Welcome, or welcome back, to Read Pile, where I, Keigen Rea, and hopefully a large, ever-growing mass of individuals will be, as EIC Dave Shevlin put it, “reducing our read piles to read piles,” and writing about those books, one at a time.
This Read Pile is the CFC debut of Brason T (https://twitter.com/ultimatebrason?s=21), and I could not be more pleased to be presenting him. Find him on his Twitter at the link above being a generally swell guy and talking about comics. He has chosen the first two issues of ‘Doctor Doom (2019)’ by Christopher Cantwell (w), Salvador Larroca (a), Guru-eFX (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), ACO (cover artist).
Hello! I am so honored to be writing for Comfort Food Comics, more importantly for good friends Dave and Keigen. A little about my love for the Fantastic Four before we get started. I officially started heavily reading Marvel trades about two-and-a-half years ago. I loved tales like JMS’ Fantastic Four Civil War tie-ins, Dwayne McDuffie’s short run and Hickman’s Dark Reign: Fantastic Four. With my subscription to Marvel Unlimited, recently I’ve started Hickman’s official run, Fraction’s run and the Skottie Young Human Torch series. Reed is my favorite member and I think it’s poetic I’m writing about his arch-nemesis here today.
Without further ado…
A typical on the run story with a complex yet petty protagonist.
A trait that’s constant when I see Doctor Doom in various comics, is him thinking he’s the top. We get right to that as a new project has him disagreeing with everyone. These two issues perfectly show his disdain for his science peers from “Richards is as sloppy as Stark is reckless–” to him being appalled Richards wouldn’t show up to see him get arrested.
I think it’s also good to point out he’s actually not a great guy by any means. Some points go a little too far and it’s hard to feel for the situations he gets wrapped into, from berating employees to torturing an innocent reporter. He’s disconnected from most of the characters, there are really only two scenes he felt the most human. One moment that doesn’t go too far is Larroca’s panel of the exact project he’s angry at looming over him as he writes a disgruntled letter to world leaders.
We see his scarred face very few times and of course, he always speaks like a Shakespeare play. The detail of Doom’s office adds to the Shakespearean feel. From blades he’ll never have to use and a globe on each side of his desk to a luxurious rug.
What is the situation he gets into? Framed for a terrorist attack on the said project I mentioned earlier. Nothing too spectacular, we aren’t given any clues of who could be framing him yet. For me, the strength here is how Doom touches every corner of the universe and what everyone thinks of him from news stations to an old pal Doctor Strange to even Blue Marvel.
Something I kept noticing, a take Cantwell took here was Doom not being able to exist in a perfect world. Whether from his own success or someone like Reed. I hope as I read further in this series, this is played with a little more. For now, I’m not sure if I agree with that aspect but it does give us some great dialogue such as Doom saying, “…this world is too far gone…” right into a vision of his future self saying “In science, you know how we achieve a desired result? We wait”.
There is something else I think Cantwell was building here, the rise of Victorious. I get a heavy Kylo/Snoke vibe here as this is clearly her trying to move up the ranks to the throne of Latveria. She means serious business and will take every opportunity. It’s hard to get a gauge if Doom actually appreciates it but judging from other scenes, I’d bet not.
I haven’t mentioned Kang at all only because his scenes don’t really fit yet. Again, great back-and-forth with Doom as the series as a whole focuses on their complicated history. Just here though, it doesn’t quite add much. That’s a lot of what this is, a chain of events you might see in a ton of other books boosted by Cantwell’s extensive knowledge of the large roster he got to use.
This series has some great ideas at play in terms of Doom’s psyche, but again, this series works best for a hardcore Marvel fan.
Thank you for reading! Read Pile will be back next week with an article about the book ‘Reckless’ by Lan the designer of graphics, master of Discord (of the CFC variety).
If you want to contribute to Read Pile’s number, get ahold of me on Twitter (@prince_organa), or you can take the long way around and get ahold of Dave by talking about some kind of niche magazine from the 90s, and then he’ll send you my way. Please reach out so, it’ll be fun!