REVIEW: ‘Iron Man/Doctor Doom,’ Issue #1

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Iron Man/Doctor Doom #1

Iron Man/Doctor Doom #1 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Christopher Cantwell, art by Salvador Larroca, colors by Guru-eFX, and letters by Travis Lanham. With the world under attack by the King in Black, Tony Stark has fused his Extremis armor with the alien symbiote, though at the cost of Eddie Brock’s life. As Iron Man grapples with what he has done, he must face a new threat twisted by the King in Black. However, he isn’t alone in facing this peril.

Superhero characters often find themselves getting trapped in some pretty vicious cycles. Once they become known for a particular trait, it can easily go from being a piece of their personality to an overwhelming aspect of themselves. Case in point, let’s look at Tony Stark.

The recent Empyre storyline opens with the Avengers making a huge mistake by blindly aiding the Cotati. This occurs over Captain Marvel’s protests and largely due to Tony’s insistence. This has tragic repercussions that Tony spends much of the ensuing storyline beating himself up over.

Fast forward only a few months to King in Black, and we once again find a storyline in which Tony has done something he looks to be spending the storyline regretting. While we have yet to see whether his decision this time will be one other heroes will need to repair, or if it was the right thing to do, its current repercussion is to reduce Tony to a self-loathing hunk of iron… Again.

Despite my feelings about how the greater storyline might be using one of the title heroes of Iron Man/Doctor Doom #1, I can happily say that writer Cantwell uses the hero’s current situation with the utmost skill. Tony’s internal struggle with his recent actions are well delivered and heartfelt. This internal struggle only becomes more interesting with the arrival of Doom.

As Doom finds Stark in his current mental state, he questions how  Iron Man feels about his actions. Doom’s less morally grounded viewpoint is used as an excellent contrast to Stark. This allows for some fascinating moral and practical debate.

While a fair share of Iron Man/Doctor Doom #1 is spent grappling with Tony’s recent decisions, there is a threat at hand, one that threatens to undermine what little seasonal joy there may be left on the besieged Earth. The two metal-clad geniuses must confront this threat together.

A story with such a mix of combat and moral quandary requires a particularly versatile artist. Luckily this book has Larroca on board to deliver everything one would expect of the accomplished pro. The battles are exciting, and the characters are given their full due. Whether it’s Tony’s mental struggles or Doom’s overwhelming self-confidence, every aspect of the characters lands magnificently.

The superb colorwork further amplifies the high quality of Larroca’s art in Iron Man/Doctor Doom #1. The book’s overall darker tones reinforce Tony’s mindset, while the glow of armor and the bright splashes of light from energy blasts are made to pop out of the surrounding bleakness.

Finally, we have a superb lettering performance by Lanham. Each character’s dialogue is presented in its own visual style, making each speaker instantly recognizable. And the dialogue for the title duo’s opponent is particularly striking. I absolutely love the design work and extra effort Lanham puts into this book.

When all is said and done, Iron Man/Doctor Doom #1 delivers an interesting story that challenges its protagonists both mentally and physically. The art is top-notch, and the extra effort given to its presentation makes it shine right down to the last panel.

Iron Man/Doctor Doom #1 is available on December 30th, wherever comics are sold.


Iron Man/Doctor Doom #1
4.5

TL;DR

When all is said and done, Iron Man/Doctor Doom #1 delivers an interesting story that challenges its protagonists both mentally and physically. The art is top-notch, and the extra effort given to its presentation makes it shine right down to the last panel.