Welcome back to the Marvel Rundown! This week, Sanford Greene and Jonathan Hickman go feral with a Doom one-shot as our main, SPOILER-LITE review. Plus, stick around for a classic installment of the Rapid Rundown, with quick takes on Amazing Spider-Man: Blood Hunt #1, Venom: Separation Anxiety, and more!

What did you think of this week’s batch of fresh Marvel Comics, True Believers? The Beat wants to hear from you! Give us a shout-out, here in the comment section or over on social media @comicsbeat, and let us know what you’re thinking.

Doom #1

Art/Plot/Script: Sanford Green & Jonathan Hickman
Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg with Sanford Greene
Lettering: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Art: Sanford Greene & Matthew Wilson

Every once in a while, Marvel will choose to put out a miscellaneous one-shot, seemingly with no connection to the greater story being told, just for the hell of it. Maybe there’s a gap in the schedule that needs to be filled or there’s an anniversary we all forgot about that they’re taking advantage of. In the rarest of circumstances, a story happens because the creative team is too talented not to team-up. 

This is one of those circumstances.

Doom is a sprawling cosmic odyssey celebrating Marvel’s biggest (best) bad in blowout fashion. The issue feels akin to one of those anniversary issues in that it’s a no-holds barred exploration of the essence of Victor Von Doom without being tied to modern continuity. 

We follow a Doom from an alternate timeline, who is one of three living beings left in his universe. The others that remain are Valeria Richards and a Galactus, who has decided to accelerate the end of this iteration of the cosmos to discover his next form (and in so-doing, destroy the universe). Sanford Greene and Jonathan Hickman have created a Doom much like our own (with the added power of the Celestials) who has lost everything – yet, contintues to fight to save himself through his desire to defy the fate of the gods.

The story is incredible, but the true star of the issue is Greene’s art with Rachel Rosenberg’s colors. They have an expansive scope to cover, but they juggle what has to be a hundred different Marvel characters like it’s nothing at all. Greene’s layouts are multilayered, with scattered placement that keeps the reader on their toes and imbues the story with an off-kilter, catastrophic vibe. Rosenberg makes the pages pop, but no more than they have to in this desolate universe. 

There’s never a time where we’re relaxing here, even when there are down moments to catch your breath. Characters move and flow with a constant feeling of weightlessness to them. Scenery has this perfect feeling of grit and grime, thanks to Greene’s detailed linework and Rosenberg’s use of these dark purples and blues. Joe Caramagna’s lettering placement is, as always, superb, balancing what can be wordy prose with the wild layouts from Greene.

Doom’s new design is instantly iconic, mixing his magic with Valeria’s technology for this ethereal new armor, complete with a cape and hood made of magic. I’m grateful for the selection of sketches provided at the end of the book that show off how much Greene put into this gorgeous looking issue. 

I’m not sure we’ll see this Celestial Doom again, but I wouldn’t be upset if we didn’t. There’s a lot of promise to this iteration of Doom, but he works just enough on his own in this one-and-done adventure. This is a phenomenal dive into the live and psyche of Victor Von Doom, with the perfect team of creatures to shepherd us through it.

Verdict: C’mon let’s be serious here, it’s a BUY

Rapid Rundown!

  • Amazing Spider-Man: Blood Hunt #1
    • Hey everyone, it’s Morbin’ time! One would think that with the star of numerous 2022 memes on the cover, they would be the star of this Blood Hunt tie-in issue. But just like Tom Holland will probably never meet Jared Leto, Spider-Man and Morbius don’t get to team up this issue. The majority of the issue mostly consists of Spider-Man, Misty Knight, and the Lizard pondering their Morbs as they fight vampires and not finding the good doctor. Then the end of the issue readers finally see Dr. Michael Morbius and Colleen Wing uh also fighting vampires. It’s a strange choice to dividing the A and B plots in a way where the B plot seems like a back up in an issue that is already a side quest for Blood Hunt. Since the first three quarters of the issue is Spidey, chasing the Lizard on a scavenger hunt, the art team of Marcelo Ferreira and Roberto Poggi keep the storytelling in motion. Spidey is either on the move or fighting vampires. There’s a relentlessness to their pacing that fits the Ireland’s story. However, the last ten pages are drawn by Chris Campana and Craig Yeung. Campana seems to be the one having more fun getting to draw Morbius. He draws Morbius with a real physical presence aided by Yeung’s thick lined inking. If there’s a Morbius book spinning out of Blood Hunt, these two would be a good choice. Coloring all of this is Rachelle Rosenberg who makes an interesting storytelling choice with their colors. Because this takes place in New York City, she’s colored everything so it’s lit by street lighting instead of pitch black. It’s the cleverest artistic choice in an issue that clearly is just a very small side quest in a bigger story. — DM
  • Star Wars: Mace Windu #4
    • Writer Marc Bernardin, penciler Georges Jeanty, and inker Dexter Vines give us an early tale of the great Jedi Master Mace Windu. Before the rise of Palpatine, the Clone Wars, and his place on the Jedi Council, Jedi Mace Windu was tasked with bringing in Azita Cruuz, a smuggler with a secret new fuel source that like the Force can be a tool or a weapon. Between Bernardin’s pacing of the story and Jeanty’s storytelling, this mini-series feels like a high-speed Star Wars movie packed with action and brief glimpses into the Force. There’s not a lot of canonical information on Mace’s history and like any good backdoor pilot, it scratches that itch for more Mace and sets up the opportunity to uncover more information on him, as well as provide him with a worthy rival that isn’t another Sith Lord. — GC3
  • Venom: Separation Anxiety #1
    • There was a time at Marvel when Gail Simone and Alvin Lee brought a manga aesthetic to the late 90s Marvel narrative style in the pages of Deadpool and Agent X. This was 2002. While Venom: Separation Anxiety is another in this current slate of non-au 90s throwbacks aimed at nostalgic fans, the book feels like it was made in those early 2000s when Marvel comics hadn’t found its footing again as tastes changed and sales struggled; for better and worse. Venom co-creator David Michelinie brings us right back to a time earlier in Eddie Brock’s continuity so vividly, it feels like I missed the reading requirements before opening this up. While Venom fans might’ve read some in the last decade, some might’ve missed the decades prior to those, so this step back could feel like a regression– it’s not like there is an alternate universe stamp on the cover. More than that, there’s a similarly 2000s era disconnect between the dialogue imposing additional story that is not communicated by the art, so narrative beats feel like stuff happening rather than engaging conflict/resolution loops building to a thematic premise. Unsurprisingly, Gerardo Sandoval’s overly muscular portrayal of Venom’s world works incredibly well– for fans of Joe Madureira and Ed McGuinness, check him out! However, Sandoval’s casts our hero Eddie as someone who literally talks down to a respected female peer that blushes every time a male colleague publicly berates her; I shit you not. Color artist Romulo Fajardo Jr. brings the blue and orange films of the early 2000s to this Venom prequel with virulently strong edge lighting that implies reflectivity on every surface at the cost of any texture. VC’s Travis Lanham stands out in a bit where muffled ramblings are presented as lorem ipsum copypasta covered in white paint, though the rest is a stock standard superhero approach that carries a solid understanding of local color choices affecting a panel’s overall mood. Look, I loved 90s Marvel. But I think we can let the past stay in the past and move on. — BQ

Next Week: Fall of the House of X #5 and Amazing Spider-Man #50!

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