Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Doom 2099 #39: "May the Circle Be Unbroken"/"The Night Before Yesterday"

The good news is that we get confirmation here that Herod is working on behalf of the corporations.  Finally!  Color me a happy man.  I'm still not sure who he is or if he's working for all the corporations, but at least we're getting somewhere in clarifying the 2099 universe's post-"Doom 2099" #33 status quo.  Moreover, Ellis fleshes out some motivations here, implying that Herod's relationship with Stark-Fujikawa was an alliance meant to remove Doom -- and his anti-corporation policies -- from office.  But, it remains unclear if Herod's collaboration goes beyond Stark-Fujikawa.  Based on this issue and "Fantastic Four 2099" #2, I'm actually not sure if Alchemax played any role whatsoever in the coup d'état; if it did, it would imply that someone at Alchemax was working against Miguel's leadership, since he's the Acting CEO.

Moving past the larger 2099-wide questions, Ellis does a great job of using Doom's defeat to tease out his character.  Naturally, Doom realizes that he was deposed because he failed to see everything at once; he was too focused on running the United States and not on the larger battle against the corporations.  Now, he sets his sights on cyberspace; by controlling it, he would have access to all the information that he needs to rule the world.  It's a really brilliant take on Doom.  His focus on saving the world comes only because he's now realized that it's the easiest way to run it.  Somehow Doom makes good evil.

The bad news is that this issue is essentially one long information-dump.  It's apparently Ellis' last issue on the title, so he's obviously clearing the decks.  I'm OK with that, but Ellis does so by dispensing with any notion of story-telling here; instead, we're subjected to one long narration with no dialogue or plot to break up the monotony.  Unfortunately, I've found that the 2099 books (except "Spider-Man 2099") have been using this playbook way too often lately.  We're often told that something is happening instead of seeing it happen.  I understand that the whole premise of the 2099 universe requires a lot of world-building, but I feel like the editors could've done a better job of making sure that the authors didn't rush the process.  I feel like Ellis could've somehow presented the information that he does here in a way that actually required someone saying something.

I know that the upcoming cancelation of the 2099 line is coming.  It seems hard to believe, because David is doing some of this best work in "Spider-Man 2099" right now.  But, reading this issue and the "2099 Apocalypse"/"2099 Genesis" issues, I actually can see why sales started dropping.  The 2099 is interesting because of the characters, not just the differences between then and now.  When authors like David use the characters to show those differences, it succeeds.  When authors like Ellis lose sight of the characters to focus on the differences, it fails.  It's sad, but, with so many 2099 titles falling into the latter category, I can see why the line eventually lost steam.

No comments:

Post a Comment