Doctor Doom is one of the greatest comic book characters of all time. He’s one of the most dangerous villains in the Marvel Universe. He’s the noblest hero in his own mind. Doctor Strange & Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment is quite possibly the best Doctor Doom story ever. Here’s my review.
Doctor Strange & Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment
Story: Roger Stern, Bill Mantlo, and Gerry Conway
Pencils: Mike Mignola, Kevin Nowlan, and Gene Colan
Inks: Mark Badger, Terry Austin, Tom Palmer, Mike Mignola, and P. Craig Russell
Doom Is a Man!
The story’s title might start with “Doctor Strange”, but this is a Doctor Doom story. It takes us deep into the complex human behind the iron mask. The characters all present their points of view through the lens of Victor Von Doom. From a bunch of Earth’s most powerful sorcerers to the Devil himself, they all play supporting roles in the story of Doom.
Roger Stern masterfully tells a story of how Doctor Doom enlists the aid of Doctor Strange to rescue the soul of his mother from the clutches of Mephisto. In a nutshell, Doctors Strange and Doom go to Hell, fight a bunch of demons, outwit the Devil himself, and save Mrs. Von Doom.
We get to see why Doctor Doom is such an engaging character. He’s so smart, that he became a master in multiple fields of science. He is so driven, that he trained to be highly adept in the mystic arts. His strength of will makes him one of the most dangerous beings in the known universe. He is a force of nature and not even Mephisto can stop him from achieving his goals.
Stern’s expert grasp of Doom as a character is accompanied by some dark and moody art by Mike Mignola. While this was originally published back in 1989, Mignola’s art has aged well and still looks great 3 decades later.
There have been some good to great Doctor Doom stories since he was introduced back in 1962, but this might be the best story to read to truly understand what the character is made of.
Master of Menace!
The concept of Doctor Doom’s mom’s soul being trapped in Hell was nothing new. It was first introduced in a story in Astonishing Tales #8. In this story written by Gerry Conway and drawn by Gene Colan, it is established that Doctor Doom fights the Devil every year, on the night of Midsummer’s Eve, for the soul of his mother. Doom is so metal.
This short yet epic story with beautiful art by Colan is collected with the 2016 edition of Triumph and Torment.
Along with it, Doctor Strange #57 is also included just because one page featuring Doom drops hints of the then still upcoming Triumph and Torment graphic novel. The rest of the issue is just Doctor Strange dealing with the aftermath of his apprentice leaving. It’s a fun little story about Strange fending off wannabe disciples, but it barely registers as important or memorable.
Tales of Delusions and of Dreams!
Also included in the 2016 edition of Triumph and Torment is a couple of stories starring Namor the Sub-Mariner written by Bill Mantlo and drawn by Mike Mignola.
These stories have nothing to do with Doctor Doom or his annual fight with the devil, but they’re both fun Namor stories featuring early Mike Mignola art.
Between Namor asking the god Neptune to turn a drowning white stallion into a white seahorse (Marvel Fanfare #16) and Namor traveling back in time to immediately fall in lust with a sexy pirate (Marvel Fanfare #43), this is classic Bill Mantlo craziness.
Overall, this 2016 edition of Doctor Strange & Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment is not just a great exhibit of Doctor Doom’s complexity as a character, but it’s also a good showcase for the works of some of the classic Marvel storytellers like Roger Stern, Bill Mantlo, and Gerry Conway as well as great comic book artists like Mike Mignola and Gene Colan.
This iconic Doctor Doom story goes to the very top of The List, dethroning Black Hammer Vol. 1 as the new #1. The short yet character-defining story from Astonishing Tales #8 is our new #6. The Namor stories from Marvel Fanfare #16 and #43, while short, were good glimpses at Namor as a character. They rank #13 and #17 respectively. And finally, Doctor Strange #57 goes to the very bottom of the list. It’s not horrible, but it has nothing to offer except for one page of Doctor Doom.
The whole collection gets an almost perfect rating of 4 1/2 stars.
Doctor Strange & Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment is available now wherever fine comic books are sold.