The cure for what ailes me: Doc Savage

I’ve been sick this week, and when I get sick, I like to curl up with a Doc Savage book. For those of you who are unaware of Doc Savage, I have prepared a graphic to introduce you.

The Savages

Anyway, the book I read this time was “The Mental Wizard.” The back of the book has the following description: “The massive creature-a mile from head to toe!-sleeps in the steaming jungle. Is the behemoth real, or has the golden enchantress ‘Z’ conquered the magnificent MAN OF BRONZE with the hypnotic power of her superhuman mind? Doc Savage meets his mental match when he uncovers the strange lost kingdom of the deadly Amazon.”

Doc Savage #53 - The Mental Wizard

I would just like to start by saying two things.

  1. That description is totally misleading. It makes it sound like Doc will be facing off against a giant jungle beast. The fact that the description is misleading doesn’t mean the book is not enjoyable, though. The book is great.
  2. If you ever find a stockpile of Doc Savage’s stuff, and you see several cans marked “coffee,” don’t be fooled- they’re really filled with explosives.

If you’ve read the last review of a Doc Savage book I did, you already know that if you cut Doc Savage, he bleeds awesome.

But here are some things you may not know about Doc.

  • He does not own any shirts that are not ripped to shreds. Just look at any Doc Savage book or magazine cover.
  • He is good at faking his own death/unconsciousness. He does it twice in this book.
  • Like Frodo, he has a mithril vest. Or at least a tightly woven yet light chain mail vest. It’s tight and strong enough to stop a poison dart needle.
  • Doc is calm in any situation. Seriously. Bombs are exploding left and right, strange men wearing strange leather smocks show up (and immediately die), a Amazonian princess descended from the pharaoh Klantic and has hair that appears to be gold plated (and telepathic control powers) shows up and causes trouble, it doesn’t matter. He keeps it together.
  • During part of his spare time, he designs military airplanes for large-scale production. The Columbian army even has (at least) one, which they loan to him. The afore-mentioned woman crashes it.
  • Doc is prepared for anything. He has a pocket metal detector (remember, this was written in the 1930’s) thats alert him to the grenade in the fruit basket the bad guys try to deliver.
  • Doc is possibly the best chemist ever. He uses a small chemistry set to make tear gas and a chemical that dissolves stone. He uses the stone dissolving one to become the new pharaoh Klantic. There’s no way for me to explain that one without having you just read the book.
  • Doc may very well have invented RFID tags. He’s left a tracer on each of the automatic pistols that he gives to his five aides. As a matter of fact, he hooks a RFID-style detector to the detonator that makes the before-mentioned coffee cans explode. He leaves the guns for the bad guys to find, and they rush him (after he’s warned them, of course) and that sets of the coffee-bombs…

Despite the fact that everything I’ve said here sounds like it comes from different books, it all really makes sense as you read it. And it’s a lot of fun.

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