Doom 2099 #1 Review

by Jay Hill on December 11, 2019

Written by: Chip Zdarsky
Art by: Marco Castiello
Colors by: Chris Sotomayor
Lettered by: Clayton Cowles
Published by: Marvel Comics

Earlier this year a Marvel villain claimed that he was “inevitable”, and, in this comic, Victor Von Doom sets out to prove no matter how far it is in the future, Doom is inevitable.

Starting with the familiar voice of Doom in the narration boxes made this a great read from page one. Although it takes him a while to return to his original mindset, the megalomaniacal tone in his inner monologue showed signs of the villain. It quickly becomes interesting and it doesn’t lose its stride at all. Once free to return to his machinations, Doom is shown to be battling a mental war with his former nemesis, Reed Richards. That, flashbacks to the event that brought him to the future, and the reveal of an imposter Dr. Doom keep the narrative full of questions. The thoughts of Doom, and his interactions with the personification of Mr. Fantastic are excellent moments. Chip Zdarsky displays why he’s one of the best writers working for Marvel and puts on a masterclass in creating a self-contained story that works as both an origin story and a one-off mystery. If there is a down point in this comic, it wasn’t apparent to me. Every second is moving forward even when looking backward. The persistence that is central to Doom’s character, drives the story. While that same trait is explored in the story and challenged by Richards. The conflict between Doom and Richards has always been a mental battle and distilling it down to that essence created some of the best back-and-forths I’ve seen the two have.

The end is when the pay-off happens. Some of the other 2099 stories have had their issues culminate in Twilight Zone/Black Mirror style twists, but none have done it with such deft as this one. Like the best-written stories of this kind, even if you guess it or “saw it coming”, it’s the way Zdarsky cinematically reveals it that's the real treat.

Marco Castiello is now on my “artists to watch” list. His lines are incredible with amazing attention to detail. And he has an almost subtle way of using hatching and shadows. The moments where he uses deep shadows, especially on fabric, pop. The way he illustrated the scarred-up face of Doom made something that was supposed to be ugly, beautiful. His panel layouts are understated additions; they give him the space to fill them with the perfect visual. Some of his touches are indescribable but immediately recognizably skilled. Marvel should get him on an ongoing series immediately. And he is teamed up with one of the best colorists, Chris Sotomayor. Soto brings out the damaged face of Doom with a blend of colors. He also is great at using lighting effects. But it is his overall choice in palette that adds the most to this story. With the great lines put down by Castiello, Soto choices the best colors for the scene.

This is the 2099 book I’ve been waiting for. It excels on all fronts. The story creates a self-contained narrative that takes an established name and switches things up. The story is engaging from page one. Zdarsky uses Doom’s familiar psyche to take him, and the reader, on a fantastic journey (with one heck of an ending). But if you came for Zdarsky’s writing, you should stay for Marco Castiello’s art. In this issue, Castiello has shown me that he is a talent to watch.

Our Score:


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