“Doom’s Master“, Part 4
Writers: Mark Millar & Joe Ahearne
Pencils: Stuart Immonen
Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger & Scott Hanna
Colors: Paul Mounts w/ Dean White
Cover Art: Bryan Hitch & Paul Mounts
Mark Millar’s hyped run on Fantastic Four comes to an end, as the team faces off against new villain The Marquis of Death in final battle, all just hours away from the marriage of Ben Grimm.
“Doom’s Master” dealt with the death of a Watcher, the death of Doctor Doom, and the introduction of new villain, The Marquis of Death.Â The Marquis is established in continuity as the man who trained Doctor Doom, but he feels that Doom didn’t live up to his expectations.Â So, he offed him, threw on his mask and went after the Fantastic Four.Â Taking place somewhere before the recently concluded Dark Reign: Fantastic Four, the Marquis spirits away with Mr. Fantastic and shows him Clyde Wyncham, a powerful mutant who will become The Marquis in the future, and tells Reed to off him to save his family.Â Reed refuses, the Marquis sends an army of alternate universe FF’s after the team, and it all gets very bizarre and confusing.Â Ben goes back and frees Clyde, who agrees to help the team defeat the Marquis, but only serves to weaken him.Â Fortunately, Reed has devised a way for the team to take on the added power of the alternate universe teams, and they pummel the Marquis.Â Then Doom shows back up, kills the Marquis, and returns to Latveria, announcing he is now proven to be stronger than anyone present.
I gotta admit, this part of the story pretty well confused me.Â The time travel plot was bizarre and confusing.Â Did the Marquis just want someone to go back in time and kill him?Â I may have missed something there.Â Had the issue ended there, with a hardy slap on the back and a group shot, I probably would have been disgusted by it.Â But, it’s in the final pages of the book, featuring The Thing’s wedding, Millar delivers probably one of the best FF’s we’ve seen in a while.
The day of the wedding has everyone getting cold feet, but Ben eventually ditches on the wedding.Â The bride to be, Debbie Green, finds him at a bar, where Ben reveals he can’t go through with the wedding on account of all his friends and fellow heroes, and the losses he knows they’ve endured.Â It’s a touching, logical conclusion that Ben makes, and the guest shots and lines from the friends he mentions easily makes the moment all the more heartbreaking.Â The final shot of the book, with Reed and Ben remaining in the bar, is a touching reminder that the FF have always been a family first, and superheroes second.
It’s a great end to Millar’s run, which has certainly met it’s criticism.Â While the superhero aspect of the team may have run into it’s share of brick walls, he’s done a superb term of communicating the kinship and love between the members of the team, easily the most important aspect of the Fantastic Four.Â I’m still giving this issue, and the entire “Doom’s Master” arc a C though, since a few nice moments with the team as a family can’t save the book after a needlessly confusing time travel plot.