The Surgeon 1-5

  • Story:
    John Pence (1-5)
  • Pencils, original art:
    Zachary Dolan (1-2), Stan Yak (3),Olmar Zaldivar (4-5)
  • Inks:
    Laurie Foster (1-2)
  • Colors:
    Eve Orozco (1-2), Marcelo BriseĊ„o (2), Pinkk3r (3-4), Rob Cloma (3-4), Trisha Marsical (5)
    Hedwin Zaldivar (5)
  • Letters:
    Erek Foster (1-5)

Published by Unlikely Heroes Studios

buy them HERE.

A lone stranger on a horse

rides in from the rain. This is what was once the Midwestern region of the former United States. The stranger is a doctor: Jenny Hanover, who specialized in Orthopedic Surgery 15 years before the collapse of civilization. There's mention of 'out east,' where things are much worse. She rides from village to village offering her services as a doctor in trade for necessities.

Dr. Hanover and her horse travel to a village -Turtle Island- but not before stopping by a sealed tunnel access. Apparently there are those living in complete luxury and comfort down below for all these 15 years before the atomic wars. A metal statue sculpture made of junk raises both middle fingers to commemorate the spot.

Outsiders vs Insiders.

Dr. Hanover is good with a sword. She makes friends with the Turtle Island group. There's a skirmish with a desperate motley group of savages, The Hot Animal Machines, anarchic raiders who are drugged up and accept death in combat. She manages to fight off a few in the field with her companion, Master at Arms Dave Rogers, who gets an arrow in the shoulder. The Hot Animal Machines are regrouping for a major battle against Turtle Island very soon.

It takes its time.

Part 1 uses a lot of space letting us get to know the people there, how they manage to keep everyone fed. Jenny Hanover is amazed at their achievement, out East it's nothing but ashes. She's also warning them about the coming conflict. Dr. Hanover becomes their healer and advisor. She gets the local blacksmith to forge more swords out of old US made leaf springs left over from abandoned cars. The use of a lax period works well here, and while the writing is serviceable it does help the visuals keep grounded.

The Surgeon is definitely a more powerful comic visually than with its script. You could swap out any Mad Max type scenario and still have essentially the same story. Still, I enjoyed the small talk and camaraderie that formed with the inner circle of people and Dr. Hanover. They grew into being very relatable to me, making the stakes of saving the fort mean something for future issues. I'm kind of thinking Dave Rogers, with his blonde hair and fu-manchu mustache is patterned after a ginger-colored character from AMC's The Walking Dead: Abraham.

'Boss' level...

The artwork, especially in part 2 really gets off to a fantastic start! It's been a long while since I've enjoyed poring over battle scenes with guns and swords. There's lots of smoke and fire too (give credit to the colorists!)

There's so many artists involved with this project that I'm not going to mention names here, just refer to the credits above. They use a warm palette for the most part, with some glowing effects from the background. The photoshop trickery is kept to a minimum here to great effect. I really felt like I was witnessing a hard-fought battle!

The last scene of part 2 show a 'boss-level' Hot Animal Machine with a giganto-mungus sword ready to take down The Surgeon herself! Who will win? I'll leave that for part 2 next Tuesday. Stay tuned!

Tim Larsen

12 Woodwardia Ave

Felton CA 95018