Quick question, how do you fight a god-powered Dr. Doom? It sounds like a trick question, like how do you do the amount of blow Keith Richards does on a Saturday and survive. But it does have an answer. You use a fucking Infinity Gauntlet. That’s what Black Panther is packing and finally, it gives Doom a challenge. He can’t snap his neck like Cyclops or burn his ass to a crisp like Dr. Strange. He has to actually get off his ass and do something. I’m sure that’s a novel concept for any god.
Namor gets in on the action as well, throwing in a few punches. But seeing as how he gets his fucking head cut off after this in Squadron Supreme, it’s kind of bittersweet. At least he can die saying he banged Emma Frost and fought a god-powered Dr. Doom. A man who dies with that on his resume can die with some pride. That’s for damn sure.
But you don’t just need an Infinity Gauntlet to fuck with Dr. Doom’s perfect world. You just need to get into the head of the hot blonde he made his wife. Reed finally gets to confront Sue, who still believes Dr. Doom is her husband. She’s now insanely skeptical. To her credit, she doesn’t laugh or bust Reed’s balls with a ratchet. I tried telling a woman that I’m from a world where she wasn’t married to such a douche-bag. I got a kick in the balls and a face full of cheap beer. So no, it’s not an effective pick-up line.
Reed, being the super-genius he is, finds a way to make it work. He doesn’t immediately get Sue to call a heavenly divorce lawyer or anything. He just convinces her that this shit they call Battleworld ain’t right and he can fix that. The fact he says it with a manly fucking beard probably gives Sue enough reason to hear him out. And Reed’s balls are probably thankful.
With his balls intact, he ventures into the fucked up realm where Dr. Doom is keeping Molecule Man, also known as the source of Doom’s godly power. It’s not a pleasant place to be and Ultimate Reed doesn’t help. They come with the intention of ending Doom’s power. Ultimate Reed uses it as an opportunity for the Ultimate Universe to do one last dick move.
How fucked up is it that in a story where Dr. Doom has god-like power, Ultimate Reed is the biggest douche? It’s a testament to both his assholery and the shitty effect the Ultimate Universe has on characters. He thinks he can end his counterpart, take Molecule Man’s power for himself, and spread Ultimate Marvel’s shit to the omniverse. Molecule Man says, “Fuck that!” and turns him into a bunch of meat slices. It’s as satisfying as it sounds. It couldn’t be more satisfying if he turned his piss into vodka.
All this tampering with the source of Doom’s power is sure to get noticed at some point. It’s here where Dr. Doom realizes that as nice as god-like power is, sometimes god-like awareness is more useful. He finds out the hard way that Black Panther was just jerking him around and not in the fun way with the Infinity Gauntlet. He was just distracting him and it fucking worked. That’s right. He fucking outwitted a god-powered Doom. It’s not as impressive as Namor banging Emma Frost, but he’ll live after Secret Wars. He’ll have his chances to catch up.
After getting that cold glare from Sue, which only a hot blonde can deliver, Dr. Doom turns his godly capacity to get pissed off on Reed. And even the lawyers that work for Disney and Fox have to admit it. This is how Secret Wars had to culminate. And Molecule Man, sick of Dr. Doom’s shit, ensures this is an even fight. Dr. Doom can’t use his godly power to end it with the same ease as blocking an internet troll on Twitter. He has to do what most gods avoid doing and put some actual effort into confronting his failures. Somewhere out there, the ghost of Nietzsche is smiling.
This is the battle that everyone since Roger Corman has failed to put into a movie. It’s Reed Richards versus Dr. Doom, the Marvel equivalent of Foreman versus Ali. One is an egotistical dictator who thinks he can fix everything if only he had god like power. One is a super-genius who doesn’t need to be in order to point out how fucked up that idea is.
The clash here is epic, personal, and visceral. There’s no explosions. There’s no cute princess being held in chains. It’s just two men with decades of animosity, fighting in the most meaningful way that doesn’t involve a broken beer bottle. What makes it so satisfying is that in the end, even the god-powered Doom can’t deny it. Reed is still better than him. I don’t care how much godly power Doom has. That shit hurts him, but it makes fans like me squee like a John Oliver in a room full of kittens.
This final clash allows Molecule Man to deliver the final shot in this war, ending both Dr. Doom’s godly reign and Battleworld. He’s still the source of all the power. That means he can end this shit in ways that’ll make Michael Bay jizz his pants. In one big bang, he effectively ends Battleworld. It’s not like when Ultimate Marvel ended and it was more of a “good riddance, that shit was overdue” type feeling. This is more of a “whoa fuck, this deserve another beer!” type feeling. And for a series that has been subject to so many shitty delays, that’s saying something.
So Battleworld ends. That’s it, right? Marvel’s universe is over. They’re shutting down the comics and focusing only on movies, video games, and TV shows that rip off X-men, right? Unless you just came out of a 30-year coma, you have no excuse for being surprised when Black Panther wakes up in a new Marvel Universe. He had a fucking Infinity Gauntlet. Of course he survived.
When he wakes up, he arrives back in his home of Wakanda. The time period is unclear, but there’s no god-powered Dr. Doom in sight so something must have gone right. There’s no mud pit where Storm and Emma Frost are wrestling naked either, but nobody said it was perfect. He arrives just in time to see a vision for a new future for his people. For a guy who went toe-to-toe with Dr. Doom and survived, he’s earned it. I’m sure he still would’ve preferred that mud wrestling match between Storm and Emma, but what are you going to do?
Jump ahead another 8 months. Somewhere along the line, the entire mutant race got fucked over worse than anyone who invested in a Syrian time share scam. But also, some of the less shitty elements from Ultimate Marvel made it into this new universe. That includes, and is almost exclusive to, Miles Morales. He and Peter Parker can now rub elbows in a way that still pisses off racists on the internet, but just not as much. And since you never want to piss off racists too much, I’m going to call that a win.
But what the fuck exactly happened to create this new universe? Did Molecule Man always have the ability to just blow up Battleworld whenever he got bored with Dr. Doom’s shit? Could it really be that contrived? Given Marvel’s history, I certainly wouldn’t be shocked.
But praise Odin’s beard and Emma Frost’s tits! That’s not the case this time. We do get a pretty concise explanation for what happened, courtesy of Valeria Richards. Instead of using this power to make Dr. Doom a god-powered asshole, he channels it through Reed Richards to create entirely new universes from that power. He even is nice enough to heal Molecule Man in the process, something Dr. Doom never would’ve done unless it made Reed’s balls shrivel. They didn’t just fix the universe. They created new ones in the process. It’s like planting one seed and getting enough weed for 20 joints. It’s a beautiful thing.
It makes for a moment that’s actually happy and satisfying for the Richards family. Thanks to Josh Trank and a vendetta by Disney against anything they can’t exploit the fuck out of in their movies, the Fantastic Four haven’t had many. They’re a family again. They’re not dead. And unlike mutants, they haven’t been killed off, diseased, or sterilized. But they do have a new purpose now. Instead of just rubbing elbows with the Avengers and occasionally shitting all over the X-men, they’re just going to be a family and explore these new universes. Given all the ways they could’ve been screwed over by Secret Wars, this is the best thing they could’ve hoped for that didn’t involve puppies that shit chocolate.
But what about Dr. Doom? Did he get the divine screw-job he so rightly deserved? Nobody would shed a tear for his unholy ass if that happened. But those who picked up Invincible Iron Man already know this is not the case. In one last act that might have been an indirect middle finger from Reed, he heals Dr. Doom’s disfigured face. And he now wakes up in Latveria, looking far less menacing and much more fuckable. So in the end, everybody got a happy ending.
Except mutants. It still sucks to be a mutant, an X-man, or anything Bryan Singer and Brett Ratner have ever touched.
So...is it awesome?
Let me put it this way. That big-boobed nurse who gave that prostate exam I mentioned also had a nice ass. In another way, a simple fuck yes is appropriate. Star Wars fans might still scoff, but anyone who has endured the craptastic endings of Fear Itself and Avengers vs. X-men will take note. The delays, the tie-ins, and bullshit teasers that made the delays even worse became an afterthought in the end. And when you forget about that crap without the aid of a case of Jack Daniels, then that's how you know that Hickman and Ribic accomplished something here.
It's a classic clash, Dr. Doom and Reed Richards. At no point did it feel like Josh Trank and Tim Story were blowing each other behind the scenes. It's a culmination of a cosmic shit storm that might not have made all the shitty tie-ins better, but it made the end result pretty damn satisfying. The Marvel universe has been reborn and it doesn't feel like someone's grave got pissed on. Sure, the Ultimate universe died, but let's face it. That was a mercy killing at best. This new world may suck donkey balls for mutants, but the catalyst that created it in Secret Wars #9 is pretty damn awesome for all those involved.
Final Score: 10 out of 10