Dr. Doom and the Masters of Evil #2

A comic review article by: Dan Hill

The book hits the ground running, quickly picking up where the last issue left off. It opens on Dr. Doom, this time employing the services of "The Circus of Crime," searching a Sumerian temple for the key to eternal life. Doom isn't the only one looking for the key; the eponymous "Masters of Evil" are also searching for it. Doom recovers a map to the key's location, but it isn't long before Enchantress and Executioner are on the case for the Masters of Evil.

Tobin showed in the first issue that he has a great take on some of Marvel's characters, a highlight of which was the dialogue among the members of the Sinister Six. For a title with his name on the cover, Dr. Doom didn't appear in the first issue all that much. In this issue though, he's everywhere, and you can tell Tobin had a blast writing him. Tobin finds the right balance between Doom's regality and arrogance without tipping over into overblown, exposition spouting caricature.

Now with two teams to focus on rather than one, Tobin doesn't have as much space to build up the relationships between various members of each group through dialogue. Instead he provides an entertaining (and funny) seduction scene between Enchantress and Livewire. Did I mention there's a battle royale between the Circus of Crime and the Masters of Evil in Bryant Park? No? Well there is.

As I mentioned before, one gets the impression that Tobin has a tremendous amount of fun playing with these characters, and it really does come through in the writing and the art (Scherberger on top form again, more on that later). The plot (and the characters) don't take themselves too seriously, which is refreshing in the light of events like "Secret Invasion" and "Dark Reign."

Patrick Scherberger's art really does add to the charm of the book. It's cartoonish in style but not to the point of simplicity. Action set pieces are well rendered and have an energy about them. Scherberger possesses a great knack for body language and expressions too. There's a sequence towards the end of the issue where Executioner comes back from fighting the Masters of Evil. The Enchantress is waiting for him and asks him how it went. The Executioner then promptly sits himself down propping his feet up on the table. With only the barest of exchanges the pair are characterised almost like an old married couple. It's a great little touch.

My only complaint deals with the changes that seem to occur throughout the book. Like the last issue the credits list more than one artist. The first issue had another artist, Jacopo Campagni, drawing a particular sequence. It slotted into the narrative fairly seamlessly and looked great. With this issue we see two other artists, besides Scherberger, given credit. With some panels the colour really pops off the page nicely, complementing the art. Then, in the space of a panel the art takes on a scratchier look, and the colours seem dulled somewhat. It's a shame as it does pull you out of the story.

In the end though Tobin's enthusiasm wins through. The book has an "old school" charm to it that is infectious, melded with some great humour. Chalk another one up for Victor Von Doom! 

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