Spoilers for Doctor Doom #2 — Doom died. Yup. He’s officially dead. In fact, this is just an epilogue showing his funeral. He’s 100% dead.
Of course, I’m kidding. Nobody’s ever really gone, which is why Doom is in Hell fighting Mephisto in issue #3.
The first issue of Doctor Doom was really fantastic because it showed a more sensitive and thus, complex side to old chrome dome Doom. Encountering visions and having the world attacking him for something he didn’t do shed new light on a pompous character we all thought we knew. So it’s unfortunate that these past two issues couldn’t follow-through with the great set-up.
Despite being in Hell, Doom is never in any real danger. I know he’s powerful and all—but he just beats up Mephisto with his bare, well, metal hands. Isn’t Mephisto and Hell beyond the physical? And before Mephisto could even hypothetically put up a fight, Mistress Death comes up and says to let him go. So much for Doom being stuck in THE ACTUAL HELL. Man didn’t even break a sweat.
One could argue Doom was tortured mentally by seeing visions of his love, Valeria. But it’s all predicated on the cliché: “hero sees vision of his lost love in a nether realm where the love says he should join her” that’s more groan-worthy than intriguing.
I can’t help but feel the author, Christopher Cantwell has gotten impatient with his own creation. The first issue took its time to settle into Doom’s psyche and made it believable that when Doom was accused of mass murder—he let himself be captured, even though he didn’t do it. But in #2 and now #3, Doom is back to kicking ass and taking names to indignantly save the world (despite Mistress Death telling him before he leaves: “You will become my greatest servant of all.”)
It’s as if Cantwell got bored of his initial idea to have Doom defend himself from the world as a more measured tyrant. “Screw it! This is boring! Let’s have him fight some demons and break out of a spaceship! He’s gotta go rogue and go on the run!” I understand traditional story structure dictates things should get more exciting as the story goes on in Act II, but this is “exciting” in the most predictable, unchallenging way possible, no matter how many Virginia Woolf or Shakespeare quotes Cantwell shoves in.
Like I said in my last review of Doctor Doom, I’m not a fan of Salvador Larroca’s art. If you’re a fan of his, or if you don’t know who he is, have at this issue. Glad you enjoy it. But his art still looks traced and weightless to me. It’s just not my thing.
Squandering its potential, Doctor Doom has quickly devolved into typical superhero/villain “going rogue” antics.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!