“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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?
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.
This is D.C. here to finally throw down on this:
Daredevil, Volume 5: Out, by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev.
It seems silly to even give a small intro, but for those who don’t know…Daredevil is Matt Murdock, a lawyer who was blinded by a radioactive isotope, but which also gave him superhuman senses and a radar similar to echolocation. Daredevil was eventually trained as a ninja and protects the gritty part of New York, Hell’s Kitchen. He is known as the Man Without Fear…oh, and he has an awful, awful relationship history.
Volume 5: Out covers how Daredevil struggles to gain some semblance of control after his secret identity is sold to the press. The stress in Matt’s personal and vigilante lives from the outing is further complicated by his defending the first White Tiger, Hector Ayala, who is under trial for murder.
For those who’ve watched Netflix’s Daredevil, you see how masochistic and self-destructive the titular character is. You see that in spades in the comics as well. Brian Michael Bendis tackled the tormented mindset of Daredevil, and especially the unbridled anger and sociopathy lurking beneath the surface. Even better, it was refreshing to read Foggy Nelson rip into Matt for how everything that’s happened up to this point has been his own fault.
Brian Michael Bendis writes nearly every guest character to my liking: you see Spider-Man’s typical wisecracking bravado; Elektra’s sense of enigma; even Black Widow’s uncertain mastery of English when she says, “How do you say…” It was a trip t0 read Bendis’ take on each character.
However, I found it interesting how proper Luke Cage and Jessica Jones were written. I expected much more gruff language out of those two. Not Marvel Max level of profanity, but still.
Alex Maleev did a phenomenal job with his art and captured the essence of what one would imagine reading Daredevil. It’s not cute, cartoonish, or even horrific. It’s just raw and human, sort of how I imagine a pulp, street-level hero like Daredevil to be portrayed.
The murder trial of the first White Tiger, Hector Ayala was just gripping and rough to read. It was fantastic to read a trial that only Matt Murdock can take on. It was as sensational as you can expect any murder trial to go, with the Marvel flair sprinkled in.
Finally, the covers for these issues were about as fantastic and fitting as the interior art.
Really? The only things I didn’t like were very minor inconsistencies in Alex Maleev’s penciling of both Black Widow and Matt Murdock. One word used during the White Tiger’s trial.
I’m a forensics person (seriously; I have a master’s degree in it), and the fact that the term “blood splatter” is used in Ayala’s trial instead of the correct term, “blood spatter,” it just burns my butthole. It’s improper, but it’s just a wrinkle in the overall storyline.
Daredevil, Volume 5 was a fantastic read. You get action, but the with the knowledge that the action is NOT important to the overall plot of this story. You get even more insight into Matt Murdock’s mentality and how he takes getting his identity sold out to the public. You see just how self-destructive Murdock actually is. You also see emotion, and how lost and uncertain Matt feels.
Maleev’s art is perfect for capturing the essence and world of Daredevil. I definitely look forward to reading and finding more of Bendis and Maleev’s Daredevil run.