Not So Secret Wars, Doomworld, and Plot Holes.
In “Secret Wars” No. 3, this week, Doctor Doom takes his mask off. There’s no hidden angle, there’s no shadows, and there’s also no dramatic or story purpose in doing it.
Doctor Doom’s face is a mystery, the idea that we never see it is part of the fun. There has always been a debate whether his mask hides a small scar which would be no big deal, or is massively ruined by his own mistakes. Some stories suggest a combination of the two. The thing is…we don’t know. Never have.
There have been stories where he takes his mask off, and we don’t see it…and people in the frame react with fear and revulsion. Once, Sue Richards see’s his face, and reacts with shock…but her reaction is such that it could in fact be a very small scar. Sort of a gasping revelation of, “You’ve been hiding THAT since the 1960’s? Really?”
In this story, this “Secret Wars,” we get an idea of how the current narrative status quo was established. With realities collapsing, Doctor Strange, Doom, and the molecule man team up to cobble together a kind of continued existence. In so doing, Doom is given godlike powers, through which he creates and maintains the Battleworld. “Battleworld” is a term inherited from the 1984 “Secret Wars” where the Beyonder slapped together a planet to find out which was stronger, good or evil.
About that…see how Old Man Logan is griping about the quality of Battleworld? Yep. Old School Battleworld came equipped with alien towns, superscientific bases and vehicles, and machines that could spit out a Venom uniform for you. It was specifically created to outfit Good and Evil to do Battle with each other.
This Battleworld…probably should be called “Doomworld” to start. Doom makes it and runs it after all. Also…it’s not like there’s a lot of battling going on, so the name just isn’t all that relevant. Add to that mix the idea that it’s littered with Ultron heads and other apocalyptic refuse…Doomworld seems a better name.
Plus…you’re building a universe…why keep the Age of Ultron and Marvel Zombies sections? Let’s leave out the real reason, sales of those licenses. You’re Doom, and you have the powers of GOD. You are making up reality…from pieces that you know things about, like Legos. Why wouldn’t you throw out these incredibly dangerous areas…that you just wind up walling off anyway? It seems like a really, really bad plan, and I’d like to think Doctor Doom is smarter than that. I mean…he built a working Time Machine.
Also…Doom has the power to shape reality, and make Sue his main squeeze…but he can’t fix his face? It is explicitly stated that he is unable to repair his face. That seems….just stupid. Beyond that, there’s not someone in Battleworld, like Masque, the mutant with One Power….changing people’s faces? You can’t go to the X-Men section of Battleworld and say, “Hey…you owe me…fix my face up?” Even if his own godlike powers won’t do the trick…it seems that someone could help out the God Emperor of reality.
The scene where he shows his face to us isn’t even a dramatic turning point. It’s a pity party for poor God Emperor Doom. It would make me wonder why it was included at all, until I think for just a moment.
Marvel has been under order from Disney and Isaac Perlmutter to downplay all of the characters that they don’t have film rights to. Hence the cancellation of the Fantastic Four book, and product lines. Also, the removal of those characters from existing art, and from future marketing pieces. This, narratively, is an incredible strike in that direction.
In their print media, Marvel has casually taken away the Big Mystery. Like Darth Vader’s face in the Star Wars films. For whole movies you wonder what was going on under there. There’s the glimpse of the back of his head in “Empire” which increases the speculation…and the dramatic reveal at the end, though anticlimactic, has a huge amount of build to it.
Fox can’t really do that in film now…since a simple Google search will do in that reveal. It’s a clever way to undermine one of the best parts of the property, one of the biggest mysteries that the reader/viewer has expectations about.