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Doctor Doom raises a hand and the figure before him crumbles into a dessicated skeleton in Avengers Forever #5 (2022). Image: Jason Aaron, Jim Towe, Guru-eFX/Marvel Comics

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It’s Doctor Doom’s multiverse of madness, and we’re all just living in it

The real promise of parallel earths is Doom

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Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

There are some ideas in comics that are as original as they are inevitable. When Jonathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesham introduced the Council of Reeds, an interdimensional body composed entirely of different Mister Fantastics, it was both a surprise and retrospectively obvious. Of course the super-intelligent science god Reed Richards would seek peer cooperation with his own multiversal selves.

In his Avengers, Jason Aaron has riffed mightily on that utterly comic book idea of cooperation between parallel selves, first with the punnilly named Council of Red, an interdimensional alliance of Mephistos. And this week, with artists Jim Towe and Guru-eFX, Aaron introduces another. The Council of Doom? Perish the thought — Doctor Doom has no peers, be they man or god.

No, this is a Doom fierce enough to subjugate other Dooms. A Doom who uses brainwashed parallel Dooms instead of Doombots. Doom Above All Dooms. The Doom of Dooms. Surprising? Yes. But. on the other hand, what could be more obvious than a Doom who refuses to settle for ruling Latveria, or the world, or the universe, and comes gunning for the multiverse itself?

What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Monday Funnies, Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. But there will be great comics. (And if you missed the last edition, read this.)

Avengers Forever #5

A living planet wearing a Doctor Doom mask monologues, “I am Doom the living planet, and I too once beheld the face of the fiercest Doom to ever live. The only Doom capable of breaking other Dooms. All hail the Doom Above All,” in Avengers Forever #5 (2022). Image: Jason Aaron, Jim Towe, Guru-eFX/Marvel Comics

Aaron’s Avengers throws ideas at the wall with a speed that is often dizzying, but I am only human! You show me a the Doom Above All Dooms, whose base is a freakin’ Ego the Living Planet Doom? That rules. It’s just math.

Metal Society #1

Boxer Rosa Genthree faces off against the robot WOL-421313 in a ring surrounded by lights and spectators as two announcers breathlessly introduce their bout in Metal Society #1 (2022). Image: Zack Kaplan, Guilherme Balbi/Image Comics

I took a chance on Metal Society #1, knowing nothing about it going in, and found that it drew me right in to a world where robots dominate post-apocalyptic humanity. Of course, the central story of a bareknuckle brawl between One Human Woman Who Doesn’t Respect Robot Dominance and A Robot Specifically Engineered to Kick Box helped.

Nubia: Coronation Special #1

Nubia of the Amazons and the Martian Manhunter (in the form of a Black police detective) discuss why he chooses to live among humans. “Shor tof conquering these people and remakin gtheir world entirely, I don’t know what else to do,” he says. “It’s a line I will not cross. I don’t want to be like them in that way,” in Nubia: Coronation Special #1 (2022). Image: Vita Ayala, Darryl Banks/DC Comics

With the close of War of the Amazons comes a special issue just for Nubia’s ascendance as queen — it’s an anthology structure from multiple writers and artists, but far and away my favorite bit was a flashback to Nubia and the Martian Manhunter discussing their feelings on being a Black superhuman in Man’s World, and what to do about it.

Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird

James Proudstar and his grandmother drink beers on a roof under a sunset sky. “I told you,” she says, “Don’t care what’s Apache and what’s mutant. When I see you — I see a man of two worlds who don’t need to choose. [...] And I’m proud,” in Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird #1 (2022). Image: Steve Orlando, Nyla Rose, David Cutler/Marvel Comics

It’s no secret that Professor Xavier and Magneto’s Krakoan “experiment” has its flaws as a utopia. Rather, it’s very much the point, and the various creatives working under the X-Men umbrella over the past few years have delighted in exploring them. But one of my favorite wrinkles in the whole “the X-Men found their own nation and invent their own national identity” is the obvious fact that not all mutants feel divorced from their human cultures, and some of those human cultures also know the struggle for a nation that has been denied them.

Which is just to say that every time creatives from those backgrounds come to work on Krakoan era comics — as in Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird, an oversized oneshot about James Proudstar, one of X-Men’s most infamous dead mutants — I relish it.


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