Doctor Doom: A Different Perspective on the Fantastic Four’s Biggest Foe
A chronological report on the world’s greatest ruler… ?
For so many decades, Doctor Doom has been one of the biggest enemies of the Fantastic Four. But all great villains are simply the heroes of their own stories. Doom is no different. As we see Victor Von Doom return to the throne in Latveria in FANTASTIC FOUR #6, it's only appropriate to take a more positive look back at some of Doom's most noteworthy moments.
A Meeting of Titans
Victor Von Doom and Reed Richards had their first encounter when selected as roommates at University. Perhaps the fates have a sense of humor.
New to the United States, Victor proved too trusting, taking people’s words at face value. He wanted to leave his old life of pain and betrayal behind and did so with such enthusiasm that it never occurred to him that others have arrived at college with far darker goals.
With Von Doom speeding ahead of the rest of the class, as well as his roommate, Richards perhaps grew jealous. To this day, Richards maintains he only attempted to point out an error in Von Doom’s calculations. This, however, has never been proven to Von Doom’s satisfaction.
Refusing to allow this injustice to go unpunished, Von Doom left the university, head held aloft, and sought expertise in a wide range of disciplines to ensure he would never be victimized again.
World Peace Derailed
Years later, Victor Von Doom had fully become Doctor Doom. He traveled to Tibet to seek enlightenment, finding both that and power. Upon his return to Latveria, he overthrew the unelected Baron and installed himself as the rightful ruler. Doom had succeeded and made life better for so many by doing so.
At that moment, he could have simply destroyed his college saboteur. Instead, however, he reached out to Richards and the rest of the Fantastic Four. He invited them to travel back in time to secure the wealth Doom would need to bring a lasting peace to the world under his supervision.
At first, it seemed Richards had grown after college, that Doom’s classmate realized he had been living life the wrong way and arrived ready to make amends. Once again, however, Doom’s optimism proved misplaced. Rather than bring an end to conflict, Richards and his teammates refused to empower Doom and instead presented him with worthless chains instead of gold. The closest the world ever came to a ceasing of wars forever was derailed due to old rivalries.
Small in Stature, Big in Goals
Doom reaches out to the Sub-Mariner some time later, thinking the man from the beneath the waves might understand his plight. After all, Namor helped save the surface world during World War II only to endure repeated rejections and aggressions towards his underground kingdom in the years that followed. Alas, though, his support proved fickle. Namor proved too enamored of Susan Storm to focus on the mission at hand and, in the end, betrayed Doom. In the resulting struggle, the Doctor found himself shrunk.
Discovering a micro-world there, Doom brought it peace and contentment as he had done for Latveria. Rather than struggle against his situation, he accepted it and tried to make the best of it for himself and the residents of the micro-world.
The FF, however, could not let this be. Even as he was content to stay there, improve the lives of his fellow micro-people and swear off the full-sized world, Richards and company still refused to trust Doom. They invaded the micro-world, staged a coup, and sent Doom back to full size, no doubt abandoning the micro-world to chaos and war for years to come.
Welcome to Liddleville
Doctor Doom reached out to the Puppet Master upon hearing Benjamin Grimm had begun courting Master’s daughter Alicia. Doom, of course, believed all men and women should determine who they love. On the other hand, Doom also recognized that sometimes people can make the wrong choices under the haze of infatuation. Thus Doom suggested a plan to Master by which they could trap the FF and protect Alicia.
Puppet Master, alas, lacked the stomach for what needed to be done and instead made the small village a kind of safe heaven where the Thing and Alicia could live a life free of conflict, albeit as tiny, organic cloned versions of themselves.
Doom, however, found this despicable. Unfortunately, Puppet Master refused to stop pushing his agenda and, eventually, helped free the FF from Liddleville. Once again, Doom ends up punished for reaching out to help others in need.
Sacrificing His Body to Protect the World from Cosmic Menace
At several points, Doctor Doom has recognized the need to stop terrors from space from destroying the planet. The first time, he liberated the Silver Surfer from the Power Cosmic. Alas, the former Herald of Galactus proved to not be as disinterested in holding power over others as he liked to pretend.
When Terrax the Terrible came to the Earth as Silver Surfer’s replacement, Doom once again put himself in harm’s way to derail Galactus’s plans. As a result, the Doctor lost his body and had to jump into another. Once again, no support or celebration of Doom occurred.
Soon thereafter the Beyonder came to Earth and plucked several individuals from the planet to compete in his so-called “Battleworld.” As an attempt at bribery, no doubt, the Beyonder gave Doom back his original body. Nonetheless, Doom refused to kowtow to this intergalactic menace. He absorbed Beyonder’s power and safely helped return the heroes and villains to Earth. Again, no platitudes or parades for Doom followed.
A Pocket Universe Sojourn
A menace named Onslaught proved so powerful that the heroes of Earth appeared like scared children before him. Doctor Doom, though aware it may lead to his death, interceded. Through his actions, Onslaught ceased to be a threat. Moreover, Doom no doubt aided Franklin Richards in creating the pocket universe where many of the heroes ended up rather than dying by Onslaught’s hands as initially believed.
Doom Saves the Fantastic Four
Despite the numerous times they clashed over the years, when Doctor Doom heard the Invisible Woman might lose her daughter during childbirth and the Human Torch had been struggling with his powers, the Doctor put aside the past and showed up to help.
He successfully solved both problems at once, using Johnny’s excess energy to help Sue and the newest Richards survive. The Human Torch ended up cured, and the Richards welcomed a beautiful, healthy baby girl into the world. That the Richards name the girl Valeria, after Doom’s childhood love, proved the only payment Victor needed.
Sadly, even a new child could not fill the Doom-sized hole in Reed Richard’s heart. Claiming, falsely, that Doom killed the elder Valeria, brainwashed Valeria Richards, and sent Franklin Richards to Hell, Reed used these allegations as an excuse to invade Latveria, seize Doom’s technology, and send the Latverian people’s hero to Hell.
The Good Richards
Hobbled by a traumatic injury, Doom found himself losing his memory and his intellect. Thankfully, however, not all the Richards were his adversaries. Valeria found Doom in this state and got him help, restoring him to full health. Additionally, she invited him to join the Future Foundation.
She then entrusted Doom to find a way to destroy her father. When it later turned out that Valeria meant an alternate dimension Reed Richards, Doom did not protest.
As a final reward, after the defeat of the Council of Reeds, Valeria gave Doom the Parliament of Doom, which brought and maintained peace in the multiverse for a millennium. Doom only returned to ensure peace be returned to his blessed Latveria as well.
A God Shall I Be
A multi-dimensional Secret War demanded that Doom step into the frame to save his world and the galaxy. In fact, it demanded that he become a literal god.
While never one to blaspheme, Doom understood the score and volunteered without hesitation. While Richards and other heroes attempted half-measures and stumbled in the darkness, Doom rose to the occasion. Without him, literally, there would be no reality to call home.
Return to the Throne
Serving as Iron Man for a time as a favor to Tony Stark led to Doom being targeted by a cadre of Super Villains. Without the Fantastic Four to stand up for him, the Doctor proved triumphant, albeit after suffering significant damage to his face.
Burned by sacrificing himself to the greater good yet again without anyone standing up for him, Doom took a break to recharge. However, when a woman came to visit, bringing news of a brutal civil war in Latveria, Doom knew he could no longer rest and recuperate. Instead, he returned to his homeland, swiftly brought the violent forces to heel, and once more created peace.
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