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Revisiting Doomwar, the Marvel crossover event we want on the big screen
The short comic series Doomwar came out nearly a decade ago, but it’s all the more exciting now in a post-Endgame world. Doomwar stars T’Challa, Shuri, Storm, Dr. Doom, the Fantastic Four, some members of the X-Men, the Dora Milaje, and Deadpool, and features James Rhodes and a host of other Marvel faves. It may have been a limited series, but it definitely wasn’t limited when it came to its cast of characters. With the Thanos era coming to an end and MCU going into Phase 4, now is the perfect time to revisit series such as Doomwar.
Doomwar was written by Jonathan Maberry, penciled by John Romita Jr., Scot Eaton, and Will Conrad, and colored by Dean White. The six-issue series is essentially a game of chess between two well-equipped and evenly matched adversaries, Victor Von Doom and T’Challa. Dr. Doom takes all of Wakanda’s vibranium to carry out his never-ending quest to rule the entire world as he sees fit. As you can imagine, things get messy quickly. It opens with Storm on trial in Wakanda for a crime she didn’t commit, framed by the very group trying her in court who later find her guilty and sentence her to death. On top of all this, her husband and sister-in-law have ghosted Wakanda, and the hostile group called the Desturi have overthrown the Wakandan government. Things get worse from there.
The X-Men are a ride-or-die bunch, as we are reminded when T’Challa and Shuri show up to ask them for help. Storm’s trial was broadcast live and none of the X-Men are too happy to see T’Challa and Shuri in front of them while Storm is locked up. They’re all very vocal about it, with Cyclops and Wolverine being the ones to voice most of their concern and essentially dragging T’Challa.It’s a small but appreciable moment, a reflection of how much Storm's teammates love her and are ready to do whatever it takes to get her back. Wolverine, Nightcrawler, and Colossus travel with T’Challa and Shuri back to Wakanda to deal with the Desturi and Dr. Doom, who has infiltrated Wakanda thanks to the political coup. (Those three being the X-Men to go, in particular, is a nice nod to earlier Uncanny X-Men comics, when they were often joined by Storm on missions.) The X-Men aren’t the only ones who join in on the action. Some old friends of T’Challa — you might know them as the Fantastic Four — show up to assist, with Sue Storm notably appreciative for the goddess of elements. When Storm leaves to handle some members of the Desturi, Sue tells Reed Richards she’s going with Storm — not to help, but to enjoy watching her take out everyone who has pissed her off. Superheroes stanning other superheroes never get old, and Doomwar has plenty of these moments. Maberry keeps everyone true to themselves, especially T’Challa. Part of the reason Storm was thrown in jail by the Desturi is because T’Challa chose his country over her, which is very on brand. He had his reasons, of course; T’Challa always has his justifications. Dr. Doom had infected most of Wakanda with nanites, making everyone walking-talking surveillance cameras. This allowed him to obtain the information he needed and fund the Desturi so they could come into power, giving Doom his way into Wakanda and the vibranium. This left T’Challa to go about things in a very T’Challa way. We get to see him in detective-scientist mode, which reminds us why he usually is the smartest person in the room — but he isn’t always right, which he soon learns before the series is over. T’Challa works alongside Reed while they try to figure out how to track down Doom.
In this series, Shuri is the princess regent as well as in possession of the Black Panther mantle. She’s very much the HBIC on and off the battlefield. Shuri wants blood and gets it several times over. There is a scene involving Nightcrawler bamfing Shuri and T’Challa to the location of the leader of the Desturi — and Shuri snaps his neck.
The Dora Milaje have several shining moments themselves. Led by Aneka, they take on several thousand Desturi and Wakandan soldiers, holding their own against such massive numbers.There's also the introduction of a special forces team of the Dora Milaje called the Midnight Angels who pair up with Deadpool, making for the best affiliation in the entire series. Wade Wilson is going to do Wade Wilson no matter what, but isn’t that why we love him so much? The Dora Milaje and Deadpool team is one you didn’t know you needed but truly do. If T’Challa was desperate enough to call in Deadpool to help with Doom, you know the situation is dire.
Victor Von Doom is his normal petty self. He sips from his bedazzled wine goblet while delivering verbal daggers to just about anyone in his vicinity. Victor strips nude at one point in the series and stands before Bast, the panther god, and in all his abhorrent glory convinces Bast he is worthy of Wakanda’s vibranium. It's an interesting exchange but shows how committed Doom is to his ideas and how he really is his own brand of a savior, even though he may be the only one to see himself in such a way.Doom is a first-rate foe, who forces T’Challa to seek a method he normally wouldn’t use: magic, bringing a new element to this tried and true hero/villain situationship. While the ending is rather anticlimactic in some respects, it does involve T’Challa doing the unexpected with a new science he created based on embracing the use of magic and technology together. In many respects, Doom brings out the best in those who oppose him: a villain who requires everyone to be on their A-game and then some.
Doomwar is a quick fun read that will have you longing to see its characters together on the big screen — especially the Dora Milaje and Deadpool. Who wouldn’t want to see Danai Gurira and Ryan Reynolds share the same scene? Plus, Dr. Doom is the next great villain to introduce to the MCU, given that he has ties to both the Black Panther and the Fantastic Four. It would be an excellent excuse to reintroduce a new Fantastic Four to their new home within the MCU, not mention Storm and the X-Men. The Doomwar series is basically an ultimate Marvel team-up against one of the universe’s most formidable villains — and it could be a Phase 4 delight.