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Doctor 13: Architecture and Morality by…

Doctor 13: Architecture and Morality (edition 2007)

by Brian Azzarello

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843143,474 (3.61)None
Title:Doctor 13: Architecture and Morality
Authors:Brian Azzarello
Info:DC Comics (2007), Paperback, 144 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:comics, post-modern, wacky, DC, you are number 6

Work details

Doctor 13: Architecture & Mortality by Brian Azzarello

2010 (1) adventure (4) BD (1) cavemen (1) comic (4) comic book (1) comic books (2) comics (19) Comix (2) DC (15) DC Comics (2) DCU (2) doctor 13 (2) fiction (5) flight (1) gorillas (1) graphic novel (9) meta (2) metafiction (1) Nazis (1) read (5) science fiction (1) ships (1) singles (2) skepticism (1) superhero (5) superheroes (6) supernatural (2) to-read (3) wacky (1)



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Access a version of the below that includes illustrations on my blog.

This quirky volume unites a number of has-been DC characters: Infectious Lass of the Legion of Substitute Heroes, Anthro the First Boy, Captain Fear the pirate, Doctor 13 the Ghost Breaker, Traci 13 his sorceress daughter, I... Vampire!, Genius Jones who can answer any question if you pay him a dime, the ghost of Confederate general J. E. B. Stuart, and Julius the talking Nazi gorilla of the Primate Patrol. What brings them together is that, after Infinite Crisis, all of them are going to be deleted from continuity by the writers of 52, as they clean up the DC universe and streamline out some of its weirdness or forgotten components.

I don't mean this metaphorically, I mean this literally. This book is about Doctor 13 and company fighting Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, Geoff Johns, and Greg Rucka.

Like I said, it's weird.

It's also funny, thank God. Though serious works of metafiction can exist, of course, I don't think this would work as such. The whole reason these characters are being gotten rid of is because they're goofy. Doctor 13 is a man who debunks the supernatural, which was fine when he debuted in Star-Spangled Comics #122 in 1951, but now that all of the DC's titles take place in a shared universe makes him look a bit foolish if his daughter once battled the Spectre. Azzarello and Chiang play with the innate goofiness of these characters a lot, and that's the book's real charm. For example, I loved that reading 734 books while trapped on a desert island gave Genius Jones the power to answer literally any question.

Azzarello even makes fun of himself, with the four 52 writers ("the Architects") appearing in the form of Mount Rushmore-- much like a villain Superman fought in Azzarello's Superman: For Tomorrow.

The book, I should admit, didn't always work for me. Maybe because it was originally published in eight ten-page installments, the book felt jumpy and hectic, and I wasn't sure how everything was meant to fit together. What was up with the crashed airplane in the Alps that originally sent Doctor 13 and Traci off on their investigation, for example? Why do we occasionally get single pages of irrelevant characters, like Funky Flashman running a used supercar lot, or Charlie Brown and Lucy (!) playing football? There are times where it feels like there's action just to have action.

Still, there's a lot to like about the book. Cliff Chiang's artwork is always great, and this might be him at his greatest-- anything that lets him draw distinctive characters on wacky adventures is always good, and he's so good with facial expressions. I like that Doctor 13 negotiates with the Architects for a reprieve for his daughter, which they grant on the basis that they're geeks, and thus have a thing for hot half-Asian women. And it was a real reprieve, as Traci 13 will go on to be a recurring character in Blue Beetle.

The last couple pages are especially great, as Doctor 13 realizes that fictional characters always only have pasts, never futures; all they consist of are the stories that have been written about them. But that means the one way the newly formed "Team 13" can be defeated is the simple turning of the last page. The Architects might not have gotten rid of these has-been characters... but I did!
  Stevil2001 | May 12, 2017 |
Doctor 13: Architecture and Morality by Brian Azzarello (2007): A skeptic must team up with a band of increasingly impossible characters in order to save his teenaged daughter.

At first I thought I’d found the perfect YA graphic novel - in addition to Chiang’s clean illustration and Azzarello’s visual and literal puns, this book hosts a talking Nazi gorilla, a centuries-old vampire, an early hominid just thawed from the glacier and speaking only French, and a heavily-accented ghost pirate with a flying ship. But then the book takes a metafictive turn that, while still understandable, rather rewards the more-than-casual DC comics fan. I had not been aware that the aforementioned characters were all decades-old DC properties, nor did I recognize all of the villains as their real-life DC comics writer-counterparts, but I still enjoyed this story. However, I did get the (accurate) sense that I was missing something, so I’m not sure that this would be my first choice for a YA pick.
1 vote tomlide | Mar 8, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Brian Azzarelloprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chiang, CliffIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed

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The Architects--shapers of the universe--don't have room for misfits in their new world order. Can professional debunker Docotr 13 unmask their secret? And if he does, will even he believe it? Find out as Doctor 13 heads out on a quest to meet his maker accompanied by a talking Nazi gorilla, a flying pirate, an oh-so-'80s vampire, a cosmic heroine with a constant runny nose, a caveman frozen in ice, the tank-driving ghost of a Confederate general, a mysterious boy who can answer any question for the price of one thin dime, and the Doctor's own witchcrafty daughter.… (more)

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