Writers: Christopher Cantwell
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colors: GURU eFX
Lettering: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Salvador Larroca & GURU eFX
Release Date: March 4th, 2020
Reviewed by: Steve Baum
Doctor Doom and Kang the Conqueror have been twisted together throughout this series, and no one, including them, seems to know why. Not quite adversaries (for the moment) but not trusting each other either, all we can do is wait to see how this chronological chess match plays out. Doom gets his hands on some pretty serious weaponry at the conclusion of this issue. But that’s just so he can use it for good… right?
“DYLAN!!! You sooonnnn ova BITCH!” (in Arnold Schwarzenegger accent) If that wasn’t your first thought looking at this cover, then I pity your poor, poor childhood. Locked in biceps flashing action just like Arnold and Weathers (it’s Predator if anyone still isn’t following), Doom and Kang are poised for a face-off. But they’ve been getting along so well!
Poor Tom, the guy just wants to share a train car, and for his troubles, he gets launched through the roof 200 feet into the air. Just when you’re starting to think Doom is turning a corner and acting like a nice guy… RIP Tom. As our duo continue their trek, some poor redneck pair makes the mistake of “joking” with them. Doom incinerates them in green cosmic energy. There’s the Doom we know and love! Does it feel like nothing substantial has happened yet? Ok, as long as it’s not just me. There is some comedy inherent in watching Doom and Kang ‘Planes-Trains-and-Automobiles’ it across Texas, and we get a rare moment of levity on the boat immediately followed by the two assuring each will destroy the other. Insult of the day goes to Kang for “toadfish romantic with a corkboard spine”; I might steal that one. After finally getting some action in the form of a brief and feeble ambush attempt, we’re introduced to a fun new weapon that saps willpower and energy. Orb (the giant eyeball) is left questioning his life choices and what he’s doing there.
Not a bad weapon for sure. But we need something better! Cue the grown-up Ash Ketchum dressed as a ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’ extra delivering what even Galactus fears. That’s right; the Ultimate Nullifier just showed up. Kang predictably turns on Doom, seeking the Nullifier for his own. Doom puts him down prison-shank style and makes a call to his bestie, Reed Richards. He has an idea for how to stop the black hole, but Blue Marvel isn’t going to like it.
The art offers no complaints. The colors range from bright, harsh deserts to dark, moonlit canyon rivers. Doom and Kang are drawn to the character and are imposing at a distance and up close. If I had to nitpick, Doom’s face just didn’t seem quite right.
There didn’t really seem to be much to this issue. Even though it elicited a few chuckles on my end, the banter between Doom and Kang and the vagrants they come across (and subsequently dispose of) are cookie-cutter. The last few pages seem to be all that matter and have any real ramifications. It’s nice to see the Blue Marvel get some attention, he’s a wildly powerful and drastically underutilized character in the Marvel universe. In the flow of this series, it’s not a bad issue, just filler. In fairness, they can’t all be 10s. Overall, I’ve enjoyed this series and will continue to follow it, but this issue just didn’t seem to accomplish anything save for the last few pages. That’s not to say that every panel has to be filled with world-threatening calamity and non-stop action, but there are more exciting or interesting ways to accomplish what this issue accomplished.