Christopher Cantwell and Salvador Larroca might be done with Doctor Doom the series, but he’s back this week in King in Black: Iron Man/Doom #1 for a special tie-in one-shot. Tis the season for Christmas hijinks in this tie-in, as Iron Man and Doom take on Santa Claus while the world is taken over by Knull. Cantwell has plenty of experience writing both of these characters, and given the wacky adventures these two have gone on in the past (just read Doomquest), this comic has the perfect premise for these two characters.
This is an interesting one-shot that seems to have sprouted from a clever idea on its own merits due to it not connecting to King in Black too closely. The major connection is Iron Man’s new black costume, which has combined Symbiotes into his technology using Extremis as we saw in King in Black #2. Outside of this and New York being totally taken over, this issue is more about Iron Man and Doom taking care of a Santa problem while Tony contemplates his failure as the world is lost to its heroes.
This book lives and dies by its dialogue, from Doctor Doom’s posturing and attitude to Tony’s smart tongue and self-deprecation. Cantwell plays around with their egos as well highlights two of the smartest characters in Marvel Comics can work together with a little wrestling. It’s a bit odd how Doctor Doom enters the story, as he’s sort of just in the right place at the right time, and the hijinks ensue due to them coincidentally seeing Santa fly by. Given folks are being taken over by Symbiotes, though, it makes sense Santa may have lost his way. Suspension of disbelief is required since things like why Symbiotes can suddenly fly aren’t explained. But hell, Santa is in this book, so it’s easy to let that go.
As far as holiday specials are concerned, this book has the magic. There is a fabulous scene near the end that highlights the fact that Dr. Doom and Iron Man may actually believe in Santa, and given the super-powered friends they have, why not? Santa is hilarious and over-the-top as he spouts swears that are depicted via candy cane and snowman emojis. This comic isn’t afraid to lean into the weirdness of an evil Santa, which is further enjoyable thanks to Iron Man being unsure if it really is Kringle. Cantwell walks a fine line questioning whether Santa is real or not, which helps add to the magic of Christmas.
The art by Larroca works well thanks to Iron Man and Doom looking quite cool throughout. The armature and how it looks to connect via multiple pieces looks solid and logical. Iron Man’s black and gold suit is well done and colored by Guru-eFX. Larroca is one of the best at drawing technology and it shows here. Santa’s purple energy effects are well done too and these along with Iron Man’s blue glow create a great contrast with the darkness of the city covered in Symbiote goo.
King In Black: Iron Man/Doom #1 is a great holiday-themed one-shot. For better or worse it doesn’t tie into King in Black too deeply so anyone can enjoy this. Come for the well-written dialogue and great personalities of Iron Man and Dr. Doom, but stay for the wacky adventure that only comics can deliver.
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