‘Doberman #1:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Darby Pop Publishing and IDW’s Doberman unashamedly and expertly channels the eighties and nineties through the lens of crowd-pleasing movies like Beverly Hills Cop, Tango & Cash, and Lethal Weapon, and the end result couldn’t be better.  In fact, Los Angeles Detective Frank Doberano, nicknamed Doberman for his name and unique brand of justice, could be a dead ringer for Mel Gibson’s Martin Riggs.  So, right away, we know we’re in for an entertaining go-around.  Frank is a larger-than-life character, and when we meet him in the eighties, where issue one begins, his ego is big enough for a whole police force.  His ego’s not completely unwarranted though, as Frank is good at what he does, if not a bit unorthodox.  His aggressive style and devil-may-care attitude rub some of the other officers the wrong way, but, for Frank, that’s just a part of the job.

One guy who doesn’t have a problem with Frank is his partner Hawkins, a grizzled veteran who is just as reckless as Frank.  They have a solid rapport built on mutual respect, but also still enjoy verbally and physically one-upping each other. Theirs is a relationship born out of eighties and nineties action movies, and this first issue recalls the best of those movies.  Doberman is rife with nostalgia, presenting scenarios and character types we have grown to love and expect from the buddy cop and action movie genres, and relishing in those tropes with aplomb.  Using these well-loved familiarities writers Scott Marder, Rob Rosell, and Jack Lambert craft their own original and inventive story and give us something that feels fresh and new, and perfectly suited for the comic book format.

Brandon McKinney’s art echoes the eighties and nineties, and along with Zac Atkinson’s colors, it almost feels like Doberman is a lost comic from those decades, with loose, relaxed pencils and inks, light, bright shades of blue and yellow, and a plethora of reflections and sheens.  This is a fun book, moving briskly from set piece to set piece, introducing us to Frank and his world along the way.  The present was bright and full of promise for Frank Doberano, but then things got dicey and Frank pulled an extreme Five Easy Pieces.  But, the past always has a way of catching up with you, whether you want it to or not.  Now, it may look like Frank has a second shot at a successful future, if not a shot at revenge.  We all know this set up and we love it, though what we don’t know is the way Frank Doberano will handle the execution, story-wise, and possibly even literally, and that wild card element is what sells this book.  So, tune in to Doberman for some good laughs, to find out how the best, new action movie comic book plays out, and to see if your hunches were right.

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