Top 50 Marvel Characters #4

The countdown continues...

4. Dr. Doom - 872 points (15 first place votes)

Doctor Doom, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, is that rare villain who is basically as much a part of the comic as any of the superheroes in the book. Doom is basically the fifth member of the Fantastic Four, only he's super evil.

Victor Von Doom met Reed Richards in college, where the two were academic rivals, but Doom's drive to be the best literally blew up in his face when his face was scarred by a faulty experiment he was working on.

Doom ended up wearing a metal mask to hide his scars (I like Byrne's take on it, that the experiment only slightly scarred him, but it was wearing the mask before it cooled that REALLY scarred him), and soon took over Latveria, the Eastern European country where he was born.

Doom was a tyrant, but brought technology to the people and made Latveria one of the strongest countries in the world.

However, Doom could not keep from trying to both A. Conquer the world and B. Show up Reed Richards, who he hates, like, a LOT.

It is funny - Doom is always trying to prove he is so smart. The dude invented a TIME MACHINE!!! How awesome is THAT?

Anyhow, for awhile, Doom tried using magic against the Fantastic Four (even wearing the skin of his true love for awhile - creeeeeepy), but now he appears to be back to his normal self.

Here is Brent Ecenbarger's reasoning for Doom being #1 on his list...

Dr. Doom is the most effective type of villain, in that his actions are driven by his own perspective of doing good. Although other villains (such as Magneto) have a positive goal in mind regarding some social injustices, Dr. Doom truly believes that if he were the sole ruler of the world, it would be a better place. In the 2099 universe, when he was able to take over America temporarily, his first actions were mostly positive (cleaning up the environment, limiting corporate power), although his means were clearly Doom-like (public assassinations and roaming police using telepathy to search for non-Doom supporters).

However, all the motivations of Doom are only a small reason of why he is such a great character. Unlike other supervillains, Doom doesn't have any innate special abilities. Instead, he depends on his intellect, technology, and sorcery, all of which are mere tools to other characters, but to Doom it makes him the most capable villain in all of comics. Only a mortal such as Doom would stand up against entities like Mephisto, the Beyonder, and Galactus and often come out on top. It also says a great deal that on many occasions Doom has been considered a hero, and not just to the people of Latveria. While being the sovereign ruler of his own land would normally be enough of a character trait for most heroes or villains, again with Doom it is only a piece of the armor that makes him the best.

Finally, the origin of Doom is more in the vein of the great tragedies of the past than almost any other superhero or villain. All tragic heroes have a fatal flaw, and Doom is no different. Whereas Spider-man was bitten by a radioactive spider, and Wolverine was born with healing, Doom was born a to a gypsy tribe and had to use hard work to become its ruler. Not to mention the accomplishment of making it to a top university, where he would meet his arch-nemesis Reed Richards. However, Doom was the tragic hero in that his fatal flaw was pride, and the cost of it was the machine that scarred him, and again the armor that finished the job. Any other number of circumstances could have led to Doom being a savior, but as it is, instead he remains Marvel's greatest villain.

Jason Stanhope weighs in on why he picked Doom #1...

Dr. Doom captures so many great comic book elements. First he's the twisted reflection of his greatest nemesis Mr. Fantastic. Secondly his visual design is excellent with a very striking and yet simple costume that is imposing and regal. He also is a master of sorcery and technology, an unusual combination. Plus his inner sense of nobility sets him apart from lesser villains, in a similar manner to Magneto.

Lhatf gives some...interesting reasons for picking Doom #1...

I've always had a soft spot for Doom. I can't stand the Fantastic Four unless there is an exceptional creative team working on the book. I like the combination of magic along with technology. He is clearly a dictator, but is seemingly fair to his people, he's like Hobbes' Leviathan. He is also out to get Reed Richards, who just plain annoys me with his stretchy skin and his hot invisible wife. Lastly, his costume is fucking sweet.

Thanks to Brent, Jason and Lhatf!!

#3 tomorrow!

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