Ever since he made his first appearance in Fantastic Four #5 (by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott), Doctor Doom has been the greatest rival of the Fantastic Four. Even Lee and Kirby clearly knew it right away, as Doom appeared twice more in the next five issues. Since #5 obviously was not out yet when they began to work on #6, they had to be very certain that he was going to be a worthwhile villain. Sure enough, though, he has gone on to not only be the greatest enemy that the Fantastic Four has ever known, he has also had a sizeable impact on the entire Marvel Universe. This was particularly evident in both Secret Wars events, the 1984 original and the 2015 version, where Doom tried to gain ultimate power over the universe.
Power is what Doom craves the most and it is that pursuit that has led to him to create a number of different types of armor over the years, while generally gravitating back to his classic armor after each upgrade. He is constantly seeking to improve himself and to show that he is smarter than his rival, Reed Richards. The issue with that much change, of course, is that some of those pursuits led him astray as is reflected in both the sheet power, and the absolute oddity of the following 20 suits of armor!
20 STRONGEST: CLASSIC ARMOR
In a lot of ways, the perfect example of the phrase, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" would be Doctor Doom's classic armor. Oddly enough, the first full appearance of this specific version of Doom's armor first showed up when he guest-starred in an issue of Avengers soon after the team was reformed with just Captain America and three former supervillains -- Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Hawkeye.
It is a look that has stood the test of time, however, and Doom still will typically revert to this armor even after he seemingly has upgraded it quite substantially. It's lightweight enough not to get in Doom's way, but strong enough to fight the Thing and the Hulk one on one.
19 STRANGEST: MARQUIS OF DEATH ASSISTANT
During a shocking storyline, Doctor Doom was assaulted by his former master in villainy, the Marquis of Death. The Marquis traveled between realities and when he came back to this one, he was disappointed by Doom's failures against the Fantastic Four, so the Marquis and his newest apprentice wrecked Doom so much that he was seemingly powerless. The Marquis then sent him back in time without his armor, to be eaten by a dinosaur.
As it turned out, Doom survived a million years and eventually impersonated the Marquis' apprentice, waiting for just the right moment of revenge, which he achieved, later defeating the Marquis. Later writers ignored the whole "Doom is a million years old" twist.
18 STRONGEST: THE REAL DOOM RETURNS
In a guest spot in Uncanny X-Men soon after John Byrne left X-Men to take over Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom allowed the X-Men villain, Arcade, to light a match off of his armor. Byrne did not like that idea and so he then wrote an issue revealing that that Doctor Doom was actually a robot replica of Doom. Thus, that opened up the possibility that other "out of character" Doctor Doom appearances were also Doom-bots.
Walter Simonson took this to another level in his Fantastic Four run, where he had the "real" Doctor Doom arrive. It turned out that Doom had been gone for much of the past since the end of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's Fantastic Four run. He was in a more powerful armor than before.
17 STRANGEST: FUTURE FOUNDATION DOOM
Following the apparent demise of Johnny Storm, the Fantastic Four regrouped as the Future Foundation, adding Spider-Man to replace Johnny as a core member of the team, but also expanding to add in all of the young geniuses that Reed Richards had been mentoring. Reed's daughter, the brilliant Valeria Richards, brought Doctor Doom to the team.
It turned out that Doom had been losing his intelligence and Reed helped restore it in exchange for Doom agreeing to help take down... Reed Richards? Reed was wary of the Council of Reeds, a group of alternate reality Reed Richards who had lost touch with their humanity. Who better to help Reed defeat them than the man who hates Reed more than anyone?
16 STRONGEST: SPIKEY GOODNESS
Oddly enough, despite Doctor Doom not having a major armor upgrade for years before he revealed his "true" self in Fantastic Four #350, it was just 25 issues later that Doom revealed another upgrade.
This time around, in Fantastic Four #375, Doom's new armor was developed for a specific need. In the past, Doom had absorbed other people's powers, but this time, he needed a special armor to absorb the power of Aron, a rogue Watcher. This power-absorbing armor also had lots of spikes for... '90s reasons, we're sure. Doom dropped the armor within two issues to go back to his classic look.
15 STRANGEST: REED RICHARDS AS DOOM
In Doctor Doom's third appearance ever, he switched bodies with Reed Richards. Luckily, Doom couldn't help but act like himself, so Reed's teammates figured out the truth in time to stop him. Years later, though, they had another switch.
This time, it was more that Reed was merged into Doom's armor, with Doom being sent away from Earth. Since he was now stuck in the armor, Reed decided to make the best of it and turn Latveria into a nicer place to live. He also married his own wife, Sue Richards, only now as Doctor Doom, shocking the world. Doom's armor during this period added little bits of flair.
14 STRONGEST: INFAMOUS IRON MAN
After the events of Secret Wars ended up with Doctor Doom's face returned to its normal appearance, Doom decided that he would try to atone for his past misdeeds. He used his magical powers to assist Tony Stark for a while. When Tony was seemingly taken from this life, Doom decided that he had to take over the Iron Man mantle. He then created a brand new special suit of Doom-designed armor.
The world took a long time getting used to the now-heroic Doom, but just as he was beginning to be accepted, Tony Stark returned to action and Doom's face was burned once again in a battle against his former villainous ally, the Hood. Doom's future remains uncertain.
13 STRANGEST: ORIGINAL ARMOR
In the early days of Marvel Comics, there was a recurring theme that characters would end up looking a whole lot different from their original appearance after a little while. For instance, the Hulk was gray when he debuted. Iron Man was in a boring looking gray suit of armor. The Fantastic Four did not even wear costumes until their third issue.
Similarly, Doctor Doom made his bow wearing a cape-less armor that made him look more like a spooky witch than anything else. He took on more of a traditional armored feel, and added the cape, just one issue later.
12 STRONGEST: DOOM 2099
Doom 2099 opened with Doom arriving in the future, where Latveria had been conquered by a cyborg named Tyger Wylde who hated freedom more than he apparently hated the letter I. Doom tried to take back his home, but Wylyde's futuristic technology was too much for Doom and he was almost completely trashed.
Luckily, some of Doom's nomadic people still lived in Latveria and they rescued him. He then rebuilt himself using the top technology of the era, giving himself the most powerful armor that he had ever worn to this point. He then set off for a new life as a freedom fighter, trying to lead a mutiny in Latveria against Wylde and his evil forces.
11 STRANGEST: BLENDING-IN DOOM
Doom's armor is great for a lot of purposes, but one thing that it certainly is not is subtle. Thus, when Doom wants to try to mix with the more common folk, he will often turn to a slightly more nuanced design of his look.
Here, the only piece of armor that he wears is a his face mask to hide his scarred visage from the rest of the world. In fact, you could argue that since this face mask does not even appear to be metal, that this armor is really not armor at all. However, seeing Doom walk around in a suit and face mask is so weird that we are still counting it for the list.
10 STRONGEST: DOOM 2099 UPGRADE
As Doom continued to fight for the freedom of his people in Latveria, the question began to pop up among his followers as to whether he was actually the real Doctor Doom or not. This continued to haunt his allies even as he began to push Wylde further and further out of control of Latveria.
Ultimately, Doom succeeded in both unseating Wylde and also proving that he was, no doubt about it, the actual Doctor Doom. Once he took over Latveria, he decided that the only way to protect the rest of the world was to conquer the whole planet, beginning with the United States of America. Doom celebrated this occasion with an even more powerful suit of armor.
9 STRANGEST: FANCY DOOM
When the "real" Doom returned in Fantastic Four #350, he had his underlings fill him in on what was going on with his old rivals, the Fantastic Four. Doom discovered that the Thing had returned to his human form as Ben Grimm. At the same time, however, Ben's girlfriend, Sharon Ventura, had been mutated into becoming, in effect, a She-Thing.
Doom brought Sharon to Latveria and tricked her into believing that he would cure her with no strings attached. He was practically wooing her during this point, so he dressed up in what looked to be a fancy version of his armor, complete with a dashing scarf!
8 STRONGEST: VIBRANIUM ARMOR DOOM
In the miniseries event known as Doomwar, Doctor Doom decided to take advantage of some instability in Wakanda to swoop in and steal the majority of their vibranium reserve. This led to an all out war between Wakanda and Latveria where the Wakandans tried to get their vibranium back from Doom.
Instead, Doom used some of the metal to create for himself an ultra-powerful all-vibranium suit of armor. This was too much for T'Challa to handle, especially when Doom revealed that the armor allowed him to see the whereabouts of all vibranium in the world. T'Challa's only solution was to render all vibranium on Earth inert to cancel out Doom's advantage. With the vibranium now useless, there was nothing left to fight over.
7 STRANGEST: COUNTER EARTH DOOM
During the crossover event known as Onslaught, the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, along with Doctor Doom, sacrificed themselves to defeat Onslaught. In the process, though, they turned out to be still alive, just living on an alternate Earth that had been created by Franklin Richards. Eventually, the heroes returned to Earth.
Doom, though, wanted to take over the planet now that the heroes were gone and he succeeded. He was then deposed, but later returned to the world. He took back power with a new, makeshift armor. The sight of Doom wearing a green bandana on his head was pretty interesting.
6 STRONGEST: CHILDREN'S CRUSADE DOOM
During "Avengers Disassembled," the Scarlet Witch snapped and almost destroyed the Avengers in the process. Later, in the crossover House of M, she seemed to wipe out her mutant powers and her memory, as well. She retired to the Eastern European countryside, where eventually she was plucked out of apparent obscurity by Doctor Doom.
It turned out that Doom had helped her increase her powers before "Avengers Disassembled." He took advantage of the fact that she lost her memory to then woo her and try to marry her. His plan was to steal her increased powers for himself, which he did during the Young Avengers story arc, The Children's Crusade.
5 STRANGEST: STILL LIFE DOOM
What gets lost in some of the later portrayals of Doom as a misguided almost anti-hero is the fact that Jack Kirby and Stan Lee always intended for Doom to be, if not a parody of the typical tyrannical monarch of the era, to at least have elements of that type of personality to be present in the character. They did not think that Doom should ever be admired.
They made that evident in Fantastic Four #85, where the vain Doom can't help but have his royal portrait regularly painted, even though his face is too hideous to be typically shown for something like this.
4 STRONGEST: SECRET WARS DOOM #1
In 1984, the Marvel Universe was turned upside down when a group of its most notable superheroes and supervillains were transported to an alien planet known as Battleworld. The powerful being that had brought them there, known only as the Beyonder, then told the collected heroes and villains to fight and that the winner would get whatever their heart desired.
Doom decided that what he really wanted was the Beyonder's power. So while the rest of the heroes and villains battled it out, he came up with a plan to absorb the Beyonder's strange yet seemingly infinite energies. He succeeded, becoming a giant in the process and slightly streamlining his armor. He lost his power before the series was over.
3 STRANGEST: FUR DOOM
As noted earlier, following the events of Onslaught, a Counter Earth was created that Doom later took over with a number of super-powered generals under his command, including that world's version of Namor's late wife, Dorma. However, a crisis arose when Counter Earth and Earth seemed like they were about to collide.
Doom came to Earth and managed to stop it, but not before battling it out with Reed Richards. The Dreaming Celestial then trapped Reed in Doom's armor and sent Victor back to Counter Earth without his armor... or any clothes at all! The bare monarch quickly ended the life of a lion and skinned it and wore its pelt and skin as a new temporary suit of armor.
2 STRONGEST: SECRET WARS DOOM #2
Years later, the Multiverse was in danger of collapsing and different versions of Earth kept almost collide with each other. When two Earths finally did collide, the Multiverse essentially exploded. The only person who could save everything was Doctor Doom, using seemingly ultimate power given to him by the Molecule Man.
Doom created a new planet where different alternate realities all shared the planet together. Some other heroes who survived the initial destruction of the Multiverse, though, fought back against Doom's rule over the world, where he was called "God Doom." Ultimately, Doom conceded that Reed Richards would have been the better choice, so Reed took over and returned the Multiverse mostly back to normal, resolving Doom's haphazard fix.
1 STRONG AND STRANGE: HUMAN SKIN MAGIC ARMOR
What has always made Doom unique is that while he knows as much about science as Reed Richards, Doom is also a powerful sorcerer, as well. It was this knowledge that led him to doing the unthinkable. Doom had always loved a peasant girl named Valeria, despite her not being in love with him anymore because he was a supervillain.
Finally, he managed to woo her once more and she fell in love with him. He was then able to use that love to power a spell. Her skin was removed and turned into a magical leather armor for Doom, making his armor the most powerful that it had ever been, while simultaneously also making it the weirdest that it had ever been!