A new comic book publisher has made their debut in the industry, but the catch is that this one has a mission statement. TKO Studios provides comics from top creators in a different format. Whole volumes will be released at once, giving you the option to either buy the trade paperback physically or digitally. Alternatively, you can buy physical copies of the individual issues, with six being released all in one go. This is a good set-up which allows readers to pick up a full story arc and read straight through it. This is particularly helpful for fast-paced comics, such as The Fearsome Doctor Fang, as it allows you to get to know characters better than just through one issue every month.
New To Comics But Still Experienced
TKO’s co-founder Tze Chun is a seasoned television writing veteran, working on shows such as Gotham and so much more. Now, he has decided to dive into the realm of comic books instead of just adapting them. He does have a co-writer on The Fearsome Doctor Fang, Mike Weiss, but he too has never written a comic before. This makes The Fearsome Doctor Fang an interesting comic to read as you can see them become more accustomed to comic storytelling as the issues go on. Which is a good thing, but they also managed to imbue these issues with a bit of television pacing.
The result is a comic that is confident in what it is. It’s a throwback to old adventure serials that played before movies. It’s fun, bombastic, quick paced, but doesn’t lack in the occasional emotionally slow moment. For those not acquainted with the genre of adventure serials, think of The Fearsome Doctor Fang as a comic book Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s a good blend of the old and the modern that ultimately pays off. There are a few stumbles here and there, but they are minor enough that they can be easily ignored.
Stylized Art That Just Sells It
Dan McDaid’s (with color artist Daniela Miwa and letterer Steve Wands) art is just spectacular. All his characters are detailed to the max but just loose enough to have fluidity in the movement. The titular Doctor Fang himself, moves, floats, and seemingly sways ethereally from panel to panel. This within itself fits into the story, the larger theme at play, and it just plain looks cool. Nayland Kelly has a strong square jaw and a rugged exterior while Alice Lecroix appears dignified, confident, and roguish throughout the entire story. Again, these on-point character designs fit both the tone and the story at large.
McDaid also manages to appeal to the crazy and bombastic side of adventure stories without it seeming out of the blue. Airships appear, certain things have an almost steampunk aesthetic, and advanced technology appears bulky. Considering the timeframe of the story is 1904, we get a turn of century accurate clothing and look for everything, even if’s an out there thing that never actually existed. This really helps the reader buy into this strange world full of adventure and even adds some comedic elements as well.
Character Work Adds Depth
The problem is often levied at adventure serials and Indiana Jones films, in particular, is the lack of character development. The characters featured in those are fun and sometimes unique, but remain static. That is not the case with The Fearsome Doctor Fang as Tze Chun and Mike Weiss imbue the comic with a central theme that analyzes the three main characters. While the story on the surface can be read as a mad dash race to get Genghis Kahn’s fabled Dragon’s Breath, it is in fact about accepting who you are.
Nayland Kelly was deeply connected to his brother and losing him caused Nayland to stray from the path ahead. Alice Lecroix has struggled to trust and connect with anyone since her father. Doctor Fang pretends to be a villain so that people will band together against him and form alliances. None of these characters are who they appear to be, there is something else there that they are resisting. Over the course of this adventure, they rediscover that part of themselves that seems buried under so much emotional baggage. And in a wonderful inversion, Alice’s romantic connection that slowly evolves is not with who you think it would be with. After only six issues, I am ready to read more stuff involving Alice, Fang, and Nayland.
The Fearsome Doctor Fang Is A Rollercoaster Ride Of Fun
The Fearsome Doctor Fang is a fun, light adventure serial in comic book form. But this new but great creative team brings it together with some interesting character dynamics and a fast-paced plot. The art carries you through the old but new world that they inhabit in all its bombastic glory.
As this will be a series, look forward to a few reviews we have forthcoming: