|First appearance||The Fantastic Four #5 (July 1962)|
|Created by||Stan Lee
|Alter ego||Dr. Victor Von Doom
God Emperor Doom
|Place of origin||Earth|
|Team affiliations||Terrible Trio
|Abilities||Skilled scientist and sorcerer
Highly skilled hand to hand combatant
Powered armor grants:
Superhuman strength, durability and endurance
Force field generation
Doctor Victor von Doom is a fictional supervillain that appears in publications by Marvel Comics. The son of Romani witch Cynthia Von Doom, Doctor Doom is a recurring archenemy of the Fantastic Four, and leader of the fictional nation of Latveria. He is both a genius inventor and a sorcerer. While his chief opponents have been the Fantastic Four, he has also come into conflict with the Avengers and other superheroes in the Marvel Universe.
Doctor Doom has made many appearances in video games, television series, and merchandise such as action figures and trading cards. He was ranked as the 4th Greatest Villain by Wizard on its 100 Greatest Villains of All Time list. IGN's list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time ranked Doctor Doom as #3.
Doctor Doom has also been featured in other Marvel-endorsed feature films such as The Fantastic Four played by Joseph Culp, while actor Julian McMahon played him in the 2005 film Fantastic Four and its 2007 sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer as the film's antagonist. Toby Kebbell will portray the character in the upcoming 2015 reboot.
Creation and development
Like many of Marvel's Silver Age characters, Doctor Doom was conceived by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby. With the Fantastic Four title performing well, Lee and Kirby were trying to dream up a "soul-stirring…super sensational new villain." Looking for a name, Lee latched onto "Doctor Doom" as "eloquent in its simplicity — magnificent in its implied menace."
Jack Kirby modeled Doctor Doom after Death, with the armor standing in for that character's skeleton; "It was the reason for the armor and the hood. Death is connected with armor and the inhuman-like steel. Death is something without mercy, and human flesh contains that mercy." Kirby further described Doctor Doom as being "paranoid", wrecked by his twisted face and wanting the whole world to be like him. Kirby went on to say that "Doctor Doom is an evil person, but he's not always been evil. He was [respected]…but through a flaw in his own character, he was a perfectionist." At one point in the 1970s, Kirby drew his interpretation of what Doctor Doom would look like under the mask, giving Doctor Doom only "a tiny scar on his cheek." Due to this slight imperfection, Doctor Doom hides his face not from the world, but from himself. To Kirby, this is the motivation for Doctor Doom's vengeance against the world; because others are superior due to this slight scar, Doom wants to elevate himself above them. Typical of Lee's writing characterization of Doctor Doom is his arrogance; his pride leads to Doctor Doom's disfigurement at the hands of his own machine, and to the failures of many of his schemes. There is also an idea that Doctor Doom placed his mask on his face before it was fully cool, burning his face. In some early stories glimpses of his face are shown, in which he appears to be bald.
While the Fantastic Four had fought various villains such as the Mole Man, Skrulls, the Miracle Man, and Namor the Sub-Mariner, Doctor Doom managed to overshadow them all and became the Fantastic Four's archnemesis.
During the 1970s, Doctor Doom branched out to more Marvel titles such as Astonishing Tales, The Incredible Hulk, and Super-Villain Team-Up, starting in 1975, as well as appearances in Marvel Team-Up, beginning with issue #42 (February 1976). Doctor Doom's origin was also a feature in Astonishing Tales when his ties to the villain Mephisto were revealed.
1981 saw Marvel and DC Comics collaborate on another project. In 1976 the two companies had published Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man, and seeking to replicate that success the two companies again teamed the characters up, in Superman and Spider-Man. Marvel editor in chief Jim Shooter co-wrote the story alongside Marv Wolfman, and recalled choosing Doctor Doom based on his iconic status: "I figured I needed the heaviest-duty bad guy we had to offer — Doctor Doom. Their greatest hero against our greatest villain."
The same year saw John Byrne begin his six-year run writing and illustrating Fantastic Four in 1981, sparking a "second golden age" for the title but also attempting to "turn the clock back [...] get back and see fresh what it was that made the book great at its inception." Doctor Doom made his first appearance under Byrne's tenure with issue #236. Whereas Kirby had intimated that Doom's disfigurement was more a figment of Victor's vain personality, Byrne expressed that Doctor Doom 's face was truly ravaged; only Doctor Doom 's own robot slaves are allowed to see the monarch without his helmet. Byrne also emphasized other aspects of Doom's personality; despite his ruthless nature, Doctor Doom is a man of honor. returning to Latveria after being temporarily deposed, Doctor Doom abandons a scheme to wrest mystical secrets from Doctor Strange in order to oversee his land's reconstruction. Though possessing a tempestuous temper, Doctor Doom also occasionally shows warmth and empathy to others; he tries to free his mother from Mephisto and treats Kristoff Vernard like his own son. Byrne also gave further detail regarding Doom's scarring; Byrne used the idea that the accident at Empire State University only left Doctor Doom with a small scar that was exaggerated into a more disfiguring accident by Doctor Doom's own arrogance; when Doctor Doom puts on the armor forged for him when it had yet to cool, however, he truly damages his face.
After Byrne's departure Doctor Doom continued to be a major villain in Fantastic Four, and as the 1980s continued Doom appeared in other comics such as Punisher, The Spectacular Spider-Man, and Excalibur. Under Fantastic Four writer Steven Englehart, Doctor Doom became exiled from Latveria by his heir Kristoff, who was brainwashed into thinking he was Doctor Doom. Doctor Doom would spend most of his time in exile planning his return, but Englehart left the title before he could resolve the storyline. This storyline ultimately ended with the controversial Fantastic Four #350, where writer Walt Simonson had the Doctor Doom who had been seen in the book during the Englehart run being revealed to be a Doctor Doom bot and the real Doctor Doom, in a newly redesigned armor, returning to claim his country from his usurper. Simonson's retcon stated that Doctor Doom 's last real appearance was in the famous "Battle of Baxter Building" though with occasional trips back home, though Doctor Victor Von Doom was shown to be unaware of certain major changes at the time to the Fantastic Four. An urban legend states that Simonson drew up a list of official stories which featured the real Doctor Doom and those which did not but this plotline was dropped and never mentioned again by later writers, who ignored Simonson's declaration as subterfuge Doctor Doom stated for the sake of blaming past failures on Doombots.
In 2003 Doctor Doom was the villain in the Fantastic Four story arc "Unthinkable", in which Doctor Victor Von Doom viscerally skins his childhood love Valeria alive to the bone, and turns her flesh into mystic armour, imprisons Franklin Richards in Hell, captures Valeria Richards, and succeeds in de-powering and imprisoning the Fantastic Four. Writer Mark Waid sought to redefine Doctor Doom 's character in a way that had not been seen before. Waid punctuated this reinterpretation of Doctor Doom during his "Unthinkable" saga (Vol 2 #66-70 & Vol 1 (restart) #500) as an absolute sadist by having Von Doom ruthlessly murder Valeria (namesake of the Richards's daughter), his first love and granddaughter to his long serving faithful retainer Boris, in order to be granted access to powerful magic by a trio of demons, Valeria being the treasured possession that they demanded in exchange. He subsequently attempted to prove his superiority to Reed by giving him the chance to find his way out of a prison that could only be escaped by mastering magic, in the belief that Reed would fail to do so, but with the aid of the astral projection of Doctor Strange Reed learned to master magic by accepting that he could not understand it. This fight resulted in Doctor Doom being trapped in Hell when Reed tricked him into rejecting the demons, until the events of Ragnarok, when Thor's hammer Mjolnir fell through dimensions and gave Doctor Doom a way out of Hell when it was lost after Thor's apparent death.
In 2005 and 2006, Doctor Doom was featured in his own limited series, Books of Doom , a retelling of the origin story by Ed Brubaker. In an interview, Brubaker said the series was a way to elaborate on the earlier portions of Doctor Doom 's life which had not been seen often in the comics. The series also set out to determine if Doctor Doom 's path from troubled child to dictator was fated or Doctor Doom 's own faults led to his corruption — in essence, a nature versus nurture question. Brubaker's version of Doctor Doom was heavily influenced by the original Lee/Kirby version; responding to a question if he would show Doctor Doom 's face, Brubaker stated "[F]ollowing Kirby's example, I think it's better not to show it."
The Mighty Avengers invaded Latveria, Doctor Doom 's nation, due to his involvement in creating a chemical bomb that would infect people with the symbiote (though it was recently revealed that this attack was actually set up by Kristoff Vernard to put Doctor Doom out of the picture prior to Kristoff's future attempt at a coup). Due to Ultron's interference, the bomb was dropped on Manhattan, but the Mighty Avengers are able to stop the effects on the people. The Mighty Avengers proceed to invade Latveria. During the invasion, the Sentry, Iron Man, and Doctor Doom are sent to the past thanks to Doctor Doom ’s time platform. Eventually, the trio breaks into the Baxter Building and make use of a confiscated time machine to return to the present era, the Sentry taking advantage of the fact he will soon be forgotten by the world to easily defeat the Thing. Doctor Doom transports himself to Morgana's castle to summon up a magical army and captures the Avengers, but they free themselves and he is arrested for terrorist crimes against humanity after a brief struggle that culminated with the Sentry tearing off Doctor Doom 's mask.
During Dark Reign when Norman Osborn is in charge, Doctor Doom is released and sent back to Latveria. However, Morgana le Fay engages him in a magical battle, which he is losing until the Dark Avengers rescue him. He then magically rebuilds his kingdom.
Doctor Doom soon allies himself with the isolationist group known as the Desturi, to take control of Wakanda.[volume & issue needed] He attacked and wounded T'Challa, the current Black Panther, maiming him enough to prevent him from holding the mantle again.[volume & issue needed] Doctor Doom 's main objective was to secure Wakanda's store of vibranium, which he could mystically enhance to make himself unstoppable.
In the Mark Millar penned Fantastic Four 566-569 Doctor Doom received a significant power upgrade. He was thrown back in time (perhaps about 50 million years) by the Marquis of Death. Doctor Doom then fought through time and space to get back to the present to seek revenge on the Marquis of Death. Doctor Doom stated, as he killed the Marquis, he had rebuilt every molecule of his being and increased his power all to destroy the Marquis. In later issues this seems to have been ignored however, with writers treating Doctor Doom the way they have always before in terms of power.[volume & issue needed] Doctor Doom later joins the supervillain group known as the Intelligencia, but is betrayed when they captured him to complete their plan. With the help of Bruce Banner, he escapes and returns to Latveria. He appears to have been damaged by this experience.[volume & issue needed]
At the start of the story arc Fantastic Four: Three, Doctor Doom feels that he needs to be "reborn" and makes plans to abdicate his throne and give it to Kristoff when Valeria teleports to his room unexpectedly asking for his assistance to help her father. Valeria quickly notices that Doctor Doom has suffered brain damage and makes a deal with him to restore his mental capacities if he helps Reed and the Fantastic Four. Doctor Doom agrees to her proposition. Later, Doctor Doom appears among those in attendance at Johnny Storm's funeral.
Due to the agreement, Doctor Doom is recommended by Nathaniel and Valeria Richards to be a member of the Future Foundation. Objecting, Thing attacks Doctor Doom out of anger, but the fight is stopped by Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, who welcomes Doctor Doom to their group. In an issue of the Hulk series, it is revealed that Doctor Doom performed brain surgery on Hulk to separate him from Banner, extracting the uniquely Banner elements from Hulk's brain and cloning a new body for Banner, in return for an initially-unspecified favor from the Hulk. However, when Doctor Doom demands to keep Banner for his own purposes, the Hulk reneges on the deal and flees with Banner's body, leaving his alter ego in the desert where he was created to ensure that Doctor Doom cannot use Banner's intellect.
Fictional character biography
Victor von Doom was born decades ago to a tribe of Latverian Romani people under the rule of an unnamed nobleman called the Baron. Victor's mother was witch Cynthia Von Doom who died by Mephisto's hand while von Doom was young. His father, Werner, was the leader of the tribe and a renowned medicine man who kept his wife's sorceress life quiet in order to protect Victor from a similar fate. Soon after Cynthia's death, the Baron's wife grew incurably ill from cancer and Werner was called to the capital to heal her. When she succumbed to illness, the Baron labeled Werner a murderer and called for his death. Werner escaped with young Victor, having realized the night before the woman would die. He goes on to die of exposure on the mountainside, cradling the boy in a final embrace and giving him his garments to keep him warm. Victor survived and, on return to the Romani camp, discovered his mother's occult instruments and swore revenge on the Baron. Victor grew into a headstrong and brilliant man, combining sorcery and technology to create fantastic devices to keep the Baron's men at bay and protect the roma people. His exploits attracted the attention of the dean of Empire State University, who sent someone to the camp. Offered the chance to study in the United States, von Doom chooses to leave his homeland and his love, Valeria, behind.
Once in the United States, Victor met fellow student and future nemesis Reed Richards, who was intended to be his roommate, but von Doom disliked him and asked for another roommate. After a time, Victor constructed a machine intended to communicate with the dead. Though Richards tried to warn him about a flaw in the machine, seeing his calculations were a few decimals off, Victor continued on with disastrous results. The machine violently failed and the resulting explosion seemingly severely damaged his face. It is later revealed that Ben Grimm, a friend of Richards who despised Victor for his superior attitude, tampered with the machine. He would later blame himself for Doctor Doom's eventual rise to power, but never revealed this information to anyone. Expelled after the accident, Victor traveled the world until he collapsed on a Tibetan mountainside. Rescued by a clan of monks, Victor quickly mastered the monks' disciplines as well as the monks themselves. Victor then forged himself a suit of armor, complete with a scowling mask, and took the name Doctor Doom. As Doctor Doom, he would go on to menace those he felt responsible for his accident—primarily, Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four. He succeeded in taking over Latveria, taking an interest in the welfare of the Roma.
In his first appearance, Doctor Doom captures the Invisible Girl, using her as a hostage so the Fantastic Four will travel back in time to steal the enchanted treasure of Blackbeard which will help him conquer the world, but he is fooled by Reed Richards, who swaps the treasure with worthless chains. Doctor Doom then forms an alliance with the Sub-Mariner, who places a magnetic device in the Baxter Building. However Doctor Doom uses this to pull him and the Fantastic Four into space, thinking this will rid him of those capable of preventing him conquering the world. But the Sub-Mariner gets to Doctor Doom 's ship and returns the Baxter Building to New York, while Doctor Doom is left on an asteroid. Returning to Earth after learning the secrets of an advanced alien race, the Ovids, Doctor Doom exchanges consciousnesses with Mr. Fantastic; Richards, inhabiting Doctor Doom 's body, switches the two back, and Doctor Doom ends up trapped in a micro-world when he is hit with a shrinking ray he had intended to use on the rest of the Fantastic Four. Doctor Doom takes over the micro-world, but leaves after the FF end his rule. He is then thrown into space when he attempts to do this to the FF. Doctor Doom is saved by Rama-Tut, and he returns to Earth to destroy the Fantastic Four by turning each member against the other using a special berry juice. Richards outwits Doctor Doom by using the hallucinogenic juice against the villain. Doctor Doom, believing he has killed Richards in a test of willpower, departs certain of his victory and superior intelligence.
During the 1960s, Doctor Doom tricks Spider-Man into joining forces with him, and he also menaces the Avengers when Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch travel to Latveria to find a long-lost relative. He steals the Silver Surfer's powers in 1967, but he loses them after breaching a barrier Galactus set for the Surfer on Earth.
During the 1970s, Doctor Doom branched out to more Marvel titles, with a battle between Doctor Doom and Prince Rudolfo over control of Latveria being featured in Astonishing Tales. Doctor Doom also attempts to use the Hulk as his slave during two issues of The Incredible Hulk. The character also made several appearances in the story arcs of Super-Villain Team-Up, starting in 1975, as well as appearances in Marvel Team-Up, beginning with issue #42 (February 1976). In August 1981, Doctor Doom also made an appearance in Iron Man when the two travel to Camelot where Stark thwarted Doctor Doom 's attempt to solicit the aide of Morgan le Fay and Doctor Doom swore deadly vengeance for that interference, which had to be indefinitely delayed in the interest of returning to the present day.
During John Byrne's run in the 1980s, Doctor Doom attempts to steal the cosmic powers of Terrax, but Doctor Doom's body is destroyed in the resulting fight between Terrax and the Silver Surfer. Doctor Doom survives by transferring his consciousness to another human, and is returned to his original body by the Beyonder.
In the 2000s, Doctor Doom rediscovered his mystical heritage, using his powers in an attempt to destroy the Fantastic Four after making a deal with a group of demons called the Hazarath Three, but later is consigned to a hell dimension after Professor Richards manages to trick him into rejecting the idea that the demons aided him. He escapes and attempts to claim Thor's mystical hammer Mjolnir for himself, after the rift the hammer created as it fell to Earth following the destruction of Asgard allowed him to escape. The plot fails due to his inability to lift the hammer, and Doctor Doom returns to Latveria to rule once again.
When Franklin Richards was kidnapped by Onslaught, Doctor Doom joined the Fantastic Four, Avengers and the X-Men to battle Onslaught in Central Park. An enraged Hulk was able to crack open Onslaught's shell. However, Onslaught remained as pure psionic energy, separated Hulk and Banner, planning to spread across the planet. Thor plunged into Onslaught, trying to contain him. The Fantastic Four, the majority of Avengers, and the Hulk-Less Banner followed in short order, with Doom being forced to join the sacrifice when Iron Man tackled the villain into the energy mass. Thanks to this sacrifice, the X-Men finally managed to destroy Onslaught. Doom, the Fantastic Four, and the Avengers and Banner were believed dead, but were instead saved by Franklin, who created a pocket dimension called Counter-Earth to keep them safe. After several months away, the missing heroes returned from Counter-Earth, except for Doom, who remained there for a time. Doom uncovers the secret power at the heart of the planet, an avatar of his arch-foe Reed Richards' son, Franklin, the super-powered youth who conjured this globe and left a bit of himself behind to guide it from within. Doom manages to convince the little boy to relinquish control of this world with little more than a few errant promises of a better life.
Later, a Doombot was taken down by Reed Richards, Henry Pym, Iron Man, She-Hulk and others in New York City. Whether or not it was sent by Doctor Doom himself remains to be seen, as does his role in the overall conflict. Doctor Doom was not invited to the wedding of Storm and the Black Panther. However, he did send a present: an invitation to form an alliance with Latveria, using the Civil War currently going on among the hero community as a reason to quite possibly forge an alliance between their two countries. When Black Panther, on a diplomatic mission to other countries with Storm, did show up in Latveria, he presented them with a real present, and extended another invitation to form an alliance with Black Panther. He demonstrated behavior very uncharacteristic of him, however, which may or may not become a plot point later. Panther spurned the invitation, detonating an EMP that blacked out a local portion of Latveria before Doctor Doom 's robots could destroy his ship. Later on, Doctor Doom is then shown collaborating with the Red Skull on a weapon which will only "be the beginning" of Captain America's suffering. Doctor Doom gave the Red Skull the weapon because the Red Skull gave Victor pieces of technology from an old German castle. The castle was owned by a "Baron of Iron" centuries prior, who had used his technological genius to protect himself and his people. The map the Red Skull used to find the castle bore a picture of Doctor Doom. Doctor Doom states that the technology the Red Skull gave him is more advanced than what he currently has, and that he will become the Baron of Iron in his future. The Red Skull is currently in the process of reverse-engineering Doctor Doom 's weapon for multiple uses, rather than the single use Doctor Doom agreed to.
At the end of the first chapter of the X-Men event Endangered Species, Doctor Doom is among the supervillain geniuses that Beast contacts to help him reverse the effects of Decimation. He spurns Beast by stating that genetics do not number among his talents.
Doctor Doom also makes Latveria into a refugee camp for the Atlanteans following the destruction of their underwater kingdom as well as becoming allies with Loki in his plot to manipulate Thor into unwittingly release his Asgardian enemies.
Doctor Doom later defends Latveria from the Mighty Avengers, following a revelation that it was one of Doctor Doom's satellites that carried the 'Venom Virus' released in New York City. In a battle with Iron Man and the Sentry, the time travel mechanism within his armor overloads, trapping Doctor Doom and his opponents at some point in the past. Doctor Doom continues a relationship with Morgan le Fay using his time machine. He and Iron Man managed to get back to the present, but Doctor Doom has left Iron Man in his exploding castle. Despite this, Doctor Doom ended up incarcerated at The Raft.
In the aftermath of the Secret Invasion, Doctor Doom is a member of the Dark Illuminati alongside Norman Osborn, Emma Frost, Namor, Loki's female form, and Hood. At the end of this meeting, Namor and Doctor Doom are seen having a discussion of their own plans that have all ready been set in motion.
Doctor Doom soon allies himself with the isolationist group known as the Desturi, to take control of Wakanda. He attacked and wounded T'Challa, the current Black Panther, maiming him enough to prevent him from holding the mantle again. Doctor Doom 's main objective was to secure Wakanda's store of vibranium, which he could mystically enhance to make himself unstoppable. Doctor Doom was also a part of the supervillain group known as the Intelligencia, but was betrayed when they captured him to complete their plan. With the help of Bruce Banner, he escaped, and returned to Latveria. He appears to have been damaged by this experience.
At the start of the Siege storyline, Doctor Doom is with the Cabal discussing the current problems with the X-Men and both Avengers teams. Doctor Doom demands that Osborn at once reverse his course of action against his ally Namor, to which Osborn refuses, saying that he and Emma Frost had "crossed the line" with him. Doctor Doom, loathing Thor and the Asgardians all the more due to his recent defeat at their hands, claims that he will support Osborn's "madness" should Namor be returned to him, but Osborn refuses. Osborn's mysterious ally, the Void, violently attacks Doctor Doom, and an apparently amused Loki tells the Hood that he should go, as there is nothing here for either of them, which the Hood, now loyal to Loki due to his hand in the restoration of his mystical abilities, agrees. However, it is revealed that "Doctor Doom" is actually an upgraded Doctor Doom bot, which releases swarms of Doctor Doom bot nanites against the Cabal, tearing down Avengers Tower and forcing its denizens, such as the Dark Avengers, to evacuate. Osborn is rescued by the Sentry, who destroys the body. When Osborn contacts Doctor Doom, Doctor Doom tells him not to ever strike him again or he is willing to go further.
It has been revealed that the Scarlet Witch seen in Wundagore Mountain is actually a Doctor Doom bot which apparently means that the real one has been captured by Doctor Doom sometime after the House of M event. It is revealed that Wanda's enhanced powers were a result of her and Doctor Doom's combined attempt to channel the Life Force in order to resurrect her children. This proves to be too much for Wanda to contain and it overtook her. With Wiccan and Doctor Doom's help, they seek to use the entity that is possessing Wanda to restore mutantkinds' powers. This is stopped by the Young Avengers (who are concerned at the fall-out that would ensue if the powerless mutants are suddenly re-powered) only to find out Doctor Doom 's real plan: to transfer the entity into his own body and gaining Wanda's god-like powers for himself. Doctor Doom becomes omnipotent with powers surpassing those of beings as the Beyonder or the Cosmic Cube. The Young Avengers confront him, but Doctor Doom kills Cassie just before Wanda and Wiccan stole his new-found powers.
At the start of the story arc "Fantastic Four: Three," Doctor Doom felt that he needed to be "reborn" and was making plans to abdicate his throne and give it to Kristoff when Valeria teleported to his room unexpectedly asking for his assistance to help her father. Valeria quickly notices that Doctor Doom has suffered brain damage and makes a deal with him to restore his mental capacities if he helps Reed and the Fantastic Four. Doctor Doom agrees to her proposition. Later, Doctor Doom appears among those in attendance at Johnny Storm's funeral.
Due to the agreement, Doctor Doom was recommended by Nathaniel and Valeria Richards to be a member of the Future Foundation. Objecting, Thing attacks Doctor Doom out of anger, but the fight was stopped by Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, who welcomes Doctor Doom to their group. When Valeria asks Doctor Doom if he has a backup for restoring his memories, he reveals that Kristoff Vernard is his backup. Afterward, Mr. Fantastic, Spider-Man, Nathaniel, Valeria, and Doctor Doom head to Latveria to meet with Kristoff and request his help. Mister Fantastic sets up a brain transfer machine in order to help restore Doctor Doom's memories and knowledge, which is successful. When Kristoff wants to return the throne to him, Doctor Doom states that it is not time yet because of a promise he made to Valeria. When Mister Fantastic asks what promise Doctor Doom made to Valeria, Doctor Doom states that he made a promise to help defeat Mister Fantastic. Doctor Doom decides to hold a symposium on how to finally defeat Reed Richards. The Thing and the evolved Moloids give an invitation to the High Evolutionary. Dragon Man and Alex Power give an invitation to Diablo. Upon receiving an invitation from Spider-Man, Mad Thinker is convinced to take part in the event. Bentley 23 even gives an invitation to his creator, the Wizard, along with two A.I.M. lieutenants. However, it is subsequently revealed that the 'Richards' they have been invited to defeat are actually members of the "Council of Reeds" (alternate versions of Reed who were trapped in this universe by Valeria a while back, possessing Reed's intellect while lacking his conscience). While Spider-Man and Invisible Woman make sandwiches for the kids, Mister Fantastic, Doctor Doom, Valeria, and Nathaniel Richards meet with the supervillain geniuses and Uatu the Watcher about what to do with the Council of Reeds.
The child members of the Future Foundation used the panic room system to teleport themselves the top of the Baxter Building to near Latveria where they help Nathaniel Richards, Kristoff Vernard, Alpha-Reed Richards, and Doctor Doom to rebuild the Bridge, and the Alpha-Reed Richards could return home. The Mad Celestials from Earth-4280 try to enter Earth through the Bridge in order to destroy it. Doctor Doom and Alpha-Reed Richards tried to stop them although Alpha-Reed Richards was killed using the Ultimate Nullifier while Doctor Doom was apparently killed by the Mad Celestials.
With no knowledge as to how he survived the blast from the Mad Celestials, Doom woke up in the middle of the ruins of the Interdimensional Council of Reeds, where Valeria had left him a present: the full army of lobotomized Doctor Dooms from alternate realities who were previously captured by the Council, along with two Infinity Gauntlets from alternate universes. With these resources, Doom created the Parliament of Doom. He later returned to again rule Latveria, and was targeted by Lucia von Bardas and the Red Ghost, who wanted to get revenge on Doom for past discretions.
Doom later journeyed to the Universe that one of his Infinity Gauntlets had belonged to, which was now empty and desolate, and used the gauntlet to create it anew. He separated magic and science, creating the basic rules for their existence, created new life, made himself its ruler. On a world where science and magic were wed, his creations turned on him and six rulers divided Doom's infinity gems between them. Reed and Nathaniel Richards entered this Universe to save Doom after being prompted by Valeria that he was in grave danger. They managed to convince five of the rulers to pardon Doom and managed to escape the clutches of the sixth, bringing Doom back to their universe. Upon their return, Doom declared that he and Richards were again even.
When Latveria became the site of an Incursion, a collision between Earth and one of its alternate universe counterparts, this Incursion was revealed to be different however, in that it was controlled by a mysterious group known as The Mapmakers, who had rigged the other Earth to explode and wished to mark Doom's Earth for potential expansion. Doom fought off the Mapmakers with the help of his adopted son Kristoff Vernard, whilst unbeknownst to him, the Illuminati blew up the other Earth. After the Incursion ended, Doom was alerted to a rock that had fallen from the sky, which was in truth the Mapmaker's beacon. Doom contacted Reed Richards and Stephen Strange in order to confront them about the Illuminati's presence in Latveria and the incursion, but to his fury, they refused to give him answers and Reed warned him not to contact him in regard to the Incursions again.
During the AXIS storyline, Doctor Doom appears as a member of Magneto's unnamed supervillain group during the fight against Red Skull's Red Onslaught form. Doctor Doom works with Scarlet Witch in order to use a spell to awaken the dormant part of Professor X's brain within Red Onslaught. The spell also caused some inversions which made the Avengers and X-Men evil and the bad guys good. In order to combat the now-evil Avengers and X-Men, Doctor Doom forms his team of Avengers by recruiting 3D Man, Elsa Bloodstone, Stingray, Valkyrie, and U.S. Agent. Their first mission is to fight a now-evil Scarlet Witch when she invades Latveria. It is later revealed that he intends to use Scarlet's attack for his goal to atone for his sins, by absorbing during the fight her reality-altering powers with which he can undo all his crimes; being forced to choose only one act to set straight, as he obtains only a fraction of the power, and despite being tempted to use it to repair his face and resurrect his beloved mother, Doctor Doom elects to revive Cassie Lang. He subsequently makes a Faustian deal with an unspecified demon to resurrect Brother Voodoo to take control of the Scarlet Witch and undo the inversion. Having returned to normal, Doctor Doom is shown with the Red Skull in captivity, contained by various telepathy-blocking machines, although his long-term goal is unknown.
Over the following months after the Incursion in Latveria during the Time Runs Out storyline, Doctor Doom had been working with a team of scientists to reverse-engineer one of the pieces of a Mapmaker he gathered from the Incursion, and successfully mapped their entire network. Doctor Doom planned to use the Molecule Man to oppose whatever was the origin of the Incursions. When Doctor Strange and the Black Priests began searching for Rabum Alal (the man whose birth was supposedly one of the main causes for the collapse and the decay of the Multiverse) the Black Priest finds a door to the Library of Worlds. Unlike before, they now have a key to get in and Doctor Strange to guide them through the Library. Inside, they are ambushed by the Black Swans in a vacuum where their words cannot be used, but Doctor Strange uses his other magics to fight back. Nevertheless, they are defeated and taken to Rabum Alal, who is revealed to be Doctor Doom himself. He then reveals to Doctor Strange that as Rabum Alal he had gathered a number of Black Swans who revere him as a mythic figure. It was also revealed that Doctor Doom has been opposing the Beyonders with the Molecule Man, by his side.
With the final Incursion imminent during the Secret Wars storyline, Doctor Doom, Doctor Strange, and Molecule Man leave to confront the Beyonders. In the aftermath, the multiverse is destroyed, leading Doom and Strange to try to recreate some semblance of the universe for life to exist, leading to the creation of a new Battleworld. There, God Emperor Doom is undisputed ruler with Strange serving as his personal Sheriff. Mister Sinister of Bar Sinister is brought before God Emperor Doom and Sheriff Strange attended by various other Barons where Sinister has been charged by the House of Braddock (the rulers of Higher Avalon) with secretly and illegally aligning with Baron Hyperion of Utopolis in opposition to Higher Avalon. Before Sinister can deal the killing blow to Brian Braddock, God Emperor Doom intervenes. God Emperor Doom interrogates Brian, telling him that Higher Avalon is long rumored to be the most favorable conduit for reaching the Silent Chambers, a place where "heretics and thieves" work to depose God Emperor Doom. When Brian denies any knowledge of it, God Emperor Doom declares him useless and orders that his eyes, tongue, hands and feet be removed. To save his brother, Baron James Braddock confesses that he has assisted those trying to reach the Silent Chambers. Enraged at betrayal by one of his barons, God Emperor Doom orders the entire House of Braddock to be publicly executed. Susan Storm implores him to be merciful. This causes God Emperor Doom to banish James to the Shield. Sheriff Strange informs God Emperor Doom of recent events in the domains of Battleworld. When Doom grows weary, Strange reminds Doom that he is "omnipotent but not omniscient". Before a statue of the Molecule Man, they reminisce about how Doom had battled the Beyonders and managed to salvage various fragments of the Earths that were being destroyed. God Emperor Doom and Invisible Woman later discuss a song she had heard. It tells of the man in the Sun (who is actually the Human Torch who is trapped forever in the Sun by God Emperor Doom as punishment for speaking out against him). This has caused a religion worshiping Human Torch to form among the lower classes of Battleworld. God Emperor Doom worries he is a flawed deity. Invisible Woman comforts him and encourages him to reveal more of himself to his people, including his horribly scarred face. Learning that a group of heroes from the original world have survived the incursions- including Reed Richards- Doom departs to confront them directly, but although he successfully defeats and kills the Phoenix-enhanced Cyclops, he is subsequently betrayed when Strange teleports the other heroes away, informing Doom that, regardless of his power, he will always fear Reed Richards. Angered at Strange's comment that Reed will find a way to defeat him despite his power, Doom kills Strange.
Powers and abilities
Doctor Doom is a polymath and scientific genius. Throughout most of his publication history, he has been depicted as one of the most intelligent humans in the Marvel Universe. This is shown on many occasions, most famously by actually curing Ben Grimm of his Thing form, which Reed Richards has never repeated. On the other hand, Reed Richards managed to process all the computer calculations necessary to save the life of a disintegrating Kitty Pryde by himself, which is a feat that Doctor Doom at the time professed to be unable to do.
Doctor Doom also possesses originally minor mystical capabilities due to teachings from Tibetan monks, but later increased them to a considerable extent due to tutoring from his lover Morgan Le Fay. He is capable of energy projection, creating protective shields, and summoning hordes of demonic creatures. Even at a time his abilities were consistently referred to as minor, with assistance from his technology and by tag-teaming with Doctor Strange, Doctor Doom managed to come second in a magic tournament held by the ancient sorcerer the Aged Genghis.
The alien Ovoids taught Doctor Doom the process of psionically transferring his consciousness into another nearby being through a simple eye contact, as well as showing him other forms of technology which Doctor Doom uses to escape from incarcerations and to avoid getting killed; however, if his concentration is broken, it can transfer his mind back, and he rarely uses this power unless absolutely necessary due to his own ego about his appearance.
Doctor Doom can exert technopathic control over certain machines, most notably the Doom bots. In addition, Doctor Doom has a remarkably strong will, as demonstrated in the graphic novel, Emperor Doom when he dared his prisoner, the mind controlling Purple Man, to attempt to control him and he successfully resists.
Doctor Doom’s armor augments his natural physical strength to superhuman levels, to the point where he is able to hold his own against Spider-Man in hand-to-hand combat, although he tends to rely on long-range tactics when engaging physically stronger foes. It is also highly resistant to harm, sufficient to withstand blows from Iron Man’s armor. The armor can generate a defensive force field and a lethal electric shock killing anyone who might come in contact with Doctor Doom. The armor is self-supporting, equipped with internal stores and recycling systems for air, food, water, and energy, allowing the wearer to survive lengthy periods of exposure underwater or in outer space.
As the absolute monarch of Latveria, Dr. Doom has diplomatic immunity – allowing him to escape prosecution for most of his crimes – and total control of the nation’s natural and technological resources, along with its manpower, economy, and military.
Doctor Doom is known for the frequent plot device wherein it is revealed that his actions were actually those of a "Doombot", one of Doctor Doom’s many robot doubles, either working on his behalf or as a result of rogue artificial intelligence.
On many occasions, Doctor Doom’s only real weakness has been his arrogance. Layla Miller once reflecting that Doctor Doom is incapable of accepting that he himself might be the reason for his failures. This is most keenly reflected in Doctor Doom’s continued refusal to accept responsibility for the accident that scarred his face, instead preferring to blame Reed Richards for sabotaging his experiment. While his high opinion of himself is generally accurate, he is generally unable to accept when others may have a better understanding of a situation than he does – with the occasional exception of hearing out the recommendations of heroes such as Mr. Fantastic or the Thing when it is to his advantage. Even when teaming up with others against a greater threat, Doctor Doom will often try to subvert the alliance for personal gain. For instance, while allied with Adam Warlock and other heroes against the titan Thanos, he attempted to steal Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet before its owner had been defeated.
Doctor Doom adheres to a strict code of honor at all times. However, Von Doom will keep his exact word, which may or may not be beneficial to the person to whom he has given his promise. For example, Doctor Doom may swear that he will not harm an individual, but that only means he will not personally harm that person, it does not mean he will prevent others from harming that person.
Doctor Doom’s honor code led him to save Captain America from drowning because Captain America had earlier saved his life, and on another occasion he thanked Spider-Man for saving him from terrorists attacking him in an airport by allowing him to leave alive despite Spider-Man subsequently insulting him. His code of honor also means that he will not attack a respected opponent who is weakened or at a severe disadvantage, as he regards any victory resulting from such circumstances as hollow and meaningless. He has even on several occasions battled opponents who were intent on killing the Fantastic Four, for no other reason than the fact that he does not want the ultimate defeat of the Fantastic Four to come from anyone’s hands but his own.
Doctor Doom has constructed numerous devices in order to defeat his foes or gain more power including:
- Doombots - Doombots have the face of the real Doctor Doom but with no hood and they have guns. Used for many missions, typically those where he fears defeat. Sometimes the Doctor Doom bots even believe themselves to be Doctor Doom.
- Servo-Guards - Robots that are programmed to attack the enemies of Doctor Doom.
- Time Platform - One of Doctor Doom's most ingenious creation is this functioning time machine. It consists of a platform 10 feet (3.0 m) by 10 feet (3.0 m) by 6 inches (150 mm) and a separate control console. Subjects stand upon the platform, while an operator works the controls. The device can transport characters to virtually any time and place in Earth's timestream, and the operator can instantly return the travelers by manipulating the control console. Doctor Doom does not require the console to return to his own time—he can use the time-circuitry built into his own armor, allowing him to venture into time and return on his own without relying on someone to bring him back.
- A device to imbue people with superpowers.
Doctor Doom's status as one of the Fantastic Four's greatest villains has led to his appearance in many of Marvel's alternate universes and spinoffs, in which the character's history, circumstances and behavior vary from the mainstream setting.
In other media
In the book Superhero: The Secret Origin of a Genre, Peter Coogan writes that Doctor Doom's appearance was representative of a change in the portrayal of "mad scientists" to full-fledged villains, often with upgraded powers. Doctor Doom is also emblematic of a specific subset of supervillain, which comic book critic Peter Sanderson describes as a "megavillain". These supervillains are genre-crossing villains who exist in adventures "in a world in which the ordinary laws of nature are slightly suspended"; characters such as Professor Moriarty, Count Dracula, Auric Goldfinger, Hannibal Lecter, Lex Luthor, and Darth Vader, also fit this description. Sanderson also found traces of William Shakespeare’s characters Richard III and Iago in Doctor Doom ; all of them "are descended from the 'vice' figure of medieval drama", who address the audience in monologues detailing their thoughts and ambitions.
Described as "iconic", Doctor Doom is one of the most well-received supervillains of the Marvel universe, as well as one of the most recurring; in his constant battles with heroes and other villains, Doctor Doom has appeared more times than any other villain. The comics site Panels of Awesome ranked Doctor Doom as the number one villain in their listing of the top ten villains in comics; Wizard Magazine went a step further by declaring Doctor Doom the fourth greatest villain of all time.
Comic Book Resources ranks Doctor Doom as their fourth favorite Marvel character. Journalist Brent Ecenbarger cited him being able to "stand up against entities like Mephisto, the Beyonder, and Galactus and often come out on top", as well as the tragedy of any "other number of circumstances could have led to Doctor Doom being a savior, but as it is, instead he remains Marvel’s greatest villain." Fellow journalist Jason Stanhope called his "master[ing] of sorcery and technology an unusual combination", and also felt "his inner sense of nobility sets him apart from lesser villains, in a similar manner to Magneto." Doctor Doom has also been favorably regarded by those who wrote for the character; Stan Lee declared Doctor Doom his favorite villain, saying that Doom "could come to the United States and he could do almost anything, and we could not arrest him because he has diplomatic immunity. Also, he wants to rule the world and if you think about it, wanting to rule the world is not a crime." Mark Waid echoed Lee's assessment of the character, stating that Doom "[has] got a great look, a great visual design [and] a dynamite origin."
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