First Wave #1
First Wave is a pulp universe in which the character Doc Savage, The Spirit and The Batman exist at the same time, without it being a ridiculous company cross-over. The story of the first issue primarily follows Doc Savage and The Spirit as their world is introduced to us. Doc is characterized to be void of emotions as he attends his Father's second funeral. Doc missed the first funeral while out of the country in solitude.
The Spirit is characterized as the clumsy hero in the wrong places at the right times. Batman, who graces the cover, is nowhere to be found in this issue but I'm sure that means the second issue will be a Batman-heavy issue. The issue sets up a mystery surrounding the death of Doc's father and an escaped scientist that is being hunted by a killer robot. Mostly, the issue focuses on introducing us to the two main characters and establishing the tone of the world.
Brian Azzarello (100 Bullets, Superman), the writer, does a great job of establishing the tone and direction of the book just within the opening pages. He also gives the two main characters and their supporting cast a lot of depth in a short time. Readers unfamiliar with the characters can find themselves at least understanding the characters even if they are not familiar with their comic history. Azzarello does a wonderful job with the narrative using a characters journal or a newspaper to indirectly tell the story of another character on the page. I think this issue really nails the superhero genre while at the same time bringing in a fresh take on it.
Rags Morales, whose most notable work was done on Identity Crisis, is on top form with this issue. He pays attention to what makes the characters themselves. Even though they come from two different styles of art, he makes them blend together as if they had always existed in the same world together. Rags Morales draws ugly people. Now, that may sound bad, but I assure you it's not. What I mean by that is that not everyone is beautiful and perfect. They have flaws, they're balding, they have a belly, they look like people instead of static in the background. Because he's able to draw ugly people, it makes his beautiful people stand out. This, in turn, draws your eye to them on the page and makes their presence have a real impact.
Overall, this issue was very interesting and sets up nicely for the next five in the series. If you missed the book, I recommend picking it up as it's sure to become a talked about book in the months to come. If anything, I'm curious to see how gun-toting Batman fits into the story and how the three end up working together.
Story - 9.0
Art - 9.5
Overall - 9.3