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SPOILERS, Look out!
Despite Secret Wars still going on, Marvel has moved past it to All-New All-Different territory. Included in that is the flagship title Invincible Iron Man. Now, I’m not here to talk about the merits of the book itself, I’m here to talk about (SPOILERS, AGAIN) the appearance of Victor Von Doom.
He’s completely healed, face-wise, and without armor. Gone is the more science-y parts of this character, he’s now mostly magic. Also, probably the biggest change, he wants to turn over a new leaf? It certainly seems like that. Maybe. We’re only two issues in so its anyone’s guess.
So most of the things I’ve mentioned aren’t necessarily bad. Characters have to change to keep the genre fresh. That’s inevitable. That’s healthy. I’m just cautious. Marvel has a recent history of market-based decisions (i.e Tony Stark is now a cross between Robert Downey Jr. and Spider-Man). When they start messing with one of my favorite characters, I get worried.
The biggest reason I’ve been partial to Doom is his grand bombastic, pulpy nature. He’s not only a despotic a ruler of a kingdom, he’s one of the greatest scientists in the world, and also one the most powerful sorcerers. Then add in a layer of humanity and a layer of nobility on top of that. They don’t make villains like that anymore!
Now I haven’t seen the last of Secret Wars, which seems to be a deconstruction of “Classic Doom”, so maybe they explain his turn around there. I have a feeling, however, that we’re going to see most of this “New Doom” (NuDoom?) in Bendis’ Iron Man. Which is unfortunate.
Why? We’ve seen the whole “bad guy tries to make a new start” storyline a million times in the comic book world. It’s overdone and kind of beneath Doom. Even if he’s no longer your super dramatic dictator/wizard, it seems dishonest to say he would be a helpful, bantering ally of questionable fiber. That’s Tony Stark gone rogue, not Doom.
So why the change? I’m actually going to forgo any claims of grand conspiracy. If I had to guess, I would assume that Brian Michael Bendis was given this big flagship title and told it was All-New All-Different. Oh, but not really, try to line it up with the MCU as much as you can, OH BUT HOLD ON, also try not to shed too much of the past. We don’t want to cross any long-time fans. So he goes for something big, something to tie up Secret Wars, but also something that’s pretty easy. That new readers can easily jump on to.
Unfortunately, that also means it feels by the numbers. I can already feel that we’re either going to get a rouge-ish Good Guy Doom or there’ll be an inevitable betrayal of sorts, because I’ve seen this so many times. Which is sad enough as it is, but now it’s one of my favorite villains.
I wonder if this is the first of an ongoing thing. I’ve read a few of the ANAD titles and they seem alright (if filled with spiders). It’s early though. What if, later on down the road, this balancing act between easy for new readers and old will force writers down these middling plot lines? I suppose you could say I’m just exaggerating. Maybe. Read Invincible Iron Man and ask yourself this: Do you think this is the best Iron Man story Bendis could’ve come up with?