Doctor Doom is the greatest comic book villain of all time. Those are just the facts. You wouldn’t know it from his objectionable movie history, though, with appearances that range from baffling to the worst character interpretation in comic book movies. Fortunately, there’s yet another chance for that frustrating cinematic history to change with the recently announced Doctor Doom solo movie in development from Fox and Legion showrunner Noah Hawley. On its (horribly scarred) face, a Doctor Doom movie from the house that brought us Fantastic Four sounds like a horrid idea, hardly worthy of the dignified emperor Doom.
This fear is mitigated, if only slightly, by the presence of Hawley, whose work on FX’s Fargo and Legion is some of the best TV of the decade. Legion in particular takes a complex and low(er) profile character and divorces the fiction from the impenetrable tangle of X-Men continuity just enough to make the series entirely palatable. If we’re lucky, Doctor Doom will receive all the creative perfection his regal person demands. In the meantime, we’re left a long and glorious history of Doctor Doom in Marvel Comics. Below you’ll find some of the most surprising and important moments from the life and times of Victor Von Doom. All hail Doom!
16. HE SHOWED HIS FACE TO LATVERIA
In general, the less said about Marvel’s 2014 Axis series the better. The disappointing event essentially swapped the good guys and bad guys of the Marvel Universe, with heroes like Iron Man acting like monsters (see: Superior Iron Man) and monsters like Sabretooth acting like heroes. Doctor Doom was impacted as well, although in Doom’s case, the nobility and altruism for his beloved Latveria were always bubbling just under the surface.
With this post-Cindy-Lou-Who-revelation, Doom looks upon his dictatorship in Latveria and weeps; dismayed by the lack of freedom afforded his people. Doom’s revelations inspire him to do the unthinkable, displaying his forever hidden true face to the nation. Out on his castle’s balcony, Doom takes off his mask, displays his scars for all to see, and declares Latveria is a democracy!
15. HE STORED THE PURPLE MAN IN A GLASS PRISON OF EMOTIONS
David Michelinie and Bob Hall’s Emperor Doom is outstanding for a number of reasons, not least of which is Doctor Doom’s capture and manipulation of the vile Zebediah Kilgrave, aka the Purple Man. As Jessica Jones fans know well, Kilgrave is a despicable villain, able to effectively control the will of those around him, forcing them to do anything he pleases.
Doctor Doom takes note of Kilgrave’s abilities, and determines — quite accurately — that the Purple Man is wasting his true potential with petty crimes. Doom, of course, has better ideas, capturing Kilgrave and imprisoning him inside a crystal conduit where Doom can use him like a chemical gas. With Kilgrave as his living weapon, Doom subjugates the Earth, achieving the conquering king status he’s always desired.
14. HE KINDA LOVES THE FANTASTIC FOUR
If you’re looking for Doom’s primary foes, you have to start with the Fantastic Four. Doom has stood against the FF since his introduction in Fantastic Four #5, and has fought Marvel’s first family in a near endless series of battles. When you look at Doom’s actions, though, especially recently, it seems clearer that Victor feels love for them. In Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo’s “Unthinkable,” Doctor Doom helps them deliver their second child on the condition that she’s named Valeria.
Doom goes on to become a shockingly good godfather to her. Likewise, in Secret Wars, Doom takes Susan as his bride, and Franklin and Valeria as his own children. By the end, he even finally breaks down and admits that Reed could do a better job lording over all creation. Admitting this may always drive Doom to a jealous rage, but the evidence shows his love for his foes.
13. HE TEAMED WITH BUCKY AND BLACK WIDOW TO PREVENT A WAR
Preventing international incidents is hardly Doctor Doom’s primary goal — he’s frequently the one inciting them — but when the acts of terror threaten his pride, Von Doom won’t hesitate to take action. We see exactly that in Ed Brubaker and Butch Guice’s excellent Winter Soldier issues #3 to #5, as Bucky Barnes and Black Widow act on SHIELD intel to inform Doctor Doom that Lucia Von Bardes plans to use one of his Doombots to blow up a UN building.
After getting over his initial urge to kill the spies for invading his Latverian castle, Doom eventually takes issue with Von Bardas playing him for a fool (“My name is my name!”). Doom literally blows a hole in the wall in his rush to take down the poor confused Doombot, fights off the Red Ghost’s Super Apes, and brutally squashes Von Bardas’ rebellion — not to mention her face.
12. HE’S BEEN A GOD AT LEAST TWICE
At his core, Doctor Doom is on a quest to accumulate power. Whether it’s sweet-talking the Silver Surfer into allowing Doom to steal his Power Cosmic, using the Purple Man’s abilities to literally rule the world, or stealing the power of Odin in the Ultimate Alliance video game, if Doom sees power he must have it.
Naturally, this leads to a Doctor Doom quite envious of the gods and their sources of might. In both the original Secret Wars, and 2015’s (excellent) Secret Wars, Doom finds ways to take advantage of the immense cosmic presence working against him. In the original Secret Wars, Doom nearly dies battling the Beyonder, before absorbing his powers and becoming the all-powerful ruler of Battleworld. 2015’s Secret Wars goes a step further, with Doom becoming the emperor god of the entire Marvel multiverse, keeping reality from oblivion through sheer force of will and strength.
11. HE KILLED CASSIE LANG
We don’t typically think of Doctor Doom as a slayer of children, but that’s exactly what he becomes in Avengers: The Children’s Crusade. As a whole, the story is an odd attempt to simultaneously bring back the Young Avengers and diminish the blame Scarlet Witch bears for Avengers Disassembled and House of M. Instead, it posits that Doctor Doom was pulling the strings in an attempt to gain the power of Wanda Maximoff for himself.
During the climactic battle with the Young Avengers trying to stop a superpowered, Beyonder-attired and now GIANT Doctor Doom, Cassie Lang takes it on herself to engage in fisticuffs with the one and only Victor Von. At this point, Doom has restored his handsome face to health, and will absolutely not tolerate the interference of any mewling brats. Stature pays the price, giving her life to slow Doom for the team to eventually defeat.
10. HE WAS EMBARRASSED BY ANT-MAN
Matt Fraction, Mike Allred, and Lee Allred’s Marvel NOW era FF is one of the more underrated gems of the last decade, with Scott Lang, Darla Deering, She-Hulk and Medusa taking over the role of Fantastic Four (and teachers to the FF students) while the original are out traveling through space and time. Lang becomes the reluctant leader of the group, and proves surprisingly effective at it before Reed Richards and family return.
Lang’s prowess is never more overstated, though, than when a bizarre series of events lead him to whoop Doctor Doom’s butt in a fist fight. Ant-Man understandably holds a serious grudge with Victor Von Doom for his part in killing Cassie Lang, AKA Stature, and Ant-Man doesn’t hold back pounding Doctor Doom into the dirt. Doom doesn’t allow very many defeats, but this one at the hands of Scott Lang is one of his most embarrassing.
9. SHE-HULK CLAIMED ASYLUM FOR HIS SON
In She-Hulk #3 by Charles Soule and Javier Pulido, Kristoff Vernard visits the office of Jennifer Walters and informs her he wishes to defect from Latveria and obtain political asylum in the United States. For the unfamiliar, Kristoff is Doctor Doom’s son who Doom cloned from his own DNA. So in addition to a never-ending stream of Doombots, Doom also has a living, breathing cloned son.
She-Hulk actually wins Kristoff asylum before an enraged Doom storms the courtroom and brings his resigned son home. Jen can’t quite let Doom get away with it, though, and invades Latveria in an effort to free Kristoff. She fights off countless Doombots and a mega-Doom giant before finally convincing Doom that perhaps he’d miscalculated in forcing his clone-son to stay in Latveria.
8. HE MET HIS CREATORS
Way back before Animal Man and Grant Morrison were having a heart-to-heart, or She-Hulk was telling John Byrne to white out her shower scenes, Doom was storming the Marvel offices to tell Jack Kirby and Stan Lee a thing or two about a thing or two. Fantastic Four #10 doesn’t just break the fourth wall; it drops a megaton bomb on it.
While Jack and Stan struggle to come up with a new Fantastic Four villain for the issue in your hands, they lament the disappearance of Doom on the back of a meteor in his last appearance. Doom then enters the Marvel offices with impeccable comedic timing (“Did somebody say Doom?”), grosses out his own creators by taking off his mask, grosses himself out by looking in a mirror, and finally forces Jack and Stan to call Mr. Fantastic. Glorious barely begins to describe it.
7. HE PLAYS THE ABSOLUTE PANTS OFF THE ORGAN
In Fantastic Four #199, (Part four of “The Greatest F.F. Epic Of All!”), Doctor Doom takes a quick break from imprisoning his foes within his transference globes to do something a bit unexpected: he rocks his socks off on a giant organ. It should come as little surprise that Doom would prove his mastery over any instrument, but we don’t often see Doom incorporate his musical proficiency in most of his schemes.
In this Bronze Age Fantastic Four epic by Marvel Wolfman, Keith Pollard, and Joe Sinnott, Doom concocts a trap that requires the completion of a symphony on his organ (to then, you know, control the world). As Doom himself attests, “The sonic keyboard plays with perfection… Never have a I heard its tune sound sweeter.” Who are we to argue?
6. HE WAS BEAT UP BY SQUIRREL GIRL… TWICE
At this point, it’s a long running joke that Squirrel Girl defeated Doctor Doom in her first appearance (1992’s Marvel Super-Heroes #8 by Steve Ditko). During her initial introduction to the Marvel Universe, Doreen Green is portrayed as the ultimate Iron Man fan girl, desperate to team up with the golden Avenger. While this never comes particularly close to coming true, Squirrel Girl does vex the everloving heck out of Doctor Doom, leading to her current status as a genuinely unbeatable Marvel hero.
Ryan North and Erica Henderson’s 2016 Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #5 continues the butt-kicking, with Squirrel Girl facing off against Doom in a timey-wimey plot set in the ’60s. Squirrel Girl yet again outmatches Doom, using a combination of programming language and time travel (just… trust us) to conquer the all-powerful Doom once again.
5. HIS WISH OF WISHES WAS SHOCKING
If we had to guess what Doctor Doom would do with an all-powerful wish, there’s a fairly precise list of possibilities. Certainly, hewould wish for the demise of his hated enemy Reed Richards? Or if not, he would surely wish for immortality or godhood? Perhaps to free his mother’s soul from hellish confinements? Reasonable guesses all, but in Doctor Doom and the Masters of Evil, Doom surprises everyone by wishing “to feel no guilt.”
Doom goes to great lengths to achieve this wish, employing the services of the Sinister Six, Circus of Crime, Masters of Evil, and Magneto to put himself in a position to take advantage of the arcane magics. Doom even casually grants himself immortality entirely to pass through a barrier allowing his one true wish. It’s a fascinating interpretation of the noble Doctor; imagine the terrors he could accomplish with no guilt!
4. HE LEARNED MYSTIC ARTS FROM DOCTOR STRANGE
Roger Stern and Mike Mignola’s Doctor Doom and Doctor Strange: Triumph and Torment is one of the best Marvel Comics of all-time, as well as one of the absolute best Doctor Doom stories. In the early stages of the story, the mystical Aged Genghis puts out a call that only those attuned to the magic arts can hear. Doctor Strange and other would-be Sorcerers Supreme respond to the call, and all are astonished to see Doctor Doom also noisily arrive in his own private jet.
During the trials of worth, Doom uses his built-in armor systems to learn from the surrounding sorcerers in real time. By copying the advanced techniques of Doctor Strange and the others, Doctor Doom is able to advance to the final round of the tests, which eventually gains him one boon to ask of the winner, Doctor Strange.
3. HE HAS LED THE FANTASTIC FOUR
Although the Fantastic Four are ostensibly his sworn enemies, and Doom says the word “Richards” like Seinfeld greeting Newman, Victor Von Doom has worked with and even led the Fantastic Four many times. In Fantastic Four #318 by Steve Englehardt and Keith Pollard, Doom breaks into the Baxter Building to insist he aid the Thing, Ms. Thing, and the Human Torch on their quest into the negative zone to find the Beyonders.
The Fantastic Four are understandably dubious (rightly so — Doom opens the issue by stone cold assassinating Owen Reece!), but after Doom saves the team from Blastaar, some trust begins to form. The semi-unofficial “Secret Wars 3” goes on to tell one of the most cosmically convoluted epics this side of the Celestial Madonna, but in the end, Doom is a man of honor and holds to his promise to keep the Fantastic Four safe.
2. 3000 A.D. DOOM RULED WOLVERINE’S SKELETON
Doom is eternal. If you need proof, look no further than Jim Valentino’s early ’90s Guardians of the Galaxy, in which Doctor Doom reveals his consciousness has survived into 3000 A.D. Not only does Doom carry on, but he actually finds a way to graft his brain onto the adamantium, eternally-clawed skeleton of a now deceased Wolverine.
In accordance with his sense of the dramatic, Doom reveals his new skeleton while in brutal battle with Wolverine’s daughter, Rancor. The vicious mutant Rancor reveals that Doom is the one actually responsible for Wolverine’s death, killing her father and allowing Doom access to his unbreakable skeleton. Lest he be perceived as all evil, we also find out in 3000 A.D. that Doom was the one responsible for saving Captain America’s shield, shooting the “worthy foes” shield into space before the invading Badoon could claim it.
1. HE RODE THOR’S HAMMER OUT OF HELL
At this point, the fact that Doctor Doom spent time in hell is hardly surprising. Doom’s busted out of hell more times than Meatloaf. His 2006 escape in the pages of Fantastic Four is particularly noteworthy for the way Doom escapes. After Reed Richards and Doom fought nearly to the death and Reed left Doom in hell — but not before Doom scarred Reed’s face with hellfire — the once untouchable Victor Von Doom was left to fend off endless assaults in Mephisto’s lair.
After enough time, Doom saw a streaking comet sailing through hell and grabbed hold for dear life. It turns out he latched on to Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, which was soaring through the cosmos after the Asgardian Ragnarok. Doom rides the hammer out of hell and straight to Oklahoma where he stands convinced he’s now worthy of lifting Mjolnir. Hey, even Doom can’t win them all.
Did we miss out on any other Doom moments? Let us know in the comments section right now!
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