Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 12/26/20
Welcome to the post-Christmas comic book review roundup! Not a lot of comics came out this week, or at least none on my reading list, so this is going to be a short article. Just a couple of Marvel comics.
Comic Book of the Week goes to Doctor Doom #10, which turns out to be the final issue of this series. I really enjoyed it! Christopher Cantwell has a great handle on Doom as a unique character!
Meanwhile, I finished up The Owl House on Disney+ and it was great! Glad to have that new show to look forward to going forward. And by the time this goes up, I will have probably seen either Soul or Wonder Woman 1984 or both! I hope they are good.
Comic Reviews: Doctor Doom #10 and U.S. Agent #2.
Doctor Doom #10
Writer: Christopher Cantwell
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Oh! I didn’t know this was coming. It’s the final issue of Doctor Doom! What a shame. It ends well.
The explosion at the end of the previous issue sends Doctor Doom careening into another reality. The Antlion was a wormhole, not a black hole. He meets Blue Marvel, who also traveled between realms in a previous issue. Most importantly, Doom meets this universe’s version of himself, the one he’s been having hallucinations about throughout the series. Victor takes Doom on a tour of all of their accomplishments, from peace on Earth to peace among the stars, to all the universe’s greatest weapons kept safely on display, to Doom’s happy family. Doom seems open to the idea of change, until Victor starts explaining how he gets to that change: putting aside the ‘Doctor Doom’ persona, forgiving Reed Richards and turning truly good.
Doom’s ego does not allow him to even consider such changes as “good”, so he kills Victor, steals the Ultimate Nullifier from its display and immediately presses the button. Doom wipes out this entire universe with nary a second thought over his ego. He easily returns home to his own throne, having decided that there is no point in turning good.
Comic Rating: 9/10 – Great.
This issue was a perfect encapsulation of Doctor Doom as a character and a perfect wrap-up to this series, tying off all the loose threads for this one adventure! Just like the previous issue, this one takes a very interesting conversation and uses it to really shine the light on what makes Doctor Doom unique to Doom. Cantwell confronts Doom with everything he could ever hope or expect to achieve…and all Doom has to do is self reflect. That’s a great conflict to thrown at Doom as a main character and Cantwell and his art team execute it so well!
The visions of his perfect family are finally explained, so that was nice, and Blue Marvel is taken care of. I definitely get the sense that some of Cantwell’s ideas were cut short, but it’s not too obvious. The focus is mostly on Doom, and his actions are perfectly in character. His ego won’t allow him to even comprehend that a better reality exists because he forgave Reed Richards, so he destroys it with the Ultimate Nullifier. It’s great! This series has been a fun exploration of Doctor Doom as a person and a comic book villain. Quality work all around!
TL;DR: Doctor Doom comes to a close with another perfect encapsulation of Doom as a character and Doctor Doom as a mini-series.
U.S. Agent #2
Artist: Georges Jeanty
Inker: Karl Story:
Colorist: Matt Milla
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
A lot kind of happens in this issue. Let’s see if I can parse it out. The clutter of the comic makes for a less than stellar story.
So U.S. Agent and his new friend Morrie were shot down over Brambline Cross by a military group which includes his sister, Kate, whom he hasn’t seen in a long time. They get to bickering/catching up and she explains that her group is watching over some classified asset down in the mine, but when the townsfolk blew up their secret base (posing as a distribution center), it damaged some experimental fuel cells. So John fixes his bike and heads into town to get back a missing fuel cell — only for his bike to break down, and he gets a ride from a local. When he gets to town, everybody mistakes him for Captain America and he asks them about the fuel cell. They tell him they’ve never heard of such a thing, and he reports this back to his sister.
Kate doesn’t believe him and they get into an argument because she just sees the townsfolk as redneck hicks, and John sees himself as them. But Kate starts laying down some truths: their older brother, Mike, whom John adored, was responsible for the fire from their childhood after he got drunk. And that Mike didn’t die heroically in a helicopter crash in wartime, he shot himself in his barracks. John just gets angrier and angrier before taking off.
After he’s gone, some secret ninjas show up and kill the soldiers in Kate’s unit. Then this new guy shows up and gives Kate a big kiss, and she welcomes him, calling him “U.S. Agent”. We saw the guy at the start of the issue giving a lecture at Harvard about economics. They’re up to something.
Also, Morrie is just hanging around town. And Val Cooper tells John’s handlers that John was fired months ago.
Comic Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.
I don’t really know what Priest is going for with this story. The storytelling is disjointed and unfocused. I can understand the general thrust of things, I think, but I still feel this comic is all over the place. For one thing, it’s telling us directly that John Walker considers himself one of the “deplorables”, but never actually shows it. He barely interacts with them, instead spending most of the issue arguing with his sister. And I’m not entirely sure the point trying to be made by tying John to these townsfolk. It doesn’t change his mission or his reason for being there, it doesn’t make him self reflect.
My real problem is just the disjointed nature of the comic. I don’t feel it’s being presented smoothly enough. The scenes jump around and don’t seem to add anything to the overall story. This is a mini-series, not an ongoing. I would hope for a better defined thesis at this point, even two issues in. Instead we get asides where Valerie Cooper yells at some lazy government goons about John Walker’s employment status, or we get Morrie doing anything. A story is being told here, and it’s a solid enough story, but it’s also a jumble and not really sticking the point.
TL;DR: I don’t quite get what this series is going for, but it’s a solid enough comic.
The comics I review in my Hench-Sized reviews are just the usual comics I grab from Comixology any given week, along with a few impulse buys I might try on a whim. So if there are any comics or series you’d like me to review each week, let me know in the comments!