Infamous Iron Man #5

“Because now I am proud of you.”

Hey, hey. This is D.C. here. I’m up to my ears in comics (preorders are good, but costly in time-management), but I had a hankerin’ to throw down on Marvel’s Infamous Iron Man.

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Premise

With all the divisiveness over Riri Williams taking on the role of Ironheart and the erroneous belief that she is Iron Man, we have one Victor Von Doom, a new man from his experiences in Secret Wars, looking to make himself a better man by being Iron Man. With the kind of baggage and history Doom’s had, you can imagine he’s got his work cut out for him.

Impressions

The first few issues of Infamous Iron Man had me intrigued. There’s something interesting about a reformation story, especially one involving a man like Doctor Doom. How will he succeed? How will he fail? Brian Michael Bendis took Von Doom on a very interesting, yet low-key, start to his journey. Alex Maleev’s art adds a dark, gothic feel to the armored sorcerer.

At least in the beginning.

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Throughout the first issues, I was stil unclear as to why exactly Doom is targeting the other scientific villains, many of whom he felt a kinship to, as men who have squandered their talents. I doubt he killed any of them since–as always–a death unseen in comics is a death undone. Is Doom merely capturing them? Who can say? With Bendis’ lack of depth and introspection of Doom, it is hard to tell where he goes.

In Infamous Iron Man #5, Bendis adds a major kink in Doom’s path by reintroducing Cynthia Von Doom, Victor’s not-so dead mother. Why such a big thing is introduced in the middle of a vague redemption story isn’t entirely clear. Kay read this as well, and she felt that Bendis is throwing in too many different elements at once–Doom’s nascent heroism, the circumstances of Cynthia Von Doom’s return, why the events of Doctor Strange don’t seem to affect either Von Doom’s access to magic, the Maker, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s intentions with the conflict in Latveria, Amara Perera’s roles. I fear all this will muddy the overall storyline if too few things are brought in and unresolved.

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While Maleev’s art still excels, one thing threw me off during the reunion fight between Doom and his mother: Why are Cynthia’s spells written with Greek letters and hiragana? Did they think that no one would catch that? Looking below on the top panel, and the hiragana don’t seem to mean anything; nor did the Greek letters. Maleev would’ve been better off making up his own glyphs for magical spells…

(However, if anyone can read Japanese, feel free to prove me wrong. Please.)

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The big reveal of the Maker (the villainous Reed Richards of Earth-1610) at the end of the issue adds even more questions than perhaps was needed in this series, least of all is his relation to Cynthia Von Doom and his plans against the new Iron Man.

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With Infamous Iron Man, I have the same problem I’ve had with Bendis’ other series, Invincible Iron Man. Bendis’ writing is much too sparse when writing Doom. Are we to assume that a man, a thinker, a genius like Victor Von Doom, doesn’t have a million thoughts of his path? That he doesn’t wrestle with his darker impulses, the desires he’s acted upon for some 50 years? Is he supposed to be the relatively quiet type, and we’re supposed to just go along for the ride as if that is sufficient?

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I would appreciate knowing more about what’s going on in Doom’s head, especially how he sees himself and those who damn his attempts at heroism at every turn. And while Alex Maleev’s art is superb, it doesn’t suffice when words are lacking. Action can only carry a book so far. Bendis really needs to work on this in the issues to come, or I can’t see myself staying along for Doom’s rise…or his fall.

END THROWDOWN.

 

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