Over their long partnership, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created scores of amazing characters that made up the backbone of the Marvel Universe. Yet Doctor Victor von Doom remains one of a kind. At first, he was your classic melodramatic villain who boasted his greatness. Yet the two presented Doom with a regal majesty that became literal when he was revealed to be the ruler of his own country. His imposing armor and green cloak made him stand out majorly from a crowd. Doom also presented himself as a genius schemer who could work plans within plans and keep fans guessing to his intentions. Doom also had a streak of honor and the hints that, while evil, he wasn’t all that bad deep down. This fascinating contrast made him a great character to use.
Over the decades, numerous writers have put their stamp on Doom. Some present him as a clear-cut villain while others try to show a better side. A recent move was Doom being healed from his scarring and taking up a role as a new Iron Man to redeem his past. That has ended as Doom looks to be going back to his villainous roots. However, something about Doom makes him more special than any other villain out there and just as fantastic as his enemies. Of course, he has had his bad moments, with some serious low points that make him look a lot weaker. Some things may be well known but others a surprise to those who haven’t read the comics while other points are better off not known at all. Here are 10 things you might not have known about Doom and 10 he’d want to forget to prove why he’s still the supreme baddie of the Marvel Universe.
20 FORGET: BEATEN BY ANT-MAN
Comic book writers argue a lot about Doom’s character. Some contend he has a decent heart deep down and, had things gone differently, he could have been a great hero. Others state Doom’s “honor” is just a façade and he’s a total monster. Matt Fraction falls into the latter group. When the FF went on an other-dimensional mission, they had a “backup” team standing by on Earth. Led by Scott “Ant-Man” Lang, She-Hulk, Ms. Thing and Medusa did their best to fight threats. That included Doom who Scott blamed for causing the passing of his daughter Cassie.
Ant-Man vs Doom looks to be no contest. But Scott revealed he could use the Pym Particles to increase the power of his blows and attack Doom’s armor. In a huge battle, Scott beat Doom down big-time and this was after Doom had taken in some cosmic power. He also tore into Doom as nothing but a self-centered sociopath who cared for no one but himself. Maybe that weighed on Doom as he later found a way to restore Cassie. However, getting such a verbal and physical beating from a guy who talks to ants has to be a low point for Doom.
19 TO KNOW: HE’S A MASTER SORCERER
Doom is known as a man of science. From his armor to a time machine, his litany of achievements are amazing. However, because of his upbringing, Doom is also well acquainted with the world of magic. That gives him an advantage over Reed Richards, who’s of the “magic is just a form of science” group. Doctor Strange has noted Doom’s amazing powers and Doom even won a competition to take over as Sorcerer Supreme if Strange was ever destroyed. Indeed, a What If? issue has Doom in the role and doing quite well with it. A major reason Doom was effective as the “Redeemable Iron Man” was that he wove magic as well as technology to craft a suit Tony Stark couldn’t match. That’s a key reason Doom is such a threat as no one knows how to mix magic and science like he does.
18 FORGET: HIS QUESTIONABLE TREATMENT OF WOMEN
Doom likes to hold himself as a man of honor and that includes treating women well. Sue Storm once realized she was facing a Doombot when it slapped her as Doom might take out an enemy but he would be above such brutality. However, it’s also been shown that Doom has some questionable means treating women. One issue indicates that, as absolute ruler of Latveria, Doom employs “Droit de Seigneur.” This means that Doom has the right to pick a peasant woman at random as his “companion.” This leads to one of Doom’s most embarrassing moments as he’s beaten by two-bit hero the Shroud and driven over a cliff by his own hounds.
That’s not the only case as Doom has been known to be insulting to women and some rough affairs with the likes of Morgan le Fay. Also, when offered massive magical powers by a group of demons, Doom sacrificed his childhood love, Valerina, and then used her to create a new suit of armor. It can depend on the writer but Doom’s idea of “romance” is quite dark.
17 TO KNOW: TOOK OVER WOLVERINE’S SKELETON
The original Guardians of the Galaxy were a group of heroes defending the 30th century. The 1990s series had writer/artist Jim Valentino doing a lot of cool plots. Valentino laid the seeds to reveal that Doom was still alive in this far future, but he left to help form Image Comics and new writers had to pick up the plotline. Doom recruits Rancor, Wolverine’s vicious descendant, and her mutant followers to aid in his schemes for power. Rancor plots against Doom and attacks him, hurting him with one of Wolverine’s broken claws.
To Rancor’s shock, Doom gets right up, telling her to keep the claw as “I have the other five.” He then peels off his armor to reveal that he’s survived all this time by having his brain put into Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton. He and Rancor have a fight with Doom electrocuted but fighting back and managing to escape. He never appears again as the book was canceled just a couple of years later. Yet it’s still a gripping look at how far Doom will go to survive
16 FORGET: DATING THE SCARLET WITCH
In 2004, Brian Michael Bendis did the controversial “Avengers Disassembled” arc. In it, the Scarlet Witch suffers a breakdown and lashes out with her magic which causes major chaos. That was followed by her depowering about 90 percent of the mutants on Earth. Fans were not happy about the move, which was seen as ruining the character. The Young Avengers had Wiccan and Speed who realized they were the reincarnations of Wanda’s long-lost twin sons. In “The Children’s Crusade,” the brothers led the team in hunting for Wanda and find her…about to marry Doom.
Doom discusses how he found a broken Wanda then helped her to recover, and now an amnesiac Wanda is ready to wed him. This leads to a wild conflict where Wanda regains her memories while Doom gets absolute power. Doom then reveals he was behind Wanda’s entire breakdown in the first place as part of this scheme. He’s defeated with Wanda fixing things, but it’s an extremely complex addition to an already convoluted storyline that fans of Wanda and Doom prefer to ignore.
15 TO KNOW: HE MET LEE AND KIRBY
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby set the bar for comic book storytelling that every creative team since has followed. The duo loved to have fun with their comics and, at various points, would actually write themselves into the books. In FF #10, it’s stated that the duo creates comics based on the FF’s exploits (with the Thing complaining about Kirby “making me look uglier than I am!”). The duo is in their offices, trying to come up with a new story. In walks Doom, fresh from an appearance in outer space like this is just a normal thing. He even takes off his mask with the duo horrified at his appearance. He uses them to trick Reed into showing up so Doom can grab him. It just makes sense that Doom could intimidate his own creators.
14 FORGET: STEALING NAMOR’S SEA HORN
In the 1970s, Spider-Man gained more mainstream attention with appearances on The Electric Company. The short skits were cheap, but still fun for kids. Marvel published Spidey Super Stories, a comic aimed at kids. They thus presented Marvel characters in a more funny light than the mainstream comics. In Doom’s case, he did whacky stuff, like building what amounted to a Death Star with teeth (yes, really). In another tale, Doom offers a partnership to Namor who rebukes it. So Doom steals Namor’s special horn and uses it to call up monstrous sea creatures to attack New York. Somehow, Spider-Man is the only one able to fight them off while Doom is talking in nutty rhymes. Yes, it’s meant to be for kids, but it's still not one of Doom’s better comic appearances.
13 TO KNOW: LOVES HIS MOTHER
Doom may be a ruthless schemer and a power-mad figure, but never ever mock his love for his mother. Her passing when he was a child was a huge turning point in Doom’s life and set him on his path for conquest. Cynthia was a gypsy who introduced Doom to magic which he would use in his life. As he grew, Doom discovered Cynthia had sold her soul to the demon Mephisto for power but paid a price for it. It was attempting to gain access to Mephisto’s realm that led to the college explosion that scarred Doom. For years, Doom set about trying to save his mother’s soul. With aid from Doctor Strange, he finally did. To this day, Doom takes an insult about his mother as a personal affront and will never show mercy to someone disgracing her memory. That love is the one human touch that Doom can never let go of.
12 FORGET: IT'S HIS FAULT HE'S SCARRED
The original origin of Doom was that he had been working on a device to contact the netherworld in college. Reed warned him the calculations were off but Doom ignored him. The device exploded and a bandaged Doom was expelled by the college board. Thus, the mask covers up the massive scarring. However, John Byrne introduced a wrinkle to the tale. It turns out that the explosion only left a small scar on Doom’s face which wasn’t that bad. The vain Doom, however, contended he was disfigured for life. He traveled to a group of monks in a distant land where he learned more of the dark arts and science. He made them craft a suit of armor and a mask. Doom had the mask affixed to his face before it had cooled which truly caused his horrible features. While Doom will deny it, the truth is that his refusal to show patience and his massive ego really caused his scarring.
11 TO KNOW: STEALING THE SURFER’S POWER
This was one of the greatest achievements of Doom’s early career. At the time, the Silver Surfer had been exiled to Earth by Galactus and trying to escape. Doom tricked the Surfer into believing he’d found a way to free him from his exile. Instead, Doom used a device to steal the Surfer’s power for himself. Armed with this cosmic energy, Doom took the Surfer’s board and began a wild flight around the world. He easily dispatched the FF and went about remaking entire mountain ranges and other displays of his might. With the world cowered, Doom saw an easy way to be named its absolute ruler.
As always, Doom’s ego was his undoing. He tried to prove his power by flying into space only to hit the barrier Galactus had set up to keep the Surfer on Earth. This caused the power to leave Doom and return to the Surfer. He’s had ultimate power a few times since, yet this was the first amazing case of what a cosmic Doom was capable of.
10 FORGET: STIFFING LUKE CAGE
Back in his early days, Luke Cage was a true “Hero for Hire” who worked for cash. At one point, he found himself fighting some thugs in Harlem only to discover they’re robots. He tracked their trail to the Latverian embassy where Doom is waiting. He said that these were renegade Doombots who decided to hide out in the U.S. He offers Cage two hundred dollars to hunt down and destroy the robots. Cage does so after great difficulty only to find that Doom has skipped town without paying his bill.
To Luke, there’s only one logical course of action: He talks the FF into letting him borrow a jet, flies to Latveria, brawls his way across the city and confronts Doom with the immortal line “Where’s my money, honey?” A battle ensues before Doom pays up. Yep, Cage flew halfway around the world and put the beat-down on the biggest baddie in the Marvel Universe… all for $200.
9 TO KNOW: SUPERMAN COULDN’T TOUCH HIM
Back in the late 1970s, Marvel and DC got together for a series of team-up specials. The second Spider-Man/Superman wasn’t as successful as the first, but was still pretty notable. Doom uses the Parasite in a plot to siphon some power from heroes so Doom can use it for himself. This includes tricking Wonder Woman into fighting Spider-Man and Superman going against the Hulk. Superman confronts Doom on the latter in the Latverian embassy in Metropolis. Doom is polite as he drinks, admitting his scheme, before he hits Superman with a Kryptonite ray. Superman gets out of it and threatens to tear Doom’s suit apart. Doom scoffs that they’re on Latverian soil and Superman wouldn’t dare break those laws. Superman is forced admit he’s right and leaves. Even the Man of Steel has a tough time getting the best of Doom.
8 FORGET: GETTING HIT WITH A CUPCAKE
Sometimes, Doom stories can be a bit odd. The Avengers are having a big party at their newly rebuilt headquarters when three Doombots attack at various levels. “Iron Man” reveals himself to be Doom who claims he has a neutron bomb in his armor that will go off if he’s attacked. He demands the team bring Thor to him so he can use his dimensional powers as part of a plot. He lets the Avengers defeat the Doombots, even as he holds them at bay with the bomb.
Feeling something is wrong, new member Rage suddenly throws a cupcake at Doom’s face. He then follows it up with a punch that reveals it’s another Doombot. Doom speaks through it, saying he wasn’t lying about a bomb in his armor, only he’s actually miles away. If nothing else, the Avengers feel the sight of Doom with cake running down his face was worth the party.
7 TO KNOW: HE JOINED THE FANTASTIC FOUR
Everyone knows that the rivalry between Doom and the Fantastic Four is legendary. However, sometimes, circumstances have forced them to work on the same side. In a major storyline, the alien Overmind takes over Reed’s mind and bends him to his will. The rest of the FF are easily defeated as Overmind plots to take over the Earth with Reed’s help. With the Avengers and X-Men too busy, Sue realizes the only person who could outwit Reed is Doom. At first refusing, Doom reconsiders when Sue appeals to his sense of honor. Plus, the idea of beating Reed with his team as his side was just too good an opportunity for Doom to pass up.
So, amazingly, Doom leads the FF into battle against the Overmind. He and Overmind have a huge clash before Doom sets out to free Reed’s mind. The FF are triumphant while Doom is able to gloat about how he was the only person who could help them.
6 FORGET: HE USED HARRY KISSINGER
Doom loves to flaunt his diplomatic status as the ruler of Latveria. It takes a full-scale invasion to topple him, but Doom keeps returning as the Latverians truly believe they’re better off with him in charge. In a 1976 storyline, the FF are after Doom for an attack and go into Latveria. They clash with robots and a mind-controlled Namor before confronting Doom himself, intent to bring him to justice. At this point, Doom unveils his secret weapon: Henry Kissinger. Yes, the Secretary of State of the time shows up to tell the FF that going after Doom would be an act of war that the U.S. can’t support. It was a shot at Kissinger’s real-life exploits, but ut was still hysterical to see the famous diplomat used to get Doom out of trouble.
5 TO KNOW: THE DOOMBOTS
The Doombots are probably Doom’s best creation. An army of robot duplicates, many are programmed to believe they truly are Doom. He uses them in various situations, from ultra-dangerous missions to tasks he thinks aren’t important enough for his time. The very idea of a man thinking that fighting the likes of Captain America is beneath him is priceless and speaks to Doom’s ego.
The Doombots are also the terrific go-to answer for when Doom seems out of character in a story, such as when Arcade strikes a match off his armor and Doom lets it. It wasn’t Doom, but just a robot. Doom does hint that since he uses it often, he’ll have someone thinking it’s a Doombot when it’s Doom himself. Thanks to these robots, you can never be sure who’s the real Doom, which makes him more dangerous.
4 FORGET: HE WAS SANTA
The What The series was always known for some quirky tales. Yet, few could top this holiday special with art by none other than John Byrne (who knew Doom quite well from his epic Fantastic Four run). In this issue, Santa decided to visit Doom for some reason only to fall into a trap. Injured, Santa asked Doom to take his place with Doom of course refusing. However, he was talked into it on the promise of being given his greatest wish. Thus, we have the hysterical sight of Doom in a Santa outfit delivering presents in between fighting the FF and the Avengers. He also helps a little girl out while flying his sleigh. In the end, Santa takes his leave as Doom embraces his wish, a teddy bear. Even Doom can’t resist the Christmas spirit.
3 TO KNOW: HE RECORDS HIS LIFE
From the beginning, Doom was shown to be in love with his own voice. He doesn’t do inner monologues, but rather boasts and brags constantly. A lot of that is the classic old-school villain stuff and has increased as he’s ruled Latveria. As it happens, there’s a reason for all that. In the first Secret Wars series, Doom is walking about, openly stating his plans to use the sound-based Klaw to steal the power of the Beyonder. Klaw asks if Doom is recording this and, in utter seriousness, Doom replies “of course! Every word of Doom must be recorded for posterity!” Indeed, one worker in Doom’s castle has the job of editing his words to cut out those little bits, like Doom losing. So whenever you see Doom going on a big talk, know he's not just hearing himself speak but making sure everyone else does too.
2 FORGET: HE LOST TO SQUIRREL GIRL
Doom has had a few embarrassments in his career. He will deny any real defeats and say that they are merely setbacks. However, the fact remains Doom was the first person to be defeated by Squirrel Girl. In her very first appearance in 1991’s Marvel Super Heroes Winter Special, Squirrel Girl aids Iron Man in a battle against Doom. Iron Man is being beaten badly when this goofball lady shows up claiming she can talk to squirrels. She proves it by using her animal friends to assault Doom and stop his latest scheme to end the world. The story openly states this is not a Doombot, but Doom himself. Squirrel Girl has since become a huge fan favorite character who can claim wins over Thanos and Galactus. Still, for a guy who has conquered the universe, Doom losing to a lady who talks to squirrels has to be a huge blow to his ego.
1 TO KNOW: HE’S NOT A DOCTOR
He boasts it as part of his title, but the fact is that Doom does not have a doctorate. True, that’s because he was expelled from college before he could graduate, yet still never finished getting a degree. Obviously, Doom can still boast being one of the most brilliant men on the face of the earth. In fact, he claims he’s above such petty degrees as there’s nothing any college could teach him. He’s been downright insulted at being seen at a level of “lesser men.” There have been cases of a college offering him an honorary degree, less for his accolades and more because they’re terrified of him. Again, Doom can justify how his genius is greater than a dozen award-winning scientists put together. Yet, deep down, it has to bother Doom on some level to know that Doctor Octopus can claim to be a real doctor more than him.