Doom 2099

So today I felt inspired to talk about something else that is closely related to my love of RPG games. Just prior to my love of gaming was a love of comic books. One led to the other.

Earlier this year I began to re-read my collection of comic books. The decision was prompted by the recent success of Marvel movies. It seemed to me that they were borrowing heavily from the Ultimate series of Marvel comics but, being only peripherally aware of those books and being poor, I decided to re-read what I already have on the shelf’.

It amazes me how uneven the quality of the 90’s Marvel comics were. Post-Heroes Reborn titles seemed to be some of the best books of the time, but before those, I was enamoured with Marvel 2099. [wikipedia] [marvel] [tvtropes]

Introduced in 1992, the world of 2099 is a dystopic future where corporations openly rule the world and governments are a pale shadow of formality through which they treat. Profit is king and often the only people who don’t live in utter poverty are those who have sold their lives to the mega-corporations. In 2099, the present day Age of Heroes is a dim memory and after their fall no-one rose to take their place.

2099 begins with the creation of new Spider-Man, but it positively resonates when the Latverian monarch himself arrives and sees what has become of his beloved country.

Right from the start, there is reason to doubt that is really the present day Dr Doom. He has all of the memories of Doom though, and that is sufficient motivation to roll back the tide of change that the future has brought to his homeland and to protect it from outside influences.

The first 25 issues were written by Jonathan Francis Moore and drawn by Pat Broderick. These detailed Doom’s acclimation and rise to power in the world of 2099. Issues 26-39 were written by Warren Ellis. Ellis’ run chronicled the Doctor’s overthrow of America in an attempt to end the corporatocracy that had consumed the world (almost literally!).

I’m a sucker for a good anti-hero. In contrast to the dire state of the world, Doom certainly presents an appealing alternative. He is a revolutionary who conquers one problem and then moves on to the next without pause. He constantly strives to provide safety and prosperity for his people, regardless of the cost to them or anyone else for that matter.

And there is the problem with Doom. Having won one victory, he uses force and intimidation to hold ground while he advances on another front. He doesn’t take the time to consolidate his gains and build a true nation. The man is a genius but he is diminished without an overt challenge and so he constantly seeks them out to prove his genius time after time.

As I re-read the series, I am struck by how relevent it seems compared to the current struggles that we see in the Occupy movement and the influence of corporate interests in Congress. I wish that the title ran longer.

After Warren Ellis took over though, problems started to creep into the title. Warren had pitched the American take-over story and he had solid plans for the title up through issue 38. Unfortunately, that included Doom being deposed almost immediately after taking office.  (I really wish they explored that more.) The cast of villans and pawns that were created to stand against him were utterly repugnant and it struck a very bad chord. When Steve Pugh came on as the penciller, heavy, black art amplified the vileness and my dis-satisfaction with the title’s direction.

I had hope that the title would recover and that was dashed in 1996 when the line editor, Joey Cavalieri was fired and nearly all of the creators walked off of 2099 titles in protest. The quality of the line went downhill quickly after than and by the end of 1997, 2099 was no more.

That said, if you know a comic book geek or have a well-stocked comics shop nearly, I very much recommend checking out the first half of the run. It was one of the better books of the time.

I am on vacation and with the way the rest of my week is shaping up, don’t expect an RPG post from me this Friday. Next week, I hope to be back on track and I will have a few different things that I may talk about.

This Friday, my regular gaming group wants to tackle Revenge of the Iron Lich again. On Saturday, I’ll be on G+ playtesting a Probability Angels one-shot (a FATE game) with @Rolling20s. Then, on Sunday, I will be playing in the first session of @SaveVersusDeath‘s OSRIC campaign. We finished the prequel last week! This also marks what might be the first recording for an actual-play podcast. We’ll see how it goes but, after the prequel tests, I think that we’ll be happy to share the results with you.

Now to make a new FTDM character, WetwORCS FTW!


~ by Hunter Rose on December 7, 2011.

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