Doctor Doom and the Masters of Evil #1

A comic review article by: Dan Hill

Plot: The Sinister Six steal a powerful artifact in Paris. Two days later, their aim is to break into Stark Industries and steal a highly secret component. Who's behind it all? Doctor Doom. But what is he up to?

Review: Well, that was a pleasant surprise. I had no idea what to expect when I sat down to read this first issue. It was my love of the main character that piqued my interest. 

Paul Tobin has mostly dabbled in the Marvel Adventures line (along with the Age of Sentry mini-series) and Doctor Doom and the Masters Of Evil is tonally very similar. It's out of continuity, it doesn't take itself too seriously, and it can be enjoyed by all ages.

The story kicks off with the Sinister Six (Mysterio, Vulture, Sandman, Doc Ock, Chameleon, Kraven and Sandman) stealing a mysterious staff from the Louvre. In a great short sequence after the robbery Mysterio uses the staff to project various disguises for the group so they fit in. This allows Scherberger to provide some great renditions of the six as a punk band, a Kiss style rock group, and even a Manga inspired troupe of schoolgirls.

Shortly after we learn of the group's outing to Paris: Doctor Doom. In a beautiful looking scene Doom breaks into the HQ of the Six. He goes about besting them all in combat until Mysterio finally listens to what Doom has to say, his plan for them all. The credits for this issue list two artists: Patrick Scherberger and Jacopo Campagni. The Doom/Six sequence is coloured slightly different to the rest of the story, and there is also a change in art style. Going on interviews Tobin has given on the book, I would conclude that Campagni is responsible for this part of the issue. It's a fantastic looking sequence filled with equal parts humour and action. Who knew Doc Ock cared about his record collection so much? Or that it included AC/DC and The Misfits! None of this is meant to detract from Scherberger's contribution which is also great throughout. The aforementioned "illusion" sequence being a great example.

After Doom has told the Six of his plan, the scene shifts to Stark Industries. It's here that the component Dr Doom has tasked the Six to steal resides. From here on in, more hilarity ensues. Even Iron Man and Doctor Strange get involved.

One of the great things about this book is the interplay among the members of the Sinister Six. Back in the days of Stan and Steve, the Six squabbled as their plans went awry. Tobin takes this dynamic and adds a few layers of his own. Through the dialogue and characterisation, the Six are depicted as a team that have worked together for a while, a gang aware of each other's foibles. Sandman reminisces about a girlfriend before Chameleon reminds him she's an ex girlfriend, and Mysterio asks Chameleon if he can borrow his car next week to get his computer repaired. ("Don't scratch it. And no crimes.")

Tobin's writing is great all the way through this issue providing some great laugh out loud moments. It'll be great to see what he does with the Masters of Evil proper in the next issue. 

I was a big fan of Jeff Parker's work on the Marvel Adventures: Avengers books. It's a shame such books often get overlooked in favour of the bigger event and tentpole titles as there are some great stories to be found there. Doctor Doom and the Masters of Evil is another addition to that list it seems.

Final Word: A quirky and humorous take on some of Spider-Man's rogues gallery. A tale that's a great read for fans of any age. 

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