Culture Magazine

Book Review – Iron Man: Doomquest by David Michelinie, Bob Layton and John Romita Jr.

By Manofyesterday


Doomquest collects two stories from Michelinie’s run on Iron Man that see the invincible Avenger go head-to-head with the nefarious Dr. Doom. The first story involves Iron Man seizing Stark Industries properties from Doom, who then uses them to get back to Camelot where they encounter King Arthur and Morgana le Fey. The sequel goes into the other direction, the future, where Merlin has risen and has turned to Arthur’s old allies to help him in his hour of need. I know it sounds bizarre, but bear with me!

Sending Iron Man and Doom back to the time of King Arthur sounds ludicrous but there’s a foreword where Michelinie explains his thought process and it’s actually wonderful how he came up with this story. The idea of the pairing came when he realized that they both used armor, which is fairly unusual for comic book characters as most of them prefer spandex. And who else wears armor? Knights! So it does actually fit thematically and when you think of it like that it feels perfectly natural.

The strength of these stories is in the parallels between Dr. Doom and Iron Man, based in how the react to things. For example, when they meet King Arthur, Iron Man is humble and respectful, while Doom sees Arthur as an equal and is his usual demanding self. I do love Dr. Doom though, he’s one of the most fun characters to read and I can’t imagine how fun it must be to write him. I’m not as familiar with Arthurian mythology as I perhaps should be, but the stories were fun. I preferred the second though, although Merlin had an odd characterization. Yet there were deeper themes at work here. I don’t want to spoil things but there’s a very poetic scene at the end with Dr. Doom, and it shows great pathos and captures the tragic single-mindedness of the character.

I think this is worth reading for the odd pairing, but I think it’s more worth it if you’re a Dr. Doom fan rather than an Iron Man one. Although the stories happen in the Iron Man comics I feel that Doom is a more interesting character.

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