Warning: This article contains spoilers for Doctor Doom #1, by Christopher Cantwell, Salvador Larroca, Guru-eFX and VC's Cory Petit, on sale now.
Two of the most powerful and iconic villains in the Marvel Universe are Doctor Doom and Kang the Conqueror. As frequent enemies of the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, they both rank among the greatest threats in the universe, regardless of which heroes end up running afoul of them, and entire overarching narratives have followed both of them in their attempts to take over the world.
Now, it seems that the pair are inexplicably linked in a specific manner. Doctor Doom #1 reveals they may be entangled on a quantum level. While the cause of this entanglement isn't mentioned in the issue, it may have its origins in an obscure moment from a classic Marvel crossover.
The original Infinity War was the direct sequel to the titanic Infinity Gauntlet storyline. Jim Starlin and Ron Lim's epic concerns the fate of the Infinity Gems and the Gauntlet after Thanos was stopped in the climax of the prior story. After taking the Infinity Gauntlet for himself, Adam Warlock attempted to expel his more nefarious aspects from his being. This recreated his evil other half, the Magus. The Magus sets off on his own and collects five cosmically empowered objects, using the collective power to trap Eternity and create his own reality.
The heroes of the universe fought him, but Doctor Doom and Kang the Conqueror tried to take advantage of the crossover's chaos to further their own designs. Arriving to steal the assembled power for themselves, Doom and Kang target the Magus. The pair came into direct contact with all of the power brought together in the Magus' containment fields and were potentially exposed to it together. Although Doom eventually betrayed Kang and tried to steal everything for himself, he was defeated by the Magus. But while they were still working together, the cosmic items may have had a deeper impact on both characters.
In Doctor Doom #1, Doom and Kang are revealed to have a strange connection throughout time and space. For some reason, Kang ends up teleporting to Doom instead of his intended destination. Doom and Kang reveal that this has happened multiple times, and yet neither of the geniuses has more than a working theory to explain their connection, even though both are among the smartest figures in the entire Marvel Universe. If there's anyone in the universe who could figure out what's happening, it's Doctor Doom and Kang, and even they seem confused by what's happening.
Doom suggests that it's all the time travel that's damaged Kang's chromosomes, while Kang believes they're either distantly related or suffering from quantum entanglement. (It's also important to remember that Kang may be the future descendant of Doom's most hated rival, Reed Richards.) Doom doesn't perceive Kang as a threat in these moments though. Rather, the two even seems to have found mutual respect in one another. Doom actually takes off his mask in front of Kang, pouring him a glass of wine and speaking candidly with him as a friend. Kang for his part seems genuinely concerned about Doom, asking about his melancholy before suddenly disappearing back into the time stream
Doom and Kang are among the biggest villains in the entire Marvel Universe. They've frequently clashed with almost all of the major heroes at some point or another. The fact that the pair have been forced into a begrudging but honest friendship by the cosmic powers of the universe adds a humanistic note to both, and that fact that it might have a source in classic Marvel lore gives this reveal take extra meaning. It suggests that the pair have a connection that can't be broken down or understood even by either of them.
The blood relationship between Kang and Reed Richards adds another wrinkle to his friendship with Doom. Now, Doom is seemingly forever tied to a piece of the Richards family line, even if it's another super-genius supervillain, which is supremely ironic given Doom's long-standing hatred for everything about Mr. Fantastic.
If the energy of the Cosmic Cubes coming together in Infinity War really did force their connection, it could prove to be almost impossible to ever break. Since it's only a matter of time until both of these villains end up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, their friendship could prove to be a major factor going forward, and it gives the original Infinity War something else that the film that borrowed its title didn't have.