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Doom 2099: The Complete Collection by Warren Ellis Paperback – April 9, 2013
All Books, All the Time
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Dr. Doom has been an effective antagonist to heroes for 50 years because he is more than a villain -- he's a scientist, dictator, conqueror, son and pariah. We've gotten snippets of his persona and background over the years, but very few fullscale character studies. Chuck Dixon wrote a Doom miniseries several years ago, but it was quite disappointing.
Dr. Doom was handled extremely well in the Secret Wars miniseries in the 1980's, as well as in Emperor Doom and Triumph & Torment (2 outstanding graphic novels).
The art is very 80's/90's colorful, splashy and overdone. The plot is derivative of Frank Miller's Ronin (a man from the past fights the corruption of governments, which have been taken over by corporations). A college freshman might appreciate Ellis's critique of government and business, but it's really too overstated and then beaten to death. This is an early work by a skilled writer who was still honing his craft.
1. It starts midway from a previous story that Warren Ellis did not initiate
2. It covers very philosophical and political themes in a very detailed manner
3. If you do not have prior background on the 2099 universe that makes it even more difficult to get the full story
4. The Doom series impacts all hte other characters in the 2099 line (such as Spider-Man 2099, X-men 2099, Hulk 2099 and Punisher 2099) but this series does not cover their individual titles
So basically, there are parts of this which are brilliant,, parts which which are so incredibly detailed that they are hard to understand fully (due to the reasons stated above) and parts that are OK. I cannot fairly say an of it is bad though because to be honest the parts I didn't enjoy very much I don't think I truly understood.
One thing none of the other reviewers touched upon is that Ellis seems to be making a political statement here, and he is d oing so in an incredibly elequent and intelligent manner. This is one of the most politicall sound alternative universes I have ever read about in mainstream comics. Most comics have a difficult time depicting actual politics which is grounded in current affairs, but this does a great job in creating a political environment from scratch which appears to be quite realistic, so realistic in fact that you feel like you don't fully understand it (hence my comments above). I previously thought they did a very good job of this in Planet Hulk, but this is much better than that in this aspect (although Hulk is a more entertaining comic).
For example, I am glad that Ellis is not so politically naive as many writers are to make Doom the Dictator all bad (I know his previously established character wasn't all bad either, but Ellis's Doom aven appears a little bit more, shall we say, tollerant than that, especially towards members of his "cabinet", but even towards civilians). Yes, evil he is, but his foes are even more evil, thus mirroring many real life examples where the dictator is not necessarily the worst option faced by the people of a country. Shades of grey.
As another reviewer stated Pat Broderick does what is probably the best work of his career here (I mean just look at that cover!). I always though Broderick had the potential to be a George Perez or a Brian Bolland (for example some of his covers from Captain Atom in the 80s were amazing) but there was just a little too much inconsistency in his art, especially the interiors. In this collection I counted only two panels where this inconsistency reared its head in a very obvious manner, the rest was either acceptable or excellent. I was genuinely disappointed when the artists switched around mid way through this book.
All in all, this series made me more interested in exploring the rest of 2099. I remember when they first came out in the 90s, I read a few issues but was not really interested in it (other than Ghost Rider 2099 which at the time was better than the Marvel series).
I think that this will come to be seen as an under-rated series,
First few stories were difficult to understand because Ellis just continued someone else's storyline and had to tie it up.
Main story, and main treat if I might say, is Doom's idea to help Earth's population by enslaving world and becoming a benevolent dictator. If this sentence sounds attractive to you, I guarantee that plot and conclusion will not let your hopes down! It would be difficult for low calibre writers to take on such a topic, but Ellis shows just how good he is in this book.
Along with Planetary, this might be my favourite Ellis' work.
I won't spoil the rest except to say that this is a beautiful piece buried beneath some crap. The first few chapters aren't very good (Ellis was having to follow someone else's plots) but once you get past those you have an epic that is well worth the effort.