In the 60’s and 70’s, Gold Key Comics flourished. They were the first label to carry a Star Trek ongoing comic and they also published the legendary Frank Miller early in his career. They published “Space Family Robinson” before “Lost in Space” was on TV.
They published many franchise-related titles, ranging from Disney licenses and Popeye the Sailor to I-Spy and The Green Hornet, but they are also well-known for a collection of original titles including Turok: Sun of Stone, Mangus: Robot Fighter, The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor, and Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom.
Dark Horse had these titles for a while, and then Dynamite acquired them. Dynamite has tried more than once to launch updated versions of these Gold Key titles. While they have been of good quality, with interesting writing and solid art, they have been of mixed success. Some of the better versions of this have involved bringing multiple franchises together.
This is an interesting take on bringing the franchises together. It starts with a framing device, a future conflict where all of the united heroes, led by King Turok, confront a formidable but unknown enemy. This creates a framing device for the individual heroes’ stories—in each, an individual hero (Magnus, Turok, and Doc Spektor) confronts the same unknown enemy. Doctor Solar is conspicuous in his absence. Interestingly, at the end of each story teaser, readers are told that this story will continue in a different title – Magnus will continue (in April) in The Sovereigns, Turok in June in Magnus, and Doc Spektor in August in Turok). This suggests a rotating format.
There are two Turoks and two Doctor Spektors here, as well. One of each is in the Sovereigns section. The other is in a solo story. The Turok in Sovereigns is the wise King and strong defender of a small but happy kingdom. The Spektor in this section is on a quest, undefined but ominous in its import. Magnus (here a female) is not as much a robot fighter, as a specialist in resolving the problems of robots – almost a cyber social worker. Doc Spektor has the only storyline taking place in our (2017) time. He is a youngish version of his former self. Although he has not manifested his full powers as a sorcerer, he is clearly formidable in his powers, if not in his mature use of them.
A previous version of Doc Solar revised her as a female, so seeing Magnus as a female character is not unusual. The unique item here is that her role in the current issue is preventing an AI from committing suicide, and then being unable to intervene in preventing the ongoing abuse of the AI by cruel “owners.”
Doc Spektor is a millennial wizard, reduced to performing as a street musician in order to make the rent.
These are different and interesting takes on the standard characters. Dynamite is clearly taking some risks here in order to bring new life to these franchises. It will be interesting to see how each of these characters is developed and how they are brought together.
Written & Illustrated by: Various