It’s been a while since we last saw Doctor Doom trekking across the world to reclaim his homeland. However, this week, Doctor Doom makes a long-awaited return to comic shelves. After being delayed due to the pandemic crisis back in March, fans have been eagerly awaiting the Eisner-nominated series’ return. In response, Doctor Doom #7 delivers a standout and return for both old and new readers alike.
Doctor Doom’s series has thus far taken him on quite the journey. After being framed for the murder of countless lives on the moon, Doom was forced to leave his homeland in search of answers. His journey has taken him literally to Hell and back, all the while being plagued by visions of an impossible future. Alongside this journey has been Blue Marvel’s quest to apprehend Doom. However, with a cataclysmic black hole looming on the moon, Blue Marvel must take action to destroy it. Each issue has demonstrated exceptional craft on behalf of Cantwell and Larocca, and issue #7 is no different.
The central narrative revolves around Doom’s return to his now overrun homeland, Latveria. Upon arrival, he must purge his inner circle of any potential usurpers who were complicit in his exile. This is a taut issue as Doom interrogates his followers one by one and proves him a force to be reckoned with.
Previous issues have generally revolved around Doom’s journey as a very active protagonist. In contrast, this issue slows down the pacing to depict Doom more as an overwhelming presence. He remains statuesque in his winter abode for the majority of the issue, as his followers bow before him one by one. His menacing and emotionless tribunal mask elevates him to an imposing force not to be trifled with.
Such a tense issue is expertly illustrated by Larocca’s art. His work breathes life into these tense scenes and gives them an almost cinematic quality. This is especially true of Doom’s homecoming scene. Larocca’s crisp linework etches emotions from awe to fear across the faces of Doom’s loyalists as the usurped ruler makes his foreboding return. Larocca’s art must also be praised for its intuitive paneling. He knows when to utilize uniform panels to convey structure and order, only to then break this structure for key moments.
Alongside this tense narrative is Blue Marvel’s sci-fi tinged mission. Tasked with entering the black hole on the moon, Blue Marvel is pushed to his absolute limit for the fate of the world. His moments give the book some well paced breathing room from Doom’s inquisition and serve as a fun contrast to the more serious drama occurring back in Latveria. It is here that Guru’s colors brilliantly shine. His coloring choices give way to the vibrant infernos licking at the edges of the black hole, and the cool blue tones of Blue Marvel’s negative energy raging against the engulfing darkness. Blue Marvel’s quest even gives rise to a fantastic twist ending that sets up unknown possibilities moving forward.
The only issue returning readers may have would be with the plot progression. Previous issues move the overall narrative forward at a very fast pace, but here the story greatly slows down to dwell on Doom’s return. As a result, returning fans may find the issue a bit slow but nonetheless excellent. On the other hand, this issue seems poised to help new readers jump on this book. All prior knowledge required is encapsulated in the opening recap, which makes this a prime starting point for people who may want to try out the book.
Altogether, Doctor Doom #7 serves as a great jumping-on point for new readers while also paying off the fantastic build-up of previous issues. This is an issue wrought with tension from the very beginning and delivers an exceptional entry in this series.