We’re accustomed to Doctor Doom being the architect of the damage he inflicts on the world. However, writer Christopher Cantwell (She Could Fly) and artist Salvador Larroca (Star Wars: Darth Vader) turn that notion upside down in Doctor Doom #1 as Latveria’s favorite tyrant is framed for mass destruction he didn’t engineer. It has the makings of a juicy mystery, and one that Doom will have to face without the familiar comforts of his country, castle, and the minions who do his bidding.
Cantwell builds the issue’s tension by increasingly isolating Doom, even in his own home. The scene in his private study is a gem. As Doom laments that his presight ability “weakens with each passing year” in a journal, Kang abruptly arrives and the two share a glass of wine along with the most interesting conversation in the book.
With his successful tenure on Star Wars: Darth Vader, artist Salvador Larroca is ideally qualified to tackle another sympathetic bad guy in a helmet and cape. His characterization of Doom on the throne in the first scene is iconic, as the brooding leader is neatly surrounded by fabric that looks like it’s in motion. The abrupt change in his style with the Doom family daydream scenes is punctuated by Guru eFX’s cheerful colors and lends an eerie texture to the book.
But it’s his attention to the background details that sets a lavish tone for the issue. If you’re Doom you have a library to die for, hallways teaming with original art, and a gallery complete with stained glass windows where you hang kidnapped smart-mouthed TV anchormen from the ceiling. Victor may have turned over a new leaf or two in recent years, but he’s still very much Doctor Doom.
If you were hoping for Doombots and world domination, this isn’t the series for you. This extended-length issue sets up Doom as a patsy for a crime we’re led to believe he didn’t commit, while treating us to glimpses of a very human Victor. While introspective Doom might give you pause, rest assured that he is always a ruthless genius first, and we can trust Cantwell and Larroca to exploit the entire breadth of Doom’s unparalleled scientific and magical abilities to solve this mystery.
Doctor Doom #1, by Christopher Cantwell, Salvador Larroca, Guru-eFX and VC's Cory Petit, is on sale now.