Tag Archives: Dr Doom

What If Doctor Doom Graduated?

We all know the story. It’s a tale as old as time. Brilliant Eastern European son of a witch damned to Hell moves to New York, enrolls in university, befriends/hates the smartest guy on the planet and then blows his face off trying to contact said dead mother and gets kicked out of school. Victor Von Doom, could you possibly be any more cliche? But what if Doom’s crusty old dean was a little more lenient with Victor? What if, instead of expelling the student for attempting to contact the forces of evil, he sent Victor back to his dorm with a face full of bandages? What if all of that crap happened? And what if it was written by Dwayne Mcduffie?

Space Ghost has mastered the Five Magiks!
Space Ghost has mastered the Five Magiks!

This week we travel back to a time before Fantastic Four 1. Reed Richards is living at a boarding house with a very teenage Susan Storm and a ten year old Johnny Storm. Listen, it has long been canon that Reed met Sue when she was super young and then they married when she got a little older but that shit is still really creepy. Get your mind outta the gutter, Richards! Reed’s working on a Space Warp Projector which… shows the galaxy. In 3-d. Which is neat, I guess but it’s no rocket to the stars. Come on, Reed! Apply yourself for once and you might permanently disfigure your best friend for life.

Empire State University is really hard up for alumni, I guess.
Empire State University is really hard up for alumni, I guess.

Speaking of said best friend, Reed is anxiously awaiting the arrival of Ben Grimm. Unfortunately, he’s running a few minutes late because he got stuck in traffic behind the sinister Toyota of Dr. Doom. Doom arrives at the Boarding House looking for a place to stay and definitely not to do anything evil that might involve contacting the souls of the damned. And he looks so gosh darn trustworthy what with his face bandages and his mystic powers and his manservant. Then Ben arrives and it’s like a class reunion if one of the attendants hated all the rest. So, it’s like my class reunion.

This is absolutely the thing to say to somebody you know who has been disfigured.
This is absolutely the thing to say to somebody you know who has been disfigured.

Victor’s been in the house less than three hours before he steals Reed’s Space Warp Projector, using mystic powers to put Sue and her aunt to sleep. Reed and Ben decide to use science to track Doom and Sue and Johnny come along because what’s more fun than child endangerment? Nothing, that’s what.

"...this isn't my house."
“…this isn’t my house.”

The Nontastic Four follow Doom back to his cliche abandoned warehouse where he sets upon them with traps and robots. Which he calls Doombots. Which shouldn’t be hilarious because there’s no difference between college drop out classic Doom and legitimate Doctor Doom but it really is.

"If only I were a hideous orange rock monster with super strength and also depression!"
“If only I were a hideous orange rock monster with super strength and also depression!”

Doom traps our heroes and then begins trying to summon his mother from Hell with a combination of magic and Reed’s Space Warp Projector. He manages to tear a hole in reality and fill the room with demons but his mom is also there so I guess that’s a win? Good job, Doom? Ben manages to unplug the projector, meaning that the entire world won’t be swallowed by Hell, just the room. Man, today is just full of good news.

"Thanks, Satan!"
“Thanks, Satan!”

The group manages to hide in a pentagram on the floor, protecting them from the hellhole. Then Sue gets the bright idea to close the portal with satanic magic, attaching her lipstick to Johnny’s Fantasticar prototype and drawing another pentagram. This closes the portal, banishing the forces of hell and Doom’s mom. Doom is understandably pissed off so Reed spends literally SECONDS studying Doom’s research and figures out a way to free Doom’s mom.

The moral of this story is that sometimes people are just assholes.
The moral of this story is that sometimes people are just assholes.

The fact that Doom now has actual proof that Reed is smarter than him, combined with a mother’s love long denied him makes Doom finally realize… that he should be a super-powered monstrous despot! ALTERNATE REALITIES.

In unrelated news, Reed Richards has discovered a way TO SAVE PEOPLE FROM HELL AND NOBODY SEEMS TO THINK THIS IS IMPORTANT.

"Jesus, Reed... Maybe we should contact the Vatican about this or something?" "...why?"
“Jesus, Reed… Maybe we should contact the Vatican about this or something?” “…why?”

What If Doctor Doom Was… Okay, LESS of an Asshole.

 

I love me some Doctor Doom. You want to talk classic, yelling, boasting, talking about himself in the third person villainy, Doctor Doom is definitely the way to go. So an entire issue based around the guy so evil his name is fucking DOOM becoming a good guy? I am there. And if that didn’t hurt, look at that fucking cover. That is amazing.

So if you’ve never heard the story, our old buddy Uatu is there to fill us in as he bombs out on an asteroid, his watcher’s crotch on display for all to see. BEHOLD ITS GLORY, HUMAN. I gotta say, guys, Fred Kida’s art in this is fantastic.

Ahem. So… Victor Von Doom. Born in the tiny nation of Latveria, a… Germanesque? country full of fans of lederhosen, alpenhorns and a distinct fear of werewolves, Doom is raised by his father, Werner von Doom. (Jeez, I never would have guessed that there’d be a better supervillain name than Victor von Doom but Wernher von Doom? That’s fantastic.) Doom’s mother, Cynthia was  a witch, burned at the stake while Victor was still a tiny, speaking in the third person baby.

One day, Latveria’s evil baron (Of course, there’s an evil baron.) contacts Wernher von Doom to help his sick wife. “Zat’s not my department” says Wernher von Doom. He is put to death. Victor swears revenge and then heads to America to get his doctorate in “Contacting My Mother In Hell” studies. I’ve always assumed this was the class Dr. Venkman was teaching.

So Doom attempts to use a combination of sorcery and witchcraft to contact his mother’s damned soul. Before he can, Reed Richards gets a look at his work and sees that a few decimals points are missing. He tries to tell Victor but Doom is having none of it. He goes ahead with the experiment, blows his own fucking face off, flees to Tibet, forges himself some armor and builds a time machine to steal Blackbeard’s treasure. You know, that old chestnut.

But, asks Uatu, still displaying his crotch in a manner that can only be to make us uncomfortable, what if Doom wasn’t a big dickhole? What if he listened to Reed, checked his math and THEN sent his spirit to hell? And that is, in fact exactly what happens. Doom sends his soul into the demonic pit where he finally contacts his mother. After laying on the traditional parental guilt trip (Why don’t you CALL, Vicky?”), she drops a knowledge bomb on him, letting him know that he’s the true heir to Latveria. She never mentions why exactly if that was the case, he and his father were living crappy lives in a shitty Gypsy camp but, to be fair, he never asks.

Victor’s soul returns to his body and he tells Reed of his plan to finally save his mother from Hell and then return victorious to Latveria where he shall rule benevolently. Perhaps in a gaudy suit of armor. He and Reed part as friends, and Reed heads off to tragically mutate his best friend and then presumedly spend the rest of his life fighting… I don’t know, probably the Mole Man.

In a gorgeous and very Bernie Wrightsony sequence, Victor travels the world learning dark secrets of the occult, speaking to ancient sorcerers and appearing in eight issues of Tomb of Dracula. Finally, on a trip to Tibet, Victor learns the secrets he needs from an ancient order of monks. The monks forge him a suit of golden armour and a… let’s say unique helmet.

Looking good, Vic.

Doom heads to an uninhabited cave to work his magicks, contacting Satan like so much Ghost Rider. He finally frees his mother’s soul, allowing her to go to… Heaven? I guess. The one afterlife that HASN’T been proven to exist in the Marvel Universe. Except for that time the Fantastic Four found out Jack Kirby was God.

Meanwhile in Hell, (a sentence that has never worked out well for anyone.) Mephisto (the actual devil) discovers that one of his souls is missing, resulting in a lot of yelling and acting rude to his demonic whores.

Incidentally, Mephisto’s in this? Hooray! A story where the hammiest motherfucker in the Marvel Universe pisses off the second hammiest motherfucker in the Marvel Universe? SOLD. Anyway, Mephisto vows revenge. Blah blah blah.

Back on Earth, Doom returns to Latveria, determined to rule it as is his birthright. Unfortunately, he finds it under the control of the evil, medallion wearing Prince Rudolfo, which may be my new favourite name ever. Rodolfo’s been doing the usual evil king stuff: taxing the peasants, throwing people in the dungeon, cancelling Christmas and banning all toys in the kingdom. You know the drill.

Luckily for the sad peasants, Doom arrives in his ridiculous gold armour to wreck up the place. He uses a combination of magic and technology to fucking destroy Rodolfo’s army of guards, including turning one into a giant frog which is FANTASTIC.

Rudolfo is ultimately killed by a bullet’s ricochet, alas. Good night, sweet prince. I look forward to openly mocking your ridiculous tombstone.

Doom frees all of the prisoners in Rodolfo’s dungeon, including his old girlfriend Valeria. He then moves all his stuff into Latveria Castle and begins using his technology to improve the lives of his people. This mostly involves robot farmers but… you know, Latveria is a simple country. Doom also proposes to Valeria. He marries her in front of his subjects, including a young Alfred E Neumann and Hansi, the Girl Who Loved the Swastika.

Everything’s basically perfect until Doom and Mrs. Doom head off on their honeymoon… and the Devil shows up. “Now you run a pretty good country, boy, but give Mephisto his due. I’ll take every life, damn your lovely wife, Latveria burns because of you.”

Basically, Doom owes Mephisto a soul and to get it, Mephisto is perfectly willing to drag all of Latveria to hell. This is followed by some truly glorious purple prose as these two guys yell at each other and address themselves in the third person. It’s wonderful.

Finally, Mephisto offers Doom a deal. Latveria’s safe. That’s off the table. All Mephisto wants is one soul. Doom’s… or Valeria’s. Surely that decision can’t be too difficult for the benevolent savior of Latveria?

Unfortunately, Doom might be a good guy but he’s still an arrogant piece of shit. “The world can’t lose me. I’m Doctor Fucking Doom! I have so much love to give!” So he sentences his wife to burn for all eternity, vowing to find some way to someday save her. (Spoiler alert: He doesn’t.)

What If The Fantastic Four Had Different Super Powers? Or, more accurately, What If the Fantastic Four Had Really Gross Powers?

 So, in reading and re-reading all of these What Ifs, I’ve made a startling discovery: There are a LOT of recaps. So first we need to tackle the Fantastic Four’s origin (Shitty scientist drastically mutates friend, girlfriend, brother in law.), then we need to address who the Watcher is (Bald moon creep.) and finally we talk about what would happen if something was different. In this case, it comes up because the FF beat the shit out of some muggers and Johnny Storm wonders what it would be like if they all had different powers.

“WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE INDEED, JOHNNY STORM OF EARTH 616” announces an especially big headed pantsless Uatu. “I TOO HAVE LONG PONDERED THIS VAGUE SENTIMENT FOR I AM THE WATCHER!” And with that, we are returned to… the Fantastic Four’s fucking origin again. This is, like, the third time I’ve read that thing in six issues of this comic. That is a lot of crashed spaceships for such a new series.

The ship crashes and out crawl Ben, Sue and Johnny, dusting themselves off and wondering where the hell Reed went. They don’t wonder for very long though, as Ben begins feeling pains in his back and goes to hide behind a rock in the tradition of great heroes.. These back pains quickly reveal themselves to be giant scaly wings, turning Ben into… well, basically Angel from the X-Men but interesting.

Ben flies out from behind his rock, revealing his new wings and naked chest. “Look,” cries Johnny. “Ben’s got wings. Like a dragon. Or a fly.” But there’s not time to further describe Ben Grimm’s new back deformity because now the cosmic rays are affecting Johnny, turning him into Colossus. You know, big stripey metal guy. But Johnny also makes a point of mentioning that he can feel his internal organs turning into metal and sure enough, it’s later revealed that his insides have been replaced by gears. This is, of course, disgusting and Johnny tries to relieve his anger by smacking Ben with a tree.

Luckily, Sue protects him by revealing her new stretchy powers although nobody seems to notice for a few seconds. This is also disgusting. And kind of hot. Moving on.

So, in all the flying and stretching and having clockwork lungs, everyone has sort of forgotten about Reed and they return to the crashed ship to see if they can find him. Eventually, they discover him at the bottom of a hole, now an enourmous brain without a body. Ben scoops him up in his arms (which for some reason causes Reed no damage but still makes ME wince.). The four of them resolve to use their new powers to help mankind and then start trying to think fo names for themselves.. Ben, remembering Johhny’s description of him as a dragon or possibly a fly, names himself Wings Guy. Johnny, proving himself a man after my own heart, goes with the portmanteau of Mandroid. Sue briefly toys with Rubber Girl before deciding on Ultra Woman. Not real clear on how ultra stretching makes you but I’m not here to judge. (This is a lie.)

So time passes and the Gross Fantastic Four pretty much do the same crap as they did in the original run. They beat up the Mole Man, the Skrulls, Namor. (No word on whether the Sub Mariner is into Stretchy Sue but if he’s seen the ‘More Flexible’ scene in the Incredibles he’ll probably give it a shot.) The story cuts over to a museum where a He-Man villain is trying to steal Blackbeard’s treasure. The Fantastic Three (Reed stays home due to not having… anything.) save the day, sending Beastman back to where ever after a brief fight scene where Ben wishes he were stronger. Count your blessings, Ben. You definitely got the sweetest deal out of this whole cosmic ray thing.

Next we head over to Latveria where Doctor Doom watches his summoned He-Man demon fail to steal Blackbeard’s treasure. I still have no fucking idea WHY Doom wants Blackbeard’s treasure but who am I to argue with a guy with that sweet a cape? He decides to enlist the help of the FF after learning a bit more about them. Well, mostly he learns that the gross brain in the tube is his old school buddy Reed Richards, the asshole he blames for blowing up his face back in the day.

Back at the Baxter Building, Reed is using his psychic powers to watch his teammates. Ben dodges some excited fans who are eager to get all up in his wingspan while Johnny is mocked at a record store for being made of metal. We also get a demonstration of Johnny’s less obvious power: turning electronics on and off. What a thrilling universe. Over at the playground, Stretchy Sue watches some children and thinks about how her relationship with Reed is drying up because he no longer has a penis. Then she terrifies the neighborhood by turning into a giant top and spinning the kids around.

Doctor Doom then arrives at the Baxter Building and attempts to convince Reed that Doom can build him a new body so he can be a real boy again and score with Giant Top Sue but Reed doesn’t really seem into it. He prefers being a giant brain and… thinking about stuff? There’s some mention that Reed has turned the Baxter Building into a giant body for himself but it never comes up and I suspect Reed is just trying to feel better about himself. Giving up on bargaining, Doom throws Reed into one of those pneumatic message tubes and takes him to Latveria.

Luckily, the rest of the FF soon follow in their pogo plane and arrive at Castle Doom just in time to be captured in three specific death traps which they can only escape using their specific powers. Ben flies around a big room while someone shoots poles at him. (I assume this was designed by Professor X since this is literally the only thing Angel has ever done in the Danger Room.), Stretchy Sue gets buried in cement and then escapes by going under a door, and Johnny gets magnetized to the ground and escapes by realizing that he can control magnetism. So… more X-men powers. Fine.

Meanwhile, Doom is using a device to drain Reed of his consciousness, making him a powerful computer that will allow Doom to travel through time, stealing history’s greatest treasure. Dude’s gonna feel damn stupid when he finds out Carmen Sandiego already got them all. The rest of the FF show up and Doom kicks the shit out of them easily. He also blows up Johnny’s arm which is pretty awesome. When Doom finally attacks Sue, Reed freaks out and psychically attacks Doom, overriding his personality and giving himself a… well, swank new body isn’t quite right since Doom’s face looks like hot buttered garbage but now he has arms and legs and a dick so that’s a plus. We end the story by showing the new Gross Fantastic Four, complete with Reed not just in Doom’s body but with Doom’s hood and half skirt thing.  Look, I get keeping the mask but the skirt, Reed? Really?