nomadicwriter: teenage Victor Von Doom looking annoyed (young Victor)
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We open with the scene from the preview, where a group of second-rate supervillains meet to discuss Doom having gone straight until Doom himself busts up the party. The Hood escapes, but Doom takes down the rest, in what SHIELD are calling the biggest costumed-criminal takedown in history. (Ben only credits it as "one of the biggest".) Sharon Carter asks Ben, since "you've known him your entire life", whether it's possible Doom's really gone straight. Ben just says, "No!"

Ben returns to the Manhattan hotel where he's staying, to find Doom hanging around in his room having dinner on his dime. (Doom goes for some traditional absent-minded genius points with: "I will reimburse you for the room service. I had not eaten in a while. It sometimes slips my mind.")

Ben starts in about how Doom makes his skin crawl and he remembers every evil thing he's done, and Doom interrupts with, "Benjamin. I'm sorry. For all of it. For the very first snide thing I ever said to you in college up until not expressing to you how much I miss them too." He calls Reed a genius and Sue "as close to a perfect soul as I have ever met" and says he's ashamed for lashing out at them in rage and jealousy. Ben says he hears that, but he's never going to be able to believe it after everything Doom's done.

Doom says it's fair for Ben not to forgive him since he doesn't forgive himself. Ben asks what happened to him. He said he had an epiphany, but decided he can do far more good out in the world righting wrongs than locking himself in jail; Ben says that's not his decision. He also asks if that was really Doom's mother they met, and Doom admits he can't be sure. He starts to ask, "Ben, have you ever seen something you couldn't-? Do you ever-?" and then falls silent and tells him to forget it.

He leaves, and Ben reflects on the world having gone bananas as he returns to his room - to find Reed Richards waiting for him.

Well... huh. That was all pretty fascinating.

Not sure quite what to make of Doom's apology to Ben; I feel like, while it's not necessarily insincere as such, it's maybe a little too on-the-nose in terms of him saying exactly what he should say - that perfectionist streak coming out again where it comes off a little like he's studied up on the most heroic thing to do and then followed that script rather mechanically. It's the little moment afterwards when they're talking about his mother that rings far more genuine to me as a sign of real change: when he calls Ben "Ben" instead of "Benjamin" and actually makes a faltering attempt to connect and ask for some kind of emotional advice before giving up on it. That's Doom almost admitting Ben might be able to help him with something he's unsure about himself, which is pretty huge even if he changes his mind and chickens out. (And, you know, faltering, mind-changing and chickening out are all pretty huge things for Doom in themselves.)

Presumably that's evil Ultimate Reed appearing to Ben at the end, who I'm really not that interested in compared to standard Reed, but if it leads to a Ben-Doom team-up against him I'm all for it. Ben's never been my favourite of the F4, but I'm very, very intrigued by this relationship-building going on here and I'd love to see more of it. Ben's always been the most straightforwardly adversarial towards Doom, and the idea of that evolving into something more complex is fascinating.

Lovely art by Maleev, as usual; I'm not always a fan of the heavy shadows, but it gives some great noir-ish panels of Ben in his hat and overcoat, and I really like that last-page panel of Reed at the table. Doom's expression in the "I'm sorry," panel is perfect too.

Next issue promises a Doom-Reed showdown - looking forward to it much more now than I was when this Ult Reed plotline was introduced. Good stuff.


doomfans: Doctor Doom with arms folded (Default)
Fans of Marvel's Doctor Doom

September 2017


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