Sunday, June 1, 2014
Doc Savage: The Doom Dynasty (1992) Story Terry Collins Art Mike Wieringo Covers Brian Stelfreese
The next appearance of Doctor Nikola was this two part miniseries pitting Doc Savage against Dr Nikola.
Set in 1939, Doc is contacted by an old friend of his father's, Hikara. He wants to warn Doc about something but before he can tell Doc anything he is bitten by a monkey and infected with a deadly plague. His dying words lead Doc to another friend Dr Plympton, who runs a clinic in Africa.
Doc arrives too late. The clinic has been ransacked and Plympton is dying of the same plague but he tells Doc the location of Clark Savage Snr's Journal from 1897. The journal records Doc's grandfather Richard Henry Savage meeting with Dr Nikola in that year. Richard Henry provides to Nikola (which would be just after Lust For Hate) with funding for a scientific project.
Doc's reading is interrupted by the arrival of his aides: Renny, Monk and Ham who captured by Nikola and his men. Part 1 ends with the three men in danger.
Part 2 has Doc trying to rescue his men but getting captured. Nikola tells Doc that he knew Richard Henry Savage and that the elder Savage had discovered that Nikola had been using his money to create a deadly plague. With assistance from Nikola's female assistant Li, Richard Savage escapes and burns down the laboratory and steals the only copy of the formula. Nikola is treated with a regenerative serum based on Siliphilium (That's the spelling from the comic - in the Doc Savage novel Fear Cay it was Silphilium)
Now after forty years, Nikola has recreated his plague formula and is trying to remove Doc who would be the only one able to stop him. I won't reveal the ending but it's no surprise that Nikola is thwarted. Although I was surprised to discover that Nikola took Li as a lover and his current assistant Kao is his daughter.
I was a little disappointed that the back matter didn't include an article on Dr Nikola. There is an article by Will Murray about the real Richard Henry Savage in part 1 and letter column in part 2. (There was a letter giving more information in the next Doc Savage Miniseries - Devil's Thoughts)
I enjoyed this story when I first read it and I enjoyed the recent reread after reading the original Nikola stories. I was nice to see Nikola against foes who might be considered his equals.
It appears Doom Dynasty takes its cues from A Lust for Hate and is a portrayal I'm not adverse to but it makes Nikola far less likable than his appearances in the other four Nikola books.