Doctor Faustus (comics)
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Art by Mike Perkins
|First appearance||Captain America (v1) #107 (Nov 1968)|
Stan Lee (writer)|
Jack Kirby (artist)
|Alter ego||Johann Fennhoff|
|Notable aliases||Doctor Faustus, Master of Men's Minds, Edward Marlowe|
Expert in psychological warfare|
Use of hologram projectors, hallucinogenic gas dispensers, androids and elaborate props
Ability to modulate his voice in a highly persuasive manner
Doctor Faustus (Johann Fennhoff) is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is depicted usually as an adversary of Captain America. An Austrian psychiatrist and criminal mastermind who employs psychological manipulation of his enemies, the character was created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, and first appeared in Captain America (vol 1) #107 (November 1968).
Faustus' name comes from the famous character of Christopher Marlowe's Renaissance play The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus about a man who sold his soul to Lucifer in exchange for 24 years of service from a devil called Mephistophiles in order to gain all knowledge. This character predates the Christopher Marlowe play, in the legend built around the real-life Johann Georg Faust.
Fictional character biography
Johann Fennhoff was born in Vienna, Austria. He became a psychiatrist and criminal mastermind. He has proclaimed himself the "Master of Men's Minds", and is known for the use of psychological methods of combat. His plots typically involve manipulating his foes into positions where they will, essentially, kill themselves.[volume & issue needed]
In his first appearance, Faustus induced nightmares and hallucinations in Captain America (Steve Rogers) in an attempt to drive him insane. However, he was easily bested in a physical confrontation.
It was later revealed that Faustus had been treating the amnesiac Peggy Carter, and captured Sharon Carter and Sharon's parents in an attempt to destroy Captain America. Faustus then acquired stolen weapons from Stark International with which he planned to threaten New York City, and organized a private flight of American criminals; however this plan was thwarted by Captain America.
Faustus is briefly able to control Spider-Man and use him in an attempt to introduce a "psychogenic additive" to a flu vaccine (which would permit hypnotic control of the public), but he is defeated.
Faustus is the mastermind behind the neo-Nazi group National Force, directing them behind the scenes. He is responsible for the creation of the Grand Director to lead the National Force, as well as brainwashing S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Sharon Carter and programming Sharon to commit suicide, though Carter survives. Faustus also temporarily brainwashes Captain America and battles him and Daredevil. His legs were injured by falling gas canisters during this confrontation.
Faustus later mentally conditions Everyman to be his operative, later known as Zeitgeist. He used his absorbascan to draw in psychic power from other people in an attempt to mentally defeat Mister Fantastic and prove his worth to the Secret Empire. Everyman subsequently battles Spider-Man and Mister Fantastic, but they defeat him. When Richards subsequently seeks Everyman's backer, Faustus attempts to attack Richards psychologically by using elaborate androids to foster the illusion that Richards has killed the rest of the Fantastic Four. Richards sees through the ruse and causes Faustus himself to have a breakdown.
After recovering from his breakdown, Faustus then allies with the Red Skull, and aids in the villain's mansion. Faustus unsuccessfully attempts to coerce Captain America into committing suicide through the use of ghostly holograms.
Faustus is presumed dead for a number of years, but reappears, living undercover as a S.H.I.E.L.D. psychiatrist, employed by the Red Skull. He is tasked with manipulating Sharon Carter, and claims responsibility for Sharon's increasing romantic attachment to Captain America. Faustus is responsible for manipulating Sharon Carter into assassinating Captain America following the 2006 storyline "Civil War". It is further revealed that the Captain America from the 1950s is alive and in Faustus' possession, recuperating slowly, and reconditioned to be an agent sent to attack the new Captain America, Bucky Barnes. The failure of this attack, and the ever-increasing verbal abuse of Faustus by Red Skull and Armin Zola, causes him to withdraw from the project, but not before freeing Sharon Carter and giving crucial information about Red Skull's plans to S.H.I.E.L.D.
Rogers, Falcon and Black Widow are instrumental in exonerating Barnes when he is tried for the crimes he committed as the Winter Soldier, in light of the mind control to which Barnes was subjected. This is done in part with Faustus' testimony in the trial, and a demonstration of his mind-control abilities, which he displays by manipulating the prosecuting lawyer into attacking the judge.[volume & issue needed]
Faustus is later revealed to have established a real estate development business based in Jersey City, New Jersey called Hope Yards Development Relocation Association, as a front for a Hydra cell. The cell's purpose is to implement Faustus' plan to market energy drinks and aerosol sprays laced with mind controlling nanomachines. The plot is foiled by teenaged Jersey City resident Ms. Marvel, as is Faustus' subsequent attempt at getting one of his minions elected mayor of Jersey City.
During the Secret Empire storyline, Doctor Faustus is part of the Hydra High Council that the new Madame Hydra is collecting to assist Steve Rogers, who had his history altered to be a HYDRA long-time sleeper agent since his childhood by Red Skull's clone using the powers of Kobik. an inadvertent side effect of Kobik's restoration of Rogers' youth. After Hydra's global takeover, Faustus is assigned the task of 'convincing' Sharon Carter that she loves Steve Rogers regardless of his new allegiance, but as the final battle commences, Sharon pretends to have been won over by Faustus and then shoots him, revealing that she spent months after Faustus used her to shoot Steve listening to recordings of his voice so that the doctor would never be able to control her again.
Powers and abilities
Doctor Faustus has no superhuman powers but has a genius intellect, and is extremely charismatic and can modulate his voice in a highly persuasive manner. He has a doctorate in psychiatry.
Faustus regularly employs hologram projectors, hallucinogenic gas dispensers, androids, and elaborate props. He also hires henchmen to impersonate various people as a part of his scheme to affect his victims' minds.
Faustus has suffered extensive leg injuries, forcing him to use a cane or wheelchair for mobility. He can stand or walk without assistance for only a brief time.
The Ultimate Marvel version of Doctor Faustus. Seen in Ultimate Comics: Armor Wars, Johann Fennhoff became an information broker for the European underground superhuman mercenary community, stationing in Prague. At some point through an accident involving a dimensional portal, he wound up with a little entity living in his head.
In other media
- Doctor Faustus appeared in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, voiced by Dennis Marks. In the episode "Pawns of the Kingpin", he is employed by Wilson Fisk to construct the Psycho Disk to brainwash Captain America and Iceman.
- Johann Fennhoff appears in the Agent Carter television series, portrayed by Ralph Brown. This version is an operative of Leviathan. As seen in season one, he first appears under the alias Dr. Viktor Ivchenko while involved with a plot which framed Howard Stark before being stopped by Peggy Carter. By the end of Season One, Johann Fenhoff is arrested by the S.S.R. and a special gag is placed on him. He ends up meeting his cellmate Arnim Zola, who hands him a pencil and paper so that they can discuss some plans for a collaboration.
- Doctor Faustus appears in the Avengers Assemble episode "New Year's Resolution," voiced by Mick Wingert. He had been arrested by Peggy Carter and Howard Stark in 1949 on New Year's Eve and placed in their trunk. Upon Howard and Peggy's car being brought into the present following an attack by Kang the Conqueror's robots posing as Hydra agents, Doctor Faustus breaks free and starts to prevent them from catching him by hypnotizing the Phantom Riders biker gang. After the mesmerized biker gang was defeated, Captain America and Peggy Carter catch up to Doctor Faustus and knock him out. Following Kang the Conqueror's defeat, a still-unconscious Doctor Faustus was carried back into the past by Howard Stark and Peggy Carter as they resume their plans to hand him over to the authorities.
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