Doctor Faustus (comics)

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Doctor Faustus
Doctor Faustus
Art by Mike Perkins
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Captain America (v1) #107 (Nov 1968)
Created by Stan Lee (writer)
Jack Kirby (artist)
In-story information
Alter ego Johann Fennhoff
Team affiliations Secret Empire
National Force
Partnerships Red Skull
Notable aliases Doctor Faustus, Master of Men's Minds, Edward Marlowe
Abilities Expert in psychological warfare
Genius-level intellect
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).

Johann Fennhoff appears in the Marvel Cinematic Universe TV series Agent Carter, portrayed by Ralph Brown.

Creative origins[edit]

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.[citation needed]

Fictional character biography[edit]

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.

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.[1] It was later revealed that he had been treating the amnesiac Peggy Carter, and captured Sharon Carter and Sharon's parents in an attempt to destroy Captain America.[2] 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.[3]

Faustus was 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 was defeated.[4]

Faustus was the mastermind behind the neo-Nazi group National Force, directing them behind the scenes. He was 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 survived). Faustus also temporarily brainwashed Captain America and battled Cap and Daredevil. His legs were injured by falling gas canisters during this confrontation.[5]

Faustus later mentally conditioned 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 battled Spider-Man and Mister Fantastic, using a ray to temporarily deprive Reed Richards of his intellect, but the two heroes were nevertheless able to prevail and restore Richards to normal after convincing Everyman that the absorbascan was weakening the people he was drawing energy from rather than simply linking him to them in a benevolent bond. When Richards subsequently sought Everyman's backer, Faustus attempted to drive him to die of despair by making it appear that he had killed the rest of the Fantastic Four using elaborate androids. The plan was to culminate in Faustus shooting Richards, reasoning that, by this point, Richards would be so broken that even a conventional bullet would kill him as he would want to die. However, Richards realized the true natures of Faustus's androids through various flaws and defeated his plan, apparently causing the psychiatrist- who had already been talking with a hallucination of his deceased mother throughout this scheme- to have a breakdown.[6]

Having recovered from his breakdown, Faustus then allied with the Red Skull, and occupied the villain's mansion. Faustus attempted to coerce Captain America into committing suicide through the use of ghostly holograms.[7]

Faustus is also known for his involvement with the villain and future Thunderbolts member Moonstone.[volume & issue needed]

He was presumed dead for a number of years, but reappeared again, now living undercover as a S.H.I.E.L.D. psychiatrist, and in the employ of the Red Skull. Faustus is tasked with manipulating Sharon Carter, and claims responsibility for Sharon's increasing romantic attachment to Captain America.[8] Faustus is responsible for manipulating Sharon Carter into assassinating Captain America while she escorts him from the courtroom.[9] It is further revealed that the Captain America from the 1950s remained alive in Faustus' possession, recuperating slowly, and he is reconditioned and sent against the new Captain America (Bucky Barnes). The failure of this attack, and the ever-increasing vituperation of Red Skull and Armin Zola towards Faustus, causes him to withdraw from the project, but not before freeing Sharon and giving crucial information about Red Skull's plans to SHIELD.[10]

Some time later, Falcon and Black Widow apprehended Faustus, agreeing to testify in Bucky's current trial as the Winter Soldier as an expert in both mind control and Winter Soldier's history in exchange for a presidential pardon. Steve Rogers subtly threatens him into accepting the official release of his role in thwarting Red Skull's recent plans - thus encouraging judges to show him leniency in later cases - or Rogers would destroy that information and publicize the rest of his role in the assassination attempt.[11] Forced to accept this deal, Faustus provides testimony in the trial, even subtly manipulating the prosecuting lawyer into attacking the judge to prove how overwhelming mind-control can be.[volume & issue needed]

Faustus is later revealed to have established a Hydra cell (disguised as a gentrifying corporation called Hope Yards Development Relocation Association) in New Jersey, which he attempts to take over using energy drinks and aerosol sprays that are laced with mind controlling nanomachines.[12] The plot is foiled by Ms. Marvel.[13]

Powers and abilities[edit]

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.[citation needed]

Other versions[edit]

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.[14]

In the alternate timeline of the 2005 "House of M" storyline, Dr. Faustus is a scientist working for the Army, heading up the research on battlefield confrontations.[15]

In other media[edit]



  1. ^ Captain America #107 (Nov 1968)
  2. ^ Captain America #161-162 (May–June 1973)
  3. ^ Captain America #192 (Dec 1975)
  4. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #170 (July 1977)
  5. ^ Captain America #232-236 (Apr-May 1979)
  6. ^ Marvel Team-Up #132-133 (Aug-Sep 1983)
  7. ^ Captain America #326 (Feb 1987)
  8. ^ Captain America (v5) #22 (Nov 2006)
  9. ^ Captain America #25 (Apr 2007)
  10. ^ Captain America (v.5) #40-41
  11. ^ Captain America #612
  12. ^ G. Willow Wilson (w), Takeshi Miyazawa (p), Takeshi Miyazawa (i), Ian Herring (col), VC's Joe Caramagna (let), Sana Amanat (ed). "Super Famous: Part 2 of 3" Ms. Marvel v4, #2 (16 December 2015), United States: Marvel Comics
  13. ^ G. Willow Wilson (w), Takeshi Miyazawa (p), Takeshi Miyazawa (i), Ian Herring (col), VC's Joe Caramagna (let), Sana Amanat (ed). "Super Famous: Part 3 of 3" Ms. Marvel v4, #3 (20 January 2016), United States: Marvel Comics
  14. ^ Ultimate Comics: Armor Wars #2. Marvel Comics
  15. ^ New Thunderbolts #11. Marvel Comics
  16. ^ Abrams, Natalie (February 18, 2015). "Agent Carter boss teases what's next after the big sacrifice". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 

External links[edit]