nomadicwriter: Doctor Doom shooting fireballs (blast radius)
[personal profile] nomadicwriter posting in [community profile] doomfans
The first issue of Doom's new solo title is here!

We open with the Cabal flashback from the preview, wherein the Hood bugs Doom about what drives him now that he's freed his mother's soul from hell.

Back in the present day, second-rate Fantastic Four foe Diablo has kidnapped Maria Hill, the director of SHIELD. Doom shows up to free her - Diablo recognises him by his voice - and tells her he won't tell anyone that it happened, since it would damage SHIELD's reputation. He teleports out, leaving Maria with a whole lot of WTF.

In Cambridge, Doom shows up to visit Amara. She asks him if the bad news about Tony is true, as super-powered people have a habit of coming back from the dead. Per Doom: "It was televised. It is true. I can't speak to anything else." He tells her that she's right that if he's to make up for the things that he's done, he needs to do it with "the same flourish and energy" with which he attacked the world. When she asks what he wants from her, he tells her she reminds him of someone. Then he teleports out. (It's becoming a theme.) Moments later, Ben Grimm shows up to ask her about her connection with Doom.

Cut to Tony's lab, where Doom is inspecting the armours, watched by a suspious digital projection of Tony. AI Tony says "I might hate your guts, Doom, but I appreciate that you appreciate my work"; still, he wants to know what Doom's doing there, since there's nothing in the lab that Doom couldn't recreate himself if he really wanted to. (Tony also calls him 'Victor' at one point - has he done that before?) Doom reveals that he's realised what he needs to do: pick up the mantle and become Iron Man. Tony says, "Please don't," but Doom's not asking his permission.

As a final teaser, we cut to a woman watching events in a cauldron. She doesn't know what to make of this all, but an unseen observer says, "Maybe he has finally become the man you always hoped he would become. Maybe your son has finally found his true calling."

Oooh...

So: really impressed/excited about this issue overall! Lots of juicy stuff being set up, and I think it's doing a great job of keeping Doom as a mysterious protagonist, always viewing him through other people's eyes so we see their speculations about his motives without the reader getting any greater insight.

The flashbacks to the Cabal are fun (plus a good excuse for Alex Maleev to draw his awesome version of the classic Doom armour) - I really hope we see more of these going forward. Also delighted to see the storyline with Amara hasn't been dropped. I'm fascinated as to who it is that Doom thinks she reminds him of: Valeria? The other Valeria? His mother? Himself as a young scientist? Intriguing... And the possibility of further AI Tony/Iron Man Doom shenanigans is very promising. (Love the little moment of Doom waving a hand through Tony's digital image.)

As for that final page with what seems to be Cynthia Von Doom - well, firstly, I'm very glad it comes paired with the Cabal flashbacks that confirm Doom rescuing her soul from hell is still canon, otherwise I would be very pissy about the prospect of Bendis messing with the origin story. As it is, I have no idea what's going on, but I'm fascinated. Is this past Cynthia viewing the future? (And does that mean there could be some sort of time-travel plot where current day Doom gets to speak to her at some point? Awesome.) Or has she actually been somehow resurrected? And who's the other voice speaking to her? The lack of any tails on the speech bubbles suggests that it might be a telepathic voice or something supernatural: is it Mephisto? Whoever or whatever force has brought her back to life? (And could this all have something to do with Reed's efforts to "fix" things for Doom when he changed reality at the end of Secret Wars?)

Tons of fascinating stuff to chew over in this issue.

As for the writing, Bendis can be notoriously hit and miss in terms of characterisation and continuity for characters he hasn't bothered to research, but he's really bringing his A-game to this issue, and I'm sincerely impressed. It's a meaty first issue that doesn't waste page-time on chatter, it's digging into aspects of Doom's past history, and the character voices are pretty tight, without any of his previous careless lapses into having formal characters like Doom and Diablo speak too casually. (OTOH his version of Ben Grimm's voice does feel a little, if you'll excuse the pun, rocky, but it's not awful.) I like this new improved Bendis and I hope he keeps this level of attention to detail up, because he really does write some fantastic stuff when he cares about the characters enough to get them right.

Great art from Maleev, too - still a little dark and shadowy for my tastes, but less so than Deodato on Invincible Iron Man, and it suits the moody atmosphere of the book very nicely, as does the subdued colouring job from Matt Hollingsworth. All in all, very high quality stuff all round, and so far I'm loving it.

In summary: super intriguing start, excellent first issue, and I'm very excited to see where this goes! Consider me thoroughly on board.
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