REVIEW: Infamous Iron Man #11 – “Strange Doom II”

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: Alex Maleev
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Price: $3.99
Release Date: 08/30/17
Rating: T+

Infamous Iron Man

Plot: Last issue, Victor Von Doom turned himself into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. Sharon Carter calls in Doctor Strange to figure out the reasons behind Doom’s decision. While Strange and Doom discuss the return of his mother, both characters figure out who’s the real mastermind. However, Ultimate Reed Richards shows up and confirms there’s a bigger player in this game.

Story: One thing I can expect from a Brian Michael Bendis story is quality dialogue. Bendis gives us a great interaction between Doctors Strange and Doom. Doom’s relationship with Strange is similar to the one with Reed Richards. Both men are powerful in their fields but with Reed it’s about science and with Strange it’s about magic. However Bendis’s words portray Strange and Doom as more friendlier rivals than arch enemies. Plus I enjoy how Bendis adds some sarcasm and snark for these two characters, who are otherwise serious most of the time.

The big surprise of this issue involved Ultimate Reed. It turns out the Ultimate Reed appearing in this series is actually (SPOILER ALERT!) Mephisto. Mephisto wants to stop Doom’s redemption because this will save Doom’s soul from his eternal wrath. This was a brilliant and unexpected twist. Plus Doom and Strange fighting Mephisto again feels like an unofficial sequel to Triumph and Torment, the duo’s original quest to free Doom’s mother from Mephisto.

It’s disappointing we’re not seeing a new form of the Richards/Doom rivalry, but  Mephisto’s appearance was unexpected that I’ll overlook it. Plus this explains why Ultimate Reed’s appearances in Ultimates do not reference is time in Infamous Iron Man. Also I hope next issue explains why Mephisto took the form of an alternate Reed Richards instead of the 616 version.

Art: The artwork for this issue is awesome. Matt Hollingsworth makes some excellent color choices. My favorite example would be Strange and Doom meditating in the astral plane. The scene has a nice blend of bright colors that invoke a supernatural vibe. Another good example would be Mephisto on the final page. The combination of reds help the demon stand out and have a hellfire inspired background.

Alex Maleeve also shows strong work on the pencils. Since the issue is mostly dialogue exchanges Maleeve shows spectacular details with the facial expressions. Plus he does an excellent job with the page layouts. The layouts really help the story flow more steadily and their are some creative uses of a nine panel grid on some of the pages.

Verdict: Infamous Iron Man has been pretty average for me but this issue helped renew my interest in this title. While this issue is not new reader friendly, it did encourage me to re-read previous issues before the final issue next month. With good dialogue and fantastic artwork, this issue shows off this creative team’s best work for this title. Even though I still have some questions about Mephisto’s disguise choice, this issue was a great read.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars