Comics/Max Comics

I noticed something weird about this issue of Doctor Spectrum. You see, typically, the writer, penciller, and inke’s last names are found on the cover on a Marvel book. If there are only 2 names, it tends to mean that the penciller either inks his or her own work or simply does not use an inker. With this issue, there are only 2 names on the cover, Barnes and Foreman. However, Foreman’s work is inked by another person. Actually, another 2 people. Why no love for them?

I doubt this will have any influence on how you feel about this story one way or the other, but I still think it was worth noting.

The most compelling portion of this book has the crystal (appearing as a mirror image of Joe, our protagonist) explaining how Eskimos kill wolves. It is just a very intriguing little factoid that you were rather unlikely to pick up in your day to day life. On the other hand, it sort of fails as any sort of meaningful metaphor, although it is stated outright that that is the intent of the story. Also, how does the crystal listen to the radio?

The wolf story encapsulates my feelings on this book rather nicely. I like what they are doing, this kind of hide and seek through Joe’s memories (a sinister version of what Jim Carrey went through in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) with the crystal struggling to overcome and control Joe. However, the memories that they encounter along the way are”¦bland.

I would even be okay with that, if the point was a sort of the “road to hell is paved by small mistakes and failures” but the way the story is told does not properly convey this. Joe is such a cipher that it is hard to believe that he has ever given these past moments of failure a second thought. This disparity is particularly evident when he recoils from a memory of a small child with a guy. His reaction is so startlingly out of nowhere, it feels faked. If this is his shot at “hiding the knife” (again, the wolf story) then I can dig that. But if this is supposed to be Joe’s legitimate reaction, I cannot swallow it.

The book is technically superior. The art is very polished. The writing is sound. There just is not any spark for me. We’ve been inside Joe’s head three issues and I still don’t care anymore for him then when we began this odyssey. Unlikable protagonists don’t bother me (I really like Manhunter, as an example), but shallow ones do. Joe has had his share of trauma, certainly, but it all feels surface. Where is the core in all of this?