Doom 2099 #1
May 20, 2013
In the future, blue is the new green.
(A bookshelf is now behind Linkara's Futon)
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. "2099 Month" continues with a comic focused on a villain in the future: Doctor Doom!
(A montage of villain-centric comics is shown)
Linkara (v/o): I've always been iffy on the concept of having the main character of your story be a villain, especially if they aren't seeking redemption for being a villain; they're just flat-out evil or something. Stop posting a comment with an example where it works; I know it does. Hell, here's a comic recommendation for you right there: "Secret Six" by Gail Simone; some of the best damn writing in the last ten years, and you can't imagine how unhappy I was when it got cancelled. However, as a general rule, I'm not really in favor of horrible people having good things happen to them in the end.
Linkara: Then again, there's always the problem where people who are supposed to be heroic end up being bigger villains than the people they're fighting, and, well, I could write a book on every time I see that happening.
Linkara (v/o): Of course, comics following supervillains are nothing new, either. Deadpool is always a character where you're not really sure if he's a villain or a hero, mostly because he kills people for money. But at the same time, he's hilarious and insane, and usually, the people he kills are assholes. Other characters, though? Yeah, it's hard to see it working. The Joker had his own comic in the '70s that lasted only nine issues. Yeah, he was still murderous and stuff, and the book often ended with him being sent back to prison. But there are some villains who are just so damn charismatic and awesome that having them be the star is okay.
(Cut to shots of comics featuring Doctor Doom, the topic of today's review)
Linkara (v/o): Which brings us to Doctor Doom. Dude wants to take over the world because he's smart and he thinks he's better than everybody else simply on the fact that he is Doom. He's not racist, sexist or prejudiced in any regard. He's Doom! He's better than you because he's Doom. Doom is.
Linkara: Basically, Doctor Doom is Avon from Blake's 7 if he was a supervillian.
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Blake's 7)
Avon: I'm glad to see you haven't been wasting your time on frivolities.
Linkara: But, that brings us to today's comic. Doctor Doom is all about, well, himself. So, how exactly do you handle the character in the future, especially since the last two characters we saw were merely inspired by those past versions? Hmm. Well, let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "Doom 2099 #1" and find out.
(AT4W title sequence plays, and the title card has "At Doom's Gate" by Bobby Prince playing in the background. Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): Are we beginning to notice a pattern here with these covers? The main character in the middle surrounded by foil edges? Gotta say I do love the logo: the metallic Doctor Doom face and the eye holes forming the middle of the Os. Nice! I also love how Doom is making the Rocky pose here. You can bet that if it was Doom in place of Rocky in the films, he would have won the first time. Probably would have taken out Ivan Drago and Clubber Lang, no problem, too.
Linkara: (holds up index finger excitedly) Ooh! Just had a wonderful thought: Doctor Doom versus Mr. T! (nods) I would pay so much money for that!
Linkara (v/o): Also, completely unnecessary spikes along his upper torso. It just seems like a safety hazard if he leans his head down too far.
(The comic opens to the first page)
Linkara (v/o): We open in Latveria, the nation that Doctor Doom is usually the king of. More specifically, we're in a marketplace where people are haggling.
Narrator: Once this marketplace was different-- a gathering of community and prosperity in a fairy tale kingdom.
(Cut to a clip of an episode of The Simpsons)
Produce vendor: Apples! I got apples!
Old woman: (looking pale and clutching at her throat) Cholera! I got cholera!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): And as for a "fairy tale kingdom"... Yyyyeah, that's debatable. The depiction of Latveria tends to vary from writer to writer. Some show Doom as very caring and concerned about his citizenry, and others show him as a ruthless tyrant. I only ask for consistency. That being said, I'm just having a hard time even in a positive depiction of Doom's running of the nation being described as "fairy tale kingdom". That just conjures up images of Doctor Doom being kidnapped by an evil witch and needing to be rescued by a handsome prince.
Linkara: And to Doctor Doom's dismay, that handsome prince turned out to be... Reed Richards.
Narrator: Now citizens overextend their credit for spoiled synth-foods, designer drugs, and pirated Russo-V.R.
Linkara (v/o): Ah, even in 2099, piracy is a continuing issue.
(Cut to 90s Kid, who, as in all previous "2099" comics, wears a Cyclops-type eyepiece instead of his usual shades and a swirly-colored baseball cap)
90s Kid: Duuuude! You'd better believe that piracy still an issue in 2099! Don't copy that floppy!
Linkara: Wait, you guys use floppy disks in 2099?
90s Kid: There was a big retro movement in the 2080s. We still use USB, actually, but now there's a giant floppy disk sticking out of the port.
Linkara (v/o): Two men in stupid-looking sunglasses – and wearing them at night; cue Corey Hart joke – are arguing over the price of some information.
Man: No one but me could freestyle in Tiger Wylde's security net for these access codes--
Linkara: (making a "finger quote") "Freestyle"? Are we talking "rap freestyle" or "breakdancing freestyle"? Because either option sounds like a story in itself.
Linkara (v/o): Our breakdancin' fiend is protected by his bodyguard, who pulls a knife on the dude. However, they're interrupted by the arrival of a floating robot who orders them to surrender for dealing in classified information.
Linkara: Even in Latveria, the secret formula to Coca-Cola must be preserved!
Linkara (v/o): Breakdancin' Guy and the bodyguard flee on their flying motorcycle and head out into the countryside. The motorcycle's power starts to die out as the robot chases them. They arrive at the ruins of a castle where the classic Doctor Doom suddenly appears before them in a bright flash of light.
Doom: So much... pain... but finally... have returned...
Linkara: (as Doctor Doom, clutching at his anatomy in pain) Oh, God, clear out the bathroom!
Linkara (v/o): Breakdancer and Bodyguard can't get away since their ride is stalling. Doom takes a look around.
Doom: My castle... destroyed? What has happened here? How long have I been away?
Linkara: (as Doom) I just went out for coffee! What the hell?!
Linkara (v/o): So the flying ED-209 tells Doom not to interfere in official business and to identify himself.
Doom: You dare threaten me? Don't you know who I am?
Linkara: (as Doom) I'M THE GODDAMN BATMAN! (beat) Oh, wait...
Linkara (v/o): No, he proclaims himself to be Doom and shoots the thing out of the sky. Also, there's this visage of Doom's face and hand in the night sky. Only in Latveria can you see the constellation of Victor Von Doom. Anyway, Doom asks the two about what has happened to his castle and what year it is. They say it's 2099 and that the castle, for them at least, has always been in ruins and they've never heard of him, informing Doom that a guy named Tiger Wylde runs the country. And yes, that's "Wylde" with a Y and an E.
BECAUSE POOR LITERACY IS... KEWL
(Cut again to 90s Kid)
90s Kid: Duuuude! That's not poor literacy. In the future, the usage of language, particularly thanks to the Internet, have made the letters I and Y completely interchangeable, while E is a marker of pronunciation at the end of a word.
Linkara: That was... surprisingly well-spoken.
90s Kid: In 2099, spelling bees have become a national sport.
Linkara: Huh. Hey, wait, if Y and I are interchangeable now, does that mean that the 90s Kid logo in the upper-left corner has been spelled wrong the last few weeks?
90s Kid: (looks up at the logo) What 90s Kid logo?
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, we cut to Gojradia... "GAHJH-radia"? I don't know. ...the capital of Latveria.
Narrator: ...once the promise of modernity to a backward nation...
Linkara: (narrator voice) Now the home to Starbucks and several Walmarts.
Linkara (v/o): The aforementioned Tiger Wylde is talking to our old pal, Tyler Stone... Dude sure gets around in the 2099 universe, doesn't he? ...about how the assassin they paid for didn't succeed. Also, looking at the panel separation line, this is the worst 3D Tumblr GIF I've ever seen. Tiger Wylde reveals that he used to be on Alchemax's elite board of directors or something, and I guess the assassin was meant for him. We get our first look at Tiger Wylde and... he doesn't look too bad, but the problem is that with his name being "Tiger", I can't be sure if those black lines on his face are supposed to be stripes or if it's just unnecessary inking lines. It's not an unfair concern, considering '90s comic trends. After warning Stone not to interfere anymore, Tiger Wylde consults with his top agents: one dumbass with a bad Mohawk and huge shoulder pads, and a woman wearing a Michael Jackson "Thriller" jacket. Said woman is also a gypsy fortune teller.
Man: Why do you place faith in her superstition, Wylde?
Gypsy: Always the man of science, eh, Zone? Too hard to accept what we gypsies know...
Linkara: Always the speaker of character exposition, eh, fortune teller lady?
Gypsy: The judgment a change in position. A shift in power. We're nearing a crisis point.
Linkara (v/o): And then Doctor Doom immediately storms in.
(Cut to a clip of DragonBallZ Z: Abridged)
Badrock: Useless-ass psychic powers!
(Back to the comic again)
Doom: Do not make me waste any more energy on dog soldiers.
Linkara: (as Doom) Doom did not like that movie!
(Cut to a bookshelf as Linkara walks by, wearing a blue jacket and singing "Get Your Game On" from Yu-Gi-Oh!)
Linkara: (singing) Game on, get your game on... (sees he's on camera) Oh... (tips his hat) We'll be right back, people.
(Linkara walks off, humming the song as the AT4W logo appears in the corner. Then cut to black as we got to a commercial. Upon return, the bookshelf is shown again as Linkara walks by again)
Linkara: (singing) Tough times, hard climbs... (sees he's on camera) Oh... (tips his hat) We're back. (walks off, singing) We'll take 'em on together...
(The AT4W logo appears in the corner. Cut back to the comic as the review resumes)
Linkara (v/o): Stupid Mohawk Guy says it's another Doom robot and offers to deal with it, but Tiger Wylde says he's bored and wants to deal with this himself. The tarot lady decides to keep on predicting.
Gypsy: The hanged man. Danger.
Linkara: Lady, you wanna start flipping those cards a little bit faster? You're like three minutes behind here!
Linkara (v/o): Doom's memory is fragmented, and he can't quite recall how he got to 2099, only a lot of pain. Not wanting to show weakness, he doesn't answer Tiger Wylde's questions about where he's been if he really is Doom and instead offers him the chance to leave peacefully.
Tiger Wylde: Such bravado, but you don't understand, old man--your Latveria no longer exists. The government you left behind collapsed, and was on the verge of being annexed by corporate powers.
Linkara: (as Tiger) Hershey's was about to rename Latveria (makes a "finger quote") "Chocolate Land".
Tiger: But I fortified Latveria as an independent--as a base for my own enterprise.
Linkara: (as Tiger) Only my chocolate bars will be sold now, Doom.
Linkara (v/o): Doom attacks him, but Tiger Wylde is stronger than he expected, easily knocking Doom aside. What's worse, Doom realizes that the suit didn't absorb the shock of the impact, meaning his armor's power reserves are down.
Linkara: (as Doom) In retrospect, I really should have checked that before storming in here.
Linakra (v/o): Tiger Wylde aims his "trinity blaster". Ah, a gun that shoots out a Father, Son and Holy Ghost in one convenient package. But Doom fires first, blowing up the dude's hand. Tiger Wylde figures Doom must be a corporate and fries the circuitry in his armor before leaving him in a heap on the ground. With the armor disabled, Tiger Wylde rips off Doom's mask to reveal a young man inside with no facial scars, confirming, for him at least, that he's not the real deal. He burns Doom's face as a final response to what he's done and orders his body taken away. But Tarot Lady says she'll take care of it. Her thought balloons reveal that she's doing it because the card said he's worth more alive than dead.
Linkara: Damn right. Put him up on Craigslist 2099, and he'll be sure to make a killing! Waste not, want not.
Linkara (v/o): A few days later, Doom awakens in a tent, being cared for by Tarot Lady, whose name is Fortune. She's brought him to a gypsy caravan and explains that their mystic healer, Vox, healed most of his injuries. She works for Tiger Wylde because it protects her people. She explains that while it's possible he's just some nutjob, the tarot cards predict that his coming could cause a shift in the balance of power and get rid of Tiger Wylde, who's likely going to bring Latveria to ruin. What's more, when she names the tribe she's a part of, Doom says he belongs to the same tribe, and since she's been the leader of said tribe, she offers him their support and assistance. They give Doom a spiffy new blue cloak, and he says he can't be worried about his memory loss at the moment, since he needs to get up to speed on everything he's missed in the last hundred years. What's more, it turns out that breakdancin' dude is also a member of the tribe. "Plot Convenience Playhouse" presents... His name is Wire – of course it is – and he's a "cyber-savant", meaning he can access any database in the world.
Fortune: Most people can't process the volume of information Wire inputs-- but he skates through cyberspace effortlessly...
Linkara: (as Fortune) Few people can watch porn, read a Cracked.com list, and post on Twitter all at once!
Linkara (v/o): They've scavenged what they could from his old armor, but he's going to need something a little more up-to-date if he wants to take on the "cyberpunk world of tomorrow". As such, they head to the southern border of Latveria, and Fortune hands Doom a badge with the letter D on it. Hmm, I wonder what that D stands for. "Destiny Hero", maybe? "Daffy Duck"? We may never know. He aims the badge at a rock formation and it shoots a beam out towards the rocks.
Doom: When your great-great grandfather was alive, Fortune-- I gave him this as a means to leave the country should I fall from power-- One must plan for every eventuality.
Linkara: Hey, maybe Doctor Doom is Batman after all.
Linkara (v/o): Inside the rocks is a small hangar with a jet, which they take to South America; specifically, an island off the coast of Peru.
Narrator: ...owned by the multi-media conglomerate PIXEL-- the Paloma Information Exchange, Limited.
Linkara: Well, going by the letters you capitalized, that's P.I.X.L., not really "pixel". And even then, it should be the first letter of each word, which would spell out "PIEL" or, at a stretch, "PIEXL". (points to camera) You fail at acronyms!
Linkara (v/o): Doom orders Wire to open the gate for them, but his abruptness causes his girlfriend to get pissy at Doom.
Wire: Chill, Xandra, enjoy the glide-- this aces shortconning foodpacks in the Antikva marketplace any day.
(Linkara looks up and stares into the camera in confusion, blinking his eyes. He then looks offscreen, once more toward 90s Kid)
90s Kid: (giving a thumbs-up) Sewing machine!
(Linkara again stares into the camera, then cut to a clip of an episode of Doctor Who)
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: Thank you. That makes everything quite clear.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): So, um, anyway, Wire uses his joy buzzer to hack the door, and they make their way through, confused about how easy it is to get in, even with Wire's super future hacking crap. A guy monitoring them on security cameras says that they have visitors and that their presence may prove valuable... before we cut back to reveal a guy who may or may not look just like him lying dead on the ground. I can't be sure, since this is the '90s, and the mullet both guys are sporting might just be standard issue in 2099. Once fully inside the lab, they find two scientists with fishbowls on their heads. Doom says he's looking for a specific woman who steps forward and wonders which corporation is abducting her.
Doom: This is no corporate abduction.
Linkara: (as Doom) This is your standard run-of-the-mill abduction.
Doom: A brilliant neurosurgeon like yourself deserves more-- than the indentured servitude to the PIXEL Corporation. I offer your freedom' in exchange for your services.
Linkara: (as Doom) I'm holding a party later and I need a caterer.
Linkara (v/o): Doom undergoes procedure to artificially enhance his body. Wire asks Fortune if she thinks he's the real Doctor Doom.
Fortune: If he isn't the real Doom now-- if he survives this operation-- ...he will be.
Linkara (v/o): Doom also states that he doesn't want his scars taken away, that they're a reminder of his pain. The procedure uses cybernetic technology to enhance his neural and motor responses, restructuring his brain and making him generally faster. But it doesn't make him radioactive. That must be good. We get this brief little dream page, where Doom questions his own identity, where he both remembers and doesn't remember the memories of Victor Von Doom, but ultimately comes to a very simple conclusion, which we'll get to in a moment. After the procedure is over, Doom puts on his new armor, which is lighter and stronger, along with more direct cybernetic connections to it and the nanites in his body. The scientist lady wants to run tests, but he says there's no time for them.
Doom: I have been reborn, and every moment counts. Doctor Doom is dead... LONG LIVE DOOM!
Linkara (v/o): And so, our comic ends with a quote from "Henry V"...
Text: O! For a Muse of fire, that would ascend / The brightest heaven of invention; / A kingdom for a stage, princes to act / And monarchs to behold the swelling scene.
Linkara: (holding up comic) This comic is actually really damn good.
Linkara (v/o): As I said in the beginning, it can be difficult to sympathize with a villainous character, but Doctor Doom is charismatic and compelling enough that you do want to see him succeed and reclaim his country. The opening narration helps set up that things are crappy for the country right now, and Doom obviously has an uphill battle. It sets up the new status quo for Doom, his supporting cast, and what will be the driving force of the series: his efforts to take back Latveria from Tiger Wylde. The memory loss helped set up the big question of the book, too: is this really Doctor Doom? I won't spoil the answer for you, but needless to say, Doctor Doom's ambitions in the 2099 universe extended far beyond just Latveria. The pacing is great. It does a lot of stuff while never feeling like it's moving too fast. If there's anything I have to critique, it's the art, mostly in the color choices being more dull and uninteresting, but it's otherwise pretty enjoyable.
Linkara (v/o): Next week, "2099 Month" concludes with a book people have been requesting I review since the very start of Atop the Fourth Wall... and you can bet that it's gonna suck. (looks behind him to see bookshelf behind futon) Oh, yeah, I have shelves behind me now.
(The camera pulls back to reveal the regular wall behind this new bookshelf)
(End credits roll)
I'm thinking of getting a fourth bookcase to fill in the remaining gaps of wall behind me, though I'm open to people telling me I shouldn't.
I'm going to sing the Doom song now. Doom doom doom doom doom doom doomy doom doom.
(Stinger: Doctor Doom's new look is shown again)
Linkara (v/o): (as Doom) Behold: my futuristic techno gauntlet spikes. Why? Because it's the future!