Comic Book Review: Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #1

The Revolution had to pick up a copy of Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #1. C’mon, it is David Michelinie and Bob Layton! These guys are the definitive Iron Man creative team. Michelinie and Layton served two tours of duty on Iron Man. The first from 1978 to 1982 and the second tour from 1987-1989.

At any rate, this mini-series is the conclusion of The Camelot Trilogy. In 1981, Michelinie and Layton gave us the first installment of this trilogy with Iron Man #149-150, when Doom and Iron Man got stuck in King Arthur’s Camelot. The second installment of this trilogy was in 1989 when Michelinie and Layton gave us Iron Man #249-250 where Merlin summons Iron Man and Doom to the future to save the world from futuristic versions of the two men and to further the return of King Arthur.

Evidently, Iron Man: Legacy of Doom is a lost tale that takes place a few weeks after the events in Iron Man (Vol. 1) #250. All right, enough of the back-story. Let’s go ahead and do this review for Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #1.

Creative Team
Writer: David Michelinie
Pencils: Ron Lim
Inks: Bob Layton

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Tony melting down some of his extra old suits of armor. The reasoning is that his Extremis powers make these older suits pointless and that Tony doesn’t want his technology falling into the wrong hands and being used for evil purposes. Tony is also transferring data from auto-save circuits form the various suits of armor. These chips act like a black box on an airplane and record all of Tony’s activities. These chips preserve the details of past mission which is a good practical plan. That way Tony will learn from the past and never make the same mistakes again.

Tony is downloading the information from the circuits of one of his suits of armor and suddenly realizes that he has no memories of what he is watching on the computer monitor. Tony sees Doom appear on the screen. Tony thinks that he would never have forgotten an encounter with Doom. Tony remembers going back to the days of Camelot with Doom and being stuck in that past. Doom sided with Morgan Le Fay and Iron Man sided with King Arthur. That the two led their respective armies against each other in battle.

In the end Iron Man won and Doom was betrayed by Morgan Le Fay. Doom and Iron Man then combined elements of their armors in order to fashion a single use time jump to bring them back to their own era. That they parted ways with Doom swearing revenge. Tony thinks that he is surprised that Doom never made good on that threat.

Suddenly, Tony’s mind hurts as his memories of this lost mission come flooding back to him. We cut back in the past when Tony was in outer space fixing a Stark International research satellite. Suddenly, a hologram of Doom appears and tells Iron Man that he requires his presence at his castle in Latveria immediately. That millions of lives hang in the balance. The hologram then disappears. Iron Man thinks that Doom is probably lying, but that he has no choice but to go to Doom’s castle just in case it is the truth.

Iron Man streaks to Doom’s castle and notices an army attacking the force shield that surrounds Doom’s castle. Doom contacts Iron Man and informs him that he is opening a small break in the force shield for Iron Man to enter. Iron Man then arrives in the castle and meets with Doom in Doom’s lab.

Doom tells Iron Man that the army outside is another attempt by the “people’s” government to assure that Doom does not return to power. Doom says that they will be addressed in a minute as his neutron pulse engine is about ready to be deployed.

Iron Man snaps that he will not let Doom kill those soldiers. Doom tells Iron Man that he has ten minutes before the neutron pulse engine is fired. Iron Man races outside the castle and quickly takes out a fighter plane and some tanks. This display of power is enough to convince the troops to immediately retreat.

We shift to back inside Doom’s lab where Doom tells Iron Man that it is time to go. Doom explains that his cabalistic probes have discovered that Mephisto has found a way to hasten the end of days. And that Doom finds the end of the world unacceptable. Doom has modified his time cube to traverse other dimensions and take them to Mephisto’s realm.

Doom hands Iron Man a remote transmitter that will signal the time cube to retrieve them. Iron Man takes Doom’s remote transmitter as well and scans both of them. His armor informs him that both devices are identical. Iron Man then mixes the two in his hands and randomly hands one back to Doom.

Iron Man then asks Doom why he called for Iron Man. Doom replies that Iron Man has proven adequate against mystic dangers in the past and Doom thought he might need some lackey work done. Iron Man and Doom then teleport away from the lab.

We cut to Iron Man and Doom appearing in Hell. Iron Man and Doom brawl with some slimy demons. Iron Man and Doom fight their way to Mephisto’s office. Iron Man and Doom enter the office and Mephisto welcomes them to his realm.

Mephisto then tells Doom that he is impressed with him and says that a bargain is a bargain. Mephisto then hands doom a small red shard. Iron Man immediately presses his remote transmitter, but nothing happens. Doom retorts that their transmitters may be the same, but that they require a booster circuit to work. And that Doom incorporated one of those booster circuits into his armor. Doom exclaims “Vengeance is mine!” and teleports back to his lab.

Mephisto then tells Iron Man that he traded Doom that sliver of metal in exchange for help in ridding the overworld of a major force for good. And that force would be Iron Man who shall now remain in Hell forever. End of issue.

The Good: Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #1 was a solid read. Michelinie delivers a nicely paced issue. This was certainly a technically well crafted issue. Michelinie does everything that a writer is supposed to do on a debut issue of a mini-series. Michelinie wastes no time kicking off this mini-series.

Michelinie immediately gives just enough back-story concerning the previous installments of the Camelot trilogy to bring new readers up to speed and to refresh the memory of long-time readers. This was an effective way to make this mini-series new reader friendly while at the same time not wasting too much of the first issue on back-story thereby boring long time readers. This issue isn’t rushed, but it clearly moves with a purpose and direction.

Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #1 was pleasantly plotted as Michelinie immediately gives the reader the mission statement for this mini-series. With a clear purpose in mind, Michelinie unfolds a tightly plotted story that is done in a nice compressed fashion. The compressed story telling gives Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #1 a decidedly cool old school feel to the story that I can appreciate.

Michelinie cranks out some serviceable dialogue. It isn’t anything as textured as what the Knaufs give us. Instead, it is a more straightforward and traditional styled dialogue. It has a good flow and pulls the reader into the story. Michelinie dishes out some solid character work. It is nice to see Michelinie back writing Tony. We get a pleasantly old school version of Tony before he got all fucked up and mishandled during the events leading up to the Civil War and continuing through the Initiative storylines.

Michelinie’s Tony Stark is a traditional super hero. It was neat to read a version of Tony that echoed of the days when he had no ties with the government and was just a billionaire playboy who had a heroic heart and a thirst for action and adventure. Michelinie’s Tony is more like the comic book version of thrill seeking billionaire Richard Branson. And this is a refreshing change of pace from the gray and humorless Tony that we get in many titles nowadays.

Michelinie does a quality job with Doom. Michelinie doesn’t try and get too fancy with Doom like Bendis did recently by having Doom yucking it up with snappy one liners and engaging in witty banter with Tony. Michelinie gives us a classic version of Doom who is true to his roots. Michelinie’s Doom is a proper egotistical prick who can barely stand the presence of a common lackey like Iron Man who Doom views as a simple flunky for Tony Stark. I enjoyed Doom’s irritating and haughty dialogue designed to constantly needle Iron Man.

Michelinie packs plenty of action in this issue as Iron Man gets to kick ass on the army attacking Doom and then takes on some of the minions of Hell. I have to admit that it was so cool to see Tony in one of his old school Iron Man armors ripping it up.

Michelinie ends Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #1 with a nice hook ending. We have a straight forward task at hand for Iron Man. He is trapped in Hell, has to figure out a way to deal with Mephisto and then get back to our world and deal with Doom. That should make for an exciting remaining three issues to this mini-series. And I am definitely curious to learn just what was the metal shard that Mephisto gave to Doom.

The reader gets treated to some fantastic artwork by Ron Lim and Bob Layton. This is exactly how Iron Man should look: shiny, smooth and sleek. My only gripe with Iron Man ever since his title got a soft reboot with Warren Ellis and Adi Granov is that his armor has become dull and clunky looking. Lim has a wonderful clean and classic style of art that suites this flashback story well. And Layton has always treated the reader to the best looking Iron Man armors period. Layton is the undisputed master when it comes to what is a properly designed Iron Man suit of armor.

The Bad: Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #1 is not going to appeal to everyone. Readers who prefer a more modern decompressed style of storytelling will probably not enjoy the old school feel to this issue. And this issue is not a deep thought provoking read. If you are a reader that requires plenty of substance and density to your stories then you probably find this issue too shallow for your taste.

Overall: Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #1 was a fun read. Michelinie isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel with Iron Man: Legacy of Doom. He is just trying to deliver a tightly written, quick paced and action packed ride. This mini-series should serve up plenty of popcorn for the brain. The story is entertaining enough that newer readers should enjoy this mini-series just as much as long time Iron Man fans.