Friday, May 1, 2009

Comic Book Wednesday: Doom's Day

I thought to make things interesting, I'd do a 2 in 1 feature: for the entire blog post, I'd alternate between a comic book review and what I did Wednesday night, switching between topics with each sentence. Then I realised that wasn't so much interesting as annoying, so I'll do the comics now and a party post at a later date.

The loyal returning comic book fans may have noticed I skipped last week--which was a little odd, since I actually enjoyed most of the comics I read. This week, on the other hand, nothing in particular jumped out at me, and yet, here's a review, all the same. Truly, the universe is a strange and wonderful place.

Doctor Doom and the Masters of Evil 4. By Paul Tobin and Patrick Scherberger & David Baldeon. This was the final issue in a mini-series that saw Doctor Doom slicing through the Marvel Universe's villain rosters like a scalpel through butter. Here, he teams up with Magneto to fight Selene, and the resulting battle is nothing short of epic. What's at stake? A chance to rewrite the universe, and remove the one biggest threat to the bad doctor's existence. Any guesses on what that threat is? Tobin's mostly known for his work on the Marvel Adventures series, the all-ages comics Marvel puts out that manage to be consistently more entertaining than the "proper" books most weeks. This can be a fairly damaging label: it's taken other MA writers, like Jeff Parker, considerable time to "break out" of it. Tobin's shown here he can write a good story: the various villains are all in character, even relative blank slates like Princess Python. (We also get the reason that Doom decided to cart Python around with him for the past few issues, and again, it's not what you'd expect.) If I have any complaint with the series, it's that I'm not sure I like the ending--Doom's wish seems to limit future story potential to a certain extent. But, as this guy says, it's the best Doom story since at least the Waid/Wieringo Fantastif Four run a few years ago. It's a series worth reading, if you can track down the issues.

Dark Avengers 4 By Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato. This, on the other hand, has yet to prove itself as a series worth reading. After multiple issues of proving themselves to be largely ineffectual, the Dark Avengers continue to be largely ineffectual in doing anything other than distract Morgan LeFay--and since she apparently has the ability to be simultaneously aware of everything in multiple time periods, that didn't work so well either. Finally, Doom, the guy they were sent to rescue, rescues them, in some very, very shady time travelling logic. The rest of the issue fares a bit better, as Osborn deals with some consequences that have cropped up while they were gone, and realizes he may have bit off more than he can chew. And Bendis finally seems to have gotten a handle on Doom as a character. It's okay, but since it's supposed to be one of the flagship titles for the "Dark Reign," it should really be better.

Dark Reign: The Cabal. By Various. This oneshot is an example of one of the oddities that crop up under the current state of comicbook crossovers. It can't tell a big story, because that would be handled in one of the big titles. But for whatever reason, the stories it does tell are stories that didn't fit in any of those titles, so we get a bit of a mixed bag of five stories, each using the POV of a member of Osborn's Cabal. First up is Doctor Doom, in Hickman and Granov's "And I'll get the Land." Essentially, it's an extended daydream in which Doom considers exactly what he'll do once it's time to "renegotiate" the Cabal's current roles. Again, we have a well-characterized Doom--albeit one who spends a little more time staring off into space, ala JD from Scrubs. Next is Emma Frost, in Fraction and Acuna's "How I Survived Apocalyptic Fire." It's a quick recap of Frost's history, and how she got to this point. It's nice to know that Fraction has really done his research with the character, although the entire thing is essentially an extended flashback. Third is the Hood, in "Family Trust" by Rememnder and Fiumara. Out of the Cabal, the Hood is the least known, so this story presents a different side of the character as he presides over the funeral of one of his fallen members. It hasn't even remotely convinced me that the Hood is a worthwhile character, but it's not actively bad. Namor, in "The Judgement of Namor" by Kieron Gillen and di Giandomencio, makes a regal decision involving the fate of his subjects, which may or may not wind up being a plotline in the X-Men at some point. And in the last story, Loki has dinner with Doom in Milligan and Zonjic's "Dinner with Doom." In which, as a set up for a plot line that started LAST week in Thor 601, Loki asks permission to move Asgard to Latveria. Again, it's okay, but when your story is late compared to Thor, one of the most perennially late titles in the Marvel line... that looks like a big mistake. So, overall, we have a handful of tie-in stories that are, for the most part, well told and very well told, but really only worth purchasing by the Dark Reign completists.

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