June 10, 2009

WAITING FOR THE TRADE: Doomquest & Legacy of Doom


WRITERS: David Michilini, Bob Layton
ARTISTS: Bob Layton, John Romite, Jr. (Doomquest), Ron Lim (Iron Man: Legacy of Doom)

I’d heard of the Doomquest issues of the Iron Man series a while ago, and I was interested in reading them, but never really looked for them. They were issues 149 and 150 and 249 and 250 of the Iron Man comic series.

What got my interest was seeing a paperback copy of the collected edition of “Iron Man: Legacy of Doom” mini-series on the new comics shelf at my local shop. I peeked at the back and saw that it was a sequel, of sorts, to those two Doomquest mini-story arcs. And that those two Doomquet story arcs were about King Arthur and time travel and . . . well, I was hooked.

A quick glance at the old comics shelf revealed a collected edition of Doomquest and the hardcover edition of Legacy of Doom. Cool. I just hoped it was worth it.

Long story short, they were. The first Doomquest story (issues 149 and 150, from 1981) has Iron Man and Dr. Doom thrust back in time, to the time of King Arthur and all his knights. Iron Man allies himself with Arthur, Doom with Morganna, and conflict ensues. It’s exciting seeing Iron Man and Dr. Doom’s technological armor amidst the knights of the round table and the crazy creatures of evil, and the story resolves itself nicely.

The second Doomquest story (issues 249 and 250, from 1988) pushes Iron Man and Doom into the future, where they must once more team up with Merlin to save the Camelot of the future, and the future king of Camelot -- Arthur. There’s some funny twists with Arthur and his legacy and upbringing. Now, Iron Man and Doom are outclassed when it comes to technology, and ultimately this is a fun comic book trip to the future and a nice counterpoint to the first Doomquest story.

Iron Man: Legacy of Doom, a four issue mini-series from 2008, reunites the creative team from those two Doomquest stories and takes up the themes (technology vs. magic) and tropes (time travel, although not as far flung into the future; along with the whole Arthurian thing) and wraps the story up neatly. (And like all good time travel stories, it wraps the story around as an element from the past that shows up in the future is preserved because of decisions in the present. Just read it, you’ll appreciate it.)

I liked these two volumes because it’s a good Iron Man story and a good Dr. Doom story, using these character archetypes in a way that you don’t need to know the convoluted backstories of the characters. If you’ve heard of the characters, you’ll get into the story. I also like the time travel themes that get used, and the technology vs. magic argument is explored in ways that aren’t just conflict, but philosophical concepts.

When the Iron Man movie came out, one problem I had was that there were no comic stories that were as good as the movie. These come close.

Check it out at your local comic shop (they should be able to order for you, and if you're not sure where your closest comic shop is, you can find out here: The Comic Shop Locator), OR you can buy Iron Man Doomquest here and Legacy of Doom here!

Visit the Waiting for the Trade bookstore here, where you can buy many of the comics I'm reviewing!

~ Ben

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