If you haven’t been reading “Doomwar” or “Black Panther,” but wanted to begin with “Doomwar” #3, Jonathan Maberry and Scott Eaton have you covered, because this issue begins with a detailed recap of the story thus far. It’s presented under the pretense of Shuri, the current Black Panther, recounting what’s happened in order to elicit the help of the Fantastic Four, but it’s the sort of thing that gets the issue off to a slow start. New reader friendly? Perhaps, but it’s presented in such detail that it has a good chance of boring said new reader into a coma. A shorter recap would have been better, but taking so much time and space to retell what’s happened is a message for readers: this is a downtime issue, a breather, a delaying tactic.
Thankfully, a part of this issue is very interesting, giving it something to make it worthwhile: Doom passing through the final security measure in T’Challa’s vault containing Wakanda’s vibranium. The final lock is a test of purity where any lies or negative motives will result in the death of whomever seeks access to the vault. T’Challa is mystified as to how Doom made it past this final stage and the issue bounces between Doom confronting Bast, the guardian and panther god of Wakanda, and T’Challa and the Fantastic Four preparing to take on Doom.
That structure helps the issue, because the T’Challa/Fantastic Four scenes are the typical sort of scenes we’ve all seen a thousand times before. They’re necessary, but boring. Maberry adds nothing to them to make them interesting beyond functioning to move the plot from one point to another. By mixing them with Doom’s confrontation with Bast, the issue is driven forward since those scenes are very interesting and well executed. How could Doom be considered pure and worthy of the vibranium? The answer is surprising and makes sense as Maberry draws on past Marvel stories in a clever way.
However, even with the Doom scenes, this is middling, average comic, partly because of Scott Eaton’s art, which has a nice blocky sketchy look to it, but covered with muted, bland, messy colors. Jean-Francois Beaulieu seems to be going for an effect of block colors to work with Eaton’s style, but it isn’t done strongly enough or with vibrant enough colors. The colors are just ugly and dark, which doesn’t mix well with Eaton’s art. His style isn’t dynamic enough to warrant to this style of coloring and looks like it needs something brighter to make the art pop off the page. Bast is the only character that looks great, partly because of its bright white fur; it jumps off the page and stands out.
Fans of Dr. Doom may want to check out this issue since Maberry does a nice job with the character and sets up an interesting tension for the rest of the story surrounding him, but that’s only part of this issue. The remainder is nothing new and reveals little about the characters. Not a bad read, but somewhat dull.