This isn’t really a huge revelation, but I really love supervillains. And I really love the supervillains that Marvel has created. Just like they’re heroes, the supervillains of Marvel are damaged people with their own hopes and dreams, and frequently can straddle the line between villain and Anti-Hero. At this point Loki has pretty much abandoned his villainous way and is a straight up hero, and we can even read amazing books like the Superior Foes of Spider-Man that take D-list villains that most people look at as jokes and make us feel for them. But there’s one villain for me that really stands above all others in my opinion. Dr. Doom. I love this character so much. He’s so amazingly evil and menacing. There’s a reason that pretty much any videogame that tries to recreate the Marvel universe will inevitably be about Dr. Doom doing something unimaginably evil that will cause the entire universe of heroes to band together to beat him. Other than the Red Skull, I don’t think there’s any villain that’ so consistently evil. He steals cosmic entities’ powers, he’s vivisected Asgardians, he runs an Eastern European country with an iron fist, and he’s even currently God in the Marvel comics (long story). He’s just such a sour, malicious person, and I love him. He combines science and magic in a ridiculously cool manner that makes him a hell of a match for any superhero he comes across. While he’s usually not considered an Avengers villain, and usually spends most of his time fixating on the Fantastic Four, he can easily pop into any heroes book and fight them. I’ve seen him fight Spider-Man, his minions trap Daredevil in a crazy glass cage and try him to crimes against humanity, he tried to stiff Luke Cage and not pay him $100, and pretty much any other hero you can think of has at some point or another grappled with this insane cape-wearing, armor-clad, European dictator.
Now, as much as I love Doctor Doom, I’m not a huge Fantastic Four fan, so I haven’t had the chance to read as many great stories as I would like. And whenever I hear about a good one, I’ll check it out. So I was looking around on the Marvel Unlimited app, and came across this strange mini-series from 2006 that really intrigued me. It’s a six issue retelling of Dr.Doom’s origin, written by my favorite comic writer of all time, Ed Brubaker. So of course I read it. And it was super weird, and a lot of fun. Now, I didn’t know much about this series, just that it was about the formative years of Doom, and then when I started reading, I found out that it’s structured like a documentary. It features an interviewer asking Doom about his life, and he recounts it, often straight to the reader, and even has panels that serve as interviews with other people from Doom’s life. You even get scenes where the young Victor Von Doom is doing things, and his spectral future form is standing in the corner, explaining what’s going on to us. I’ve never read a comic quite like this, and it was fascinating. It was basically a biopic of Dr. Doom.
I don’t believe that Brubaker did anything especially new with his backstory, which has certainly grown over the years, but falls into pretty agreed upon territory. Dr. Doom isn’t like the Joker, who gets a new backstory any time the writers feel like it, he has a relatively established origin, and it’s a pretty great one. Victor Von Doom was a gypsy boy who lived with his parents and the rest of their tribe in the mountains of an Eastern European country called Latveria. His family is of high-standing in the gypsy group; due in part to his mother’s magical abilities. But when she tries to use her magic powers to fight the evil Baron that is trying to take their land the gypsies turn on her, and it’s revealed that she sold her soul for her powers, so she’s taken down to Hell. Doom grows up bitter and eventually becomes the leader of his tribe after his father literally freezes to death like Jack Torrence from the Shining. He’s an amazingly smart young-man, and uses his scientific acumen to create all sorts of weapons to fight the Baron’s men. Eventually word spreads to America about his abilities, and the US military comes to recruit him to create weapons for them. He goes to America and enrolls in college, all while using their resources to work in insane experiments. In college he meets his eventually arch-nemesis, Reed Richards, a fellow genius who Doom feels jealous of. Doom is a rather unpopular person, and things eventually get crazy when it turns out that one of his experiments is to open a portal to Hell to save his mother, because Dr. Doom has the king of all mommy-issues. Unfortunately even though Reed informs him that his math isn’t right, Doom goes through with his plan, and uses the machine, to disastrous results. It causes an explosion, and his face is mutilated as the Devil marks him. He’s expelled from school, and goes to be a weird bum in Europe with a wrapped up head to hide his hideous face. And after a brief interlude when the love of his life shows up to try and convince Doom to come back to Latveria that turns out to be a complicated plot by the Soviets to force him to make weapons for them (yep) he decides to go find some monks in Tibet. And he eventually finds their monestary after fighting a goddman yeti!
While in the monastery, Doom learns to master both magic and science as he continues to become a crazy villain. Then one day when he’s watching TV he hears about how America is loving Reed Richards, and that the evil Baron who tried to kick his family off their land is now the king of Latveria, so he decides to go overthrow Latveria and become their king! Before he leaves however he creates a crazy suit of armor that combines his science and magic that will keep him safe from the Devil, and also weapons defend himself. He gets to Latveria and pretty quickly gets the gypsies on his side, and the start a civil war against the king. Things go pretty great for Doom, since apparently the peasants in Latveria don’t mind that he’s a weirdo in a suit of armor and a green cape, and the rest of the world doesn’t feel like stepping in. Eventually he gets to the castle and manages to convince the entire army to join him, so he gets to walk into the castle without anyone stopping him like a badass, and he straight up chokes the king to death, and takes over. The end!
This was a crazy story, and I loved it a lot. I just love Doctor Victor Von Doom so much. It’s hilarious to think that in the Marvel universe there’s just a country that’s run by a supervillain who wears a crazy Iron Man suit with a cloak, and that’s just cool. People in the Marvel universe could turn on CNN and hear about a diplomatic emergency involving a crazy genius warlock. Doctor Doom is a weird character, because he honestly could work if we knew absolutely nothing about him, if he was just this weird mysterious villain who ran a country, but by giving him this strange depth it makes him so interesting. He’s the vainest guy in the world. Everything he does is genius, and if something goes wrong, it was probably Reed Richards’ fault. Doctor Doom is probably my favorite villain of all time, except maybe possibly the Kingpin, and anything that takes a more in depth look at him is great. I also recommend reading the great Doctor Strange/Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment. I’ll probably talk about it around Halloween. But you should also check out “Books of Doom.” It’s a blast.
Books of Doom was written by Ed Brubaker and drawn by Pablo Raimondi
Categories: Back Issues