Doctor Doom #1 Review

by Charles Martin on October 09, 2019

Doctor Doom #1 Review
Writer: Christopher Cantwell
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colourist: Guru-eFX
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

A joint super-science venture between Reed Richards and Tony Stark stands poised to fix global warming. 

Doctor Doom, as you can imagine, is livid about it. Outwardly, of course, there's a "party line" to toe in media interviews: "Richards is as sloppy as Stark is reckless --" With his servants, Doom expresses some very reasonable concerns about the project, which involves chaining a black hole to the moon for hazardous waste disposal.

Behind the mask, privately, Doom has much more existential problems with this development. If the world could be saved, Doom would save it. Doom is not saving the world, ergo it cannot be saved. QED.

Now Richards and Stark are going to un-ED his Q? Well, that's infuriating and no mistake.

Doom broods while stalking the exquisitely-rendered halls of his castle. Artist Salvador Larroca does a good, top-shelf job of rendering characters and action. But when it comes to stage-setting, he invites us all into the realm of true greatness. Faultless perspective, obsessive detail, and solid design work all combine to bring us the most magnificent Castle Doom Marvel has ever seen. 

Colourist Guru-eFX is fully on board, lavishing the extra time on the backgrounds that the detailed art demands. He also modulates his colours sharply to track the passage of time and changing lighting conditions, and when the action kicks off, he even gives Doom's techno-magical wizardry some ominously understated blue lightning effects.

And after the last action-packed act, I need to reevaluate my opinion of Mr. Larroca's character art. It's not merely "good;" it, like the backgrounds, enjoys an almost unbelievable level of detail. The artist knows the script calls for showing emotional changes in Doom's eyes behind the mask, so he delivers the precision required to do it flawlessly.

Christopher Cantwell's script is deceptively simple when compared to the intricacies of the art. The prose is clear and seems purely natural, but already there are seeds of greatness tucked into the dialogue and narration. I think the words will only grow more consequential as the plot develops further.

And what a plot it is already! This is far from an action-starved character study. The "stop global warming" project goes awry, and when it does, it's in the most surprising way possible. The consequences for Doom are immediate, dramatic, and infuriating.

It's not like he's short of challenges even before the catastrophe lands. There's the fact Kang the Conqueror keeps time-jumping in for reasons neither of them understands. And the maddening way Doom is being confronted by visions of an alternate reality that starkly contrasts his lonely, frustrating existence.

Something is rotten in the state of Latveria, and you better believe Doom will get to the bottom of it all!

The final noteworthy part of Mr. Cantwell's script is the remarkably nuanced voice it gives to Doom. There are brief flashes of the plain megalomaniac we've loved for 60 years. But the blend of Doom's public and private thoughts builds up a much more three-dimensional picture. This is a Doom with regrets, with second thoughts, a Doom pondering the road not taken. It's the Doom Who Doubts, and dang, do we want to get to know him better!

Doctor Doom #1 blasts off with a roaring start, challenging readers and protagonist alike with a mountain of fresh troubles for Doom, Latveria, and the world. The exquisitely-detailed art makes the characters, action, and especially the settings incredibly real. The script builds toward a remarkably subtle portrait of Doom. With continued insight and complexity, it could well become the definitive portrayal of Marvel's most iconic villain. This is one to watch for sure.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
All this and Doctor Doom making the greatest awful Brexit joke of all time? Sign us the ☠☠☠☠ up already!