If you were a super villain, what would your master plan be?
Starting WWIII? Robbing Fort Knox? Using mind-control to influence the world’s leaders?
Today’s subject does all three before breakfast, but even the greatest of arch villains have humble beginnings.
Doctor Doom first appeared in Fantastic Four #5 in July 1962 created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby. In this issue the good Doctor kidnaps Sue Storm, The Invisible Girl (Later known as Sue Richards, The Invisible Woman) and forces the rest of the team to travel back in time in order to bring back Blackbeard’s Treasure.
As criminal débuts go, it’s right up there with The High Evolutionary deciding to kill himself by antagonising The Incredible Hulk (but that’s whole other story for another time).
Later it was ret-conned that the treasure chest contained magical jewels that a sorcerer like Doom couldn’t wait to get his hands on, thereby adding a little method to his madness (but only a little). As time went on his plans got much grander in scale and were a little more thought out but before we explore them, let’s go back to the character’s ever-so-humble beginnings.
Victor Von Doom was born into group of Romani travellers situated in the (fictional) Eastern European country of Latveria.
His father Werner was a healer and his mother Cynthia was a sorceress who, not long after Victor’s birth, was forced to sell her soul to the demon Mephisto in order to have the power to protect her people… only to die when those very powers engulfed her.
Years later Werner was assigned to treat The Baroness Of Latveria only to find there was nothing he could do. The Baron, angered by this ordered his soldiers to hunt him down. Werner went on the run with young Victor, seeking shelter but finding none.
Werner protected Victor from the elements only to die from exposure himself. Victor was found by his Father’s friend Boris, but the lad was inconsolable and blamed the whole world for his parents’ death and swore revenge.
Already an adept in the ways of science, upon finding a chest of his mothers, filled with magical paraphernalia he soon began to master sorcery as well.
The young prodigy drew the attention of The Empire State University who offered him a scholarship. An arrogant and stubborn student Victor was not looking to make friends but drew the attention of one Reed Richards who tried to work with him.
Reed came across notes on an experiment Von Doom was working on and told Victor he had made an error in his calculations. The prideful & vain student told Richards that such an error would be impossible for someone of Victor Von Doom’s intellect.
Horrifically scarred and unceremoniously expelled from ESU he blamed Richards for tampering with his notes. Soon Victor found himself in the Himalayas studying with a group of monks who combined science & sorcery and crafted his iconic armour, not long after he led a coup and became the new monarch of Latveria.
And the rest is history…
Doom is one of the most fascinating and versatile villains in Marvel’s pantheon, having taken on every hero or team in the Marvel Universe at one some point.
He was one of the first Marvel villains with a decent back story, which is almost Shakespearian in tone and scope. Because of his appeal, he soon overcame all other FF villains to become their arch-nemesis. Though he is generally depicted as truly evil, much like Magneto, there’s a pain to his motivations which means you never completely lose empathy for him.
A scarred human being from the surface to the soul.
Though truly a tin-plated tyrant, he is a man of his word and would do anything to protect his people no matter what the personal cost.
Because of that his people love him. An ingenious idea early on was giving Doom diplomatic immunity, resultantly in some comics a fight would end in a stalemate but his pride, arrogance and self-superiority ultimately have proved his downfall in the end.
But his pride is also probably his greatest strength as well, and once you see what he’s done and what he’s capable of you might agree that he can back up that arrogance. Here’s a list a few things he’s accomplished within the marvel universe:
1- Doom has wielded cosmic/godlike powers (half a dozen times that would destroy lesser beings).
2- He delivered the Fantastic Four’s second child.
3- Became the leader of The Fantastic Four.
4- Outsmarted The Devil.
5- Killed a lion with his bare hands.
6- Crippled The Black Panther.
7- He broke out of Hell.
8- Stood up to Space Gods.
9- Separated Hulk/Banner.
10- Invented the time machine.
11- Seduced Morgana Le Fay in order to learn more about magic.
12- Killed his first love in order to make a magical armour out of her skin.
13- In one story he even took over the world at through mind control, but let the heroes defeat him after he found it boring.
His diabolical Curriculum Vitae goes on and on.
Doom definitely had some strange beginnings but we won’t hold it against him, as he is undoubtedly the most tenacious and badass villains in the marvel universe but also one of the most human and sympathetic.
He never backs down from an opportunity to demonstrate his superiority to all comers, and I’m pretty much convinced as I consider him my favourite villain.
I’m in good company as Stan Lee does too.
I still don’t understand why they can’t get him right in the movies, consider me one of many voices in the chorus of
“Give the rights back to Marvel!”