Once upon a time, Norman Osborne’s Cabal had a meeting. While the members waited for Norman to arrive, the Hood had a question for Doctor Doom. He read in a forbidden text that Doom once travelled to the depths of hell to defeat a demon and rescue Victor’s mother. The Hood is honestly curious if the story is true, and wonders that if Doom can beat a demon, what does that make Doom? This talk annoys Victor to no end, and is not pleased that this… fool dare speak of his mother. The other members of the Cabal were shocked, assuming that Victor killed just the man; he just banished the Hood to India. He’d be back.
In the present, a villain has captured Maria Hill, and plans to torture her for information. But he is approached by Victor von Doom, who is not impressed by this buffoon’s antics. Doom makes short work of the interloper and frees Maria. He promises that he will tell nobody of this, as he wouldn’t want to tarnish the reputation of SHIELD. And with that, he disappears. Maria has only one response to all of this – “what the f**k?”
At Cambridge University, Victor approaches Dr. Amara Perrera, former love interest of Tony Stark. She asks if it is true, and Doom confirms it. Stark was killed live on television. He’s sorry about this, and knows she has conflicting feelings about the man. In response, Amara coldly asks why Doom has come. He answers that he is checking in on her research, claiming to be concerned for her. Victor apologizes, saying that he… doesn’t exactly have the best reputation in the world, to say the least. But he’s trying to make amends. He thinks Amara is right – if he wants to truly make up for all the terrible things he’s done, he’s going to have to approach it with the same zeal as when he was a villain. Amara begins to panic, and ask what Doom wants of her. He only says that she reminds him of someone… and then fades away.
Amara, still coming to grips with all this, is then approached by a figure. His name is Ben Grimm. He’s looking for Doctor Doom. And intel says she knows him.
Elsewhere, Doom enters Iron Man’s lab. As he looks over the tech, a hologram of Tony appears and demands that Victor leave. Doom is impressed, commenting that Tony was able to download his brain into a functional AI in case his body failed him. The AI asks what Victor is doing here – there’s nothing Tony built that Doom couldn’t make himself. Doom says that he knows what he needs to do. He will take the mantle of Iron Man, despite of the AI’s protests. He’s not asking. He’s doing what needs to be done.
As the new Iron Man flies away, he is watched by two people. They are not sure what to make of this new behaviour, and think Victor might be becoming the man they had always hoped he would become. Perhaps Doom has finally found his calling. Victor’s mother ponders this in silence.
Infamous Iron Man #1 Comic Book Review
Hello and welcome to Comic Island! My name is Arden, and this is my recap, and review, of Infamous Iron Man #1.
Oh boy, here we go again. Once more a particular issue floats my way that makes me feel obliged to make a certain review because the implications are… noteworthy. This time mostly for apparently spoiling a major event we have yet to see in Civil War II. This aspect of the story is, on the whole, pretty disappointing. No matter what you make of it, without a doubt things would have been better if they had waited until after Civil War II had revealed this before Marvel published this comic. It’s such an oversight that it’s baffling and kind of has me bummed out.
What’s worse is that the reveal has me very worried that all the build-up and deaths in Civil War II seems to be heading towards… just another major death. Well, that’s great. All the hype and promise of another Civil War and all it’s going to amount to is a few major but ultimately temporary absences. If that’s true, well, I suppose that doesn’t make it much different than the first Civil War, but man, does that sting. The reason I was so excited about Civil War II was that it was another chance for Marvel to tackle this story the right way. There may be more twists and turns along the way. Perhaps everyone just thinks Tony is dead or something, though, either way, it is all a bit silly. And we can always hope that Civil War II will have other, more sustained implications for the Marvel community.
Mostly because a story like that should. Like, it’s a Civil War, it’s supposed to be a big deal. So I get why big names have to die but killing off the rebellious popular leader at the end… well, that’s exactly what they did the first time around and is therefore the most boring possible outcome.
Setting that garbage aside, we have a new Iron Man this issue! Er, no, wait, we have two new Iron Men! I, I don’t even know, anymore, guys. I am honestly getting lost, at this point. Marvel is rapidly becoming too complicated for even me, and I’m usually pretty good at both remembering and understanding keeping vast, complicated continuities. This is getting to be a real problem for Marvel, and, compared to much simpler, polished and planned content by DC coming out in the last few months, well, the sales kind of speak for themselves. I guess the idea is that Riri, a character randomly introduced in a short, recent story arc, is the kind of official successor to Iron Man while Doom is just sorting doing whatever he wants, as he should.
So that choice is… unbalanced and weird, on the whole. There’s a lot of problems with it, and I can only imagine the discussion that led into this. “Okay, so everyone is making fun of us for turning characters evil or pulling half-assed diversity stunts, but this time, let’s do both! That’ll learn em!” And somehow this great idea has come to be…
At least Doom is not only interesting but heading in a natural direction considering what we’ve seen in Hickman’s Fantastic Four, Time Runs Out, Secret Wars, and Invincible Iron Man. Doom’s come a long way and been through a preposterous amount of stuff in that time, so him becoming a changed man feels very much right at this point, and I like the idea of him being this sort of rogue anti-hero that genuinely wants to make up for his past mistakes. All of that works, and the best part of this comic is the flashbacks to Doom’s past and his actions in the present informing this change in character.
Doom is badass. Without a doubt one of the best villains in fiction, period. In spite of having existed for so long, Marvel’s done a good job at keeping this character dignified and powerful er… we’ll say like, 99% of the time. So why does this comic feel kind of flat to me? This should be a big, cool moment, but I finished this comic feeling bummed out more than energetic and excited.
And that’s very frustrating! Doctor Doom getting his own series and becoming a new Iron Man?! This should have been epic! This should be a huge deal! I should be drooling over this thing. But I don’t feel that way, and that fact is a little bit soul crushing. Instead this strikes me as a really mediocre comic that just didn’t deliver.
I believe this is for several reasons. First of all, this story was played out all wrong. It was clearly published in the wrong order relative to Civil War II, as I’ve discussed, which means there wasn’t sufficient build-up, to the extent that as a reader I’m more wondering about what happened to Tony rather than focused on Doom doing something new and exciting. This isn’t a particularly strong Bendis issue, either. I really think a writer who didn’t have a million other Marvel things to worry about right now would have put a lot more effort and polish into this comic’s script. A lot of the dialogue doesn’t feel right and isn’t very true to the characters. This is evident in Doom but most apparent in Ben Grimm, whose cameo should be exciting but instead just feels a little… off. And this is Brian Micheal Bendis we’re talking about, here, who usually makes character work and dialogue look effortless, even in his shoddier works.
A lot of this story feels a bit… wrong. The conversation between Amara and Doom seems like it’s missing a couple of lines and development so it comes across a bit clunky and disjointed. Doom’s rescue of Maria Hill isn’t done that well, and again, the dialogue doesn’t help much with that. Although, I will say Maria’s reaction to it was pitch perfect. Even the Tony AI didn’t leave as much impact as I thought it should have. However, perhaps the worst thing of all is that I don’t really care for the design of Doom’s Iron Man armour. It feels really boring when a Doctor Doom themed Iron Man suit should look more interesting than this. It feels generic. If I didn’t know this was Doom, I’d probably just assume this was a less cool looking version of Tony’s stealth gear. Hopefully it might look better with say, a Doctor Doom cloak wrapped around it or something? Because otherwise this doesn’t feel all that meaningfully different from all the other Iron Man armours we’ve seen. For the record, I like Alex Maleev. He’s done some pretty strong comics before. But here his art it just feels pretty lacking throughout, with the exception of the initial meeting with the Cabal.
By the way, that part at the beginning was by far the best written and most compelling. It’s a solid reminder of why a comic featuring Doom can and should work well. That and the little twist at the end are part of the reason I think this series still has promise. I’m not writing this whole thing off as Clone Conspiracy, but the problems really seem to be piling up here.
Part of it might be that on top of the horrible timing of everything, Marvel’s kind of lost all sense of traction when it comes to these changes. As I’ve grumbled about a bit already, it really can’t be understated how the constant changing identities, temporarily going evil, and shifting rosters is really making Marvel into a incomprehensible stew. There’s so much glut nothing feels like an ongoing, stable world anymore like the comics used to. As a result, a comic like this that should be big and earth-shattering really doesn’t have much of an impact when you get right down to it. It’s not just that we know, intellectually, none of this is permanent. It doesn’t even feel that significant. The comic lacks the emotional weight as it does logic, and, deprived of both, the story suffers. What should be a comic that changes everything feel like just another day at today’s Marvel Comics.
This company behaves more and more like a showman of some sort. A weird, corporate huckster – part Gordon Gecko and part… Christian Bale from Newsies. “Step right up, read all about it! Have I got a story for you, pal!” Constantly shifting the spotlight to the next big thing, completely uninterested in the changes at hand and instead eager to just move on immediately. All hype, zero payoff. Yeah, it’s cool that Doom is going to be Iron Man, but, really, how invested does Marvel seem to you in this idea? Like them, I think the answer for both of us is “not very.”
I admit, part of my reaction is based on stuff not necessarily the fault of the comic itself, but when and how it was published and because of greater problems within Marvel Comics itself. But I can only go with the reality of the situation. This comic was not published in a vacuum. The external world matters and is relevant. However, looking over this comic, even taking aside all this nonsense, which I think is completely unjustified, but even giving this and Marvel all the benefit of doubt in the world, even then, I still don’t give this a recommendation. Neither the art nor the writing really deliver on a comic that yes, should be really good to sell this new idea. As it stands, no. I say no. You’ll find better stories elsewhere this week – see my last two reviews for examples.
So that’s a shame. I really want this story to work. It could be so fun, and man, it’s Doctor Doom. I hope things improve. I want to love this series. I am ready for Doom.