Trade Waiting is a new series where Super (that's me) buys a new release trade paperback on Amazon and then decides to publish his reviews here instead of over there (on Amazon). In this case, he's reading and talking about the first volume in Brian Michael Bendis's Doctor Doom Infamous Iron Man series, Infamous (yeah... the trade so nice they named it twice). The trade collects Infamous Iron Man #'s 1-6, originally published between October 2016 and March 2017. The trade paperback was released on June 13, 2017. There are going to be spoilers ahead so, y'know, SPOILER WARNING.
And now, Super will stop talking in the third person and just review this damn thing...
Creative Team Info:
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Alex Maleev
Color Artist: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterer: Clayton Cowles (Virtual Calligraphy)
Assistant Editor: Alanna Smith
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Why is everyone so worried about Brian Michael Bendis working on a book focusing on Victor Von Doom?
U Mad, Bro?
Yeah... that. To be honest, this barely even registered for me when it came out. I just figured it was a super villain saying something ridiculous while in the midst of a fit of rage. And to be even more honest? I'm still not sure how out of character it was for Doctor Doom to say such things. I mean, we're talking about THE classic Silver Age villain. I've read a lot of Doctor Doom books (mostly Fantastic Four) and while I will admit that I might not have a full grasp of his character, most of the time he comes across as an over-the-top mega villain.
Regardless, you aren't getting this misogynistic version of Victor Von Doom. Instead, you're getting a version of the character who has come out the other end of 2015's Secret Wars a changed man. Or... DO you?
All this needs are some rivets and less colors.
After Civil War II, the Marvel Universe finds itself without an Iron Man and while the new Invincible Iron Man title actually features a new hero named Iron Heart, Infamous Iron Man is Victor Von Doom dressing up and calling himself "Iron Man." For barely justifiable reasons.
But, really, Doom's Iron Man look is a good mixture between the most recent Iron Man armor and Doom's classic armored appearance. It's got those visible rivets and sometimes he sports a green cloak. And then a panel later it's gone. AND THEN IT'S BACK AGAIN.
I'm almost certain the cloak is a hologram running on an unstable power source.
Anyway, his armor looks so much like his Doctor Doom suit that you'll wonder why so many people can't tell who he is.
Just because we're going to fight doesn't mean I can't appreciate your work.
Nitpicking aside, this book is a continuation of Victor's story from the previous Iron Man books. He was one of the better things happening in those books because he continuously outshined the starring character. It actually works better without Tony Stark getting in the way. Sure, he has the flimsiest of excuses for pretending to be Iron Man but if you ignore the parts where everyone mistakes him for Iron Man, you get a fairly good Doctor Doom book. Doom's reasons for trying the path of righteousness out are believable and they fit his worldview rather well. It's not because of his sense of altruism. He's simply trying to find a satisfying path after failing at godhood.
But, because he's Doctor Doom, no one trusts him. And why should they? SHIELD is after him even as he takes down his former allies. For a good portion of the book, the Thing is hot on his trail. Ben Grimm is one of the few reminders that the Fantastic Four was the actual foundation of the Marvel Universe and seeing him in this book is great even though his voice seems a bit off. There are a few surprises, too. Doom's mom shows up in some pages that closely reflect how Doom suddenly showed up in Tony Stark's life in Invincible Iron Man v1. If that isn't surprising enough, Ultimate Reed Richards is also roaming around in the background even though his ultimate (heh) goals are not revealed.
So, the book has a lot of plates spinning in the air and that is something that Bendis succeeds at most of the time. He's very good at setting up an interesting scenario or eight. He's less successful when it comes to resolutions. We'll leave that up to future volumes, though.
The one thing that DOESN'T work in this volume is Doom's interactions with Dr. Amara Perrera. Victor met her in previous Iron Man books when Tony Stark was dating her. Why he continues to bother her is boggling. In fact, this exact question comes up in the book at his answer is less satisfying than his reasons for dressing up as Iron Man. It's a relationship that doesn't work on any level and maybe it's just there to show how messed up Victor actually is. Or maybe that's giving it too much credit.
I was never a "doctor," anyway.
The artist on this book, Alex Maleev, is known for being able to adapt his style to a specific book. Sometimes, that works out really well. Other times, you get a balding version of Namor. In THIS case, it mostly works. There is some brilliant art within this book. But... there are some panels here and there that less than impressive, featuring sloppy line work that doesn't fit in well with the rest of the book. It's that inconsistency that prevents me from really loving the art.
Matt Hollingsworth completes the package, delivering the beautiful colors. Everything has a muted quality to it that helps establish the mood for the book. Maybe Doctor Doom has turned over a new leaf but the colors throw us back into his darker world even in the most brightly lit scenes. It's a great look and I really dig the textures pulled into it.
Never attack your mom with a light show.
Everything else is pretty standard. The letters are functional and the editing doesn't reveal any egregious errors that I can recall.
What you're getting with this book is Doctor Doom trying out the good guy path. He wears a suit of armor and mixes his technical skills with his mastery of the mystic arts. It's got the Fantastic Four's Thing in it and a little bit of Ultimate Reed Richards. And, for no good reason, he's decided to be the new Iron Man.
A friendly rivalry.
Despite that, it's a good beginning. I'd like to see where it goes.