REVIEWS FROM THE 86TH FLOOR By Barry Reese
DOC ARDAN: CITY OF GOLD AND LEPERS
Written by Guy D’Armen
Adapted and Retold by Dean-Marc & Randy Lofficier
This book is published by Black Coat Press and features a retelling of a 1928 French pulp novel. The main character is similar in style and theme to Doc Savage and the enemy of the book is reminiscent of Fu Manchu, making this confrontation all the more fun.
The basic plot is this: Doc Ardan accidentally wanders into the City of Gold, a hidden kingdom ruled over by Doctor Natas. Natas (Satan spelled backward) is a super-genius with absolutely no morals. He’s discovered a way to transform ordinary items into gold and has inflicted his slaves with a mutated form of super leprosy which only his healing Z-Rays can hold off. In other words, if you try to escape or turn against him, he’ll simply turn off the Z-Rays and you’ll literally fall to pieces in minutes. Along the way, Ardan befriends the lovely Louise Ducharme and the two of them enter into a bloody conflict with Natas.
I greatly enjoyed the story and, given the ending, wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel. But I’m curious how much “adapting” the Lofficiers did. There’s a wink-wink reference to an ore from Wakanda that conducts sound. This is obviously tying into the Marvel Comics’ Black Panther mythos and was added in by the authors. I’m just curious how many other changes they made.
If you’re looking for a good old-fashioned pulp adventure, you really can’t go wrong with this one. The first 20 pages or so were a bit of a slow starter but once Natas arrives, the excitement really begins.
Four of five stars!