Welcome to Hell (literally)

08May08

All right, I’ve never actually reviewed a comic book before. On Free Comic Book Day this year I picked up a newer comic, Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #1, and it occurred to me, hey, why not give a review a shot? After all, I do movies and books … so why not add a comic book to the mix for fun? Well, here we go.

COVER BY: RON LIM
WRITER: DAVID MICHELINIE
PENCILS: RON LIM
INKS: BOB LAYTON
COLORED BY: WILLIAM BAUMANN
LETTERED BY: DAVE LANPHEAR

SUMMARY:
“‘A Knight in Hell’ Dr. Doom returns to menace Iron Man in the chilling and long-awaited conclusion of The Camelot Trilogy! Mephisto has apparently found a way to bring about The End Of Days and Tony Stark and Victor Von Doom must form an uneasy alliance to try and stop him. But all may not be as it seems. And it takes a journey to Hell itself before the shocking truth is revealed! Iron Man legends David Michelinie and Bob Layton are joined by penciler supreme Ron Lim to bring you the first part of an epic literally decades in the making!”

This issue hit stores on April 16 and is the first installment in a four-part series so far featuring Iron Man, Victor Von Doom, and Mephisto. Anyway, let’s start with the art (by penciler Ron Lim and inker Bob Layton)—which is gorgeous, as you can see from the awesome cover by Ron Lim. The coloring by William Baumann works very nicely, clashing Tony Stark’s red and yellow suit with Dr. Doom’s green and silver one; there are other color elements that mesh well in this comic, like the dazzling dark blue of outer space and the orange and yellow fires of hell.

The first page of the comic, which shows Tony melting down an old suit, gives a nice foreshadowing for the later panels in Mephisto’s underworld-ish dimension. There are a lot of flashbacks in this comic, which kind of slows down the plot a bit. It begins when Tony catches something on a data chip, a record for all of his activities in the Iron Man armor, that triggers something suppressed in his memory: a confrontation with Victor Von Doom he apparently had when he thought he was on vacation (meaning sans the superhero action). The initial flashback however, which leads into Tony’s memory with Doom that takes over the comic, did a nice job of setting up the old Camelot story, so even if you haven’t read it you can get enough of the bare essentials to understand the current storyline.

Simply, it was fun just seeing these two characters together, but there were some minor (and yes, they’re minor) issues I had with a few things. A hologram of Doom, β€œthe most dangerous man on earth,” appears before Iron Man in space, where he’s repairing a faulty satellite for Stark International, and tells him to meet him at his castle in Latveria, as “millions of lives hang in the balance.” Of course Tony recognizes that this is probably a trap (which it is), and that he can’t take the risk, but you’d think he would be a little more careful about charging in. To Iron Man’s annoyance he finds out a “war” is going on, which is, as Doom explains, merely an attempt to try to prevent him from a “return to power.” The plot is set back while Iron Man gets them out of the way so that Doom doesn’t radiate their asses; he and Doom move on with business.

Okay, so Tony does take some precautions after Doom tells him they must travel to Mephisto’s realm, but he doesn’t even ask any questions like, “Hey, what exactly is going on with those millions of lives, again?” In fact, that’s not even addressed when the two meet up besides Doom mentioning something about “the End of Days.” Could that be any more obscure? If I were Iron Man, I would have asked for a little more information than that, but instead, he just takes it on faith. After all, can’t roll the dice on those millions of lives.

Anyway, Iron Man and Victor Von Doom transport themselves to Mephisto’s realm, which resembles “Dante’s Inferno envisioned by M.C. Escher, an industrialized madness of heat and liquid steel.” In the end, Doom bails and Iron Man is, well, doomed to spend eternity in hell under Mephisto’s wrath.

The storyline is promising, not to mention Iron Man being stuck in hell and needing to find a way out is one shitty predicament that might be interesting to explore. All in all, it’s a decent comic, and those minor plot holes and issues … you can let them slide. They’re more minor annoyances than anything blatantly significant, and the story is still enjoyable. It’s nothing jaw-dropping or magnificent, but then again this is only part one of four. Things could really heat up (pun intended). It’ll be neat to see where this goes, and if you’re an old fan who’s craving that Iron Man/Dr. Doom nostalgia, I recommend picking up a copy if you haven’t already.

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2 Responses to “Welcome to Hell (literally)”

  1. 1 JC

    You know lately flashbacks in comics are necessary with all of the convoluted changes to continuity, but it’s a double edged sword because it’s so difficult to do correctly, like you mention it usually slows things down. Some comics though, like Moon Knight for instance; need them desperately!

    And those points where Iron Man doesn’t say or do things that you would think would be important, like questioning things maybe, well that’s just writers thinking they can skimp on character development because it’s a comic book, which is lazy & lame.

    That pun was a groaner btw πŸ™‚

  2. Yeah, and like I said, I thought they actually did a pretty good job with the Camelot flashback, and it was well distinguished from the rest of the comic (sort of faded out, as you can see from the panel of him and Doom fighting in the post).

    And I guess it was really the whole thing with Iron Man getting the attackers of Doom’s castle out of the way so he wouldn’t fry them to crisps that truly slowed things down. πŸ˜›


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