Cover of Incredible Doom Volume 1, featuring a young person riding a bike and tossing a newspaper at a white house

About the Book

Title: Incredible Doom: Vol. 1
Published: 2021
Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Cover Story: Scenes from the Hexagon
BFF Charms: Big Sister, Maybe x2
Talky Talk: Historical (Ouch) Fiction
Arty Art: Smartly Limited
Bonus Factor: The Internet
Anti-Bonus Factor: Dan Scott Award for Awful Parenting
Relationship Status: Eh …

Content Warning: Incredible Doom: Vol. 1 includes scenes of emotional abuse at the hands of a parent and teen-on-teen fighting.

Cover Story: Scenes from the Hexagon

I’ve obviously got the MCU on the brain (as usual) because my first thought at looking at this cover was that this was a picture of Westview, New Jersey. (You know, because of the pixel glitches?) But neither Wanda nor Vision are anywhere to be found.

The Deal: 

Allison’s father is an overbearing magician who rules her life with an iron thumb. Samir is a product of a mixed-race marriage and has never really had an interest in girls. Richard is the new kid at a school filled with people who either won’t give him the time of day or treat him like a lesser citizen. The three have very little in common other than a love of this newfangled thing called … the Internet.

BFF Charms: Big Sister, Meh x2

BFF Charm Big Sister with Clarissa from Clarissa Explains It All's face

Allison is a lovely young woman who wants to be herself and go her own way but is stuck under the thumb of her overbearing and abusive magician father. I wish she had someone in her life who would stand up for her—her mother certainly doesn’t—and I would love to be that person. (And also blow her mind with what the Internet will turn into in a matter of years, time travel rules be damned.)

BFF charm with a :-| face

I struggled to connect with either of the main guys in this book. It might have been that we didn’t spend enough time together to really get to know each other, or it’s the fact that they’re a little too “awkward teen dude” for an old like me to really want to make that connection? They both seem like decent enough dudes, but the chemistry just wasn’t there, even on a friendship level.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Allison and Samir make a connection over BBS and this thing called email. Allison is looking for a way out of her life and Samir is … I’m not exactly sure. He likes the connection he makes with Allison, and when the two meet in real life they hit it off, or so we’re shown. I never really understood where the relationship came from, but I do wish them both the best. Samir certainly stands up for Allison and is willing to go a long way to making sure she’s safe, which is a very good look.

Talky Talk: Historical (Ouch) Fiction

It can be really hard to review historical fiction books that are set when I was alive and old enough to comprehend life. (The Internet started taking off in the late ’80s/early ’90s when I was heading into elementary school.) But them’s the breaks of getting older, I suppose. That said, it was entertaining to read a book about this era that wasn’t about music or big hair; instead, Incredible Doom is about how teens started making connections on the Internet from the very start. (Bulletin board systems, or BBSes, were social media before social media was a glimmer in Zuckerberg’s eye.) The story is deceptively simple, with a lot going on just under the surface, but it, unfortunately, was just getting started when the book came to an end. 

I also kept expecting the plot to veer into paranormal territory, but it never did. There’s a strange suspense to the book that felt very Stranger Things—maybe it was the time period?—but I doubt we’ll see a Demogorgon in the next volume even when the other shoe does finally drop.

Arty Art: Smartly Limited

A page from the graphic novel Incredible Doom on which two people talk about the Internet

Page via Bleeding Cool

Bogart and Holden—I’m not entirely sure who does what in this partnership—use a limited color palette and a simple art style to bring Incredible Doom to life and it works really well. The characters aren’t super detailed, but there’s just enough distinction to make it clear who’s who. And I also really like the simple linework and use of blue without black to help elements become background details and to add dimension to the panels.

Bonus Factor: The Internet

Lines of green vertical text on a black background

You wouldn’t be reading this review if it weren’t for the Internet, so you know I had to include it as a Bonus Factor here. Even if it was a wee baby Internet that I barely recognized.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Dan Scott Award for Awful Parenting

Evil Dan Scott from One Tree Hill

Allison’s dad is horrible. And not even in a “he’s just strict” kind of way. He literally threatens Allison’s life and also tells her, essentially, that he owns her until she’s 18. GTFO, Allison’s dad.

Relationship Status: Eh …

I wish I liked you more, Book. But there’s just something about you that made me feel uncomfortable, and not in a way I was later thankful for. I’d be willing to get together for a second date, if only to see where your story goes, but I don’t know that we’ll get much farther than that before we go our separate ways.

Literary Matchmaking

Incredible Doom: Vol. 1

Although it’s set in the future, Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One has a definite 80s vibe.

Incredible Doom: Vol. 1

Get a different view of the same era in Rae Earl’s My Mad Fat Diary.

Incredible Doom: Vol. 1

And if you’re looking for more paranormal from your graphic novels, check out Nathan Page and Drew Shannon’s The Witch’s Hand.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from HarperAlley, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Incredible Doom: Vol. 1 is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband and their dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.