In “Infamous Iron Man” #10, we get multiple glimpses of multiple pasts that inform our understanding of what this run is trying to do. It is hard to humanize a character who is as grandiose as Doctor Doom, but this issue does a good job of showing who Victor was and is. It may not quite be the true Von Doom legacy many readers might have expected to see, but this issue is important in establishing the scope of the run before moving on to the larger plans at hand. Doctor Doom has always believed that he was the hero in the story and this issue displays that from page one.
The issue starts when Victor was still a child grappling with who his mother is and what she wants him to do. We see his fear and her subsequent condemnation. This is not the picture of a happy childhood filled with love and trust. When we flash back to the present, we can still see this at play even going as far as to, later, suit up despite her assurances that he is safe. Back where Victor was taken, Commander Sharon Carter sends Ben Grimm to take care of him. Ben is very much on the Victor is a villain side of things; however, in Latveria, he runs into a child who simply wishes for Victor to come back and tells him how much Victor loved the people he ruled over. We see Ben’s doubt deepen as he comes across a framed college picture of Richard Reed, Victor Von Doom, and himself while investigating Victor’s abandoned home. Finally, we also have a clear articulation of Victor’s plans. It isn’t exactly the most revolutionary, but it fits who Doom is, both past and present. The pacing has been slow going up to this point, but it feels like all the pieces are finally at play and the next issue seems quite promising.
Much like the storyline, the art and the writing are in a careful balance. Brian Michael Bendis proves once again that he has a real knack for casual/humorous banter and inserts a sense of play into the very serious feeling issue. That serious feeling is supported by the omnipresent black throughout the panels on Earth. Even “The Tear” isn’t completely free from this impending bleakness. That said Alex Maleev’s art is perfectly combined with Matt Hollingsworth’s coloring in this location. The yellow, orange, and purple effects overlaying the pink and blue watercolors used when Victor learns more magic from his mother make some simply breathtaking panels. This issue is worth checking out for those scenes alone.
Ultimately, this issue functions as a brief interlude from the action and gives the creators a chance to do a little more character building. This run already feels like the closest thing we have to a Fantastic Four series and that is only further cemented in the more intimate moments of this issue. As a whole, it shows that “Infamous Iron Man” has the potential to become a notable and important part of the mythos. Four Stars!
- Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Alex Maleev
Cover by Alex Maleev