Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Doctor Doom’s Mailbag

Doom takes pride in answering all of his personal correspondence.

Dear Doctor Doom,
Why you no answer your mail? I keep writing but I get no answer. I am planning on traveling in Eastern Europe and I am curious as to whether or not I will be able to procure a cheezeburger in the country of Latveria.

Your Pal,

H. Cat, Lolz

The demands of absolute monarchy are such that fine leisure pursuits, such as the answering of personal correspondence, must often be relegated to secondary or tertiary importance. This is especially true in our current era of geopolitical instability, as the attentions of Doom have been focused on the events of the Americans' so-called "Civil War". As the ephemeral balance of power shifts in the ostensibly Democratic Western powers, so too are the eyes of Doom perpetually fixed on the object of manipulating the chaos to his own purposes. The internecine warfare within the community of so-called "super heroes" has weakened ideological cohesion, sowing distrust and engendering hatred between allies who had once considered themselves close friends. In the context of such ruinous and divisive conflict, who will stand firm to oppose the advances of an implacable and ruthless foe? Any moderately clever antagonist could scatter the current Avengers like tenpins, to say nothing of the newest jury-rigged incarnation of the accursed Fantastic Four. It is enough to say that Doom suspects that, given enough time, his foes will only weaken themselves further; in enough time, Doom expects to face only token resistance to his inevitable conquest.

And no, you cannot have a cheeseburger.

Doctor Doom,
I know you're the smartest man on the planet, so I was wondering if you could explain the recent revelations regarding the Legion of Super-Heroes? I've been following the Legion for many years and even I'm a bit confused as to how current continuity is supposed to fit with what we've known before.

Thanks for your help,

T. Kem, Bismoll

Although Doom's brilliance knows no peer, even he must admit defeat in the face of current Legion continuity. It is obvious now that everything established in the years immediately following the Man of Steel revamp has been rendered null and void by recent revelations: Superman did not meet the Legion for the first time as an adult in Metropolis circa 1987 following Cosmic Boy's appearance in the Legends series; he did not travel to the 30th century to aide the Legion in their war against the Time Trapper and his ersatz Superboy; he did not encounter three different incarnations of the Legion during the "Time After Time" storyline. Apparently due to Superboy's deus ex machina punch, it is once again established lore that he first encountered them in his youth in Smallville (although the creators have scrupulously avoided mention his Superboy incarnation by name), and that the Legion he encountered was indeed the original Legion whose adventures were chronicled from the late 50s on through the early 90s. What, then of the second Legion, whose adventures were revealed in the wake of Zero Hour, and who had extensive contact with the 20th and 21st centuries, not least of which in the form of their involvement in the "Final Night" storyline as well as Bart Allen's very existence? And what then of the current Legion, who have also been connected with contemporary Earth by means of Supergirl's long visit to the 30th century, as well as Booster Gold's unexpected visit to the Dominator homeworld?

The complicated and contradictory provenance of these different futures is enough to make even the most fervent Legion fan blanch. How idiotic and self-defeating it all seems. Contrast that with the numerous alternate and mutually-contradictory futures in my own universe - the distopian "Days of Future Past", Killraven's Martian besotted apocalypse, the Guardians of the Galaxy, even the alternate 2099 wherein a future doppelganger of myself conquers America. How simple to resolve such discrepancies - it is enough merely to say that they are alternate futures, which may or may not come to pass. Even after the futures have been prevented from occurring by contemporary events, they still exist in the infinite multiverse.

But DC has been obsessed with the internal consistency of their futurescapes for so long that such a natural solution seems beyond their capacity. Everything is so literal-minded, with every universe officially labeled, and every future depicted in its turn as the only possible future . . . an approach that has caused inestimable confusion among fans. Anyone who cares enough to follow the Legion's adventures in the first place will have an intimate investment in just how these adventures fit in the grand metatextual scheme. To push aside these considerations is to misunderstand the appeal of the concept, and to pretend that such considerations are of little importance is to undermine their appeal for the books' core constituency.

So now we see DC stepping, belatedly, in the direction of a saner, more diverse and yet more consistent policy to their future, a landscape in which all extant versions of the Legion can happily coexist and, even, prosper. Perhaps it shall be revealed the one of the subsequent Legion revamps is in actuality the long-speculated Legion of Earth 2? If the ultimate consequence of this change in policy means a return to the original Legion in some capacity - optimally in the fertile post-Great Darkness, pre-Five Year Gap era, preferably an alternate timeline wherein the Dominator war never occurs - then the complicated maneuverings will have been ultimately worthwhile. I daresay that given all the bloviating among the chattering classes about just how disruptive the "Superboy's punch" theory of continuity repair has prompted, the return of the pre-Zero Hour Legion will have redeemed the entire stinking corpus of Infinite Crisis.

Dear Doom,
As the monarch of a small country, you are immune from legal challenge. However, I was wondering if you had advice for anyone who finds themselves stuck in intractable combat with an implacable foe in the legal realm. Unfortunately, siccing a horde of robots at our antagonist is not really an option in this instance.

G. Groth, Seattle

Although I have often found myself in conflict with the brutish Hulk, it is not a conflict I relish. Although I don't doubt that I can defeat the Hulk, antagonizing him is simply more trouble than it is worth. The time and effort required to bring down the Hulk could be spent in many more productive means, such as gardening or philately.

Doctor Doom,
I saw something on the Learning Channel, but I was wondering if you could comment further on the whole duck thing?

H. Duck, Cleveland

Ah yes, the ducks. Although it is usually not the policy of Latveria to air our internal affairs in public forums, the phenomenon of our carnivorous ducks was harmless enough that we allowed western zoologists access to the country's interior for research purposes - all in the name of good will and scientific reciprocity.

Through some unknown chain of events, the majority of ducks in Latveria - specifically our famed speckled ash "dingbat" mallard - became carnivorous. Despite the libelous reports of domestic fifth columnists, these ducks were not artificially altered as apart of some ill-conceived plan to trap the Fantastic Four. Perish the thought! More likely, these ducks were simply the product of innocent natural selection. Furthermore, the common assertions that these ducks have rampaged through the country's civilian population are simply not true. The ducks are mostly interested in small game, vermin and occasionally deer - although there have been reported instances of whole flocks acting in unison to take down individual wolves. Only a handful of humans have fallen prey to the ducks, mostly small children and the weakened elderly.

I tire of this endless barrage of idiocy.

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