Comic Reviews: Doctor Doom and The Batman’s Grave
Doctor Doom #1 (Marvel Comics)
Villain led comics are typically pretty hard to pull off, but that doesn’t mean that Marvel isn’t going to try with Doctor Doom. From Halt and Catch Fire creator Christopher Cantwell and artist Salvador Larocca, the new series focusing on Victor Von Doom is both intriguing and a little confusing, mainly due to the characterization of Doom himself.
Recently reinstated as the ruler of Latveria, Doctor Doom is currently in conflict with other world leaders over the creation of the world’s first artificial black hole. Add in the fact that Doom is having visions of an alternate life that he’s never been a part of, one where he has a wife and family, it leads to a strange feeling of unease that Victor Von Doom is not used to. But all that pales in comparison to the terrorist attack that it is believed to be the cause of Doom. With the world after him now, Doom has to navigate the geopolitical world AND discover who is framing him, all before he loses control over the country he loves.
That’s the plot in a nutshell, and it’s pretty interesting, so what makes Doctor Doom so weird? Honestly, it’s Christopher Cantwell’s dialogue. While he easily handles the politics and leadership aspects of Doom, he also has Doom quip a lot, a move that’s not only strange, but also really out of character. It’s not even something that I feel like could be explained away with a malfunctioning Doombot. Having Doom make Brexit jokes and other lines makes him sound more like Spider-Man than one of the most menacing figures in the Marvel universe, and it honestly takes you out of the story.
Salvador Larocca is no stranger to villain-focused books, and after a lengthy run on Darth Vader with Keiron Gillen, it’s no surprise that he’s well suited here. Cantwell’s script may seem out of character, but Larrocca gives Doom the regalness and respect he deserves in these pages, and continues the stellar work he’s known for.
Fans of Doom are going to be in for an interesting time when they pick up Doctor Doom, and I’m really curious how they’ll react to this. I was very much looking forward to this series, and while I’m still going to pick up the next issue, I can’t say that it’s one I’m going to keep following right now.
The Batman’s Grave #1 (DC Comics)
Naturally DC’s got another Batman title ready to go, but The Batman’s Grave mixes up the formula in a lot of ways. For starters, the creative team of Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch make this series stand out from the other Batman titles in interesting ways, and the story is a slightly darker, detective driven tale. Focusing more on the mystery solving side of the character than the superhero side, Batman’s Grave is a good twist on the Dark Knight that may not be completely necessary, but it is pretty intriguing.
While on patrol, Batman comes across a police scanner feed and begins to investigate a mysterious murder in an apartment. The victim is found lying dead on his fold out couch, his entire place cleaned and devoid of fingerprints or other DNA. On the walls however, are five years worth of newspaper clippings detailing the career of the Batman. As he begins to investigate this man’s mysterious demise, Batman has to wonder what role, if any, he played in this man’s death, and if it will happen again.
As I mentioned before, Batman’s Grave is way more in the vein of a Batman mystery than a Batman superhero story, and it’s a pretty refreshing change of pace from the Batman stories we’ve been getting for the past few years. At the same time, there are a few moments where Warren Ellis’ script comes off a little strange, namely in his inner monologue for Bruce Wayne/Batman. Having Bruce refer to himself as “The Batman” when he’s not in costume is a little odd, as are his interactions with Alfred, who is far more argumentative with Bruce than he’s ever been.
Bryan Hitch’s rested on his laurels as an artist in recent years, but with Batman’s Grave he’s back to his usual self. The cinematic style is back in full force, and very few of his panels look stiff and awkward like his previous work on JLA. After so many years of being somewhat unimpressed by his style on recent books, Batman’s Grave is a great return to form for one of the artists who changed the look of comics in the early and mid 00’s.
Batman fans looking for a really cool mystery will find a lot to like with Batman’s Grave, and it’s nice to see a creative team decide to really dig into the Dark Knight’s detective skills. While it remains to be seen how the rest of this miniseries will shape up, I’ll be checking in on the next few issues to see if it lives up to the potential set in this first issue.
Posted on October 9, 2019, in Comic reviews and tagged Batman, Batman's Grave, Bryan Hitch, Christopher Cantwell, DC Comics, Doctor Doom, Marvel Comics, Salvador Larroca, Warren Ellis. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.