Recoloring the origins of the Fantastic Four and the Hulk was a lot of fun, so I thought I'd give the same treatment to the first meeting between the FF and Spider-Man, as presented in a back-up feature in Fantastic Four Annual #1.
As a coda to my Doctor Doom chronology, I’ve provided an overview of the arch-villain’s robotic doppelgängers, or “Doombots,” broken down into the three “generations” I’ve devised. With one significant exception, this history is restricted to the robots Doctor Doom constructed in his own image, and does not concern itself with the various impostors he has produced over the years, such as the Thing, the Hulk, Bucky Barnes, and the Yellow Claw. Also, Doctor Doom experimented extensively with a wide variety of other robots, as well as androids, cyborgs, and clones, but those projects are also beyond the scope of this essay. However, I do include the version of Doctor Doom created out of the brainwashed boy Kristoff and an armored exo-skeleton, as I believe he may be more similar to many of the Doombots than was previously suspected.
This overview also limits itself to the Doombots of the Original Marvel Universe, which include only those that appeared between Fantastic Four #5 and #350.
The first known Doombot was built to stand in for the young Victor von Doom when he was to be executed by firing squad for his crimes against Latveria’s wealthy, landed elite (some of whom were also high-ranking members of the military establishment). This robot was destroyed by the hail of bullets that tore through it as the soldiers opened fire. Naturally, they were astonished to find their victim had been replaced by a mechanical impostor. Though this robot appeared to speak, it is more likely that Doom was broadcasting his own voice through a speaker hidden in the robot’s head. [Fantastic Four Annual #2]
The next robotic doppelgänger employed by Victor von Doom was not in his own likeness, but that of Crown Prince Rudolfo. During Doctor Doom’s coronation ceremony following his successful murder of Rudolfo’s father, King Vladimir, Doom had this robot participate in the coronation to lend a veneer of legitimacy to his coup. Interestingly, this robot did not speak, suggesting that, up to this point at least, Doom had not perfected a speech-synthesizer system. While the real Rudolfo, who was imprisoned in the dungeon, could have been allowed to broadcast his voice through the robot’s speaker, he could not be trusted to cooperate with Doom’s plans. Therefore, the robot had to remain silent. [Astonishing Tales #2]
The first of the purely robotic first-generation Doombots is seen when Doctor Doom brings the Fantastic Four back from their time-machine trip to find the legendary pirate treasure of Blackbeard. Expecting his pawns to betray him, Doom has the robot stand in for him at the time machine’s controls while he remains safely in his master control room with his hostage, the Invisible Girl. When the robot opens the treasure chest and reveals the worthless chains the FF used to replace the Merlin Stones, the Thing attacks the robot and smashes it to pieces. [Fantastic Four #5]
The second of the first-generation Doombots is used to meet with Spider-Man when Doom wants to propose a team-up against the Fantastic Four. However, Spider-Man rejects the offer and webs up the Doombot, immobilizing it. The real Doom then attacks Spider-Man, but the web-slinger manages to escape. This Doombot is probably destroyed when Doctor Doom causes his hideout to self-destruct moments later. The next day, Doom uses a third Doombot to attack Spider-Man while they are fighting at another of Doom’s lairs. Spider-Man overcomes this robot as well, forcing Doom to attack him directly. Doom breaks off the fight and flees when he detects the approach of the Fantastic Four. Most likely this hideout (and the third Doombot) is also blown to smithereens immediately following the story. [Amazing Spider-Man #5]
The next time a Doombot appears is when Rudolfo and his Latverian Underground storm Doctor Doom’s castle in a bid to reclaim the throne. From the safety of his master control room, Doom sends a Doombot out to confront Rudolfo and his men, but they overcome the robot’s defenses and blow it to pieces. [Astonishing Tales #1]
A Doombot is next seen confronting Shang-Chi at the Twickenham Estate in England, next to a mock-up of the Prime Mover robot in which Shang-Chi’s friend Clive Reston is imprisoned. After Shang-Chi overcomes robotic doppelgängers of many of his old foes, the Doombot attacks him and is likewise smashed to pieces by Shang-Chi’s unbeatable kung fu. [Master of Kung Fu #60]
Several robotic Doombots are employed to keep the Fantastic Four busy while the second-generation Doombots restore the real Doctor Doom to his true body after his lengthy imprisonment in the Puppet Master’s scale-model town “Liddleville.” The older-model Doombots are quickly defeated, but their diversionary mission is accomplished. [Fantastic Four #246]
During the “Acts of Vengeance” scheme, first-generation Doombots are used for an ambush of the Punisher, to bait a trap for the Fantastic Four, and to attend the final meeting of the villain consortium. All of these Doombots are blown up when they have outlived their usefulness. [Punisher #28, Fantastic Four #336, Avengers #313]
Three fully robotic Doombots are used to infiltrate the Avengers’ Headquarters Building during its grand-opening gala, but their nature is deduced by the Avengers and they are quickly destroyed. [Avengers #332–333]
The first of the second-generation Doombots, designated Doombot A-76, is first seen when the X-Men storm Doom’s castle in the Adirondack Mountains in an attempt to rescue the assassin Arcade. Doombot A-76 is next seen trying to reclaim the one Merlin Stone that Doom has managed to find from an exhibit of the crown jewels of Latveria on loan to the United Nations. Though Doombot A-76 hopes the UNICEF charity concert going on at the time will serve as a distraction, it brings him into conflict with Dazzler, who is one of the performers. Doombot A-76 kidnaps Dazzler, forcing her to search Nightmare’s Dream Dimension for a second Merlin Stone. Unexpectedly, she succeeds in bringing back the magical gem, but then destroys both Merlin Stones with a laser beam from her fingertips. Doombot A-76 knocks Dazzler out again, but abandons the fight and flees when he detects the approach of the Human Torch. Doombot A-76 is doubtless among the many Doombots who finally rescue Doctor Doom from Liddleville and return him to his true body. However, when Doctor Doom discovers that Doombot A-76 failed to kill Arcade for daring to strike a match on his armor, Doom forces Doombot A-76 to self-destruct. [Uncanny X-Men #145–147, Dazzler #3–4, Fantastic Four #246 & 258]
When King Zorba converts Doctor Doom’s robotic Servo-Guards into a ruthless mechanical secret police, numerous second-generation Doombots initiate a plan to rescue the real Doctor Doom from Liddleville and restore him to his true body. One Doombot collects the tiny “synthe-clone” containing Doom’s mind from Liddleville, which is inside the castle in the Adirondack Mountains, while others take over the Latverian embassy in New York City and force Zorba’s Ambassador Leopold to arrange for all four of the Fantastic Four to deliver Doom’s body, which they have been keeping in stasis at their Baxter Building headquarters. While first-generation Doombots keep the FF busy, the second-generation Doombots reunite Doom’s mind and body. They then apprise their master of the current state of affairs in Latveria, which has fallen into crisis under Zorba’s incompetent rule. [Fantastic Four #246]
For the benefit of his young ward, Kristoff, Doctor Doom orders the numerous Doombots in his castle in Latveria to line up for inspection. When he discovers that Doombot A-76 failed to kill Arcade for daring to strike a match on his armor, Doctor Doom forces Doombot A-76 to self-destruct. [Fantastic Four #258]
After imbuing the alien Tyros with an unstable form of the power cosmic, Doctor Doom monitors Tyros’s battle with the Thing and the Human Torch from within a massive airship concealed in an artificial cloudbank. When his sensors detect the Invisible Girl approaching, Doom intercepts her and draws the Fantasti-Car into his aircraft. Doom then sends a second-generation Doombot to confront her. Unlike the real Doctor Doom or Doombot A-76, this Doombot is violently misogynistic. Deducing the Doombot’s artificial nature, the Invisible Girl destroys it with her force-field. [Fantastic Four #259]
After the apparent death of the real Doctor Doom during Tyros’s battle with the Silver Surfer, one of the second-generation Doombots sends a robot to spy on Alexander Flynn, who claims to be the son of Victor von Doom. [Beauty and the Beast #1–4]
Following a pre-established contingency plan, Doombot B-57 collects Kristoff from his private tutor and escorts him to a laboratory in Castle Doom. There, several other second-generation Doombots reprogram Kristoff’s mind so he believes himself to be the true Victor von Doom. After Kristoff-Doom blows up the Baxter Building, the Fantastic Four come to Latveria, destroy at least seven Doombots, and unmask Kristoff. The FF take the brainwashed boy back to America to see if he can be restored to his right mind. [Fantastic Four #278–279]
One of the second-generation Doombots remains on duty at the Latverian embassy in New York City and is present when the Invincible Man leads the Invisible Woman, the Wasp, and the She-Hulk on an all-out assault on the embassy. While the Wasp and the She-Hulk battle a contingent of Servo-Guards, the Invisible Woman is able to destroy the Doombot in charge. The Invincible Man then reveals himself to be the true Doctor Doom, having escaped death by inhabiting the body of a bystander, Norman MacArthur, via the mind-swap technique he learned from the alien Ovoids. [Fantastic Four #287]
Later, after the Latverian embassy has been repaired, another second-generation Doombot is placed on permanent duty there. When Kristoff-Doom and a third-generation Doombot become bitter rivals, the embassy Doombot remains loyal to Kristoff and hostile to the other one. This Doombot then deals with the situation when two representatives of the construction firm Damage Control come seeking payment of an overdue invoice. The inquiry exposes a member of Doom’s embassy staff as an embezzler. When the Fantastic Four arrive on the scene to “rescue” the Damage Control people, the Thing is forced to wonder if they’re facing just another Doombot. [Damage Control #2]
A second-generation Doombot loyal to Kristoff hosts an international symposium on robotics in Latveria, which is attended by Iron Man and his friends Ant-Man and James Rhodes. The symposium convinces the Doombot that no other nation has robotics technology as advanced as Latveria’s, and he amuses himself by infecting Iron Man with a genetically engineered virus that causes electronic systems to go haywire. Unfortunately, the virus mutates and overcomes the Doombot’s defenses, making his own armor go out of control. Iron Man saves the day after obtaining the antidote from Doom’s underlings, and, in gratitude, the Doombot allows the Americans to leave with their lives. [Marvel Fanfare #44]
A second-generation Doombot loyal to Kristoff encounters X-Men member Storm while attacking a foreign factory that is polluting Latveria with acid rain. Together they overcome the military force defending the installation and destroy the factory. [Marvel Comics Presents #48]
A second-generation Doombot loyal to Kristoff is posted at the Twickenham Estate in England. Due to his presence in the British Isles, he is contacted by a future incarnation of the wizard Merlin and drawn into a confrontation with Iron Man in California. The armored adversaries are then magically transported to the year A.D. 2093 to help the reincarnation of King Arthur protect Great Britain from the combined threat of that era’s evil Iron Man and Doctor Doom. When they return to the present, though, neither the Doombot nor Iron Man has any memory of their trip to the future. Unlike the real Doctor Doom or the other doppelgängers, this Doombot has a penchant for making smart-ass remarks. [Iron Man #249–250]
A second-generation Doombot loyal to Kristoff is posted at Doctor Doom’s summer residence, and one day gets drenched by a strange green liquid that falls from the sky. Thinking a passing jet has emptied its water tanks on him, the Doombot goes inside to shoot it down. However, he discovers that the liquid is actually the shape-changing offspring of the Impossible Man, a notorious alien troublemaker. Rather than try to fight the horde of obnoxious aliens, the Doombot convinces them that they will find Iron Man to be much more entertaining. [Impossible Man Summer Vacation Special #1]
A second-generation Doombot loyal to Kristoff tracks down the Black Fox after the venerable jewel thief steals one of Doctor Doom’s mystic gems from a museum in Monaco, where it was mistakenly included with an exhibit of Latveria’s crown jewels. Spider-Man tries to defend the elderly thief, but the Doombot beats the crap out of the web-slinger, repeatedly displaying superhuman strength in the process. Spider-Man convinces the Doombot to give him 24 hours to retrieve the stolen gem, which the Black Fox has already fenced. The next day, the Doombot follows Spider-Man and the Black Fox to the estate of millionaire recluse Andrew Carpathian, who is attempting to use the gem to open a portal to an alien dimension. The Doombot drives off Carpathian and his men and reclaims the jewel. He rewards Spider-Man and the Black Fox for their help by letting them live. [Amazing Spider-Man #349–350]
When the renegade third-generation Doombot storms Castle Doom in Latveria to attack Kristoff-Doom, the numerous Doombots present join the battle. When the real Doctor Doom then returns, he is so changed the Doombots do not recognize him. They attack him as well, but Doom deactivates them all with the touch of a button, causing their memory-cores to self-destruct. [Fantastic Four #350]
As part of a pre-established contingency plan following the apparent death of the real Doctor Doom, Kristoff is placed in a “remembrancer” device, which overwrites his memories and personality with Victor von Doom’s own. However, Kristoff orders the process to be ended prematurely, leaving him without the benefit of most of Doom’s experience. Nevertheless, he believes himself to be the real Doctor Doom, and the Doombots all recognize him as their master. Donning an armored exo-skeleton that makes him appear to be an adult, Kristoff-Doom or Doom-II sets out to destroy the Fantastic Four. For several months, he sneaks probes into the Baxter Building to make subtle and selective adjustments to the Fantastic Four’s equipment. Finally, he is ready to make his move and hauls the entire Baxter Building into orbit and blows it up. The Fantastic Four survive, however, and confront him at his castle in Latveria. After destroying several Doombots, the FF unmask Doom-II and are shocked to find Kristoff. They decide to take the brainwashed boy back to America to see if his mental programming can be reversed. [Fantastic Four #278–279]
Though they are unable to return Kristoff to his right mind, the Fantastic Four eventually allow him to escape from their headquarters so they can follow him back to Castle Doom, hoping to thus bypass the castle’s defenses. However, Doom-II immediately dons his armored exo-skeleton and reasserts control over the Doombots. Finding a renegade Doombot (Doom-III) in the castle, Doom-II attacks him. The Doombots are initially incapable of determining which “Doctor Doom” they should obey, but they soon settle on Doom-II. Finding himself vastly outnumbered, Doom-III flees the castle, declaring war on Doom-II. [Fantastic Four Annual #20]
When Doom-III surfaces near the Latverian embassy in New York City, Doom-II sends an army of mercenaries after him. However, the mercenaries are driven off by the Fantastic Four, the Black Panther, and X-Factor, and Doom-III escapes. [Fantastic Four #312]
Doom-II decides that he must have been trapped in Kristoff’s body by the Ovoid mind-swap technique, and the impostor Doom-III must therefore be inhabiting his real body. He captures the West Coast Avengers and attempts to enlist them in his war against the impostor, but he is forced to release them by the Egyptian god Khonshu. [West Coast Avengers #35]
Sometime later, Doom-III activates a time-displacement bubble around Castle Doom, but Doom-II overcomes its effects, having anticipated such a tactic. During their ensuing fight, Doom-II manages to shake Doom-III’s conviction that he is the true Doctor Doom, thus postponing their final confrontation. [Thor #410]
Doom-II begins selling chemical weapons to small-time dictators across the globe. He then captures the Punisher when the infamous vigilante breaks into Castle Doom. Doom-II tries to recruit him to assassinate Doom-III, but the Punisher starts a fire in the castle’s art gallery, using it to cover his escape. Doom-II vows to destroy the Punisher for his effrontery. [Punisher #28–29]
When Doom-III finally storms Castle Doom in Latveria, Doom-II fights him until the real Doctor Doom suddenly appears. After destroying Doom-III, Doctor Doom says the code-word that breaks Kristoff’s mental programming, ending his belief that he is Victor von Doom. [Fantastic Four #350]
When Doctor Doom learns that the Beyonder has come to earth, he creates a new “third-generation” Doombot to stand in for him while he flees into the past via his time machine. However, unknown to Doom, an error in this Doombot’s mental programming will cause him to believe himself to be the true Doctor Doom, even in the presence of his master or the other Doombots. This is the most “pure” Doombot yet constructed, and is, in essence, a perfect copy of Victor von Doom. Thus, I refer to him as Doom-III.
Doom-III is first seen when Cloak and Dagger come to Latveria on the trail of some drug smugglers. Doom-III is attempting to neutralize the nuclear weapons of all other nations so that Latveria will be the sole remaining nuclear power, but Cloak and Dagger trick him into destroying his particle-beam projector during their battle. [Cloak and Dagger v.2 #10]
Doom-III then invites the X-Men to come to Latveria where he can use his molecular reintegrator to save the life of their teammate Shadowcat, whose phasing power has gone haywire. The Fantastic Four intervene, though, and Mister Fantastic is instrumental in making the process work after Magneto compromises the delicate systems. Afterwards, Doom-III magnanimously hosts a banquet for his guests to celebrate their success, and is satisfied that the X-Men are in his debt. [Fantastic Four vs. the X-Men #1–4]
Learning that the Human Torch and Alicia Masters are getting married, Doom-III calls a temporary truce and has a crate of flowers delivered to the chapel in time for the ceremony. Sometime later, he invites Magneto to Castle Doom for a meeting of the minds. [Fantastic Four #300, X-Factor Annual #4]
On Midsummer’s Eve, Doom-III kidnaps Franklin Richards, conjures up Mephisto, and offers to exchange Franklin for the soul of Cynthia von Doom. However, Kristoff-Doom (Doom-II) attacks him before the deal can be struck, and while they are fighting, Mister Fantastic rescues Franklin from Mephisto’s realm. Since all the second-generation Doombots are loyal to Kristoff, Doom-III realizes he is vastly outnumbered and abandons the fight, declaring war on Kristoff. He takes refuge in Wakanda as a guest of the Black Panther, providing him with his robotics expertise in return. However, the Black Panther decides not to get involved in Doom-III’s rivalry with Kristoff, agreeing only to grant him safe passage to the United States. The Fantastic Four accompany them, and upon their arrival in New York City, the FF, the Black Panther, and X-Factor protect Doom-III from a gang of mercenaries sent by Kristoff. Doom-III tries to force the heroes to attack the Latverian embassy, but they foil his plan. With nowhere to turn, Doom-III goes into hiding, establishing a secret base of operations on the city’s waterfront. [Fantastic Four #305, Fantastic Four Annual #20, Fantastic Four #311–312]
Doom-III soon receives a tip from Quicksilver, who has his own grudge against Kristoff, that the Fantastic Four are planning a trip into the Negative Zone to search for either the Beyonder or a race of Beyonders. Thus, Doom-III plots to accompany them and attempt to steal the Beyonder’s power. Knowing the Molecule Man is the primary threat to his scheme, Doom-III tracks him down and tries to kill him. He then goes to Four Freedoms Plaza to convince the Fantastic Four to let him join their mission to the Negative Zone. Though they reject his offer, Doom-III manages to make his own way into the Negative Zone, where he waits until Blastaar has nearly defeated the FF. Doom-III comes to their rescue, and the FF reluctantly agree to an alliance. Doom-III then leads the FF into the dimension where the Beyonder has taken up residence. Doom-III’s plans are upset by the intervention of the Molecule Man, the Shaper of Worlds, and Kubik, though he does manage to regain Victor von Doom’s missing memories when the Beyonder and the Molecule Man merge into a brand-new Cosmic Cube. [Fantastic Four Annual #21, Fantastic Four #318–319]
Believing the Molecule Man would not surrender his life without allotting some share of his cosmic power to his girlfriend, Volcana, Doom-III places her under surveillance. He then goes to Las Vegas to recruit the Hulk for his war against Kristoff, goading the Hulk into a grudge match with the Thing. [Fantastic Four Annual #23, Fantastic Four #320, Hulk #349–350]
Doom-III manages to capture Thor’s enchanted hammer, Mjolnir, and uses it to power a time-distortion device that creates a bubble of frozen time around Castle Doom. Upon entering the castle, however, Doom-III discovers that Kristoff has anticipated such a tactic and has devised a means to counteract it. Doom-III and Kristoff renew their battle, but when Doom-III gets the upper hand, Kristoff is able to talk his way out of it. The time-bubble collapses suddenly and Doom-III is forced to flee Latveria once again. A few days later, a mysterious man meets with Doom-III at his waterfront hideout in New York and proposes an enemy-swapping scheme code-named “Acts of Vengeance.” [Thor #409–410]
Believing the scheme lacks merit, Doom-III attempts to prove this to his co-conspirators, Magneto and the Wizard, by recruiting various third-rate villains to attack the Avengers, Power Pack, and the Hulk. Later, as the Kingpin is recruited to join the villain consortium, they are informed that the Trapster has failed to destroy Spider-Man. However, Doom-III is intrigued by reports of Spider-Man’s new cosmic powers, so he sends Titania to battle the wall-crawler. During their fight, Doom-III analyzes the strange energies Spider-Man is wielding. He continues his analysis when the Wizard subsequently calls in the Brothers Grimm. Doom-III decides that he must find a way to harness Spider-Man’s new powers for himself. [Cloak and Dagger v.3 #9, Power Pack #53, Hulk #363, Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #158–159, Web of Spider-Man #59, Amazing Spider-Man #327]
After the Mandarin is recruited into the villain consortium, Doom-III sends an army of robots to destroy the Avengers’ current headquarters, the floating artificial island Hydrobase. He also plants a device on the roof of Four Freedoms Plaza to induce more third-rate villains to stage futile attacks on the Fantastic Four. When the Red Skull is recruited to join their scheme, Doom-III begins to realize that his co-conspirators spend more time arguing than planning effective strategies. However, he continues to associate with them only to further his plot to steal Spider-Man’s cosmic powers. [Avengers #311–312, Fantastic Four #334, Captain America #365–366, Wolverine #19, Web of Spider-Man #60]
Doom-III makes a bet with the Kingpin that he will be able to kill the Kingpin’s most persistent nemesis, the Punisher, in one week. However, the Punisher proves to be surprisingly resourceful and forces Doom-III to back off by stealing a treasured portrait of Werner and Cynthia von Doom from Castle Doom itself. To prove that he could have the Punisher killed anytime he wanted to, the Kingpin then hires the mutant-hunting vigilante Bushwacker to take the Punisher out. Doom-III is amused when the Punisher kills Bushwacker instead. Doom-III also finds the time to create Ultron-13, a synthesis of all the previous models, which he sends to kill Daredevil. He also receives a false report from the deranged Typhoid Mary about how she destroyed Power Pack. [Punisher #28–29, Punisher War Journal #12–13, Daredevil #275, Power Pack #53]
After setting a trap for the Fantastic Four using the Super-Adaptoid, Doom-III modifies the TESS-One robot to be able to absorb some of Spider-Man’s cosmic energies and sends it to battle the web-slinger. Spider-Man blows the robot to smithereens with relative ease, but Doom-III is able to retrieve the robot’s head to use in a device to allow him to tap into the source of Spider-Man’s new powers. However, the device fails unaccountably, and Doom-III realizes it must have been sabotaged by one of his co-conspirators. Fed up with the villain consortium, Doom-III sends a robotic first-generation Doombot to take his place at their meetings. When he decides to terminate his association with the splintering group, Doom-III causes his robot doppelgänger to self-destruct. He soon learns that the mysterious organizer of the group was none other than Loki, the Asgardian god of mischief. [Fantastic Four #336, Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #160, Web of Spider-Man #61, Avengers #313, West Coast Avengers #55]
Doom-III strikes a bargain with the ancient sorcerer known as Mister Jip to hand over a grimoire in Doom-III’s possession in exchange for a helpless Dagger, whom Doom-III thinks will make a perfect power source for the latest weapon he has created for his war against Kristoff. Although Doom-III makes all the arrangements, Mister Jip fails to fulfill his part of the bargain. Doom-III then monitors Volcana when she finally manifests her cosmic legacy from the Molecule Man. Having made a thorough analysis, Doom-III begins to plan how to take advantage of this opportunity without alerting the Shaper of Worlds or Kubik. [Cloak and Dagger v.3 #12–13, Fantastic Four Annual #23]
After seeing Thor and Sersi discussing interdimensional travel on a TV news broadcast, Doom-III hatches a plan to infiltrate the Avengers’ new headquarters building. He constructs three modular Doombots, which are able to pass through small gaps in the building’s security perimeter and reassemble themselves once inside. Thus, Doom-III is able to crash the gala reception being held to mark the building’s grand opening. Through his Doombots, Doom-III offers to reveal how he compromised the team’s security in exchange for the secret of interdimensional travel, which he intends to use to rescue his mother. However, the Avengers figure it out on their own, so they are not interested in making any deals with Doctor Doom. [Avengers #331–333]
Doom-III stages a final all-out assault on Castle Doom in Latveria, but his battle with Kristoff is interrupted by a third Doctor Doom wearing shiny promethium armor. Doom-III attacks this interloper as another impostor, but is easily destroyed by his foe’s superior force. [Fantastic Four #350]
When destroying Doom-III, the real Doctor Doom is careful to preserve the head for further study, for he is curious what made this Doombot so different from the others. It is likely Doom was able to subsequently retrieve all the unique memories from this Doombot’s brain and gain the benefit of his experience.
In Fantastic Four #350, writer/artist Walter Simonson quickly wrapped up his predecessor’s long-simmering storyline involving a war between two versions of Doctor Doom by revealing both to be impostors. At the climax of the final showdown between the two Dooms, a third Doctor Doom suddenly appears and reveals the one previously thought to be the original as merely a renegade robot double, or “Doombot.” This third version then goes on to cast doubt on the authenticity of any Doctor Doom seen since the earliest days of the character. Needless to say, this caused quite a bit of consternation in fan circles. Simonson justified his decision by noting the inconsistent portrayals of Doom’s character and personality over the years, saying he wanted to give fans an easy way of writing off any appearance they didn’t like as being just a Doombot.
Prior to Fantastic Four #258, Doctor Doom’s Doombots were shown to be pretty basic automatons, seemingly not much more advanced than the Life Model Decoys employed by S.H.I.E.L.D. They could walk around, perform basic tasks, and fight, typically under the real Doctor Doom’s direct supervision. While they could speak, it really wasn’t clear whether they were saying things on their own or merely broadcasting their master’s voice. They showed no capacity, however, for independent thought. John Byrne changed all that when his feud with Chris Claremont led him to reveal that the Doctor Doom who appeared in one of Claremont’s X-Men stories was, in fact, a Doombot. However, we were privy to Doom’s innermost thoughts throughout that story, and he was clearly acting on his own initiative. So we’re left with a new kind of Doombot who can think for himself.
Byrne later explained that these Doombots actually believe themselves to be the real Doctor Doom, unless they are in the presence of their master or their robot brothers, so that not even a telepath could detect that they are impostors. This revelation made Simonson’s conceit seem workable, though it raised the question of whether higher-order beings like the Beyonder or Kubik could tell one of these robots from the real McCoy. If, as one would naturally assume, they could, it makes accounting for Simonson’s conceit nearly impossible. Fortunately, the exact nature of these Doombots was never revealed in any canonical story, and I believe the key to this puzzle lies with the other Doom impostor, the Latverian boy Kristoff.
Kristoff came to believe himself to be Doctor Doom when his mind was overlaid with the memories of the original, essentially reprogramming him to become Victor von Doom. This was part of a contingency plan enacted by the Doombots when they assumed their master had died in a fiery explosion. However, there were subtle differences in Kristoff-Doom’s attitudes and behavior, which were frequently remarked on by his rival impostor. As mentioned above, several Doombots were also seen to deviate from Doctor Doom’s established personality. The Doctor Doom in Claremont’s X-Men story had quite an eye for the ladies and was a smooth-talking charmer. Conversely, the Doombot that battles the Invisible Girl in Fantastic Four #259 is violently misogynistic. And the “Doctor Doom” seen in Iron Man #249–250 has a penchant for making smart-ass remarks. We can account for these variations if we posit that the Doombots, like Kristoff, had a second (original) personality that was being suppressed.
There is no indication given that Kristoff was the first person to undergo this mental reprogramming procedure, nor was it explained how the Doombots were able to fool telepaths into taking them as genuine. Also, after reviving Doctor Doom from his comatose state in Fantastic Four Annual #15, his loyalist faction of former military officers seemed to just disappear. Where did they go? I combined these three elements into the theory that these men were rewarded for their service by being converted, rather like Cybermen, into the new generation of Doombots.
This easily accounts for most of Doctor Doom’s more controversial appearances, the bulk of which occur in comics other than Fantastic Four. However, some appearances, such as in Fantastic Four Annual #20 and Fantastic Four #319, remain problematic because they involve higher-order beings such as Mephisto, the Beyonder, Kubik, and the Shaper of Worlds. Surely, they would be able to tell the difference. I believe this can be accounted for by the unique nature of Kristoff-Doom’s rival, the Doombot who refused to acknowledge any other Doom as genuine. Even the real Doctor Doom was curious about what made this Doombot different, as shown in Fantastic Four #350. I contend that this Doombot’s brain was not repurposed from another person but created from scratch, cloned from the cells of Victor von Doom himself. This brain, having no pre-existing personality, resulted in the most “pure” Doombot ever created, essentially a perfect copy. For all intents and purposes, this Doombot was as much Victor von Doom—was as “real”—as the original. Only the circumstances of his “birth” were different, though he was not even aware of this. Contrary to what many fans seem to believe, the cloning process does not create a “fake” person. A fake person is an android. A clone is a legitimate organic being, just a genetic copy of an already existent individual. Put the template’s memories into the clone, and neither one is more “real” than the other. One has just been around longer, and in cosmic terms, that’s a trivial distinction. Thus, the cosmic beings had no reason to reject this Doctor Doom as illegitimate. Whether or not he was the original Doctor Doom was irrelevant to the situations in question.
With all this in mind, I set out to determine which appearances of Doctor Doom following Fantastic Four #200 were the original Victor von Doom, which were this cloned Doombot, which were “second-generation” Doombots, and which were the old, purely-robotic “first-generation” Doombots. The chronology below picks up where Part One left off and follows the original Victor von Doom up to his final OMU appearance.
Note: The following timeline depicts the Original Marvel Universe (anchored to November 1961 as the first appearance of the Fantastic Four and proceeding forward from there. See previous posts for a detailed explanation of my rationale.) Some information presented on the timeline is speculative and some is based on historical accounts. See the Notes section at the end for clarifications.
We now conclude… The True History of Doctor Doom!
March 1970 – Doctor Doom is jolted awake after being in a catatonic state for nearly a year. He finds himself in a makeshift laboratory hidden in a cave in the mountains of northern Latveria, once again wearing his full suit of armor and green robes. He has been revived through the efforts of a loyalist underground that is opposed to King Zorba’s rule, a movement organized by Lieutenant Borgo, formerly a minor official in Doom’s palace security detail. Doom notes that most of his “loyalists” previously held key positions in the military and are doubtless acting purely out of self-interest. The procedure that revived him was devised and implemented by Dr. Gert Hauptmann, whom Doom is certain was motivated by fear alone. However, Doom is gratified to see that the loyalists have granted refuge to his faithful old retainer, Boris. Soon, one of Borgo’s men carelessly leads Zorba’s forces to the hidden laboratory, and the installation comes under attack. Doom strides past Borgo’s soldiers and routs Zorba’s forces single-handedly. As Zorba flees the battlefield, Doom mocks him. Donning a jet-pack, Doom instructs his loyalists to find a new hideout and prepare for his return to the throne. He then makes his way to his castle in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York.
When he arrives, Doom is furious to find that his Adirondack castle has been taken over by the mutant known as the Toad and converted into a garish amusement park called Toadworld. While begging for his life, the Toad blames the whole thing on the flamboyant assassin Arcade, so Doom vows to punish Arcade for his impertinence. However, since he has lost his diplomatic immunity, Doom knows he will have to keep a low profile while in the United States. Doom drives the Toad out and has all the offending rides and attractions removed at once. Having reclaimed his castle, Doom hires a small mercenary army to guard it. He then reviews what has transpired during the time he was catatonic, and is not surprised to learn that, under Zorba’s spineless leadership, Latveria has fallen into crisis and is on the brink of economic ruin.
Realizing that he nearly missed the rapidly approaching time of the Bend Sinister, a mystical alignment that occurs only once every six-thousand years, Doctor Doom decides he needs a more reliable contingency plan should he again be incapacitated or even killed. The Toad’s occupation of his castle reminds him that, twice before, the Red Skull has taken advantage of his absence to conquer Latveria, and now his people suffer under Zorba’s inept rule. Clearly, Doctor Doom needs to be able to be in two or more places at the same time, requiring him to design a “second-generation” Doombot to be the perfect stand-in. Unlike his previous purely-robotic Doombots, these doppelgängers must be capable of independent thought and action, with minds that are a perfect imitation of his own—so perfect that not even a telepath would be able to detect the difference. Having experimented extensively with robots, androids, and cyborgs, Doom determines that only a radical fusion of all three would serve his purposes. He summons Gert Hauptmann and Lieutenant Borgo to join him in New York, and then, with Hauptmann’s assistance, Doom overwrites Borgo’s mind with his own memories and personality. As a fail-safe, Doom programs Borgo to believe himself to be Doctor Doom only when not in the presence of the true Doom or another Doombot. When the process is completed, Doom transfers Borgo’s brain and vital organs into a robotic body fashioned after Doom’s armor. He christens this new entity Doombot A-76.
April 1970 – Doctor Doom contacts the extradimensional demon Dormammu and plots with him to finally bring about the Bend Sinister, using as their pawn Professor Lucius Dilby, who has completed his interdimensional transporter right on schedule. Doom uses the device to teleport Dilby into Dormammu’s Dark Dimension, where the hapless scientist is imbued with the magical energies he will need to accomplish his mission. Unfortunately, Dilby is defeated by Doctor Strange, Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme, with the assistance of Spider-Man. As punishment for his failure, and for plotting to betray his masters, Dilby is trapped by Dormammu within a small crystal, which is then delivered to Doom’s castle in the Adirondacks. Doom adds Dilby’s prison to his collection of mystical gemstones, disappointed that his long-awaited scheme to free his mother’s soul from hell has been foiled.
Knowing he will need to greatly expand his knowledge of sorcery if he is ever to save his mother from eternal damnation, Doom uses his time machine to travel into the past, leaving Hauptmann to monitor its systems. Doom tracks down the elderly wizard Cagliostro and promises to finance Cagliostro’s search for the secret of immortality in exchange for a tutorial in the black arts. The wizard agrees, and Doom spends several years studying magic with Cagliostro.
July 1970 – When he has completed his studies with Cagliostro, Doctor Doom gives the wizard his payment and returns to the present, finding only three months have passed. He determines to travel further into the past than ever before to learn the occult secrets of Morgan le Fay, the legendary sorceress of Camelot. However, Hauptmann informs Doom that a shipment of necessary booster components from Stark International has been canceled. Doom is outraged and sends a squad of mercenaries to retrieve the components from the Long Island warehouse where they are being stored. Despite the interference of Iron Man, the mercenaries succeed and return with the components. While Hauptmann and his assistants make the necessary improvements to the time machine, Doctor Doom reviews a report on the activities of Doombot A-76 during his absence. He notes that his double made a thorough study of the X-Men, humiliated Arcade, and attempted to use a mutant singer called Dazzler to track down the Merlin Stones. Doom is also satisfied with Hauptmann’s progress in converting more members of Doom’s “loyalist” faction into second-generation Doombots.
When Iron Man descends upon the castle the next day to demand that Doom surrender the components, the armored adversaries get into a fight. While they are grappling with each other on the time machine’s platform, Hauptmann suddenly activates the device, transporting Doctor Doom and Iron Man back to the 6th century A.D. Finding themselves near the castle of Camelot in Great Britain, Doom and Iron Man are soon accosted by a group of knights and escorted into the presence of the legendary King Arthur. Doom informs Arthur that he is a king himself in his own land of Latveria, and expects to be treated accordingly. Arthur declares that they will be considered royal guests so long as they do not leave the castle. However, that night, Doom flies off to track down Morgan le Fay. At her castle in the Valley of Wailing Mists, Morgan agrees to help Doom free his mother’s soul from hell if he will first lead her undead soldiers into battle and slay King Arthur. Thus, the next morning, Doom clashes with Iron Man while Arthur and his knights battle Morgan’s zombie-like legions. Iron Man soon abandons the fight to go after Morgan le Fay, and Doom is too late to prevent the golden Avenger from driving the sorceress off. Though furious at the collapse of his plans, Doom realizes he needs Iron Man’s help to return to the present day. They cannibalize their armor to create a crude warp-field generator that sends them back to their proper time. Upon returning to his Adirondack castle, Doom punishes Hauptmann for his betrayal, though he lets the terrified scientist live. Doom then begins work on repairing the extensive damage Hauptmann caused to the time machine control systems.
August 1970 – Doctor Doom agrees to a proposal made by the Puppet Master to get rid of the Fantastic Four once and for all. While the Puppet Master constructs a scale-model town he calls “Liddleville” to serve as their foes’ prison, Doom creates tiny “synthe-clones” in which to trap their minds. The Fantastic Four will thus be forced to live out the rest of their lives as ordinary folk in an artificial “small-town America” setting. Doom also builds miniature robots to serve as the rest of the town’s population, miniature Servo-Guards to patrol its boundaries, and miniature robot bodies into which he and the Puppet Master can project their own minds in order to interact with their victims. When their preparations are complete, the Puppet Master uses his radioactive clay to take over the minds of Mister Fantastic, the Invisible Girl, the Human Torch, the Thing, Alicia Masters, and 7-year-old Franklin Richards, and brings them all to Doom’s Adirondack castle. The six of them are then trapped in the synthe-clone bodies, mentally conditioned to accept their life in Liddleville as normal.
Over the next two weeks, Doctor Doom enjoys playing the role of “Vincent Vaughn,” the president of Liddleville College where Reed Richards is employed as a science professor. Richards’s mind is kept in a perpetually befuddled state, and Doom revels in taunting, harassing, and belittling his old foe. Eventually, though, the Fantastic Four overcome their mental conditioning and capture the Puppet Master. Seeing no further need for subterfuge, Doom betrays his partner, leaving him trapped in Liddleville with their powerless enemies. A little over a day later, though, Doom discovers the Fantastic Four have somehow regained their superpowers and have set a trap for him. As the Fantastic Four return to their true bodies, Doom takes refuge in the tiny robot body of “Vincent Vaughn,” planning to take his foes by surprise as soon as they drop their guard. Unfortunately, the Puppet Master has remained in Liddleville, and he destroys Doom’s only means of returning to his true body. Having formed a mob from the town’s residents, the Puppet Master orders them to run “Vaughn” out of town, and Doom spends the next several weeks eluding his pursuers.
September–October 1970 – When the mob finally gives up the chase, Doctor Doom discovers the Fantastic Four have made off with his real body. Unable to reach any of his devices or systems, Doom eventually returns to Liddleville, reestablishes control over the miniature Servo-Guards, and begins converting one of them into a scale-model replica of his customary armor.
November 1970 – When his armor is finished, Doctor Doom conquers Liddleville and takes the Puppet Master prisoner. With the help of the Servo-Guards, Doom forces the town’s residents to begin building a replica of Castle Doom on the outskirts of town. Though he is frustrated at being trapped in Liddleville, Doom does enjoy having the handsome face of “Vincent Vaughn” and commissions a portrait of himself to be painted.
February 1971 – Doctor Doom maintains his reign of terror over the citizens of Liddleville by crucifying any rebellious workers outside the walls of the castle. Knowing he is only dealing with robots who believe themselves to be human, Doom gives full vent to his cruelty, seeing it as an opportunity to study that aspect of his own psychology. Also, Doom has the Puppet Master transferred from the town jail to the castle’s dungeons as soon as they are constructed. There, Doom tortures the Puppet Master to punish him for trapping Doom in this artificial world when the real people of Latveria need him most.
June 1971 – As construction on Liddleville’s replica of Castle Doom nears completion, Doctor Doom is attacked by a quintet of tiny adventurers called the Micronauts. Though Doom initially defeats them, they quickly break out of the dungeon and assault him in his throne room. The battle sets the room ablaze, and in the confusion, the Puppet Master is able to retrieve a hidden lump of his radioactive clay and use it to paralyze Doom. The Micronauts flee the scene, but while the Puppet Master is gloating over his triumph, a Doombot suddenly rips the roof off the castle and squashes the Puppet Master like a bug. The Doombot carefully takes Doom’s tiny robot body to a rendezvous with several other Doombots aboard an aircraft, where Doctor Doom is finally returned to his true body. After spending ten months trapped in Liddleville, Doom is determined to waste no more time freeing Latveria from the scourge of King Zorba. The Doombots report that Zorba has recently reprogrammed the Servo-Guards, turning them into a ruthless mechanical Secret Police to shore up his crumbling rule. They also report that the Fantastic Four have been captured and are being held prisoner in the lower decks of the ship. Pleased, Doom informs the Fantastic Four that they are to help him reclaim the throne of Latveria, just as he once helped them against the Over-Mind. The FF balk at Doom’s demands until the ship lands in the town square of Doomstadt and they see the utter ruin to which Zorba has brought the formerly affluent kingdom.
Disembarking from the ship, Doctor Doom and the Fantastic Four encounter a young boy, about six years old, named Kristoff. The boy’s mother rushes out in a panic, thinking he has been caught by the Secret Police. As soon as she sees Doom, however, the woman falls to her knees and rejoices that her former liege has finally returned to save his people. Suddenly, the Servo-Guards appear on the scene and shoot the woman dead with their energy blasters. Doom and the Fantastic Four take out the Servo-Guards, then meet with numerous townsfolk in a nearby tavern to plan Zorba’s defeat. Doom convinces the Fantastic Four that they must protect the people of Latveria from the Killer Robots that Zorba has unleashed. While the Fantastic Four are thus engaged, Doctor Doom storms his royal castle and kills Zorba. When the FF finally arrive, Doom informs them that he has regained the crown and grants them permission to leave. Doom then declares Kristoff to be a ward of the state and has the boy brought to the castle to live in luxury. The grateful people of Latveria are put to work rebuilding their shattered nation.
On Midsummer’s Eve, Doctor Doom once again grapples with Mephisto’s champion in an attempt to free his mother’s soul from hell. Unfortunately, not even the occult secrets gained from Cagliostro are enough to bring him the victory he has so long sought, and Doom knows he must continue his studies of the black arts.
October 1971 – Doctor Doom is satisfied with the progress Latveria has made in recovering from the reign of Zorba, feeling that his rule is now more secure than ever. Also, the elderly Boris has recovered his health after Zorba had him imprisoned in the castle’s dungeons. Still, Doom knows that his people need his direct involvement in their socioeconomic recovery, so when word reaches him that the great sorcerer Doctor Strange is in need of a new disciple, Doom realizes he must put off their inevitable encounter for the foreseeable future. Instead, he decides to groom Kristoff as his eventual successor. The boy has proved to be a very bright and attentive student, and Doom has come to feel genuine affection for him. One day, he takes Kristoff from his private tutor so the boy can observe Doom handling routine affairs of state. Doctor Doom has all his second-generation Doombots line up for inspection, and finally notices that Doombot A-76 has a scratch on his armor. When Doombot A-76 reports that Arcade lit a match there during their encounter last year, but he allowed Arcade to live in case the assassin should prove useful, Doctor Doom causes Doombot A-76 to self-destruct. Doom uses this as a lesson for Kristoff in being an effective ruler. The boy then joins Doom in the throne room for the rest of the afternoon, watching as Doom dispenses justice to the various supplicants who are admitted to their king’s presence.
Knowing that, as a mortal man, he must die eventually, Doctor Doom forms a contingency plan to make Kristoff the perfect heir to the throne of Latveria. Not wanting his people to be ruled perpetually by Doombots, Doom programs his doppelgängers to use his “remembrancer” device to overlay his own memories onto Kristoff’s mind six months after Doom’s death. Naturally, he assumes this will not occur until Kristoff is an adult and has had the requisite training to be a good king. Still, Doom is aware that he has cheated death many times in the past, and so he programs in a fail-safe codeword which would enable him to break through Kristoff’s mental reprogramming.
November 1971 – Doctor Doom reads in the newspaper that his old enemy, the Thing, has been hospitalized and is therefore unusually vulnerable. However, Doom refuses to lower himself to the level of attacking helpless invalids. Soon after, Gert Hauptmann reports that he has completed a device to restore to Doom the power cosmic which he stole from the Silver Surfer eight years ago. However, Doom realizes that Hauptmann intends for Doom to be destroyed by the energies of the device, which are more than a human body can withstand. Tired of Hauptmann’s treachery, Doom throws him into the device instead and turns it on. The cosmic energies reduce Hauptmann’s body to a pile of ashes. Doom then searches for the perfect lackey to undergo the process, and settles on Tyros, an alien from the planet Birj who had served Galactus as “Terrax the Tamer” until being stripped of his powers for betraying his master. Two days later, Doom sends four Servo-Guards to kidnap the paraplegic Tyros from his hospital bed. The alien is brought to Latveria and subjected to a special treatment process to heal his injuries.
January 1972 – Satisfied with Tyros’s progress, Doctor Doom creates a special suit to protect the alien from the unstable energies of the artificially generated power cosmic. As a safety precaution, Doom designs the suit to burn out after about five hours, so Tyros will not become a threat to Doom’s plans.
March 1972 – When Tyros is at last fully healed, Doctor Doom pays his temperamental guest a visit. Doom notes that Tyros has lost all memory of being Terrax the Tamer, so he informs him of his previous servitude to Galactus and his defeat at the hands of the Fantastic Four. Tyros agrees to Doom’s plan to infuse him with the power cosmic, so Doom escorts him to the laboratory, gives Tyros the special protective suit, and subjects him to the process Hauptmann devised. Tyros emerges with power to rival the Silver Surfer and with his memory fully restored. He leaves at once to revenge himself upon the Fantastic Four. Doom follows behind in a disguised airship, intending to step in at the last minute to deliver the coup de grâce. Along the way, he intercepts the Invisible Girl while Tyros is fighting the Thing and the Human Torch in the wreckage of a supermarket their battle has demolished. Doom taunts the Invisible Girl, then monitors the battle after she goes to join her teammates. After a while, Doom grows concerned that Mister Fantastic has not appeared, feeling his victory would be hollow if Reed Richards was not present. He decides to call off the battle and descends to the parking lot, commanding Tyros to desist. Tyros defies Doom and attacks him, using his cosmic energy to fuse the joints and electronic systems in Doom’s armor. Thus rendered defenseless, Doom curses himself for facing Tyros directly rather than using a Doombot. Luckily, the Silver Surfer intervenes and takes over the fight against Tyros. Doom determines his only means of escape is to use the Ovoid mind-transference technique. He spots a suitable man amongst the bystanders gawking at the battle from the edges of the parking lot, and, with a moment’s concentration, takes over his body. Doom retreats to a safer distance as the battle between Tyros and the Silver Surfer rages overhead. Then, as Tyros’s protective suit finally burns out and he is consumed in a fireball of cosmic energy, Doom watches in horror as the two combatants crash into his true form and vaporize it.
Stunned, Doctor Doom makes his way immediately to the Latverian embassy, only to be denied entry. He finds he is unable to bypass his security systems as they are all keyed to his real body. Worse, he soon determines that all of his secret real estate holdings in New York City had been sold off during Zorba’s reign. Doom also realizes that he cannot return to his castle in the Adirondacks, as the second-generation Doombot in charge there would not recognize him as its master and would either throw him out, imprison him in the dungeon, or kill him on the spot. Growing desperate, Doom looks in the wallet in his pocket and learns he now inhabits the body of one Norman MacArthur, and heads to the address on MacArthur’s driver’s license. When he arrives at the modest residence, Doom finds MacArthur’s wife, Peggy, and her infant son. Frustrated at being trapped in the body of a “commoner,” Doom begins to formulate plans to reclaim his rightful identity.
April 1972 – After an awkward couple of weeks, Doctor Doom settles into living in reduced circumstances with Peggy MacArthur and the baby. He begins converting the basement of their home into a makeshift laboratory, though he is hampered by the MacArthurs’ limited finances. Unable to access his vast wealth, Doom is forced to work Norman MacArthur’s job in order to have money to buy the supplies that he needs. As time passes, Doom increasingly isolates Peggy from the world, until she begins to feel like a prisoner in her own home. Her feelings are exacerbated by Doom’s refusal to touch her or show any affection. Though they are technically married, Doom has no desire to sleep with MacArthur’s widow.
June 1972 – On Midsummer’s Eve, Doom is frustrated that he is unable to summon up Mephisto for their annual duel. He assumes that, because he is in Norman MacArthur’s body, Mephisto is simply ignoring him. Doom realizes he needs access to the grimoires and other mystical artifacts stored in the cellar of the Latverian embassy.
September 1972 – Six months after his apparent death, Doctor Doom presumes that the Doombots will carry out his contingency plan to reprogram Kristoff’s mind with Doom’s own memories. However, since the boy is only seven years old, he knows the process is likely to go awry.
January 1973 – When the Baxter Building is hauled into space and blown to smithereens, Doctor Doom wonders if Kristoff is responsible. He is frustrated that, as far as the media is concerned, everything is business-as-usual in Latveria and he can get no reliable information on the situation there.
March 1973 – After one year of living the humiliating life of Norman MacArthur, Doctor Doom is nearly at his wit’s end. However, he is making good progress on the armored battlesuit that is the key to his liberation.
June 1973 – Doctor Doom finally completes his armored battlesuit, which he has designed to look like the old “Invincible Man” costume in which he disguised Reed Richards a few years ago. Wearing the suit, he goes to attack the Latverian embassy, hoping to draw the Fantastic Four to the scene so he can enlist their unwitting aid. Instead, he is met by the Invisible Woman, the Wasp, and the She-Hulk, who were all getting their hair done at the French embassy across the street. Pointing out the Doombot standing in an upper-story window, Doom convinces the superheroines that “Doctor Doom” kidnapped his wife and daughter in order to gain the secrets of his invincible war-suit. Thus, they help him break into the embassy and fight off the Servo-Guards and the Doombot, giving Doom the chance to reprogram his security systems to recognize his new form. Peggy appears, having followed him to the embassy, and knocks out the Invisible Woman before “Norman” can come to harm. Once more in control of the situation, Doctor Doom finally explains to Peggy how he came to inhabit her husband’s body. He then sets a trap for Mister Fantastic and the Human Torch, and takes all the heroes prisoner when they arrive.
After donning a suit of his customary armor and green robes, Doctor Doom consults his grimoires and conjures up a fountain of the mystic Flames of Falroth, with which he intends to reassemble the scattered particles of his true body. In the meantime, he gloats to his captured foes about how he escaped death during the Silver Surfer’s battle with Tyros. However, the flames’ arcane might proves insufficient to the task, so Doom is forced to try a different spell. He summons up “the greatest power in the universe,” and is somewhat surprised to see a “demon” appear in the form of a handsome dark-haired man in a white jumpsuit. The entity, calling himself the Beyonder, is angry at being drawn there against his will and causes Doom excruciating agony with a single gesture. Reed Richards intervenes, and he and the Beyonder babble at each other about things that never happened, enraging Doom. When Richards convinces the Beyonder that he has inadvertently endangered the spacetime continuum, the Beyonder recreates Doctor Doom’s true body and transfers his consciousness back into it. He then teleports Doom through time and space, erasing all of Doom’s memories of his time in Norman MacArthur’s body.
Thus, when Doctor Doom materializes within a large ring-shaped space station somewhere in deep space, the last thing he remembers is being on his airship monitoring Tyros’s battle with the Fantastic Four and realizing that, for whatever reason, Mister Fantastic was not likely to make an appearance. He naturally assumes it is still early 1972. Looking around, he sees he is in the company of the Absorbing Man, Bulldozer, Doctor Octopus, the Enchantress, Kang the Conqueror, the Lizard, the Molecule Man, Piledriver, Thunderball, Ultron-11, and the Wrecker, as well as Galactus. A similar space station can be seen not too far away, and Doom’s scanners reveal it contains a number of earth’s superheroes. Doom is astonished when a nearby spiral galaxy is suddenly wiped out of existence, leaving only a solitary star behind. As the two space stations race toward the star at a fantastic rate of speed, a patchwork planet assembles itself in orbit around the star. Doom is jarred out of his reverie when Ultron-11 attacks, intent on destroying everyone present. Doom convinces the timid Molecule Man to send Ultron crashing into Galactus’s leg, following which Galactus deactivates the murderous robot. Then, a rift in space opens outside, emitting a dazzling radiance. A voice speaks to them telepathically, promising to grant them whatever they wish if they slay their enemies. Angry, Galactus attacks the entity, calling it the Beyonder. Doom takes the opportunity to follow Galactus and uses all his scanning capabilities to record and analyze the nature of the power emanating from the rift. The Beyonder slaps Galactus down, sending him and Doom crashing to the planet’s surface.
Miraculously, Doctor Doom survives the fall and rendezvous with the other “super-villains” at a nearby fortress. When Doom tries to convince them not to play the Beyonder’s game, they accuse him of cowardice. Insulted, Doom attacks them, commandeers an airship, and blasts off. He intends to confer with Reed Richards, the only other person likely to grasp the enormity of their situation. However, an energy cannon in the fortress blasts the ship out of the sky, causing it to crash. Doom drags himself out of the wreckage, only to be confronted by Richards and his superhero associates: the Thing, the Human Torch, Spider-Man, the Hulk, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Hawkeye, Iron Man, the She-Hulk, Thor, the Wasp, Professor X, Colossus, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Rogue, Storm, and Wolverine. After a tense encounter, Doom decides that no one can comprehend what is really happening to them except himself, so he flies away from the heroes and returns to Galactus. Frustrated that Galactus ignores him, Doom decides to go back to the villains’ fortress to raid it for technology he can use.
When he arrives, Doom finds the fortress is deserted, as the villains have all gone off to attempt to claim the Beyonder’s prize. He finds the inert form of Ultron-11 and reprograms the robot to serve him. Thus, when the Absorbing Man, Doctor Octopus, the Molecule Man, and the Wrecker finally return in defeat, Doom is able to assert his authority over them, using Ultron as his enforcer. Realizing the Molecule Man is vital to his plans, Doom goes out of his way to be nice to the annoying little man. He immediately christens the fortress “Doombase.” Doctor Octopus tells Doom that it was Kang who shot down his airship. The next day, Doom finds a suburb of Denver, Colorado, has been transplanted to this patchwork planet, and he recruits two disaffected young women there to replace some of the captured villains. After implanting sensor devices in the women’s bodies, Doom uses the alien technology within Doombase to give them superhuman powers. Marsha Rosenberg is transformed into Volcana, and Mary “Skeeter” MacPherran becomes the super-strong Titania. During the process, Doom proposes an alliance with Magneto, who for some reason had materialized amongst the heroes, but his offer is rejected.
At dawn the next morning, Doctor Doom leads his forces to victory against the superheroes at their enormous citadel. Their foes are routed and, thanks to the Molecule Man, buried beneath a mountain. Noting that the X-Men remain at large, Doom orders his forces back to Doombase to plan their next campaign. However, he orders Ultron to blast Kang with his disintegrator beams as punishment for shooting down his airship. As Kang dies screaming in pain, Doom tells the others to consider it a lesson in loyalty. Back at Doombase, Doctor Doom monitors the approach of Galactus’s world-ship and deduces that Galactus plans to eat the planet and then attack the Beyonder while at full strength. However, Doom schemes to gain access to Galactus’s ship and find a means to overcome both Galactus and the Beyonder, and claim the Beyonder’s cosmic powers for himself.
Discovering that the superheroes have somehow survived and regrouped in an alien village at the foot of the mountain on which Galactus stands, Doctor Doom orders his followers to attack them again, hoping to distract Galactus. When the X-Men join the battle, Doom seizes his opportunity and boards Galactus’s ship unnoticed. There he discovers Klaw, the self-styled master of sound, who became trapped within Galactus’s ship following an unfortunate encounter with the Dazzler. Though the experience has left Klaw’s mind unhinged, Doom sends him back to the planet with instructions for his villainous followers. Unfortunately, before Doom can find the necessary technology to accomplish his goals, Galactus detects his presence and forcibly expels him from the ship. Doom crashes back to the planet’s surface and is injured by the impact. He staggers back to Doombase and collapses into bed, where he remains semi-conscious while the superheroes invade the fortress and take all the villains, including Doom, prisoner.
Sometime later, Doctor Doom’s mind clears as he realizes Galactus’s world-ship itself is the key to his plans. He immediately escapes from his cell and takes Klaw to a laboratory to be dissected. The demented Klaw obeys merrily. In the lab, Doom works quickly, seeing on his monitors that the superheroes are still trying to prevent Galactus from consuming the planet. Being well-acquainted with the nature of the power cosmic, having studied it extensively over the last decade, Doom is able to convert Klaw’s unique body into a set of lenses for a massive power-transference device. As expected, the superheroes drive Galactus off the planet, forcing him to consume the living energies of his world-ship first, before consuming the planet and its sun to power-up for his battle with the Beyonder. As Galactus converts his ship into a pure manifestation of the power cosmic, Doom activates his device and siphons the power into his own body. He immediately finds his consciousness expanded to near omniscience, then leaves the planet to attack the Beyonder directly.
The cosmic-powered Doctor Doom fights his way into the Beyonder’s rift, and their battle sends shockwaves through the very fabric of the spacetime continuum. Soon, though, Doom begins to falter under the Beyonder’s withering onslaught, and he reaches out to the heroes on the planet below, trying to convince them to lend him their life-energies so he can save the universe from the threat of the Beyonder. The heroes refuse to trust Doom, and the Beyonder finally overwhelms him. Doctor Doom is almost completely shattered, and feels himself being vivisected by the Beyonder. However, his armor’s chestplate hovers just within arm’s reach, so Doom painfully reaches up and activates his fail-safe device. As the Beyonder’s power surges into him, Doom is restored to full health and more, becoming a godlike being in his own right. He returns to the surface of the planet and informs the superheroes that their war is over.
When the Molecule Man furiously attacks him for double-crossing his allies, Doctor Doom merely reveals to the Molecule Man the true extent of his own power, enabling him to overcome the mental blocks that had previously prevented him from affecting organic molecules. Astonished and grateful, the Molecule Man ceases his attack. Doom flies off and constructs a crystalline tower to serve as a temporary headquarters while he adjusts to his new cosmic-level awareness of the universe. Several hours later, he notices the Molecule Man taking the suburb of Denver and heading back to earth, accompanied by most of the super-villains. As night falls, Doom returns to his laboratory at Doombase and restores Klaw to his usual form. Doom then leaves the heroes an invitation to meet him in his tower at dawn.
As the sun rises, the heroes arrive as instructed, and Doom informs them that, while he has transcended the petty concerns of his mortal existence, he wants to tie up a few loose ends from his previous life. He resurrects Kang the Conqueror and teleports him home, then notes that Galactus has already departed with his herald Nova. Doom offers the heroes anything they desire, to make up for all the grief he’s caused them in the past. Captain America declines the offer on behalf of the group. Later, Doom speaks with Captain America privately, informing him that he intends to rescue his mother’s soul from Mephisto’s realm before ascending to a higher plane of reality. Noting Cap’s suspicions, Doom tries to assure him that he would now find ruling the entire universe about as satisfying as Cap would find ruling a water droplet full of amoeba. Nevertheless, Doom is irked when the superheroes later vote to attack Doom and try to divest him of his cosmic power. With the merest thought, Doom annihilates them all with a massive energy blast.
However, Klaw manages to trick Doom into resurrecting the heroes, and they attack his tower. Doom is so agitated that he loses control of his cosmic powers and nearly destroys the planet. He struggles to contain the raging energies, transferring a fraction of his power to Klaw so his lackey can keep all the heroes busy while Doom reestablishes his self-control. Doom has barely managed to do so when Captain America storms in and challenges him. Frustrated, Doom repeatedly incinerates and resurrects Cap as his powers run amok. Doom collapses to the floor, losing his grip on reality. Just then, though, Klaw steps into the room, and the dazzling iridescence of the Beyonder emerges from him to reclaim his cosmic power. Doctor Doom is enveloped in a flash of pure, white light, then everything goes black.
Doom rematerializes in the cellar of the Latverian embassy in New York. He finds the building has been wrecked by a furious battle involving his Servo-Guards and unknown intruders. However, Doom is shocked to learn it is the summer of 1973 and he has no memory of the 15 months preceding his time on the Beyonder’s planet. Worse, the experience with the Beyonder has left him deeply shaken. As he struggles to deal with the emotional trauma, Doctor Doom realizes he must reassert control by any means necessary.
As a result, Doom immediately captures Zebediah Killgrave, the Purple Man, to exploit his superhuman ability to bend others to his will, and imprisons him in a research complex on an island in the Caribbean. There, Doom constructs an elaborate device he calls the “psycho-prism,” with Killgrave trapped inside a massive crystal at the heart of the machine. The psycho-prism is designed to enable Doctor Doom to dominate everyone else in the world, much as he once did using his neuro-gas. Using a single hair from Killgrave’s head, Doom creates a miniature version of the device, which he then uses to recruit the Sub-Mariner to his cause. With the Sub-Mariner’s help, Doom neutralizes the threat from any beings who may be immune to Killgrave’s powers. Namor’s encounter with the Vision alerts the West Coast Avengers to Doom’s plans, but Iron Man, Hawkeye, Mockingbird, and Tigra arrive on the island too late to stop Doom from activating the full-scale psycho-prism. Under the device’s influence, the four superheroes withdraw apologetically from Doom’s complex.
Two days later, after the psycho-prism’s rays have blanketed the globe, Doctor Doom addresses an assembly of world leaders at the United Nations building in New York City. They unanimously agree to appoint Doom “emperor of the earth,” effective immediately. United States President Richard M. Nixon offers to vacate the White House in favor of his new sovereign, and Doom agrees to stay there while in America. Doom immediately begins instituting sweeping policy changes around the world, and within days, the global economy improves dramatically. And the people of earth all hail Doctor Doom as their rightful and beloved emperor.
Doom summons Norman and Peggy MacArthur to the White House after identifying them in surveillance footage from the Latverian embassy. Peggy relates what Doom told her about taking over Norman’s body just before his own was destroyed, living as Norman for over a year until he could trick the Fantastic Four into helping him gain access to the embassy, and how he magically summoned the Beyonder, who recreated Doom’s body and resurrected Norman. Doom is disturbed that he has no memory of any of these events, feeling somewhat the lesser for it.
July 1973 – As the weeks pass, Doctor Doom becomes disenchanted with the routine of ruling the world, feeling less like a conqueror and more like an administrator. His interest is piqued when he receives a report from the Avengers Compound in California that Wonder Man has gone rogue and is not under Doom’s control. However, Wonder Man merely goes into hiding after escaping from his teammates, leaving Doom frustrated and disappointed. Finally, towards the end of the month, Doom’s boredom is alleviated when Wonder Man resurfaces and frees several Avengers from Doom’s influence. Thrilled to have a rebellion to quash, Doom intercepts the Avengers at the Caribbean island where the psycho-prism is located. Doom sends the Sub-Mariner to protect the psycho-prism from the Avengers, but during the battle, Namor is also freed from Doom’s influence. Realizing he’s tired of ruling the world in this manner, Doom allows the Sub-Mariner to destroy the psycho-prism, and the resulting feedback kills the Purple Man. Doom quickly takes off in his private jet and flies back to Latveria. The world is soon back to normal. With his cherished dream of conquering the earth having proved a hollow one, Doctor Doom decides his top priority must now be rescuing his mother’s soul from Mephisto’s infernal realm.
August 1973 – Doctor Doom receives a visit from a mysterious agent named Mr. Bitterhorn, who strikes a deal with Doom to join an army of 99 villains in exchange for a valuable service. Sensing Bitterhorn’s demonic nature, Doom thinks he may get some useful occult secrets out of the bargain, so they shake hands to seal the deal. Soon, Doctor Doom is teleported to an island in the South Pacific to join the rest of the Legion Accursed. Among the other 98 super-villains Doom finds the Abomination, the Absorbing Man, Anaconda, Baron Mordo, Batroc the Leaper, Blastaar, the Blob, Crimson Dynamo, Diablo, Doctor Octopus, Electro, the Enchantress, the Executioner, Graviton, the Grim Reaper, the Hobgoblin, the Juggernaut, Kang the Conqueror, Kraven the Hunter, the Living Laser, M.O.D.O.K., the Mole Man, the Rhino, the Silver Samurai, Titania, Ultron-11, the Vanisher, the Vulture, the White Queen, the Wizard, and the Wrecker. However, Doom is stricken when he discovers that their target is none other than the Beyonder, who has come to earth and assumed human form. As the Legion Accursed charges in to kill the Beyonder, the Thing opposes them, clearly having been made invincible by the Beyonder’s power. The Thing quickly throws the Wrecker into Doctor Doom, knocking him out. When Doom regains consciousness, he finds he has been teleported back to Latveria.
Fearing that the Beyonder will seek revenge for what happened on Battleworld, Doctor Doom decides to flee into the past using his time machine and not return until he has mastered enough sorcery to defeat Mephisto and protect himself from the Beyonder. Since his project with Kristoff has proved a failure and the boy is currently being held prisoner by the Fantastic Four, Doom decides to create a new Doombot to stand in for him during his travels. Unsatisfied with the way his second-generation Doombots exhibit variations in personality resulting from their former identities, Doom decides to start from scratch and creates a cloned copy of his own brain and vital organs. He programs this brain with all of his memories using the remembrancer device, then implants it into his most sophisticated Doombot body yet constructed. Leaving this “third-generation” Doombot in charge of Castle Doom in Latveria, Doctor Doom returns to his castle in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York and finally completes the necessary repairs to his time machine. When his work is finished, Doom steps onto the glowing chrono-square and vanishes into the timestream.
December 1974 – After spending many years traveling through time and making a thorough study of the occult in various periods of history and across a variety of mystic dimensions, Doctor Doom finally returns to the present in order to observe the “Inferno” event that engulfs New York City. He notes with curiosity that, during the crisis, the Thing, the Human Torch, and a female “Thing” called Ms. Marvel are battling Graviton, Kang the Conqueror, and the wizard Necrodamus. When the invading demons are driven out of the city by the various X-Men teams, Doctor Doom resumes his time-travels.
Autumn 1975 – Eventually, Doctor Doom gets a chance to study the original Darkhold scroll, as created by the Elder God Chthon when the earth was young. In it, he learns that the home dimension of the “Inferno” demons, known as Otherplace or, less accurately, “Limbo,” is actually composed entirely of the mystical metal promethium. Doom remembers experimenting with a small supply of promethium long ago which, in his ignorance, he grafted to the skeleton of Desmond Pitt when turning him into Darkoth the Death-Demon. However, Doom now learns that not only can promethium be converted into an inexhaustible energy source, but a suit of promethium armor may be the key to defeating Mephisto. Thus, knowing that Otherplace is in disarray following the “Inferno” event, Doctor Doom returns to the present day and tracks down the current possessor of the SoulSword, a mystic weapon that confers upon whoever wields it dominion over the entire hellish dimension. He finds she is Kitty Pryde, the teenage mutant hero Shadowcat, currently a member of the British superhero team Excalibur.
Doctor Doom pays a visit to Excalibur’s lighthouse headquarters on the British coast, and tricks Shadowcat into using the SoulSword to open a portal into the dimension of Otherplace. Inside, they are soon beset by the demonic predators that dwell there, and Doom uses their attack to take possession of the SoulSword. Shadowcat’s teammates, Nightcrawler, Phoenix, Captain Britain, and Meggan, along with a small alien dragon called Lockheed, soon catch up to them, but Doom defeats them with the help of the resident demons, who are now subject to Doom’s will. Leaving the heroes to be killed by the demons, Doctor Doom takes the SoulSword to a citadel at the heart of the realm, where he can cause the entire dimension to revert to its natural state of pure, inanimate promethium. Despite the interference of Excalibur and the West Coast Avengers, Doom manages to begin the process. However, he is suddenly attacked by a demon-lord who reveals himself to be Darkoth. Taunting Doom with the knowledge that the promethium in his skeleton drew him to Otherplace, Darkoth tears apart Doom’s suit of armor, intent on torturing him to death. But, in a flash of eldritch energy, Doctor Doom is suddenly clad in the promethium armor that comes with possession of the SoulSword, a transformation he had been holding in check through sheer willpower. His eyes glowing red with arcane fire, Doom overcomes his foes and steps through a portal back to earth, expecting the others to be killed when the dimension collapses in on itself. Unfortunately, as Doom soon learns, Darkoth manages to use the SoulSword to purge Otherplace of its promethium, leaving the dimension an empty void and thus useless to Doom. Nevertheless, Doom is gratified to have at least obtained the promethium armor he sought.
Still wearing his promethium armor, Doctor Doom finally returns to Castle Doom in Latveria, only to find his “third-generation” Doombot engaged in battle with the brainwashed, exo-skeleton wearing Kristoff. Annoyed to find his affairs in such disorder after his extended leave of absence, Doom destroys the malfunctioning Doombot, preserving its head for further study. He then speaks the codeword that breaks Kristoff’s mental programming. A horde of “second-generation” Doombots storms into the room, but Doom deactivates them with the press of a button. He then retires to his command center to get caught up on the status of his foes, particularly the Fantastic Four. Having been traveling for such a long time, Doom is caught by surprise to see that Reed and Sue Richards have not aged. He is also shocked to learn that the Human Torch has married Alicia Masters and the Thing has not killed them both in a bestial rage of jealousy. He notes that, though Ben Grimm has reverted to human form for some reason, their recent recruit, Ms. Marvel, is still in the “Thing” form that Doom observed her in during the “Inferno” event. Seeing her plight as the key to finally getting a satisfying revenge on Ben Grimm, Doom baits a trap for his foes by having Kristoff publicly reveal himself as an impostor and surrender the throne to the one true Doctor Doom. He then travels to New York and convinces Ms. Marvel to allow him to attempt to return her to her normal human form. When she questions his motives, Doom claims to need money to fill Latveria’s coffers in the wake of Kristoff’s abysmal mismanagement of the economy in his absence, and he expects that treating her will enable him to make patent-worthy discoveries that could revolutionize the field of genetic engineering. Satisfied, Ms. Marvel agrees to accompany Doom back to Latveria.
After several days of preparation, Doctor Doom successfully changes Ms. Marvel back to normal, using a combination of science and sorcery to succeed where Reed Richards has always failed. After subjecting her to a mind probe to learn his enemies’ secrets, Doom summons Mister Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch, and Ben Grimm to Latveria to rescue her. When they arrive, though, Doom is surprised that Grimm has regained his superhuman form. Thus, the Thing is able to smash his way into Doom’s lab for a one-on-one confrontation. As they grapple, Doom reminds the Thing that he swore to get revenge for his humiliating defeat at the Baxter Building, when the Thing nearly crushed his hands. Grimm is shocked that Doom is still so bitter about something that happened twelve years ago. During their battle, the Thing mutates into an even more extreme, powerful form that allows him to shrug off Doom’s fiercest attacks. As the Thing grabs Doom’s wrists and slams him into the wall, Doom begins to lose his nerve as his foe leans in with a murderous gleam in his eye. Suddenly, Ms. Marvel stuns the Thing with a thermo-lance, allowing Doom to shock him into unconsciousness. Doom’s gloating is cut short, however, when Mister Fantastic enters and confronts him. Doom challenges his long-time rival to a final battle.
Doctor Doom hands Mister Fantastic a small device he calls a “null-time sequencer,” which he picked up on his travels. The sequencers allow Doom and his foe to fight their duel while jumping back and forth through time, though the range of each jump is limited to approximately a half-hour into the past or future. Expecting a quick win, Doom is annoyed when Richards immediately masters the time-displacement technology and scores the first blow. Doctor Doom and Mister Fantastic fight their strange battle throughout the castle, constantly jumping back and forth in time and using whatever weapons they can get their hands on. Eventually, Richards maneuvers Doom into the path of an energy blast fired by a Killer Robot engaged in combat with the Thing. Stunned by the blast, Doom surreptitiously steps out of the fight, sending in Kristoff to take his place in a replica of Doom’s promethium armor. Should Richards manage to defeat Kristoff, Doom plans to shoot his foe in the back from his hiding place. Unexpectedly, the sequences lose power shortly afterward, giving Richards the chance to knock his startled enemy to the ground. Three robots then materialize in the chamber, announcing that they have come from the Time Variance Authority to arrest Doctor Doom and Reed Richards for illegal time-travel.
Doom watches from the shadows as a uniformed officer identifying himself as “Justice Peace” shoots Kristoff in the back with a lethal energy blast for resisting arrest. The Fantastic Four surrender, are placed under arrest, and are teleported away to be tried by the Time Variance Authority. When they have all dematerialized, Doom comes out and stands over Kristoff’s corpse. Having failed to foresee the intervention of these TVA agents, Doom decides he’d better destroy the remaining time-sequencer, in case the TVA should discover its extradimensional origins and trace it back to him. He also realizes he’ll need to devise some defense against the TVA should they ever come after him again. But, in the meantime, he enjoys the thought that the Fantastic Four may be executed for crimes against the spacetime continuum. But even if they do manage to return to earth, he muses, they will find Doctor Doom waiting to destroy them.
March 1970 – Doctor Doom’s triumphant return from his catatonic state is chronicled in the second story in Fantastic Four Annual #15. With the help of Arcade, the Toad had taken over Doom’s Adirondack castle in Marvel Two-In-One #68, but, in an attempt to get the Toad to go straight, the Angel had financed the conversion of the castle into a medieval theme park. Doom’s reclaiming of the castle is discussed in Uncanny X-Men #145. The new Doombots refer obliquely to their origins in Fantastic Four #278. Lieutenant Borgo, seen only in Fantastic Four Annual #15, seemed the perfect candidate for the first of the new generation of Doombots.
April 1970 – Doctor Doom teams up with Dormammu to bring about the Bend Sinister in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #14. Doom’s castle in the Adirondacks is misidentified as his castle in Latveria. At this time the Latverian castle was occupied by Zorba and Doom was in exile. Interestingly, Doom appears to be passing the time by watching Leni Riefenstahl’s Nazi-propaganda film Triumph of the Will. Doom’s sojourn in the past to study magic with Cagliostro is revealed in Iron Man #149. While the real Doctor Doom is away, Doombot A-76 kidnaps Arcade and battles the X-Men, as seen in Uncanny X-Men #145–147. The reason Wolverine’s senses do not identify “Doom” as a robot (as they did with Storm’s robotic doppelgänger), is that these second-generation Doombots have plenty of meat inside.
May 1970 – A couple of weeks later, “Doctor Doom” appears in Dazzler #3–4, trying to track down the Merlin Stones. Here, his Adirondack castle is again misidentified as his castle in Latveria. I interpret this to be the same Doombot that just encountered the X-Men primarily because Doombot A-76 is the “pervy” Doombot. After transmuting Storm into a living statue of “organic chrome” and using her to decorate his throne room, “Doom” here seems pretty taken with Dazzler’s skin-tight silver catsuit. I think Lieutenant Borgo must have been a bit of a pervert, and his proclivities were leaking through Doom’s mental reprogramming.
July 1970 – Doctor Doom and Iron Man travel back to sixth-century Camelot in Iron Man #149–150. Once again, the Adirondack castle is misidentified as Doom’s castle in Latveria. In addition to Doom being exiled from Latveria, which is still under the control of his political rivals, the time machine has traditionally been housed at the castle in the Adirondacks. To me, the simpler solution is to say that Tony Stark’s activities in Iron Man #149 have been misrepresented. Similarly, I doubt that the mountain on which Doctor Doom and Iron Man materialize at the end of the story is actually in Latveria. It seems more likely that it is somewhere in Great Britain.
August 1970 – Doctor Doom and the Puppet Master team up in Fantastic Four #236. This is the first time Doom has actually met Franklin Richards. Following this story, the Fantastic Four take Doom’s comatose body back to the Baxter Building and place it inside a stasis field for safekeeping. Reed Richards contacts the Latverian embassy to ask what they want done with their deposed monarch, but due to the political chaos in Latveria, an answer is not immediately forthcoming.
September 1970–June 1971 – Doctor Doom’s lengthy exile in Liddleville is revealed in Micronauts #41, which leads directly into the story in Fantastic Four #246–247. After taking over the Latverian embassy in New York, the second-generation Doombots use some old first-generation Doombots to keep the Fantastic Four occupied while they restore Doctor Doom to his true body. After reclaiming his kingdom, Doom finally resumes his annual attempts to rescue his mother’s soul, though this occurs behind the scenes. Kristoff’s age is established in West Coast Avengers #35.
October 1971 – Doctor Doom starts to take Kristoff under his wing in Fantastic Four #258, part of which overlaps with Doctor Strange v.2 #57.
November 1971 – Doctor Doom learns of the Thing’s hospitalization in Marvel Two-In-One #96. Doom then finally kills Gert Hauptmann and has Tyros of Lanlak kidnapped later in Fantastic Four #258. Coincidentally, the Thing is recovering from his injuries at the same hospital.
March 1972 – Chronological analysis reveals that it actually takes more than the six weeks noted in the story for Tyros to fully recover from his injuries. Doom’s disastrous scheme to use Tyros against the Fantastic Four plays out over Fantastic Four #258–260. Mister Fantastic does not join the battle against Tyros because he has just been kidnapped by the Shi’ar to be put on trial for having saved the life of Galactus. We learn of Doctor Doom’s difficult adjustment to the life of Norman MacArthur in a flashback in Fantastic Four #287, which I believe is greatly condensed for dramatic effect.
September 1972–January 1973 – Doctor Doom is correct about Kristoff, of course, who is reprogrammed to believe himself to be the real Victor von Doom and then blows up the Baxter Building, as seen in Fantastic Four #278–279. Kristoff wears an armored exo-skeleton that makes him appear to be an adult. As revealed in West Coast Avengers #35, Kristoff believes himself to be the real Doctor Doom trapped in Kristoff’s body as a result of the Ovoid mind-transference technique, though this is a rationalization that he comes up with himself, not part of his programming.
June–July 1973 – Doctor Doom conjures up the Beyonder and regains his true form in Fantastic Four #287–288, from which he is sent directly to the Beyonder’s Battleworld, as chronicled in Secret Wars #1–12 (which takes place in July 1972). Doom’s memory loss is explained in Fantastic Four #319. Additional information about the Secret Wars is provided in Thor #383 and Fantastic Four Annual #23. Doom is seen rematerializing afterwards in the last panel of Fantastic Four #288. He appears next in the graphic novel Emperor Doom. I was curious why Doctor Doom would basically repeat his world-conquest scheme from Super-Villain Team-Up #14 when that proved so unsatisfactory, and I decided it was a direct response to what he experienced during Secret Wars.
August 1973 – Doctor Doom joins the Legion Accursed and discovers the Beyonder has come to earth in Secret Wars II #7. The “third-generation” Doombot, whom I refer to as Doom-III for short, then makes his first appearance in Cloak and Dagger v.2 #10. Doom-III goes on to appear in the Fantastic Four vs. the X-Men limited series, Fantastic Four Annual #20, Fantastic Four #311–312 and 318–320, the “Acts of Vengeance” crossover, and several other stories. However, a number of “Doctor Doom” appearances during this period are “second-generation” Doombots, many of whom are loyal to Kristoff-Doom (or Doom-II). Detailing all that would require a separate post.
1974-1975 – The real Doctor Doom appears next in Excalibur #37–39, during which he displays extensive knowledge of the Inferno event. I assume that discreetly observing this crisis was one of the “occasional sojourns home” that Doom mentions having made in Fantastic Four #350. The storyline in Fantastic Four #350 & 352 constitutes the final canonical appearance of Doctor Doom.
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