Well, we’ve gotten to a book in the Indiana Jones series that feels epic in scale enough to be a story worthy of a film, instead of feeling more like a television episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. Not that the smaller feeling stories before this were bad but it’s nice getting to something that feels more in tune with what I was hoping from these books from the get go. Also, this fills in the time from the young Indy era to the movie era, so slowly building towards bigger adventures actually works kind of well.
This is also a jungle adventure, which we haven’t gotten in the novels yet. It starts off with a great treasure hunt in Guatemala then travels to New York City, giving us the first appearance of Marcus Brody in the novel series, then it goes on an ocean liner from NYC to Rio de Janeiro, other cool parts of Brazil and then deep into the Amazon.
Probably the most interesting thing about the plot is that it actually continues the romantic subplot of the previous novel and even brings back the same girl. In fact, Indy and Deirdre get married in this novel. Sadly, by the end of the adventure, Deirdre dies and Indy is left with the emotion of that, which I’m sure will be a big part of the novel that follows this one.
I’d like to think of these novels as canon as I do the Star Ears Expanded Universe books despite Disney fucking that up. So with that being said, it’s now clear to see why Indy seems to have commitment problems with the women he meets from film-to-film, never truly settling down until the end of the fourth film, which takes place about thirty years after this novel’s setting.
What I like about these Rob MacGregor Indy books is that each one connects in some way to the one before it. He wrote the first six out of these twelve books and I hope the stories continue to have these tiny threads connecting them, even after other authors step into the series in the back half.
This one connects to the Celtic legend of the previous book and ties Celtic lore to the ancient magical lore of South America. In fact, Merlin even reappears in this and you learn more about what Merlin actually is on the bigger stage of the world outside of just the United Kingdom and its nearby lands.
Out of the first three books, all of which I have enjoyed, this one really takes the cake and is my favorite thus far. The characters move around a lot, there isn’t a dull moment, it’s action packed, energetic, fun and it feels like an authentic Indiana Jones adventure.
Pairs well with: other Indiana Jones novels from Bantam Books’ run in the ’90s.
This second book in the ’90s Indiana Jones novel series was better than its predecessor and Rob MacGregor seems to have found his groove a bit more with this one.
Like its predecessor, it feels more like an episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, as opposed to feeling like a story as epic as the film series. That’s fine but I hope these start to get more grandiose in scale.
This book also goes to less places than its predecessor, as the entire story is confined to the United Kingdom, only seeing Indy in London, rural Scotland and Stonehenge.
That being said, if you ever wondered what it’d be like for Indy to have a story take place around Stonehenge, well… this is it!
Even more than the first book, I liked the characters in this a lot. Especially, Indy’s returning college buddy, who got to be much more involved this time around. I also liked the love interest and her role in the bigger picture.
What I really liked, though, was the villain. He was a young, ambitious but evil member of British Parliament. He had his eyes set on unlocking the secrets of Stonehenge and Merlin in an effort to rule the world.
This story takes place after Indy has left college as a student and started his first teaching job in London. This aspect of the story was cool, as you get to see him uncomfortable and a bit out of his element, even though it’s well-known that he becomes a successful archeology professor. It’s these parts of the books I like though, as they serve to enrich the character and fill in some of the blanks from his long, adventurous life.
All in all, this was a lighthearted and exciting read.
Pairs well with: other Indiana Jones novels from Bantam Books’ run in the ’90s.
Written by: David Michelinie
Art by: Bob Layton, Ron Lim
Marvel Comics, 110 Pages
While this is my least favorite of the three parts in the Doomquest trilogy, it is still a really fun comic miniseries and it captures the right spirit of the previous tales, even though this one came out a few decades later than the other two.
In this story, Doom finally attempts to get his promised revenge on Iron Man by tricking him into entering Mephisto’s Hell dimension. While Iron Man is stuck dealing with that, Doom then gets revenge on Morgan le Fay and is able to acquire the legendary sword, Excalibur.
Iron Man eventually escapes Hell, confronts a now invincible Doom who can now cut through Iron Man’s armor suit thanks to Excalibur. However, Iron Man then gets suped up after acquiring the sheath of Excalibur.
Eventually, the two have to work together again as a giant kaiju-sized monster made of eyeballs comes into their dimension in an effort to destroy everything in its path.
This story is over the top and fantastical but that’s what makes it awesome and a worthy sequel to the two stories before it.
King Arthur isn’t directly involved like he was in the other tales but Merlin comes in and plays an important role.
I’d suggest reading the first two parts of the Doomquest trilogy before getting into this one, as you’ll miss some important context, but this is still a solid story, especially for fans of either character.
Pairs well with: the other two parts of the Doomquest trilogy, as well as Emperor Doom, Infamous Iron Man, Avengers: The Private War of Dr. Doom and Doctor Strange & Doctor Doom: Triumph & Torment.
Published: April 9th, 2008
Written by: David Michelinie, Bob Layton
Art by: Bob Layton, John Romita Jr.
Marvel Comics, 133 Pages
I wanted to read some classic Doctor Doom stories and while I’ve known about the Doomquest story arc from Iron Man issues 149 and 150, I had never read it.
I got the collected edition on Comixology, which also features the sequel story from Iron Man issues 249 and 250, making this collection the forst two-thirds of what is referred to unofficially as the Doomquest Trilogy. The third and final part is a four issue miniseries called Iron Man: Legacy of Doom, which I will also read in the near future, as these two stories were spectacular and have now become two of my favorite Iron Man and Doctor Doom arcs.
The common thread between every part of this trilogy is the creative team, as well as featuring Iron Man matching wits with Doom.
I enjoyed the stories here and thought that David Michelinie and Bob Layton captured the best of both characters. Plus, both stories featured time travel. The first story sent Iron Man and Doom back to the time of King Arthur where Doom actually meets Morgan le Fay for the first time. They are also involved in the events of Camelot and King Arthur. The second story sends them to the future, a few years shy of Marvel’s 2099 era but this also ties to the Camelot storyline, as both are pulled to the future to help a reincarnated Arthur and Merlin.
What really stands out and accents the story greatly is the art of John Romita Jr. As much as I love the classic art style of Jack Kirby, who is my favorite artist of all-time, I actually think that Romita Jr. draws the best Doctor Doom. He just gets the look right from the mask, the position of the cape, the character’s anatomy and his posture. He also draws a great Iron Man, as well as all the Camelot stuff.
This collection of two stories was just great from top to bottom. The whole thing is energetic, exciting and damn entertaining.
If anything, I’m just stoked to read the final part of the trilogy now.
Pairs well with: other Iron Man stories of the ’80s, as well as tales with other Avengers taking on Doctor Doom.
Published: December,1982 – April, 1985
Written by: Mike W. Barr
Art by: Brian Bolland, Bruce Patterson, Terry Austin, Tatjana Wood
DC Comics, 320 Pages
I used to see Camelot 3000 in the back issue bins all the time when I started out collecting comics. I was a dummy that only bought superhero comics and toyline tie-in stuff, so I never gave it a chance.
However, over the years, I’ve heard great things about it and I’ve since gone out and collected all twelve issues of this DC Comics maxiseries.
Having now read it, I thought that all the hype was pretty justified. It was an energetic and exciting read. I crushed the whole thing out in a cross country flight and it made the time pass with ease, even if my seat was smaller than a can of corn.
Mike Barr’s story was stupendous with lots of layers, superb character development and also, one of the most original takes I’ve ever seen on the King Arthur legend.
Furthermore, the whole comic is visually stunning thanks to the fantastic art of Brian Bolland, who is a legend in my book.
Also, it touches on some social issues a few decades before those issues started to be addressed in mainstream entertainment. It’s certainly a comic book ahead of its time and it presented these things with care and respect.
I love that this tapped into great fantasy storytelling, mixed it up with solid science fiction and ultimately gave us something that truly feels epic. And I’m not one to throw the word “epic” around, as it is used too often like “awesome” and has lost its intended meaning.
Camelot 3000 is most definitely a classic in the comic book medium and one of the best series to come out of the outstanding ’80s.
Pairs well with: ’70s and ’80s fantasy comics, as well as other DC maxiseries from the era like Watchmen and V for Vendetta.