Doctor Doom #6 Review

by Charles Martin on March 04, 2020

Doctor Doom #6 Review
Writer: Christopher Cantwell
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colourist: Guru-eFX
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Doom is armoured up and ready to take back his country; he just needs to pick up an "ace in the hole" weapon first. It's waiting for him on the Texas border, and he needs to get there without attracting any attention.

Cue an absurd hobo-style road trip with Kang coming along for the ride! 

The villainous pair addresses right off the bat how this extended sojourn seems to break the "rules" for Kang's visits; this one lasts nearly a week.

During the trip, Doom and Kang come up with a lot of charmingly goofy stuff to talk about. They air out their potential membership in Marvel's second-most convoluted family tree -- Kang, Doom, and Reed Richards are maybe all related in a timey-wimey mess -- mostly for comedy purposes.

They insult, belittle, and threaten each other in classically hammy supervillain language -- pushing it, eventually, to a point where they break down laughing over it.

They're interrupted at two points by random civilians: first, a humble hobo hoping to share their boxcar, then a pair of obnoxious yokels who insult their exotic costumes. Both interruptions are handled with a burst of comedic violence. Each vignette is amusing in itself, but their proximity to each other creates an unfortunate feeling of repetition.

The humorous aspects of this road trip might tempt me into dismissing Christopher Cantwell's script as merely a comedic "breather" episode in the longer story. (This is an issue where Kang wields what can only be described as an ennui raygun.) But the author delivers some unmistakeable depth at the end.

Circumstances conspire to get Doom talking about his would-be future sons, Costin and Doru (whom we got a brief peek at in #1). Doom speaks about them with great emotion and familiarity -- his peek into the future was obviously not so brief, and his familial thoughts do a great deal to justify his interest in bringing that future about.

Another force standing against any dismissal of this issue is its rather magnificent serving of visuals. Salvador Larocca is in fine form again, dressing the sets in detailed backgrounds, drawing out the flow of the story in logical form, and preserving clarity at every turn. 

(He's also deeply committed to winning the "most realistic comic rendition of a freight train" Eisner, should one ever be awarded!)

This issue also gets a decent serving of action at the end thanks to Symkaria sending some unlikely assassins after Doom. Mr. Larocca does very well with the fight art, keeping things much more rational and easy-to-follow than in some of the series' previous battles. Perhaps the brief, decisive way the fighting is scripted here suits the artist's strengths.

I think that's certainly the case when it comes to the character designs. This issue serves up a lot of masked characters, and that constraint is no constraint at all for Mr. Larroca. His talent for detail ensures that the characters remain consistent, and he does some excellent work with body language to convey thoughts and emotions.

Colourist Guru-eFX helps the art along by really nailing the atmosphere of southern Texas with his palette. The scenes alternate between rich blue nights and sun-bleached days. Guru-eFX preserves just enough intensity in the villains' colourful costumes (and the zaps and blasts of the action panels) to make them stand out against the dusty terrain.

Doom's road to Latveria detours through rural Texas, giving him a lot of time to trade barbs and jokes with Kang. It's funny, enjoyable stuff, but the creators anchor it with enough effort to keep it from lightening up and blowing away. The script has a few jewels of characterization and plot development, and the art is consistently gorgeous. This is a bit of a quiet issue, but it's richly rewarding for readers who have been drawn into Doom's ongoing story.

Our Score:


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Marvel's most convoluted family tree is, of course, the Pym-Ultron-Vision-Maximoff thicket.