If there’s anything to be said about ‘Doberman’, it’s that it is a very manly book. Beer, mullets, casual nudity in the presence of other men and more, it's like a film from when Arnold or Sly were in their prime.
This tongue in cheek comic plays to that tune well with plenty of homages to eighties action films with silent-but-gruff heroes. Whilst this issue is clearly introductory, there is thankfully little exposition to weigh down the action, so there’s no unnecessary baggage dragging the plot down. In short succession, who and what Doberman's person is and what he does is gleefuly on display, with a wink and a nod that keeps the overall tone light hearted. Scott Marder, Rob Rosell and Jack Lambert clearly did their research in to how to portray the wisecracking action hero with a penchant for chewing pretzel sticks.
The interior art fits the feel of the book perfectly, since there are several scenes that could almost have been inserted into Lethal Weapon 2, treading well between action and comedy whilst simultaneously playing it ‘straight’. Physical characterisation is hilariously hyper-masculine 80s fashion, with biker moustaches, references to MDMA being "new" and oversized suits fully entrenching the period. Brandon McKinney has done a fantastic job of portraying this world so clearly with cues eerily similar to the films ‘Doberman’ intends to pay homage to.
The lack of dialogue and the easily navigable panel layout leads to ‘Doberman’ becoming a very easy and quick read. The colours are bright, energetic and imbue the comic with style, but ultimately that is used to primarily cover up the lack of substance. Consider ‘Doberman’ an amalgamation of 80s action films on page. It keeps a consistent tone and achieves what it sets out to do, but is ultimately shallow and rings a bit hollow.
Is ‘Doberman’ worth picking up? It’s unashamedly dumb fun, but from the previews alone that should be assumed. It’s practically a Michael Bay comic with the script complete and a merciful lack of Shia LaBeouf, doused in masculinity. If that’s what you like in your comics, then by all means this is the comic for you.
The Outhouse is sponsored by Cinema Crazed: Celebrating Film Culture & Pop Culture.
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