Published September 8, 2023
What do you know about the infamous ruler of Latveria? Read on to find out everything you’ve ever wondered about Doctor Doom!
Heroes might be the ones who star in the comics (usually), but let’s be honest, villains bring the intrigue and action! Few villains have provided more entertainment over the decades than Doctor Victor Von Doom.
Though he is most commonly associated with the Fantastic Four, Doom has made his presence felt across the world and come more than close to ruling it on a number of occasions. There was even that time that he rewrote all realities, but we’ll get to that as we explore the mysterious megalomaniac known as Doctor Doom!
When did Doctor Doom debut?
Readers got their first look at the infamous character in the pages of FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #5 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. In this 1962 comic, the villain covered the Baxter Building in a nearly impenetrable net. Shortly after, he flew off to his castle stronghold with the whole team in his possession.
Once home, he laid out his plan: he would hold the Invisible Woman hostage while Mister Fantastic, Thing and the Human Torch traveled back in time to secure a batch of mystical stones that once belonged to the mage Merlin. Not willing to give their foe that kind of power, the Fantastic Four attempted a ruse and ultimately freed themselves as the castle burned down around them and Doom escaped via jetpack! It may not have been the maestro’s most successful mission, but it did go a long way to establish the character.
Where did Doctor Doom come from?
Though his home nation of Latveria was not specifically mentioned in his debut issue–nor his status as the country’s leader–readers did get a few panels of background on the masked man from Reed Richards who remembered the bloke from college. As a young man, Doom focused his scientific studies on contacting the netherworld. One of those attempts resulted in an explosion that left his face scarred. From there, Victor traveled the world trying to dig even deeper into dark magic.
In his early days when his mother Cynthia made a deal with Mephisto to trade her soul in exchange for the power to protect their people. After she and his father Werner passed away, Victor threw himself into his studies, both traditional and supernatural, that eventually took him to the United States where he met his erstwhile enemy Reed Richards. These details first came to light in FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL (1963) #2 and were greatly expanded on in BOOKS OF DOOM (2005).
How did Doctor Doom come to rule Latveria?
Before his death, Werner Von Doom was called to Latveria by Baron Vladimir Fortunov to use his healing methods on the dying Baroness. However, she was too far gone and passed away, which Fortunov blamed on Von Doom. Werner managed to get out of the castle and fled their people with young Victor, though he ultimately died trying to keep his son warm in the frigid weather. Doom began honing his skills as a scientist and mage by making small attacks on the Baron’s forces, but just managed to escape with his people.
Victor left to attend school in America where he had the lab accident and then went on a quest to amass power. Having done exactly that, Doom returned in his fully armored visage to rally his people around him and overthrow now-King Fortunov as seen in BOOKS OF DOOM (2005) #5–6. Doom has ruled on and off ever since. According to some, he’s a proper leader who looks out for his people and keeps Latveria running smoothly while others believe him to be a malicious monarch willing to trade every life in his kingdom to achieve his goals. Either way, Doom utilizes the full force of his nation as needed and has benefited from the diplomatic immunity his position brings.
Why does Doctor Doom hate the Fantastic Four?
During that oft-mentioned stint in the United States, Doom encountered a fellow student by the name of Reed Richards. The American offered to be roommates with the newcomer, but Victor demanded privacy. Instead, Ben Grimm took the spot and the two became fast friends. While stopping by Victor’s single, Reed looked at some of his papers and noticed that the equations in his matter transmutation and dimensional warp experiments might need double checking. Doom caught the snooper and chastised him, going through with the experiment anyway, which quite literally blew up in his face.
Doom’s enmity for Richards began then and was exacerbated years later when the rival began receiving international acclaim as Mister Fantastic of the Fantastic Four. Of course, each subsequent failure to defeat Ricahrds and his team have only made those fires burn more brightly in the deeply petty megalomaniac.
How did Doctor Doom become so powerful?
The simple answer is a combination of natural ability and intense study fueled by a massive ego. The experiment that changed Victor’s life was meant to pierce the veil so he could find his mother in the netherworld. When that avenue failed, Victor sought more arcane methods, searching mystical mountains for answers. He found some and learned even more along the way. He was also outfitted with his mask and had built an armor for himself. He also perfected the creation of near-perfect duplicates of himself called Doombots which have vexed his foes and associates ever since.
While Doom’s scientific smarts may have been more prominently on display, the 1989 graphic novel DOCTOR STRANGE AND DOCTOR DOOM: TRIUMPH AND TORMENT reminded readers that he was serious about his supernatural studies as well. In that story, he displayed the magical chops to fool Doctor Strange into thinking the Vishanti had made Doom the Sorcerer Supreme. Really this was a feint to trick Strange into helping Doom save his mother from Mephisto. Victor went even further in FANTASTIC FOUR (1998) #67 when he sacrificed the one-time love of his life, Valeria, in exchange for advanced supernatural abilities. He even donned a new suit made from her skin! Since then, Doom has made more of an effort to work in both mediums.
What do the rest of the villains think about Doctor Doom?
While it’s safe to say that the heroes of the Marvel U all have pretty similar ideas that Doom is, at best, one of the most dangerous people on Earth, the villains have more varied responses. Some have worked with him on a number of occasions, like Namor who teamed with Doom in the latter’s second appearance, FANTASTIC FOUR (1961) #6. Those two even went on to work together in the villainous version of the Illuminati known as The Cabal which debuted much later in 2008’s SECRET INVASION: DARK REIGN. That group also included Norman Osborn, Emma Frost, The Hood and Loki, who all shared some level of fear and respect for Doom.
Back in the 70s, Doom worked with and against the likes of Namor, Red Skull, Tiger Shark, the Shroud and others in the pages of GIANT SIZE SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP (1975) and SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP (1975). Over a decade later, Doom joined forces with some of his fellow fellons–Magneto, Kingpin, Wizard, Mandarin, Red Skull and a disguised Loki–in the Acts of Vengeance event. In AVENGERS (1963) #311, his robots sank the Avengers‘ headquarters previously known as Hydro Base. Two issues later, in-fighting lead to Red Skull attacking Doom and Victor ultimately blowing himself up, revealing it had been a Doombot all along.
Regardless of the time or place, most people on the wrong side of the law are wary of the Latverian leader and would rather not get involved in his schemes.
What did Doctor Doom do during Secret Wars?
Over the years, there have been four stories called some variation of SECRET WARS with varying levels of involvement from Doctor Doom. The first SECRET WARS was a 12-issue series running from 1984 to 1985 in which the cosmically powerful Beyonder brought heroes and villains to his own Battleworld to see which side would win. Doom did not want to play and managed to steal the Beyonder’s power. However, Victor soon realized that containing that much raw cosmic energy was no simple task and the Beyonder took it back during a rare moment of weakness in the Latverian leader. Doom did not play into the events of the follow-up event Secret Wars II.
Victor also plays no part in the 2004-2005 SECRET WAR storyline, though it did involve Nick Fury manipulating a group of heroes into helping him and Daisy Johnson get into Latveria so she could destroy the castle, killing scores of civilians.
The most recent SECRET WARS (2015-2016) was the culmination of a long AVENGERS (2012) and NEW AVENGERS (2013) epic where the team discovered that Incursions–one reality crashing into another with only one surviving–threatened all of existence. Where the Avengers failed to save reality, Doom succeeded. With some assistance from Doctor Strange and Molecule Man he managed to harness the power of the Beyonders and save pieces of various alternate realities, combining them into a new planet also called Battleworld.
Taking charge and referring to himself as God, he ruled over all that was left of the Multiverse. Along the way he met a Reed-less version of the Fantastic Four and soon married Sue Storm. They had two children named Franklin and Valeria, allowing him to essentially replace Reed Richards in this patchwork reality. However, when survivors from Earth-616 and Earth-1610 were freed, they began working on a plan that eventually transferred the Beyonder power to Reed Richards who managed to restore the Multiverse. In the process, Mister Fantastic hoped to give his old enemy a new lease on life by healing his facial scars and altering his memories so he would think Mister Fantastic dead when, in reality, he was with his family and the Future Foundation restoring the Multiverse.
What is Doctor Doom up to now?
In the wake of the more recent SECRET WARS, Doom found his face healed and decided to try his hand at being an actual hero as seen in INFAMOUS IRON MAN (2016) and INVINCIBLE IRON MAN (2016). A fierce battle with the Hood in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN (2016) #600 lead to his face getting badly burned by demonic fire and his return to the rubble of his castle in Latveria.
Victor returned to his familiar look by the launch of DOCTOR DOOM in 2019, a series in which he took center stage just in time to go on the run after being framed for the destruction of the nearby Symkaria. Doom played a major role in the FANTASTIC FOUR series that launched in 2018 al the way through the Reckoning War story that nearly closed the volume out in 2022. Not one to stay out of trouble for long, Victor has also appeared in MIDNIGHT SUNS (2022) and THOR (2020) issues recently, but you’ll have to read those to see what he’s up to!
Of course, even with the full resources of Marvel Unlimited at one’s disposal, it’s impossible to truly understand the reasons why Doom is Doom. And that’s exactly how he likes it.
To discover more of Doctor Doom’s dastardly deeds, head on over to Marvel Unlimited and started reading all of his classic tales!
In this article: Doctor Doom (Victor von Doom), Fantastic Four, Invisible Woman (Susan Storm Richards), Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards), The Thing (Benjamin Grimm), Human Torch (Johnny Storm), Merlin, Mephisto, Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange), Illuminati, Cabal, Green Goblin (Norman Osborn), Emma Frost, Hood (Parker Robbins), Loki, Namor, Red Skull (Johann Shmidt), Tiger Shark, Shroud, Magneto (Max Eisenhardt), Kingpin, Wizard, Mandarin, Avengers, Nick Fury, Quake (Daisy Johnson), Franklin Richards, Valeria Richards