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Blog Archive: November 2020

The War Begins!
Ever since I began this blog I've been dreading this day, for LO! this is the day when I've had to sit down and read "Marvel Superheroes Secret Wars".

The dread came from my memories of reading it at the time, remembering it as absolute rubbish which was a trial to get through, although part of me wondered if maybe I was being unfair - after all, I was 13 years old when it first came out, and full of sneers for anything I judged to be mainstream. Maybe, just maybe, "Secret Wars" would turn out to be a lot better than I remembered?

SPOILERS: it is if anything even worse.

As I'm sure most people reading this will know, the" Secret Wars" series was set up as a tie-in with the Secret Wars range of toys, featuring action figures of various Marvel characters with vehicles and play sets. Even the name is a cynical attempt to maximise CA$H, as surveys had shown that the two words which most excited their target audience of young boys were "Secret" and "War". When Jim Shooter sat down to write the plot he decided to just write the thing that the fans asked for the most - all the characters gettig together and having a big fight - and to be fair to him, that is exactly what he did. There are loads of characters, and there are loads of fights!

It's all written by Shooter according to the rules he would go on to impose on other creators across Marvel, which he believed would lead to clear, easily understood stories that would excite their readers. One of these rules was that every character should be introduced, and this is done in the most blatant fashion within the first few pages, first by the goodies: ... and then the baddies: Each group of characters is in a seperate spaceship, heading for a place called "Battleworld", a planet made up from lots of bits of other planets. Doom watches Battleworld take form, while behind him characters continue to introduce themselves. A fight breaks out (for no apparent reason) on the baddies' ship, and Doom tries to take command to stop it, but before he can take control everyone on both shops is silenced by Something Happening out in space. There's a bright light and then a mysterious voice says "I am from beyond! Slay your enemies and all you desire shall be yours!" WHat has happened, basically, is that some Cosmic Being has got together two teams of toys... sorry, heroes and villains, and is about to bash them together in a Big Fight. It's such a blatant reflection of what the series has been designed to promote that it's cheekiness would be almost charming, if it wans't all written so ponderously. This series had been promoted as promising Big Changes for the Marvel Universe, after which of course Nothing Will Ever Be The Same Again, so it's all Very Serious with not much room for fun.

Galactus flies off to give The Beyonder (as he decides to call him) a piece of his mind, and Doctor Doom follows, but The Beyonder is having none of it. Meanwhile the superheroes are deposited on Battleworld, and after several pages of very dreary bickering about who's in charge they eventually nominate Captain America, because he is The Most American out of any of them. We then catch up with Doctor Doom, who wakes up next to a comatose Galactus and then heads off to look at a nearby fortress. Doom is very much a leading character in this issue, as he will be throughout the series, and this is reflected in the advertising for the toys too. Inside the fortress he finds the supervillains gathered for more bickering. Jim Shooter sure does like to write people bickering! Again he tries to take control, and when they won't agree to him being the leader he behaves in a very Doom-like way by calling them all fools and zapping them with his gauntlet blasters. He pinches a ship and flies off in a huff to talk to Reed Richards, reasoning that they can only get out of this if their two great brains can work together. Kang The Conqueror doesn't like this so zaps him with a handy laser gun, causing his ship to crash. The heroes rush out to help, and Doom takes exception to their offer of charity and zaps them all. Just to recap the plot, what's happened there is that Doom has gone off to ask the superheroes for help, but then takes enormous offence when the superheroes... offer to help him? It's deeply stupid, but before we can try and unravel what's going on Doom flies off and the other supervillains turn up (having got there... somehow?) with a promise of a Big Fight for next time. As I say, it's a right load of old rubbish, but thankfully there's eleven issues of it left to get through. That'll have to wait a while though, as next time we jump sideways and, in many ways, ahead to see what's going on back in the rest of the Marvel Universe!

posted 26/11/2020 by MJ Hibbett
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What If Susan Richards Died In Childbirth?
In most issues of "What If?" the answer to the question posed one the cover is usually "everything goes horribly wrong and several superheroes get killed". This comics is no exception, although it's still remarkable quite how utterly bleak and depressing the whole story is.

It starts off quite gently with a recap of Fantastic Four Annual #6, with the male members of the FF heading into the Negative Zone while Sue is in hospital about to give birth. There's a nice bit where she talks to Crystal about how she first met Reed and Ben, and then The Watcher tells us how this story originally ended, with the guys getting back in time to give Sue some Negative Zone energy which allows everything to work out fine. Showing this happiness feels a bit cruel as The Watcher immediately snatches us away to another version of reality, where they didn't get back in time and Sue and the baby both died. It's horrible. This is the point where Doctor Doom appears, as part of a whistle-stop tour around the Marvel Universe where we see different characters reacting to the news. Doom, as is so often his wont, has gone out onto a parapet for a bit of an old muse. Doom is a regular feature in these sort of round-the-world trips, often being used as here to represent both supervillains and places that aren't America - a very similar example of this can, for instance, be seen in Thor #271, where Doom is shown alongside various other characters, pointing out that Something Important Is Happening. The issue then gives us a lengthy look at Sue's funeral, the sombre nature of which is somewhat spoiled for me by how much it reminded me of Fantastic Four Roast! The rest of the issue follows Reed Richards as he falls into depression and heads back into the Negative Zone to take revenge on Annihilus for stopping him from getting back to our dimension in time to save his wife. Ben and Johnny, along with Namor who is staying in The Baxter Building for some reason, follow him, and there are various skirmishes which all end with Reed and Annihilus plummeting to their deaths in a Negative Zone sun. What a thoroughly gloomy and depressing read that was - it almost makes me eager for the light-hearted simplicity of "Secret Wars" which we'll be looking at next time. Almost!

posted 24/11/2020 by MJ Hibbett
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Another Doom flashback today in an issue which sees John Byrne (via the artwork of Ron Wilson and Hilary Barta) experimenting with form in a vaguely similar manner to his (in)famous issue of Alpha Flight where five pages took place in a snow storm, meaning that there were no pictures at all. This one's a little less cheeky, in that there are definitely characters, but as most of the issue takes place within the dark recesses of Ben Grimm's mind there are no backgrounds, only blackness. Wilson and Barta do fill out the panels with characters though, and the time saved on drawing backgrounds for most of the issue is clearly lavished on a double page spread towards the end which shows the true results of the battle which has filled most of the issue. The story sees Ben Grimm trapped inside his own mind by The Puppet Master, who has developed new powers since we last saw him being crushed by Doom back in Fantastic Four #246. We get a recap of that issue, as well as aspects of Fantastic Four #236 and Micronauts #41, with Wilson redrawing/quoting some of the panels to fill in the story. Doom has nothing more to do in this issue, but it's interesting how rooted in continuity and citation this story - and so many of the stories around this time - are. It's as if the creators (not just Byrne, but he he's definitely one of the main participants) are seeking to validate their own stories by including references to the past, proving that what they're creating is "real" and "counts" as part of the ongoing story. I'm not proud of it, but I must admit that I really like this, and miss it from more modern Marvel comics. Modern stories do still quote continuity, but they don't often include the editorial footnotes, which I think is a shame. When I was first reading comics I always found these very useful, as they told you whether or not something mentioned had already happened in another story, or was something new happening here for the first time. Actually, I still miss them and I wish they'd come back!

The actual plot of the issue sees The Puppet Master taunting Ben Grimm, who is stuck in his human form because his mind is the only place he can escape being The Thing. Eventually he is forced to transform and thus fully accept who he is, and, this being comics means, the psychological breakthrough manifests itself through lots of punching. The Thing eventually escapes, and realises that he has been enacting the battle in the real world (as shown in the double page splash at the top). He goes to find the Puppet Master who is now living clay, taking on the form of whoever he controls. However, now that he has convinced The Thing to accept his own physical body he can now not change form himself and, under the strain... er... falls to pieces. I'm not sure this is quite the masterstroke twist ending it's meant to be, but after such an enjoyable issue of psychology and punching I think we can let the creative team off. We're getting terrifyingly close to 'Secret Wars', where daft plots and ridiculous twists are going to be on the menu for weeks, so let's enjoy this while we can!

posted 20/11/2020 by MJ Hibbett
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Unusu-Al Pin-Ups!
One of the most minor of minor Doom appearances today, as a small part of an intro page to a "hoovering up oddments" section of a title itself pretty much dedicated to hoovering up oddments!

"Marvel Fanfare" was supposedly a showcase of the best that Marvel had to offer, but my memory of it was as a ragtag collection of bits and bobs that hadn't been used elsewhere. Admittedly that was probably because the only copies I ever saw were those which my local comic shop had picked up cheap (often due to being slightly damaged) and sold at half price. For those of us on dinner money budgets this was very appealing, though I remember always being disappointed by the contents, which never seemed to match the High Quality Baxter Paper they were printed on. This was one of the issues that I bought back then, and the fact that it does feature an unused inventory story about Black Widow might well be what gave me the impression that's all it was.

This was reinforced by the contents of "Unusu-Al Pin-Ups" a section of supposed "pin-ups" (in actuality unused covers or single images) which clearly states that at least some of the images contained were repurposed from elsewhere. Doom's presence in this comic comes from here, with him above shown looking worried about editor Al Milgrom's predicament. It reminds me of all those other times when Doom has been used in "humorous" situations, with his usual status as Main Supervillain being very gently subverted by showing him expressing an emotion that one wouldn't normally expect to see - similar to the Hulk looking surprised elsewhere in the image. If nothing else it shows how consistent Doom's role has been in these sort of scenarios. All it really needs is a picture of Aunt May attacking someone to make it go full-on Not Brand Echh!

posted 17/11/2020 by MJ Hibbett
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The Daydreamers!
After all the excitement of the recent John Byrne trilogy, today we're looking at an extremely minor appearance by Doctor Doom in a rather minor issue of Amazing Spider-Man. It doesn't have an awful lot to say, but is quite a sweet little story in which The Watcher invites us to look into the daydreams of the regular cast. In many ways if feels like a fill-in issue, except for the fact that it's clearly situated within the current run and is written and drawn by the regular creators, so it's really just a nice one-off, done-in-one story which delves deeper into the regular characters.

It's all a lot of fun, although I'm not quite sure why The Watcher has to get involved - as far as I'm aware he doesn't usually have anything to do with daydreams, and the storyline would work perfectly without him. Anyway, it starts with The Black Cat recuperating in hospital from events of previous issues, only to be interrupted by Spider-man. I really like the way that Spidey is a little bit "off" throughout, a lot more self-confident than usual - this is Black Cat's daydream version of him, and it's done in a way that is obvious without ever being pointed out in the text itself. The daydream sees him taking her out for an evening of high living, at the end of which he removes his mask and turns out to be... Cary Grant! Next we get J Jonah Jameson dreaming about beating Spider-man once and for all, in a sequence that's notable for the delightful way in which his hair gets darker and more flowing as he gets happier. Following on from that we see Mary Jane merrily imagining beating Meryl Streep to a job playing herself, with John Travolta as Spider-man and Woody Allen as Peter Parker. Interesting casting! Doom appears in the last section, in which Spidey dream of saving Jonah from an attack by a whole bunch of super-villains, forcing Jameson to finally recognise him as a hero. This appearance by Doom reminds me of the way he was used so often a decade or so earlier as a member of groups of super-villains, always placed prominenty in a scene to show that this grouping together was a big deal. There'll be a lot more of this when we get to "Secret Wars"! Spidey being Spidey he can, of course, never be happy for too long, even in a daydream. The Avengers and Fantastic Four are arguing over him, each wanting him to join their team, until suddenly they all realise at once that he's just some skinny kid and drop the whole idea. This neatly dovetails into real life when Spider-man spots an actual skinny kid being bullied, and leaps in to help. As he leaves the boy again the story finishes with one last bit of daydreaming. It's a lovely ending to a sweet story that, as I say, doesn't have an awful lot to say about Doctor Doom, but even a Doctor Doom blog has to admit that, just occasionally, that's all right!

posted 12/11/2020 by MJ Hibbett
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When Titans Clash!
As I've mentioned many times before, this blog is part of the process of writing my PhD, which is looking at Doctor Doom as an early transmedia character. Part of this involves looking at his "character coherence" - the extent to which he remains the same over time and media - and I'm measuring this by looking at his "signifiers" i.e. the things that make him Doctor Doom. This includes aspects like appearance, the other characters that are around him, the names he's referred to by them, and the physical actions he undertakes (among others). I mention this here because this issue is like a roll call for Doom signifiers, as if John Byrne was intent on making this the Doomiest Doctor Doom of all time... right before killing him.

Yes, that's right - Doctor Doom is killed in this issue, definitely, totally and without question. I remember reading this at the time and thinking that that must be true anyway, although now, with the experience of having read every Doom appearance up to this point, it's pretty clear how he gets out of it, even if it does take a very deep dive into past continuity to work it out. Maybe that's why Byrne has been using so many references in earlier parts of this story, so he can justifiably lay the groundwork for Doom's escape.

That's all to come later on though, as this issue begins with three pages featuring The Submariner. Reading Doctor Doom stories means I've read a LOT of Namor stories, and I must say he's never been a character I've ever been interested in. Luckily for me he is soon replaced by a much more enjoyable Big Fight between Tyros and the Fantastic Three (as Reed Richards is Mysteriously Absent) as he fights them to a standstill, watched the whole time by Doctor Doom. Watching events via a screen is one of the MOST Doomiest things that Doctor Doom does, and on the same page we get to see a Close Up Of Doom's Eyes and then Doom Striding Through A Crowd, two more extremely common signifiers, swiftly followed by Power Blasts From Gauntlets. Doom is unhappy because Reed Richards hasn't turned up, and he can't have the final victory he wants if his greatest enemy isn't there. This is a lovely bit of characterisation by Byrne - Doom hates Reed Richards specifically, much more than the rest of the FF, and is prepared to cancel the whole plan if he can't have the full result he's after. Tyros is understandably unhappy about having his own revenge thwarted, and uses a blast of the power cosmic to fuse Doom's armour, leaving him to "remain a monument to your own stupidity". Before he can carry on with killing the three members of the FF, however, yet another guest star arrives in the shape of The Silver Surfer. As the text box in the corner says, we saw the Surfer right at the end of the last issue, noticing a matter transference beam leaving the earth and deciding to investigate - I guess that the editor Bob Budiansky didn't think this was particularly clear, so felt the need to point it out in case it seemed like just a coincidence that the Surfer turned up. The matter transference beam, by the way, later turns out to be Reed Richards being transported off-planet to stand trial for saving the life of Galactus in an earlier issue, but that's got no Doctor Doom in it so, very sadly, won't be discussed here!

What we will discuss, however, is Doctor Doom's escape. We see him trying to work out how to escape while watching Tyros and the Surfer having a Big Fight in the sky, and realising that there's one way he could do it. We then switch to the watching crowds, and see a young man look suddenly surprised, and then speak very rudely to yet another guest star - it's Aunt May! This is a lovely bit of casting by Byrne, and an actually quite subtle bit of acting in the illustration of the surprised young man - at the time I thought Doom was sending a telepathic message or something, but now it's obvious that he's taken control of his body. This is done, we'll eventually find out, using the mind-transference techniques he was taught by The Ovoids way way back in Fantastic Four #10 For now though all we see is Doom's body being destroyed when the Surfer and Tyros crash to earth. I do like the fact that Byrne says "an armoured figure screams" - we later realise it's not Doctor Doom, and this way of putting it remains truthful while not giving the game away.

Tyros is defeated, and all that remains is for Sue to find Doom's mask in the wreckage, and to declare their old enemy as dead. "Good riddance", says The Thing. The comic still has three pages to go - they really packed the story in in those days! - as Sue wanders around the Baxter Building looking for Reed, realising something's up when she sees that he didn't put their lasagne in the oven for tea. Before she can stick it in the microwave, however, she's interrupted by Namor, who wants her to come with him into John Byrne's other series. Doctor Doom will now be absent from the majority of the Marvel Universe again for about two years, but that doesn't mean we won't be seeing him around. Very soon we'll be leaping into his show-stealing appearance in Secret Wars, but before that we've got a whole bunch of flashbacks and recaps, starting next time!

posted 10/11/2020 by MJ Hibbett
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After John Byrne's power grab of the last issue, where he did his very best to envelop every Doom appearance of the past few years into his own narrative, this time it's sort of back to normal. I say "sort of" because Mr Fantastic doesn't appear at all, and also because a large portion of the story is the rest of the FF going about their domestic business. Johnny is sitting around in his new apartment, Ben is catching a taxi back from the airport, and Sue spends the first several pages of the comic looking at a new house. It's all so nicely done that you almost forget that this is supposed to be a superhero comic, but things eventually get going when Terrax, now back to calling himself Tyros after being re-imbued with the power cosmic by Doctor Doom last time (I've read so many comics where trhe characters give recaps of previous issues that I seem to be doing it myself now!), attacks Ben and a proper Big Fight breaks out. While Johnny heads over to help Sue is picked up by a floating ship hidden in the clouds - an old trick of Doctor Dooms we last saw back in the much-adapted Fantastic Four #17. However, when Doom appears Sue quickly works out that he's a robot. Doom would happily kill a woman, she reasons, but not hit one, and so she's happy to blast the robot's head off with a force field. This leads Doom himself to show up, using a floating display screen that rather charmingly recalls the cover to his very first appearance. Doom talks about how much Sue has come on as "a true warrior in your own right", echoing John Byrne's expressed determination to make her more than just a feeble female who gets kidnapped all the time. He then opens the side of his floating ship to show her the scene below, where Tyros is beating up both Ben and Johnny. He then finally shows up in person and offers her the choice, to fight him there and then or go to help her friends - "remembering always that to do so is to flee Doom, to acknowledge him your master." I hate to disagree with The Master Of Menace, but I don't think that's an entirely accurate appraisal of the situation, and even the narration acknowledgea that "his logic is flawed , warped by his unequaled ego". Still, Sue obviously has no choice and so leaps into battle - and there the episode ends, bar a final page where we see the Silver Surfer spotting a "matter transference beam" and zooming down to Earth to investigate. And that's the lot for this one - I must say it's a relief to have a story so light on continutiy after the mammoth task of last time, but there's more deep (very deep!) continuity to come in the next one!

posted 5/11/2020 by MJ Hibbett
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A few weeks ago we looked at This Land Is Mine! in FF247, a story where John Byrne brought together strands of Doctor Doom continuity from the previous twenty years in order to place his own stamp on the character. It was a masterful use of the possibilities of creating new stories within a massive, long-running storyworld, but in terms of continuity the comic we're looking at today makes it look like an issue of Spidey Super Stories!

This blog took me longer to write (by a LONG way) than any other up to this point, because it's a concerted attempt by John Byrne to gather together as many recent (and not so recent) Doctor Doom stories as he possibly can and hammer them together into a single coherent storyline that he is in control of. It reminded me of the games fans play trying to make it all make sense, or indeed recent series like History Of The Marvel Universe or X-Men: Grand Design, where creators tried to force every single piece of comics history into a single unified, sensible, narrative. For the most part those series worked more as illustrated encyclopedias, bringing events together through narration and montage, but here John Byrne weaves it all together in a single story, often using quotation of images and dialogue to link past events together. It's a bold, quite experimental, move, for a mainstream superhero comic, and while it doesn't quite match "This Land Is Mine" for narrative daring or character redefinition, it's a very satisfying one to play "spot the references" with.

The experimentation starts with the front cover, which sees Doom ripping apart the cover to reveal something else underneath. I wonder how Byrne achieved this? The bits of the splash page we see revealed on the cover do match up exactly with what's beneath, including the inking, and lettering (see below), and whereas nowadays this would be easy to do this using computers, back then I guess the original artwork would have had to been cut through and then laid over the lettered version of the first page. The idea of the cover being torn is not new - a very famous example is the new X-Men bursting through the original version of the team in Giant Size X-Men #1 - but here the action of destruction is coming from outside the comic, rather from within. Doom is not escaping from inside the comic, he's breaking it from the outside so that we can see behind the usual imagery and get a look at something we wouldn't see - much like the story itself. This issue of "The Fantastic Four" does not feature the FF at all. It's an entire comic dedicated solely to Doctor Doom and what he's been up to over the past few months, often in the background of other stories. In some ways this is a comics version of what this blog has been trying to do - seeing if there's a single Doctor Doom storyline that has been told within (and often between) different texts without breaking through into it's own comic ... until now.

Having Doctor Doom as the lead character is not new either of course. He had his own series back in Astonishing Tales and Super-Villain Team-Up, and he's taken over large portions the FF's series too, such as when his origin story was first told in Fantastic Four Annual #2 or the focus on his many machination in Fantastic Four # 87. That means this isn't quite "the strangest issue ever of The Fantastic Four" as promised on the splash page, but it's certainly the most reference-heavy that I've ever read!

The referencing starts with pages two and three, a double page spread showing Doomstadt being repaired, which instantly recalls the ruined city we saw in the similar spread in "This Land Is Mine". Interestingly, the castle in the background has changed from the slender version earlier to a direct copy of the Jack Kirby version first seen in Fantastic Four #87 (and then Spidey Super Stories #19) and more recently in The Official Handbook To The Marvel Universe. It seems that this version is taking over from the Frank Miller castle that has been the standard for some time. Byrne adds another detail which makes it clear (to those who are super-familiar with his run on this series anyway) that this is definitely meant to be the same location as in the earlier comic - in the background we can see the same statue that Doom was standing in front of when he first confronted the FF with the results of Zorba's rule. The workers in the foreground, who echo the positions of the FF in the previous version, are notably happy about their work. This is in marked contrast to other occasions when Latverian workers have had to rebuild their town, such as in Astonishing Tales #4 or the Spider-man cartoon series. The continuity continues on the next page, where Doom is visited by a gipsy girl with news from the outside world. If this exchange seems eerily familiar that's because it's an exact retelling of a scene we saw very recently in Doctor Strange #57. I don't know if this was a mutual decision between John Byrne and Roger Stern (the writer of Doctor Strange) or Byrne just did it without consoltation, but the pair would collaborate like this a couple of years later on Fantastic Four Annual #19 and Avengers Annual #14, when the same story was told from the perspective of each team, with several scenes being duplicated. The continuity keeps on coming as we catch up with Kristoff, the young boy whose mum was killed back in This Land Is Mine! It turns out that Doom has adopted the child as his ward, and we follow the pair as they go on a tour of the castle where Doom (or rather John Byrne) catches up on even more continuity. This time it's Uncanny X-Men 146, which saw Doom teaming up with Arcade. Apparently John Byrne felt that Chris Claremont, scripter on this and so many other issues of X-Men, did not write Doom properly, notably allowing Arcade to strike a match off his armour, so retcons the whole storyline so that it was a robot, not Doom, who was involved. Doom destroys the robot for suggesting he would "need" anyone... and John Byrne basically gets to throw his weight around a bit, demonstrating that Doom is his character, so he has final say on how he acts. This whole issue is an exercise in ownership, with Byrne bringing as many previous Doom stories into his own series, partly to show that we're looking at the one true Doom here, but also to say that he himself is the one true author of the character.

We follow Doom and Kristoff for the rest of the day, including an appearance by one of the Latverian policemen from Fantastic Four Annual #2, before cutting to the next morning, where Doctor Doom's breakfast is disturbed by a message from Hauptmann, the long serving/suffering scientist who we last saw reviving Doom in Fantastic Four Annual #15. This leads to a recap of the storyline which began in Fantastic Four #57 where Doom stole the power of The Silver Surfer - a recap which features more of Byrne's redrawings of Kirby panels from a different viewpoint. It turns out that Doom still has access to the Surfer's power, and has had Hauptmann working on a way to transfer it into another body. Hauptmann invites Doom to use the machine to empower himsefl, but Doom is having none of it and insists the scientist has first go... with predictable results. Byrne thus ties up the long-running saga of the Hauptmann brothers by having this one finally attempt to take revenge on Doom for murdering his sibling way back in Fantastic Four #87. I did say there was a lot of continuity references in this comic didn't I? We get a very brief respite from it now though, as Kristoff returns to say goodnight. He makes the dangerous mistake of telling Doom that he's read somewhere that Magneto's power rivals his own. Doom snaps at this (despite the fact that poor old Kristoff only said that he'd read it) and lifts the boy up by the scruff of his neck to give him a right telling off before sending him to bed. With his parental duties done (badly) Doom returns to the issue of the power cosmic, with a cunning scheme to find a new host powerful enough to be able to handle it. This involves, of course, even more continuity as he sends some Doombots off to New York, where they sneak around a hospital looking for a specific patient. As we should be able to guess by now, this is not just any hospital but instead the very same one where The Thing was a patient recently in Marvel Two-In-One #96. It strikes me that Byrne may have asked for a list of all Doom's recent appearances, and chanced upon this one as a nice way to link the hospital visit in too. In fact, Byrne's managed to rope in pretty much every major Doom appearance (ignoring flashbacks and single panel cameos) from the last three years, with the only ones missing being "Doomquest" in Iron Man and his two issues of Dazzler. Having said that, both of those storylines were already tied into the loose "The Return Of Doctor Doom" storyline. so maybe he thought they were already covered.

The robots find the patient they're looking for and take him back to Latveria, where he's revealed to be Terrax, recovering from his dismissal from Galactus's service in Fantastic Four #243. There's a triple whammy of continuity here, as not only does Byrne refer back to his own story, but also to Terrax's original origin story as Tyros The Tyrant from Fantastic Four #211 AND to the naming of his planet and people in The Official Handbook Of The Marvel Universe #6. It was here in the handbook, apparently, that his planet was named Lanlak and his people the Birj, although it may be that Byrne himself chose the names and told the Handbook compilers he'd been doing this in advance. Doom has selected Terrax/Tyros to be the bearer of the power cosmic because a) he's used it before and b) he hates the Fantastic Four, so charges him up and sends him off for a big fight in the next issue. One of the Doombots (who clearly hasn't seen what happens to people who question Doom's schemes) suggests that this might be a bit daft, as Tyros now has the power cosmic and could very easily use it to take over the world himself, but Doom reacts much more calmly than previously - possibly because he was waiting for the chance to show off about how clever he's been. Tyros only has five hours to live, whatever happens, so will be no threat to Doom! The cunning rotter!!

And that - at last - is the end of the comic. As I said at the beginning, this blog took me far and away the longest to write out of all of them so far, purely because it's packed so tight with references. It's been a fascinating (for me) examination of all the work that Byrne's put in here to claim Doom as his own, possibly in preparation for the changes that are on the way soon. It is, in fact, his way of saying "This Character Is Mine!"

posted 3/11/2020 by MJ Hibbett
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A process blog about Doctor Doom in The Marvel Age written by Mark Hibbett