What makes Doctor Doom such an interesting character? Besides being incredibly intelligent, he also has a strong mastery over magic. Rarely do you see sorcery and technology working together but for Doctor Doom, both are in his wheelhouse. He’s done some very villainous things but has also shown compassion and honor when there wasn’t a need to show either. Victor Von Doom is a complex character and in his 50+ years of existence he’s had some great moments, as well as some terrible ones.
It has often been debated that a villain does not think of themselves as a villain, but in their own mind they are doing right by their own set of rules. Does Doctor Doom think he’s a villain? Doom has fought against The Fantastic Four, The Avengers, and has tried to conquer the world numerous times, but he also has fought to protect his homeland of Latveria as well as go to Hell to rescue the soul of his mother. As “evil” as Doom may appear, that’s just one side of a multi-faceted character who is playing a very elaborate game of chess with the heroes (and villains) around him. We at CBR examine 8 of the best things Doom has done as well as 7 of his worst.
15. HEROIC: INFAMOUS IRON MAN
The last image we see in Secret Wars is Victor Von Doom with his face healed. Is this a result of Reed Richards tinkering with Dr. Doom’s personality, or did he decide to redeem himself after all of reality was destroyed and rewritten? What motivates the change and how deep do those changes go?
A number of heroes died during the events in Civil War II, including Bruce Banner and James Rhodes; it also left Tony Stark in a coma. That was why Doom decided to take on the mantle of Iron Man, much to the chagrin of the artificial intelligence program that is emulating Stark. Iron Man is a symbol of technological growth and mankind’s ability to evolve and improve, so why is someone who epitomizes villainy rebranding himself as the new Armored Avenger? Perhaps Doom, after all this time, has grown in his perspective, perhaps this is a subtle dig at his former rival Reed Richards. Either way, it’s great to see a fresh new take on Dr. Doom.
14. HEROIC: DOOM 2099
In January of 1993, Marvel published Doom 2099 in which Victor Von Doom appears in Latveria approximately 100 years into the future. He learns that the country in his absence is controlled by a cyborg named Tyger Wylde and he vows to take back his homeland. He modifies his suit as well as himself through neuro-cyber surgery to become state of the art. Eventually he is successful and takes back Latveria, but decides to conquer the world as well to save it from itself.
In the year 2099, things are quite bleak. Corporations have replaced governments and police protection is something that you have to lease. Even Doom is able to realize that this is not how things should be. It’s true that Victor Von Doom is self-centered and power-hungry, but he still knows right from wrong. You know things are very bad when Dr. Doom says the government is evil and needs to be removed.
13. HEROIC: NO POVERTY OR DISEASE IN LATVERIA
There’s not a lot of census data coming out of Latveria, and we’re pretty certain that even Google Maps is going to come up short. Latveria has been depicted as primarily a rural country, almost resembling a medieval lifestyle. Doom is known to employ secret police, Doombots to maintain the peace, and even has force fields around the country’s perimeter to prevent people from leaving. Latveria is a textbook definition of a dictatorship.
However (according to Doom), there is no poverty, crime, or disease in Latveria. Given how draconian Doom is, it’s feasible that there would be no crime. Also given the technology Doom possesses, no disease and a stable economy also seem believable. In fact, after much of Latveria was destroyed after an attack by the Marquis of Death, Doom was able to undo much of the damage with his time travel technology. In a strange way, Doom cares for his countrymen.
12. HEROIC: FOUGHT MEPHISTO FOR HIS MOM’S SOUL
When Doom is depicted, we often see him matching wits with Reed Richards, seeing which of the two men were smarter. In the series Triumph and Torment, we examine the mystical aspect of Victor Von Doom. In his teens, Doom discovered a trunk that belonged to his dead mother filled with potions and magical items. This began his interest in magic and leads him to try and contact his mother from beyond the grave.
He learns that Mephisto (Marvel’s equivalent of the Devil) has her captive, and vows to free her. Eventually, he enlists the help of the Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange, and the two travel to Mephisto’s Realm to battle for her soul. We gave our moms some sweet macaroni art when we were kids and we both knew that was the best gift she was ever going to get from me. This clearly is the more spectacular act.
11. HEROIC: SAVED REALITY
The Beyonders, immeasurably powerful entities from another dimension, planned to destroy all of creation. Their plan was to have each universe in the multiverse be destroyed by The Molecule Man, who in essence was a living bomb. The Molecule Man from Earth-616, along with Doctor Doom and Dr. Strange, gathered Molecule Men from various realities, combined them into a super-bomb, and sent them with love back to the Beyonders.
It destroyed them as well as everything else. Thus, someone needed to take the energy and recreate all of existence. Molecule Man couldn’t do it and Dr. Strange said he wasn’t up to the task. In the ultimate “hold my beer” moment, Doom recreated reality in the form of Battleworld. Granted, in this new reality Doom was the Emperor, the Thing was turned into a giant wall and Johnny Storm was the sun. Let’s not forget, though, that he did save the Marvel Universe.
10. HEROIC: USED MAGIC TO PROTECT HIS KINGDOM FROM ZOMBIES
In most zombie movies, the one thing that everyone wants is a safe haven. You want a place where you can make a stand, and hopefully, once the zombie nightmare ends, rebuild what’s left of humanity. In the series Marvel Zombies, the undead have taken over the planet. Nick Fury requests help from Victor Von Doom in combating the undead hordes that are eating everyone in their path.
Doom refuses and decides to stay behind the walls of Latveria, which is being kept safe not by the might of Doom’s technology but by strength of his magic. Thanks to a magical force field reinforced by rocket launchers, Doom is able to repel the zombie attacks. This is another example where we see Doom defending others, even though it was probably easier for him to save just himself.
9. HEROIC: SAVED SUE STORM’S BABY
Who knew that Doctor Doom was an OB-GYN? Due to her exposure to cosmic rays, the delivery of Sue Storm’s second child was quite difficult. Her husband, Reed, was not available, so her brother called the next best person he could think of to help in the delivery of the child. Although we could generate a list as long as your arm of the people he should have called, he wound up contacting Doctor Doom to assist.
Doom, with his incredible intelligence and magical knowledge, was able to successfully deliver the baby, with the caveat being that he would be able to give the child her name. Sue agreed and the name he went with was Valeria, in honor of one of Doom’s greatest loves. Eww, that doesn’t sound good at all. Well, it’s nice to see Doom creating life instead of taking it for a change.
8. NASTY: STOLE COSMIC POWER
Do you have a friend that eats all of your snacks or drinks all of your soda or borrows stuff from you without returning it? Doom is kind of like that with the Power Cosmic. If you have the Power Cosmic, you probably don’t want to go anywhere near Victor Von Doom.
Let’s be clear: taking someone’s cosmic power isn’t like stealing their wallet. This is an awesome feat that a rare few has accomplished, and Doom has done it on multiple occasions. Galactus giveth and Doom taketh away. Way back in Fantastic Four#57 ,Doctor Doom was able to take the Power Cosmic from the Herald of Galactus. To add insult to injury, Doom even steals the Surfer’s board and flies to New York to attack the Fantastic Four. He again takes the Power Cosmic from the Beyonder in both the 1984 and 2015 versions of Secret Wars.
7. NASTY: DOOMBOTS
Okay Victor, we get it… you love yourself. You love yourself so much that you made an army of Doombots. Iron Man made a lot of suits so it’s cool, we get it. The problem is that sometimes these Doombots copy your ego and personality a little too well. Their artificial intelligence makes them believe that they are the real Doom and it’s real enough to fool some low-level telepaths into believing they’re not robots.
The problem is that just when you think you’ve got Doom on the ropes or you’re going to defeat Dr. Doom, it’s revealed that you’ve actually been fighting a Doombot instead, robbing you of the victory. You would think that Doom’s ego wouldn’t allow for multiple Dooms running around, but it turns out it’s just the opposite.
6. NASTY: REFUSES TO PAY LUKE CAGE $200
Victor Von Doom has shown himself to be intelligent, tactical, and at times cruel. He’s also been depicted as being honorable, defending the lives of those in his homeland of Latveria. So it’s a little odd to hear that Doom refused to honor an agreement by not paying Luke Cage $200.
Cage was hired by Doom to track down some rogue robots, but instead of paying him after the job was done he closed down the Latverian embassy and left the country… over $200? Perhaps the Latverian economy was in somewhat of a slump at the time. This prompts Cage to borrow a jet from The Fantastic Four, fly to Latveria, break into Doom’s Castle, and utter the immortal line: “Where’s my money, honey?” Just pay the man, Doom. We know you’re good for the cash!
5. NASTY: USED PURPLE MAN TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD
Seeing how efficient and effective Doctor Doom’s plans are can be downright scary. In order to gain mind control over the planet, Doom abducts The Purple Man and puts him in a device that amplifies his powers and uses him to gain mind control, first over the Avengers, then over the rest of the world. Doom recruits Namor to deal with anyone able to resist the Purple Man’s power.
In a move both brazen and bad-ass, Doom challenges The Purple Man to control his mind, but Doom’s focus and resolve allows him to resist the Purple Man’s commands. This shows how driven and focused Dr. Doom can be, and shows Doom at his very worst when he uses his genius to enslave mankind instead of making it better.
4. NASTY: ATTACKED SQUIRREL GIRL
This is a blemish on anyone’s record. The Iron Man comic used to use the adjective Invincible to describe itself but perhaps Squirrel Girl really is “Unbeatable.” Using her squirrel powers, Squirrel Girl called upon hundreds of squirrels to converge upon Doctor Doom, a tactical scenario he was not prepared for (but then again, who is?) and was overwhelmed by sheer numbers.
Perhaps the person that feels worse than Doom is Iron Man, because it was Squirrel Girl that needed to come to his rescue. “Confound these wretched rodents! For every one I fling away, a dozen more vex me!” It’s certainly not Shakespeare, but poetic in its own rights. Don’t worry, Doom, Squirrel Girl has also beaten M.O.D.O.K., Deadpool, and even Thanos. You’re in good company, Victor.
3. NASTY: TORTURING THE FANTASTIC FOUR
If being a world conqueror is at the very top of Doctor Doom’s to-do list, then torturing the members of the Fantastic Four has to be a close second. When it comes to ruining the lives of Johnny and Sue Storm, Ben Grimm, Reed, Franklin, and Valeria Richards, Doom is both cruel and unusual. In the FF story arc Unthinkable, Doom sends Reed and Sue’s son to Hell.
Using magic he gives Johnny Reed’s stretching powers then pulls him to the limit, he has Sue constantly on fire, Ben forced to fight monster after monster, and sticks Reed in a library containing only magical books. With Doom, he has an obsession with ruining the lives of the Fantastic Four, and given how brilliant the man is, all of his actions result in wasted energy that could have been put elsewhere, like defeating Squirrel Girl.
2. NASTY: FOUGHT THE ROCK BAND KISS
You angered us when you fought the Fantastic Four, you angered us when you stole the Power Cosmic from the Silver Surfer, but attacking the rock band Kiss is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, Doom! Believe it or not, in 1977, Marvel produced KISS, a collaboration between the comic company and the rock band.
Doctor Doom confronts KISS over some supposed stolen gypsy artifacts, but it’s really just an excuse to have KISS and Dr. Doom fight in space. How is Doom defeated? Well, Paul Stanley uses his magical black ninja star to have Doom relieve the memory of his father dying. Wow, KISS, you took it there. Here’s also a fun fact: actual blood was taken from the band members and mixed with the red ink used in the comic book. Google it.
1. NASTY: REBOOTED THE MARVEL UNIVERSE
Continuity has always been difficult for long-term comic book readers. Often a character’s history will be rewritten or retconned, and it’s hard to keep track of what events are still canonical. With the various DC reboots, there has been lots of tinkering with characters that were Pre-Crisis or Post New 52, and it has not been easy to keep up. Marvel is in a similar situation post Secret Wars.
The series ends with Mr. Fantastic, Franklin Richards, and The Molecule Man literally making new universes and rebuilding the Marvel Universe. Is it still considered Earth 616? Where did Reed and Sue Richards go? Have the histories of the past multiverses been undone? Time will tell if this made the Marvel Universe better or worse, but right now there are more questions than answers.
What did we miss from our best/worst list? Post your comments below!
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