Triumph & Torment: Part 2 - Tho' Hell Bar The Way
The 2nd half of the Marvel Masterwork: Triumph & Torment
The story of the woman they are to rescue is told, the tragedy of Cynthia Von Doom, the beloved mother of Dr. Doom.
Doom and Strange go to Latveria, where Strange takes it upon himself to take on Doom as an apprentice. Strange is astounded by Doom's ability to learn what he teaches his pupil, and they make preparations to journey into hell itself to do battle for Cynthia's soul. Doom knows he is no match for Strange in terms of mystic might, so every night he increases the power output on his armor on a factor of 10. My math may be rusty, but that's a BIG power increase. ( Had to remove this scene showing Doom's determination in order to meet the 1/3 rule).
They go to traverse the point at Doom's castle where he makes his yearly contest with Mephisto for the soul, a battle which ends in stalemate. The Dr's take the battle to Mephisto himself. Mephisto is amused, and treats them like the insignificant specks that they are to him. They survive the initial attack, but then are separated in a sandstorm. Dr. Strange is made to relive the accident that took away his career as a surgeon, but made him the apprentice of the Ancient One, but he arrives too late. Realizing it's an attempt to break his spirit, Strange "sees" through the illusion, and defeats the demon impostors, and is taking on hell all by himself.
Meanwhile, Doom arrives before Mephisto. Bad meets Very Bad.
We know the price.
Strange survives the encounter, but is felled in a clever trap set by Doom. Doom brings Strange to Mephisto, and we get to see a side of Dr. Doom few mortals have before.
For every foul and dispicable deed Doom had committed in the past, this scene made me feel for him in a big way. You had me at "MOTHER!", Doom.
It's a trick, of course. Betrayal within betrayal.
And we get one of the best fights either Dr. Strange or Dr. Doom have been involved with. Someone who rumbles with Galactus.
Trapped within the fury of Mephisto himself, the redeemed soul of Cynthia von Doom escapes to heaven, with Dr. Strange channeling the inferno within Mephisto to destroy her containment vessel. The soul escapes, and pierces through Mephisto's mind. Mephisto is hurt by the redeemed purity inside him. He rages in his defeat against those who have outright won in his own realm, but Strange reminds Mephisto that he can only kill them, not damn them. Mephisto casts them out of hell and back to Earth.
And here we have Doom, being strong enough to go through hell and achieve the goal he had set out to do since he and that damn Richards were in school together. Even in his final image, when we can feel him being torn up inside, holding back tears we know are there, he still stands as constant and demanding as ever.
For he is Doom.
Look up the story if you have not read it before. There are SO many great scenes, especially with Mephisto looking like a true lord of demons, and Mephisto finally brought low is also amazing. We see a lot of the inklings of what Mignola would bring to bear in the classic Hellboy stories years later, and one of the few times someone has outright beat the devil at his own game.
*for the mods*, the story is 80 pages, not including covers, splash page with writer and artist names, etc. These are the remaining 16 pages allowed.