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Marvel Graphic Novel #27: Review

Jun 1987
David Michelinie, Bob Hall

Story Name:

Emperor Doom

Review & Comments

4 stars

Marvel Graphic Novel #27 Review by (October 19, 2011)
The MCP has declined to make a definitive ruling about how Doom gets into these issues. Is it really 1 of his Doombot stand-ins? (That would explain how it could resist Purple Man, being a robot. But when it removed its mask there wouldn't be a face inside.) Or is it another part of his Beyonder time-trip? Or did Doom use his own time machine to fill in the gap?

Ignoring the Doom question leaves another 1. This issue lasts more than a month. Where in SWII can we fit such a large gap. The MCP puts it between SWII#1 and #2 and I think that is the least worst place to put it. In #1 and the following tie-ins the Beyonder was an energy being experimenting on-and-off with various human forms. In #2 he committed to staying in 1 body to fully experience humanity. So he was just interested to see what would happen in EDOOM before then.
1 separate reason that MCP give for the placement is that an editorial comment says this issue happens before West Coast Avengers v2 #1 (possibly because it doesn't show Hank Pym who sort-of joins the team then). And for other reasons MCP has WCA#1 following SWII#2.

Be that as it may, I can comment on some other aspects of continuity.

Sub-Mariner no longer rules Atlantis since being forced to abdicate at the end of his 1984 mini-series. Since then he's only made 2 cameo apps:- in the crowd of superheroes at the end of the Wraith War in ROM#65, and in a Defenders gathering in a Dr Strange story in Marvel Fanfare #20.
He's always been an anti-hero, essentially noble but putting his own people before surface-humans. He appears more obviously villainous here.
After this issue Namor will attend an Illuminati meeting in their #3 to discuss the Beyonder. Then he'll apparently abandon royal aspirations and join the Avengers in their #262.

Marvel Graphic Novel #27 Review by (October 19, 2011)
Review: This is every bit as good as it sounds; if you are a fan of the ‘80s Avengers—or Marvel in general—do not miss it.

Comments: Concept by Mark Gruenwald, David Michelinie, and Jim Shooter. “This story takes place before WEST COAST AVENGERS #1.” Cameos by Luke Cage, the Hulk, Black Knight, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Thing, Wolverine, Dr. Strange, Storm, She-Hulk, Mr. Fantastic, plus Margaret Thatcher, Fidel Castro, Mikhail Gorbachev, and other world leaders. The Purple Man returns from the dead in ALPHA FLIGHT #62. The film director Mr. Szwarc appears to be real-life movie and TV director Jeannot Szwarc (he’s on IMDb).

Rob adds:-

The Marvel Chronology Project has a big problem trying to fit this issue in place.

Tony Stark is Iron Man in the new armour from IM#200. In Secret Wars II #1 James Rhodes was Iron Man in the old armour, and in particular SWII#1 is linked to IM#197. Scarlet Witch, Starfox and Vision are part of the East Coast Avengers. V&SW leave in Av#255 and SF leaves in #261 which interacts with SWII#4. So Emperor Doom lies between SWII#1 and #4.

But Dr Doom wasn't around at this time. He was apparently obliterated in FF#260, but in #277 we learned that he had switched minds with a bystander. In #278 the Beyonder restored Doom's body and the bystander's mind, and switched them back. But that was after SWII#6, and FF#260 was well before SWII, so Dr Doom was trapped in the other body during SWII#1-6.
In fact FF#260 is even before the 1st Secret Wars, where Dr Doom also featured. FF#288 addresses that problem by having Beyonder send Doom back in time to take part in SWI and then bring him back. The MCP assumes that Doom's time-trip also included the Marvel 1985 mini-series, which was a much later insert which followed SWI.
There is another issue that is in the same boat as EDoom, that is SWII#7. If it is after FF#278 then it is also after SWII#8, as stated in that issue.

Marvel Graphic Novel #27 Review by (October 19, 2011)
The East Coast Av characters seen here were all last together in Av#255 which was where V&SW resigned. But since then Captain America has been in his #305-309 with SWII#1 in the middle. I posit that V&SW hung around while they house-hunted.
After EDoom Jarvis, Starfox and Wasp will guest within Spectacular Spider-Man #105-106 before reassembling with Cap for Av#256. It will be a while before we see V&SW in domestic bliss in their 2nd limited series.

The WCA members have been spending a lot of time in Iron Man's series since their initial mini-series, despite the fact that IM James Rhodes left the team in IM#193. In the same issue Tony Stark told them he was the old IM, and used their facilities from IM#195 on to build the new armour he wears here.
Wonder Man was in the above-mentioned Av255, and Hawkeye, Mockingbird and Tigra in CA#398. Then H&MB were there when TS donned the new armour to defeat Obadiah Stane in IM#200. And Tigra joined them in #201 as TS joined the team.
Then comes this issue. And there's quite a gap until WCA2#1 because the 1st few issues intertwine with the V&SW series.

I doubt if Vision, Machine Man and Ultron are really the the only robots around. And Doom didn't realise Wonder Man wouldn't be affected by Purple Man either, because he too isn't human and doesn't breathe.
MM was a Jack Kirby character who began life in JK's 2001: A Space Odyssey series before getting his own series. Later Steve Ditko took over the art so the guy has a good pedigree, but he hasn't been seen since IM#168. In fact his pal Gears Garvin has appeared more recently in IM#183 modifying Rhodey's armour. MM will have another wait for his next app with other robots in Av#287-290.
Keeping track of Ultron is complicated by the fact that he keeps being rebuilt with a new number, and we're entering a period where 2 will co-exist. But this is Ultron-12 who Ultron-11 built before Beyonder took him to Battleworld

Several other characters get mute reaction headshots as Doom's changes unravel at the end. But Hulk and Luke Cage get a walk-on role earlier as his bodyguards.
Hulk is here between his issues #308 and #309 where he's supposedly trapped since #300 in the Crossroads dimension. However the MCP also includes M/Fanfare #20-21 after #308. DrS had brought Hulk from Crossroads to see if Bruce Banner's intellect was returning, and had called the Defenders together for their opinions. But the rest of this 2-part Jim Starlin tale turned into Strange vs Xandu and Thing vs Hulk. It ends with DrS too weary to send Hulk back immediately, so this issue must begin at that point and Hulk's stay is much extended. DrS is 1 of the heads that awaken at the end.
Luke Cage is Power Man at this time and his book has become PM & Iron Fist. This issue is placed between their #114 and #115. EDoom has to be before #118 because SWII#2 happens between #117 and #118. In #115-117 they're in Alaska which ends with IF fatally ill. They stopover in New York on the way to K'un-Lun for a cure, and that's where Beyonder interacts with them for a brief time. But if we put EDoom in there then IF is dying for a month or more. So it goes at the next earlier place, before the trip to Alaska.

Early in the issue Doom's troops are referred to as humans with feelings, but later they are defined as robots allowing the Avengers to do stuff like decapitating them. But they look the same in both places, and they look like Doom's usual robot cannon fodder (not the more sophisticated Doombots).

Purple Man seems to die here but he'll be back, like most Marvel villains, starting in Alpha Flight #62. He's a recurring Daredevil foe who goes all the way back to DD#4, and in his last app in Marvel Team-Up Annual #4 he was working for Kingpin against DD and Moon Knight. But before that he messed with the life of superheroine Jewel, teen Jessica Jones, as shown in Alias #25-26.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Marvel Graphic Novel #27 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

On the island of Papeete in French Polynesia, Zebediah Killgrave, the Purple Man, lives the good life, using his powers of persuasion to turn the local rulers into his servants. His idyll is interrupted by a mysterious visitor who proves immune to the Purple Man’s powers and he snatches up the villain for use in a scheme of his own….

Manhattan: a disguised Sub-Mariner walks the rainy streets on his way to a meeting at the exclusive Four Seasons restaurant. Entering the dining room, his coat and hat are burned off by an energy blast from his host—Doctor Doom. Namor came because Doom mentioned a plan to free the Atlanteans from the tyranny of the surface-dwellers. Doom points out that no one in the crowded establishment paid any attention to the power blast—and reveals why. He wields a Psycho-Prism, powered by a single hair from the Purple Man, which gives him the ability to control the minds of others. He is now constructing a mammoth version of the Psycho-Prism which will enable him to rule the world. But there are three beings whose artificial nature means the Psycho-Prism has no effect on them; this is where Namor comes in. In exchange for attaching special discs to those three to make them susceptible to the Prism’s influence, Doom offers Namor rule of the oceans. Namor agrees….

In Hollywood, the "King of the Stuntmen" Simon Williams is being blown up for a World War I picture; when shooting ends for the day he heads to the West Coast Avengers’ compound as Wonder Man. There, Tony Stark has set up an experiment Simon has agreed to: in order to study the energy that makes up his body, Wonder Man will spend thirty days locked in a chemical bath inside a sensory deprivation tank. Despite his misgivings, he goes ahead with the deal—after all, as Tony says, what can happen in a month…?

Meanwhile, at Avengers Mansion in New York, Jarvis informs the Vision that he has a visitor—the Sub-Mariner, who has used the small Psycho-Prism to gain entry so he can attach Dr. Doom’s refractory disc on the android’s body. When Vision naturally resists, Namor, has the mind-controlled Starfox threaten to decapitate Scarlet Witch unless Vision submits. Seeing his beloved in danger, the android allows the disc to be placed on his body and the Psycho-Prism takes over his mind. Namor orders them to erase the record of the visit from the filmed record; one down…. The second target is Machine Man, who turns out to be easy: Namor merely commands his mechanic Gears Garvin to place the disc on him during repairs. Two down…. The third is Ultron, who is easily beaten and controlled by the stronger Namor. All three "problem" subject have now been dealt with….

Doctor Doom, meanwhile, visits his private island where he observes the progress on the giant Psycho-Prism with the Purple Man trapped at its center. The imprisoned villain shouts defiance; Doom approaches and removes his mask, standing face to face with the Purple Man, demonstrating that his will is so strong that Killgrave’s hypnotic powers are useless against Doom….

The West Coast Avengers are aware, however, of the happenings in new York since all records entered into the Avengers computers are accessible from both coasts. Investigation of a comment made by Namor on the tape leads them to Doom Island where they attack in force. Doom is surprised but his defense system and cadre of guards are prepared for the invading heroes. The Avengers take them on, until suddenly Doom orders his guards to allow the heroes to enter his stronghold. They find the villain in his control room where he permits them to witness his grand triumph—he activates the giant Psycho-Prism…and in a flash, the Avengers are confused by why they are there. Doom orders them to leave; they apologize for bothering him and meekly comply….

Two days later, Doctor Doom addresses assembled world leaders at the United Nations building in New York. He proposes himself for the position of Emperor of the Earth, and the leaders vote unanimously to give him the throne. Sub-Mariner approaches Doom about their bargain; Doom reneges and reveals that the small Psycho-Prism can control Namor’s mind—bringing the last strong-willed being under his command. The new emperor quickly uses his absolute authority to end wars, famine, injustice, crime, economic troubles, etc….

At the end of the thirty-day experiment, Wonder Man emerges from his deprivation chamber and wonders where Tony Stark is. He finds the industrialist busy converting the space shuttle into the Emperor’s private transport. Captain America and Wasp are redecorating the compound for the Emperor’s visit and Tigra is doing a charity benefit since there is no crime to fight anymore. A confused Simon turns on the TV and sees Doctor Doom being honored in New York; he warns the others—and to his horror they contact Doom and notify him that Wonder Man is a rebel (the Psycho-Prism has no effect on his artificial body) and try to capture him. Wonder Man manages to fight his way to freedom past his comrades and make it to a city—where the loyalist populace, warned of a traitor, mobs him. He vanishes into the sewers and makes his way to the movie studio where he dons an elaborate disguise to blend in. On the run, the depressed Simon has a talk with a blind woman who advises him to use what talents he has for the good of society; Wonder Man realizes he possesses one thing no one else in the world has: awareness, and with a new determination, he heads back for civilization. He researches the Avengers’ tapes of the incident and a close-up of the Psycho-Prism reveals the participation of the Purple Man. Reasoning he can snap his teammates out of their spells, he challenges Captain America to a fight, gets him in a headlock, and forces him to view films of the avengers’ earlier battles with Doctor Doom. The trauma forces Cap back to normal; Cap then conceives a plan to do the same to Iron Man, Wasp, and Hawkeye under the guise of testing a new educational computer, which likewise does the job. With this core team, Cap and Wonder Man are ready to take on Doom—but there is one snag: Hawkeye tries to rescue his wife Mockingbird but she resists and warns Doom of the new situation, ruining their chance at surprise. They assault Doom Island anyway, fighting their way past Doom’s tanks and robot army. The Emperor orders Namor to guard the Psycho-Prism with his life; Wasp enters the chamber and uses her sting to destroy the mini-prism around Namor’s neck but this does not release him from Doom’s control. She then shatters the glass wall, letting the sea pour in; Namor, his full power restored, is enraged at how he has been used. Watching from a scanner elsewhere, Doom allows his finger to hover over a button that will release nerve gas into the Psycho-Prism chamber, but, having grown increasingly bored with rule, he relents. Namor destroys the Psycho-Prism, apparently killing the Purple Man. With the destruction of the Psycho-Prism, the world returns to its miserable normal state. Doom escapes, a bitter Namor heads for the sea, and the Avengers are left to debate the morality of their act. Hawkeye concludes, "We’ve done mankind the greatest favor in history—or we’ve done it the greatest damage. And either way, that’s something we’re going to have to live with—for the rest of our lives."

Bob Hall
Bob Hall
Bob Hall (Cover Penciler)
Keith Williams (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Doctor Doom
Doctor Doom

(Victor Von Doom)

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)

(Edwin Jarvis)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)


(Greer Nelson)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: President Ronald Reagan, Purple Man.

> Marvel Graphic Novel: Book info and issue index

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