By Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev & Matt Hollingsworth
Over the course of the past 54 years, Doctor Doom has proven to be one of the most versatile of Marvel’s classic villains. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, he originally debuted in grand Marvel style in Fantastic Four #5. The issue is a quasi-ridiculous romp, best remembered now for The Thing’s adaptation of a pirate’s life and the introduction of arguably the most overused trope/narrative cheat in the Marvel Universe: Doctor Doom’s time machine. However, there was something appealing about this character which his further appearances cemented. Lee and Kirby knew the entertainment value of a larger-than-life antagonist cackling about his own brilliance while wearing one of the most eye-catching costumes in super-villainy. Doom’s arrogance was part of his appeal, whether played straight or parodied.
Over the decades, though, various writers would fill out Victor’s personality, giving him layers beyond those of a power mad tyrant. He rose to prominence from a persecuted minority (the Romani). He possessed a tragic devotion to his (literally) damned mother. His dual interest in science and magic define him as a man who blends seemingly irreconcilable mindsets. He could even align himself with heroes at times acknowledging a need for some greater good. Recently, writer Jonathan Hickman drew on many of these facets for his compelling portrayal of the omnipotent Doom struggling to preserve reality in Secret Wars, At the end of Secret Wars, Hickman gave Victor a chance to redeem his life and pursue a nobler path. Brian Michael Bendis picked up this thread by using Doom as a supporting character in Bendis’ Invincible Iron Man book. This week, Doom graduates to his own ongoing title Infamous Iron Man.
By Jonathan Hickman & Esad Ribic
After months of speculation, Everything Ended last week in Secret Wars #1, when the two Earths remaining in the Marvel Multiverse smashed into each other. The resulting Incursion tore apart anything in its path including the heroes’ last ditch stand to salvage something from the wreckage. It was an exciting, action-packed issue, which ended on a rather poignant note. However, as enjoyable as it was, it was not filled with that many surprises. Hickman did exactly what the publicity said he would: he annihilated the Marvel Universe. The real mystery was what would emerge from the ruins. Some hints had trickled out via advance solicits. For the most part, though, it was only today that Hickman pulled back the curtain to reveal just what this Battleworld would be. And so far, it is fascinating.
The issue opens with an initiation ceremony. A young man is being led to a familiar mythic hammer. He is found Worthy and is congratulated by King Thor. King Thor welcomes the young man into a select gathering made up entirely of Thors. They are the police force of this Kingdom, the enforcers of law and maintainers of peace. They do all this in service to a higher deity, in whose name they pledge allegiance. The rite ends with a scene of the assembled Thunder Gods, kneeling before a representation of their god: the stern, iron visage of Doctor Doom. It would seem that Victor’s showdown with The Beyonders did not go so badly for him after all.
Continue reading This Week’s Finest: Secret Wars #2