Tuesday

OMU: Doctor Doom -- Part One

Doctor Doom was introduced in Fantastic Four #5 and went on to be not only the arch-nemesis of the Fantastic Four, but also the premiere supervillain of the Original Marvel Universe. As such, his history and background were pretty thoroughly documented by the end of our canonical stories in 1991. When Ed Brubaker explored the character’s history in the 2006 limited series Books of Doom, he remained largely faithful to what had already been established—moreso than Greg Pak did with Magneto. Still, as with most of Marvel’s major characters, the details of Doctor Doom’s early life have become obfuscated by the infamous “sliding time-scale” that breaks history as it drags it forward through time. By plugging these events into my OMU timeline, I have endeavored to set the record straight. Any changes and additions made by Brubaker or others after 1991 have been disregarded.

Also, there has been much controversy over which appearances feature the real Doctor Doom and which show only a robotic doppelgänger. My analysis leads me to believe that all appearances of Doctor Doom up through Fantastic Four #200 are the real man, and it is that period under examination here. The problem of “Doombots” will be discussed at length in my next post.

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.


Now pay heed to… The True History of Doctor Doom!


Autumn 1922 – Victor von Doom is born in Latveria to Werner and Cynthia von Doom, prominent members of a gypsy tribe.

Winter 1923 – While Victor is still an infant, his mother is put to death by a Latverian nobleman for failing to cure his horse with her magic spells. Werner, the tribe’s healer, raises his son with the help of his friend Boris and other members of the tribe.

Autumn 1932 – Werner von Doom is summoned to treat a dying baroness at a nearby castle. Victor is anxious awaiting his father’s return, so his dearest friend Valeria tries to comfort him. When Werner returns, having failed to save the baroness from her cancer, he takes Victor to hide out in the mountains, to escape the baron’s wrath. Victor doesn’t understand why they don’t stay and fight. Unfortunately, they soon lose their horse and become stranded in the mountains in bad weather. Werner tries to protect his son with his own cloak, exposing himself to the elements. They are eventually rescued by Boris, but too late. Back at the gypsy camp, Werner dies from hypothermia. Victor swears to avenge his parents’ deaths.

Summer 1933 – Victor continues to wallow in grief for his parents, which greatly concerns Valeria. She tries to cheer him up, but he has a tantrum and throws his father’s belongings around. This leads him to discover an old chest bearing his mother’s name. The contents of the chest reveal that she was a sorceress, a fact the other gypsies had concealed from him. Over Valeria’s fearful objections, Victor decides to learn all his mother’s occult secrets. He knows that the stupid, superstitious people in that region will fear him if he is a true sorcerer.

In the course of his studies of the black arts, Victor learns that his mother’s soul was damned to the hellish realm of the demon Mephisto. He vows to one day free his mother’s soul from Hell.

1939-1944 – During the Second World War, Victor von Doom gains notoriety throughout Latveria as a scourge of the wealthy, landed elite. He uses both his inventive genius and his knowledge of magic to defraud the rich, turning his ill-gotten gains over to the poor to ensure their loyalty and support. He escapes capture at every turn, often through the use of scientific miracles that astonish his pursuers. In one instance, he eludes a firing squad by substituting a mechanical doppelgänger in his place. Even tanks and mortar shells are no match for his fantastic devices, and he is recognized throughout the land as a force to be reckoned with. Valeria falls madly in love with this handsome folk hero, but Victor is too caught up in his crusade to return her affection.

Autumn 1945 – Victor’s experiments are interrupted by a visit from the Dean of Science from the State University of New York’s campus in Hegeman, NY. The dean offers him a full scholarship to attend the university, and, seeing the opportunity to have the most modern scientific apparatus at his disposal, Victor accepts. After rejecting Valeria’s offer of a normal family life, Victor travels with the dean to the United States of America.

When he arrives on campus, Victor makes an immediate inspection of the science laboratories. There he meets a fellow student, Reed Richards, though he has no patience for this American who reeks of privilege and affluence. Victor rejects Richards’s offer of rooming together, then alienates all potential roommates until he finally gets a room to himself. Having secured his privacy, Victor sets up his mother’s occult artifacts and practices his spells and potions. In the weeks to follow, Victor meets other students, such as the star athletes Ben Grimm and Sam Thorne, and decides that they are all fools and cretins.

1946 – Both Victor von Doom and Reed Richards baffle their professors with their ability to instantly grasp complex scientific concepts and invent new technologies whenever the need arises. Recognizing each other as intellectual rivals, Victor and Richards argue constantly about a wide range of topics, though others have a difficult time following their discussions.

1947 – Working with an assistant named Kurtz, Victor designs and builds a machine that will allow him to pierce the dimensional boundary between the earth and Mephisto’s realm. The device is largely based on the research of a Norwegian physicist, Dr. Olsen, conducted in Nazi Germany during World War II. One day, Victor comes across Reed Richards snooping around his room, looking at his notes on matter transmutation and dimension warps. Victor angrily snatches the pages away as Richards claims that some of his equations are off by a few decimals. Ignoring his rival, Victor returns to his laboratory and straps himself into his machine, ordering Kurtz to activate it. Unfortunately, the device explodes, injuring Kurtz and badly scarring Victor’s face. The head of the school visits Victor in the infirmary to inform him that he’s being expelled for his reckless endangerment of himself and his fellow students. Victor declares that they’ve nothing more to teach him anyway. When he finally removes the bandages from his head, Victor finds he’s been left with a very nasty scar on the left side of his face. Horrified by how ugly he has become, he feels compelled to become a recluse. Thus, Victor leaves New York and travels to Tibet in search of further secrets of black magic.

1949 – Hearing of a powerful sorcerer known only as the Ancient One, Victor searches throughout Tibet for his hidden temple. However, all his efforts come to nothing.

1950 – Having failed to find the Ancient One, Victor is finally taken in by a mysterious order of monks who dwell within a remote mountain. He is the first outsider to visit the monks in nearly a millennium. He remains with them for many months, learning their ancient secrets and lore.

1951 – Through sheer force of will, Victor von Doom soon comes to dominate the monks, and they begin referring to him as “master.” He creates a makeshift blast furnace in the mouth of a large idol and forges a suit of armor for himself. He orders the monks to place the red-hot iron mask on his face immediately. When they obey, the searing metal completely destroys Victor’s entire face. Overcome with pain, he runs from the cave and buries his head in the snow outside. When he returns, the monks are horrified at the damage he has done to himself. Unconcerned, Victor dons a hooded garment of forest green and declares that he shall henceforth be known as Doctor Doom. Ready to begin his campaign to conquer the world, Doctor Doom completes assembly of a nuclear-powered flying harness and rockets away into the sky.

1952 – On Midsummer’s Eve, Doctor Doom creates a mystical portal to Mephisto’s infernal realm and tries to make a deal with the devil for the release of his mother’s soul. Mephisto challenges Doom to defeat his champion in personal combat. Doom accepts, but is soundly defeated by his supernatural opponent. Amused, Mephisto offers to give him another chance next year. This will become an annual event.

1953 – Doctor Doom contacts Nathaniel Richards, a brilliant physicist in California with intriguing theories about time travel, and they begin collaborating remotely on building a functioning time machine. Doom is aware that his old college rival, Reed Richards, is Nathaniel’s son, so he insists their project be carried out in absolute secrecy. Nathaniel readily agrees, worried that their discoveries might fall into the wrong hands.

1955 – When Reed Richards begins working full-time at his father’s research complex, Doom stresses the need for absolute security. Nathaniel assures him that not even Reed knows about the time-machine project.

1957 – Nathaniel Richards activates the newly completed time-platform device he has designed and built in collaboration with Doctor Doom. He decides to test the time machine by traveling forward to Reed’s 50th birthday, fifteen years in the future. To protect himself from any potential rigors of time travel, Nathaniel dons a bulky suit of armor that Doom designed for him. However, a hidden subroutine in the armor causes Nathaniel to become trapped in an alternate universe. Doom is pleased that he has thus disposed of his partner and can claim the time-travel technology for himself alone. Activating a copy of the time machine he has built for himself, Doctor Doom travels into the past to study the great conquerors of history.

One such jaunt carries Doom to Berlin, Germany in 1942, where he can observe Adolf Hitler. To get close to Hitler, Doom disguises himself and contacts Dr. Olsen, the Norwegian physicist whose work he studied in college. Passing himself off as a junior scientist called “Hans,” Doom assists Olsen in creating a machine to pierce the dimensional boundary between Earth and Asgard. Hitler wants to use Olsen’s machine to harness the power of the “Teutonic” gods for the Nazi war machine, and, with Doom’s help, they succeed in teleporting the thunder god Thor into Hitler’s headquarters. Doom is very interested in how Hitler persuades Thor to attack the Russians on behalf of the German people. A few hours later, though, Dr. Olsen suddenly dies of a heart attack, so Doom destroys the transdimensional teleporter before Hitler can use it to bring legions of Asgardian trolls to Earth. The resulting explosion traps Hitler under a pile of rubble, and Doom refuses to help him because of the Nazis’ persecution of the gypsies. Leaving the Führer to be rescued by others, Doom leaves the Reich Chancellory and vanishes into the night.

1958 – After many years of traveling through time, Doctor Doom returns to the present day and decides to conquer his homeland of Latveria. To establish a temporary base of operations, Doom purchases the Twickenham Estate, a luxurious castle in Sussex, England. There, he plots his overthrow of the Latverian government.

1959 – Doctor Doom travels to Latveria and storms the royal castle overlooking the capital city of Haasenstadt. He kills the current ruler, King Vladimir, and throws his sons, Crown Prince Rudolfo and Prince Zorba, into the dungeons. Rudolfo is then forced to sign documents abdicating the throne in favor of Victor von Doom. To mollify the populace, Doom constructs a primitive robotic doppelgänger of Rudolfo to attend his coronation ceremony. After he has been crowned king, Doctor Doom announces that both Rudolfo and Zorba have elected to go into exile, though he intends to let them rot in the dungeons. Unfortunately, the two brothers stage an escape attempt that very night, before Doom has consolidated his power. Though Zorba is recaptured, Rudolfo escapes, taking his robot double with him.

That same day, Doom commissions a portrait of his parents by the noted painter Eric Nesheim. As soon as the painting is finished, though, Doom has Nesheim executed, so he can never surpass this artistic achievement. The portrait becomes the pride of Doom’s rapidly growing art collection.

Doctor Doom dissolves the Latverian parliament and assumes absolute power, though he allows the international community to continue thinking the small country remains a constitutional monarchy governed by a prime minister. Thus Doom does not attend any public functions as Latveria begins to isolate itself from the world outside its borders. Doom also makes Latveria a haven for ex-Nazi scientists who are wanted for war crimes and possess expertise that may be useful to him. Since the official language of Latveria is German, men such as Gustav Hauptmann and Otto Kronsteig feel right at home.

Doom orders Gustav Hauptmann to perform sadistic experiments on Zorba, which destroy the prince’s right eye and scar his face. To demonstrate his “benevolence,” Doom provides Zorba with a clunky mechanical optical sensor to wear. Eventually, Zorba escapes and joins his brother in the nascent Latverian Underground.

Doctor Doom systematically dismantles Latveria’s social hierarchy and redistributes the country’s wealth, thereby immediately raising the standard of living for the peasant class. These reforms, coupled with his reputation as a WWII-era folk hero, make Doom popular with the vast majority of his subjects, quelling the likelihood of a revolt. Within months, Doom’s autocratic rule causes the crime rate to drop dramatically, though civil liberties become largely a thing of the past. The peasants also reap the benefits of Doom’s technological genius, so most Latverians come to accept him as their rightful ruler.

Realizing that her childhood sweetheart has become a ruthless dictator, Valeria does not seek a reunion with Doom, and for his part, he hardly ever thinks about her anymore.

1960 – Doctor Doom orders one of Latveria’s ancient castles dismantled and shipped to America, where it is reconstructed stone-by-stone on a lonely bluff in the Adirondack Mountains, some 200 miles north of New York City. When the castle is completed, Doom moves his time machine there.

While supervising the reconstruction project in New York, Doom recruits Lucius Dilby, an American university professor, to continue the work he started in college: the creation of a machine that unites science and sorcery to pierce the boundary between Earth and the mystical dimensions. Doom has learned that in just a decade’s time it will be possible to create a magical apocalypse called the Bend Sinister, which can be accomplished only once every six thousand years. Doom believes the Bend Sinister will allow him to finally defeat Mephisto and rescue his mother’s soul from Hell.

Summer 1961 – Doom becomes fascinated by the research of an American scientist named Henry Pym, despite the fact that Pym’s theories about changing the physical size of objects are widely ridiculed and denounced by the scientific community. Doom believes he can use Pym’s research as a basis for developing a shrinking ray.

November 1961 – Doctor Doom learns that Reed Richards and Ben Grimm have gained superhuman abilities during an aborted rocket flight into space, along with two siblings named Susan and Johnny Storm. The media is abuzz with their having just saved the world’s atomic energy plants from a mysterious subterranean menace, as well as their intention to help mankind as a team of superheroes called the Fantastic Four. Doom is incredulous that Richards has had the audacity to christen himself “Mister Fantastic.”

March 1962 – Doctor Doom captures the Fantastic Four and takes them to his castle in the Adirondack Mountains. There, he uses his time machine to send Mister Fantastic, the Thing, and the Human Torch on a mission to the past while holding the Invisible Girl hostage. After 48 hours, Doom returns the three heroes to the present to see if they were able to procure the mystic artifacts known as the Merlin Stones from the infamous pirate Blackbeard. Expecting some kind of betrayal, Doom uses a robot doppelgänger, or “Doombot,” to meet them as they materialize on the time-platform. Sure enough, when the Doombot opens Blackbeard’s treasure chest, Doom sees the Merlin Stones have been replaced with worthless chains. Angry, Doom tries to kill the Fantastic Four, but they manage to escape. Doom is forced to abandon his castle and return to Latveria.

When he arrives back home, Doom orders Otto Kronsteig to begin working on a size-reduction ray to be used against the Fantastic Four.

April 1962 – Doctor Doom decides that the recently revived Sub-Mariner is as much a threat to his plans as the Fantastic Four and schemes to eliminate both in one fell swoop. Knowing Prince Namor fought the Fantastic Four back in February, Doom tracks him to his abandoned undersea kingdom of Atlantis and disingenuously proposes an alliance. Doom convinces Namor to place a “grappler” device in the basement of the FF’s headquarters, the Baxter Building. However, when the Sub-Mariner does so, Doom double-crosses him and hauls the building into outer space while Namor is still inside. With the Fantastic Four’s help, though, Namor is able to reach Doom’s space-plane, smash his way inside, and attack Doctor Doom. Unable to withstand the Sub-Mariner’s attack, Doom abandons ship and is carried away on a passing meteoroid.

Before the oxygen supply in his armor runs out, Doom is picked up by a passing alien spacecraft. His rescuers, the Ovoids, possess highly advanced technology and highly developed mental powers. Doom is particularly impressed by their ability to transfer their consciousness into a different body. During the three months he spends with the Ovoids, Doom learns the secret of performing this amazing feat.

July 1962 – Doctor Doom finally returns to Earth using the Ovoids’ matter transporter. He takes along certain pieces of Ovoid technology as well, such as a personal teleportation device. Back at his castle in Latveria, Doom finds that Otto Kronsteig has completed the size-reduction ray. Knowing of Kronsteig’s penchant for treachery, Doom makes the former Nazi the ray’s first test subject. Before Doom’s eyes, Kronsteig is shrunk down into nothingness.

Doom returns to New York City and pays a visit to the Madison Avenue offices of Marvel Comics, where he intimidates Stan Lee and Jack Kirby into doing his bidding. With their help, Doom is able to get Mister Fantastic away from his teammates, take him by surprise, and gas him into unconsciousness. Doom then teleports his old rival to a mansion on Long Island, leaving the address with Lee and Kirby. As planned, the rest of the Fantastic Four soon find them, but only after Doom has switched bodies with Mister Fantastic. Thus, leaving Richards imprisoned in the mansion’s cellar, Doom accompanies his unsuspecting foes back to the Baxter Building. The next day, Doom uses some pseudoscientific double-talk to convince the FF that his size-reduction ray will make them more powerful, but before he can turn it on them, Richards reappears, having escaped the death-trap. Doom inadvertently reveals himself to be an impostor and the Fantastic Four attack him, so he switches back into his own body. During the ensuing battle, however, Doom is struck by the shrinking ray and transported into the Microverse.

Doctor Doom is surprised to find himself suddenly in another world, amidst a society roughly analogous to the Middle Ages. Uncertain if he can ever return to Earth, Doom sets out to conquer this new world.

August 1962 – Doctor Doom builds a simple telescope and uses it to be appointed the king’s court scientist. With the royal coffers now open to him, Doom sets about constructing a variety of weapons and devices. He works most diligently on a new version of his size-changing ray, one that can bridge the dimensional boundary to affect objects on Earth so he can capture the Fantastic Four. Doom becomes enamored of the king’s beautiful daughter, Princess Pearla, and asks the king for her hand in marriage. Pearla rejects him, however, so Doom vows to punish her. Learning that the inhabitants of the kingdom live in fear of a warlike reptilian race from the planet Tok, Doom contacts Tok and makes a deal with their high-command, promising the lizard-men four super-powered slaves in exchange for help conquering Pearla’s entire planet. As soon as the size-changing ray is finished, Doom turns it on the king and princess. He then takes over the kingdom and turns all its energies to building an interdimensional scanner so he can make contact with the earth.

September 1962 – Doctor Doom’s new size-changing ray is able to shrink the Fantastic Four to a height of a few inches for a minute or so at a time, but is not powerful enough to transport them to the Microverse. However, he has gotten Reed Richards’s attention, and before long, the FF have tracked him to Princess Pearla’s kingdom in the Microverse. Doom takes them prisoner, but, with the aid of the size-changing superhero Ant-Man, his foes escape and drive off the arriving flagship of the Tok invasion force. His plans undone, Doom uses his size-changing ray to transport himself back to Earth.

Immediately, Doom initiates a plan to secure himself a high-ranking post in the American government, and to humiliate the Fantastic Four in the bargain. He constructs four silly-looking robots, incorporating density-altering technology so they can float on air currents and become intangible, and sends them to pester his foes. The true purpose of the robots, though, is to scan the FF’s DNA patterns so Doom can key them into the targeting systems of his airborne command center’s weapons. That task accomplished, Doom kidnaps Alicia Masters, the Thing’s girlfriend, as a hostage to prevent the FF from interfering while he forces President Kennedy to accept his terms. Despite his precautions, however, the Fantastic Four penetrate Doom’s defense perimeter and rescue Alicia. Realizing he’s been outfought, Doom bails out and escapes through the clouds using his flying harness.

While working in a secret laboratory in a riverfront warehouse in New York City, Doctor Doom catches the television program Spider-Man: A Force for Good or Evil? hosted by newspaper publisher J. Jonah Jameson. Taking Jameson’s word that Spider-Man is a dangerous menace, Doom decides to recruit the mysterious web-slinger in his war against the Fantastic Four. Doom draws Spider-Man to his hideout and speaks to him through a Doombot as a precaution. When Spider-Man rejects Doom’s offer and webs up the Doombot, Doctor Doom attacks him directly. Spider-Man escapes, and so, since the security of his hideout has been compromised, Doom causes his lair to self-destruct, demolishing the entire building in the process.

To teach Spider-Man a lesson, Doom decides to capture him to use as bait for the Fantastic Four. Doom tracks Spider-Man to Forest Hills, Queens, and takes him prisoner. Doom then hijacks the city’s TV transmissions to issue his ultimatum to the FF: surrender in one hour or Spider-Man dies. However, Doom soon learns he has captured an impostor when the real Spider-Man breaks into his lab and confronts him. Doom battles Spider-Man, but is frustrated by how easily his young foe evades all his traps and weapons, even his Doombots. Doom finally gains the upper hand, but is forced to abandon the fight when the FF arrive before he is ready to deal with them.

October 1962 – Doctor Doom is furious when the Fantastic Four steal his time machine from the castle in the Adirondack Mountains, after using it to travel to Ancient Egypt. Nevertheless, Doom focuses on his long-range plans. As he secretly owns the entire city block on which sat the warehouse he destroyed following his initial meeting with Spider-Man, Doom has construction begun on a new headquarters disguised as a high-rise townhouse surrounded by “dummy” buildings. The complex is designed to have many sliding walls, secret passages, underground laboratories, and even a space rocket concealed in the tower.

November 1962 – Doctor Doom artificially augments the natural abilities of three criminals, Bull Brogin, “Handsome” Harry Phillips, and Yogi Dakor, and sends them to capture Reed Richards’s teammates. Meanwhile, using a Thing robot, Doom catches Richards off-guard and takes him prisoner. With the Fantastic Four secured with specially designed shackles, Doom gives his three lackeys their “reward”—he sends them into another dimension. However, the FF soon break free, but Doom is prevented from escaping by the Invisible Girl’s new force-field powers. Thus, Doom is caught in the trap he meant for his foes as a space-warp teleports him into orbit around the planet Jupiter. Seized by the planet’s gravity, Doom plunges toward its upper atmosphere and realizes he has only a few minutes of oxygen left in his armor. Suddenly, he is caught in a tractor-beam and hauled inside a futuristic space capsule. To his surprise, Doom finds his rescuer is dressed as an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. The man explains that he is a time-traveler who had been ruling Ancient Egypt as Pharaoh Rama-Tut until the Fantastic Four defeated him and drove him away. Seeing they have a common enemy, Rama-Tut agrees to return Doom safely to Earth before traveling into the future. Along the way, Doom recognizes that Rama-Tut’s time-travel technology appears to be based on his own. He wonders if there is some cross-time connection between them. Soon, Rama-Tut drops Doom off in New York City, where he takes refuge in the Latverian embassy.

January 1963 – When a time-traveling despot called Kang the Conqueror materializes in Virginia and credits Doctor Doom with inspiring him to try conquering the 20th century, Doom realizes it is Rama-Tut in a new guise. Fortunately, Kang is driven off by the superhero team the Avengers. Doom is intrigued when his long-range analysis reveals that Kang’s time-travel technology is indeed virtually identical to that created by Doom and Nathaniel Richards.

Doom orders the Latverian ambassador to invite the Fantastic Four to a gala reception at their embassy in New York, where the team is served a drink laced with a powerful psychoactive drug. Under the drug’s influence, the FF are susceptible to illusions projected by Doom that cause the team to fight amongst themselves. However, Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Girl quickly overcome the effects of the drug and confront Doom. Leaving his foes in the embassy, Doom races to the Baxter Building to use their own weapons against them. When the Fantastic Four arrive, though, Doom has difficulty dealing with the Invisible Girl’s force-field powers, which prove more adaptable than Doom suspected. Just as Doom begins to gain the upper hand, Richards challenges him to a personal duel, using an encephalo-gun device. After drinking a toast to their final battle, Doom appears to totally defeat Richards in the duel.Magnanimously allowing the rest of the FF to live, Doctor Doom leaves the Baxter Building basking in his triumph.

Believing himself to have defeated his greatest rival, Doctor Doom reveals himself as the true ruler of Latveria. He is soon recognized by the American government as his country’s legitimate monarch and granted diplomatic immunity. Doom then returns to Latveria for the first time in six months and officially renames the capital city “Doomstadt.”

March 1963 – On a dark and stormy night, Doctor Doom visits his mother’s grave, accompanied by his faithful retainer Boris. After rededicating himself to becoming master of all mankind, Doom returns to his castle.

April 1963 – Doom orders his palace guards to kidnap Professor Pierre LaFarge, a French expert in the construction of missile silos, and his daughter Cosette. Doom holds Cosette LaFarge prisoner in his castle to force her father to design and construct missile silos for him.

May 1963 – While trying to entertain Doctor Doom, a court hypnotist manages to dissolve the false memory of Doom’s triumph over Reed Richards. Burning with indignity, Doom vows to kill the Fantastic Four for this insult. He flies to New York City and takes over the Baxter Building while his foes are away, then uses their own devices to attack them. During the barrage, Doom realizes the Fantastic Four have lost their powers, and have only survived his attack thanks to the intervention of Daredevil. Fearlessly, Daredevil breaks into the Baxter Building and keeps Doom busy long enough for Richards to restore his team’s powers. Enraged, the Thing overcomes all of Doom’s attacks, penetrates his defenses, and tears apart his armor, nearly crushing Doom’s wrists in the process. Doom begins to fear the Thing, blind with rage, will kill him, but Richards talks his teammate down. Utterly defeated, Doctor Doom staggers away and retreats to the nearby Latverian embassy.

A few days later, Doom rages at his personal physician while waiting for his wrists to heal. Still unable to use his hands normally, he can only plot his revenge against the Fantastic Four and Daredevil. He is distracted when he sees a flying saucer approaching the Baxter Building, and soon determines it is an attack by a group of villains calling themselves the Frightful Four.

June 1963 – Having returned to Latveria, Doctor Doom prepares to use an emotion-manipulating ray to cause a veritable army of super-villains to descend upon the Baxter Building during the wedding of Susan Storm to Reed Richards. However, he somehow loses track of the time, and when he is at last ready to begin, the ceremony has already taken place. Nevertheless, Doom soon realizes he could develop the emotion-manipulating ray into a means to replace people’s senses of loyalty and pride with complete subservience to his rule, even doing so on a global scale if the weapon were mounted on an orbiting satellite. Believing this to be more likely to succeed than any attempt to conquer the world by force, Doom begins working on the project, which he dubs Operation: Babel.

Later in the month, Doom once again faces Mephisto’s champion in his annual attempt to free his mother’s soul from Hell. As always, he loses the mystic combat and vows to do better next year.

August 1963 – Doctor Doom monitors the situation when Galactus and the Silver Surfer arrive on Earth. With the Watcher’s help, the Fantastic Four drive Galactus off, though the Silver Surfer is exiled to this world for betraying his master. Doom is fascinated by these beings of such incalculable power. Soon after, Doom watches as Captain America, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch suddenly materialize on the roof of Avengers Mansion. Doom’s instruments detect a chronal distortion that he recognizes from Kang’s time-travel technology. He again ponders what connection there may be between himself and Rama-Tut/Kang. Doom then plots to use the Avengers to bait a trap for the Fantastic Four.

September 1963 – Knowing Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch come from Transia, a small country located just across the Danube River from Latveria, Doctor Doom lures them to his kingdom with a letter purporting to be from a long-lost aunt. When they arrive in the capital city of Doomstadt, accompanied by Captain America and Hawkeye, Doom has the quartet immediately arrested. However, Doom soon finds he has underestimated the Avengers, as they fight him to a standstill and escape from his clutches. Later, Doom learns that his plan to use the Avengers to lure the Fantastic Four to Latveria probably would have failed anyway, as the American government prevented the FF from mounting a rescue mission in order to avoid provoking an international incident.

As an elaborate test of the effectiveness of S.H.I.E.L.D., a new international intelligence agency, Doctor Doom constructs an android in the shape of the Yellow Claw, a Chinese criminal mastermind who hasn’t been seen since the 1950s, and provides it with a headquarters in Tibet linked via teleportation beam to Liberty Island in New York’s harbor. As expected, S.H.I.E.L.D. moves to block the invasion force teleported to Liberty Island, though Doom is frustrated when Captain America gets involved. Considering the test results to be inconclusive, Doom decides to use his Yellow Claw android for a second, more complicated plot.

November 1963 – When the Silver Surfer appears in Latveria, Doctor Doom summons him to the royal castle. Posing as a benevolent sovereign, Doom lures the Silver Surfer into his massive laboratory complex. While the Surfer is distracted looking at images of deep space, Doom dons a power-draining harness and siphons off the alien’s cosmic powers. Leaving the Surfer locked in the dungeon, Doctor Doom takes to the skies on his victim’s flying surfboard, trying out his miraculous new abilities. He then speeds to New York City and easily hands the Fantastic Four a humiliating defeat. Having crushed his enemies’ spirits, Doom then prepares to conquer the earth. He flies around the world, wreaking havoc with the power cosmic. Despite being hopelessly outmatched, the Fantastic Four attack him again. Doom delights in toying with his foes, seeing an opportunity to repay the Thing for the injuries he inflicted on Doom back in May. However, when Doom tires of such sport, he announces his intention to merely disintegrate the FF once and for all. Suddenly, a large glider flies up behind Doom and begins to siphon off minute amounts of his cosmic power. Mocking Mister Fantastic’s feeble attempt to defeat him, Doom leaps onto the Silver Surfer’s board and pursues the flying wing into the upper atmosphere, determined to destroy it. However, he soon slams into the cosmic-energy barrier that Galactus erected to keep the Silver Surfer on Earth. Thus alerted to the situation, Galactus strips Doom of the power cosmic and lowers him safely to the ground. When Doom returns to his castle, he finds that the Silver Surfer escaped from the dungeon immediately upon regaining his powers.

February 1964 – To amuse himself, Doctor Doom sets up his revised test of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s effectiveness as a chess game between himself and a sophisticated robot called the Prime Mover. He provides his Yellow Claw android with doppelgängers of the Yellow Claw’s old associates Suwan and Fritz von Voltzmann, as well as new bases in New York’s Chinatown and submerged in the city’s harbor. To counter the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, Doom also constructs a flying fortress called the Sky Dragon. He then programs his androids with a scheme to steal a powerful weapon from Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.) and use it to threaten New York City. All goes well until Nick Fury discovers the Yellow Claw is not what he appears to be. With the scheme thwarted, the Prime Mover declares Doom checkmated. Though annoyed at having lost the game, Doom is satisfied with what he has learned about S.H.I.E.L.D.’s resources and tactics, and assesses the threat the agency poses to his world-conquering ambitions.

May 1964 – Returning to New York, Doctor Doom captures Daredevil, intent on taking revenge for the hero’s role in his humiliating defeat one year ago. Using a device based on Ovoid technology, Doom switches bodies with Daredevil, then heads for the Baxter Building to launch a sneak attack on the Fantastic Four. He leaves Daredevil at the Latverian embassy, trapped in Doom’s body and with his armor’s offensive systems deactivated. Before Doom reaches the FF’s headquarters, though, Daredevil forces him to return to the embassy by declaring war on all four of Latveria’s neighboring nations: Symkaria, Transia, Transylvania, and Yugoslavia. After switching back to his own body, Doom departs immediately for Latveria, letting Daredevil go free. However, to salvage his revenge plot, Doom contacts the Fantastic Four, posing as Daredevil, to claim that the Daredevil now approaching the Baxter Building is an impostor intent on killing them. As soon as he arrives in Latveria, Doom issues a public statement explaining away the aborted declaration of war.

Through his Latverian ambassador, Doctor Doom demands that Reed Richards return his stolen time machine to the castle in the Adirondack Mountains. Although Richards objects, the American government insists he comply to avoid causing an international incident.

June 1964 – Doom once again fails to defeat Mephisto’s champion and free his mother’s soul from Hell.

July 1964 – Doctor Doom is outraged when his Latverian castle is invaded by the alchemist Diablo, a despot who rules a tiny corner of nearby Transylvania. Diablo has tracked down Valeria, whom Doom has not seen in 20 years, and taken her prisoner to force Doom into an alliance. Conflicted by his feelings, Doom agrees to meet Diablo at the castle in the Adirondack Mountains. When he arrives, Doom sees the castle is now being guarded by the U.S. Army, but he easily slips by them in a cloaked airship. Inside, Doom finds Diablo and Valeria waiting for him. Diablo reveals his scheme to use Doom’s time machine to change history and make himself the perpetual ruler of the earth. Realizing Diablo has no understanding of how time-travel actually works, Doom determines to rid himself of this nuisance. Claiming to need to re-familiarize himself with the time machine’s controls, Doom instead reprograms it to send Diablo into the far distant future. After Diablo has dematerialized, Doom turns to Valeria. She rejects him, though, saying she has dreamed of being reunited with Victor von Doom, the man she once loved, not the cruel, callous tyrant called Doctor Doom. When Doom refuses to renounce his ambition to rule the world, Valeria leaves the castle. Overcome with emotion, Doom makes no move to stop her.

August 1964 – Depressed over Valeria’s stinging rejection, Doom is enraged when he learns that Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Girl have become the proud parents of a baby boy. Doom decides that he, too, must have an heir, but, since he is convinced no woman could ever love him, he decides to clone himself rather than father a natural child. The project is a success, and Doom names his clone Victor von Doom, the Second. He has designed the clone to age at a vastly accelerated rate, and expects him to reach full maturity within four years. Thus, Doom has the clone raised in a specially-prepared high-security facility within his royal castle.

September 1964 – Having successfully built a legion of robotic soldiers called Servo-Guards, Doctor Doom begins working on an even more powerful army of killer robots, assisted by former Nazi roboticist Gustav Hauptmann. However, an undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. agent manages to smuggle a robot arm out of Latveria, which eventually brings the Fantastic Four to investigate. As soon as Mister Fantastic, the Thing, the Human Torch, and Crystal cross the border, Doom has them captured and hypnotized so they cannot use their powers. Doom then informs them that they will remain his subjects for the rest of their lives. However, Doom soon unleashes his twelve prototype killer robots on the village where the FF are trapped, intent on razing it to the ground. The Fantastic Four overcome the hypnosis effects, though, and defeat the killer robots when their powers return. Not to be outdone, Doom activates his fail-safe, a powerful bomb buried beneath the village. Though the explosion destroys the village, one block of buildings remains untouched, protected by the Invisible Girl’s force field. Doom realizes he neglected to take into account the possibility that Susan Richards would come to her teammates’ aid so soon after having a baby. As the five superheroes storm his castle, Doom captures the two women and treats them to an elaborate dinner in his banquet hall while waiting for the three men to fight their way there. Doom plans to then kill them all with a hypersonic beam hidden inside his grand piano, but his scheme goes awry when he sees Hauptmann has cornered the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in the art gallery with a flame-thrower. To prevent Hauptmann from incinerating his art collection, Doom activates the hypersonic beam, causing Hauptmann to die in agony. Having been forced to tip his hand, thus spoiling his elaborate plot, Doctor Doom informs the Fantastic Four that they are free to leave.

October 1964 – Doctor Doom is once again at the Latverian embassy in New York when the Sub-Mariner appears at the gates, being pursued by the U.S. military. Doom grants Namor asylum within the embassy, but then tries to force him to put his Atlantean armed forces under Doom’s command. To keep the Sub-Mariner in a weakened state, Doom orders all water lines into the building shut off. Unable to escape from the fortress-like mansion, Namor sets it on fire, bringing the city fire department to the scene. As torrents of water from the NYFD’s fire hoses smash through the windows, Namor is restored to his full strength and escapes. Doom is frustrated, but he knows he can’t take it out on the firemen without risking his diplomatic immunity.

Upon returning to Latveria, Doom is angered when he finds that the Underground has smuggled Cosette LaFarge out of the country. However, he is confident that her father’s greed will assure his continued cooperation. Soon after, Doom is contacted by M.O.D.O.K., the freakish leader of A.I.M., who challenges Doom to create an android double of Bucky Barnes that would defy detection even by Captain America. Doom accepts and, after doing some historical research, builds his most sophisticated android yet. Then, when M.O.D.O.K. teleports the android to A.I.M. headquarters, Doom traces the signal and learns the location of A.I.M.’s base. He begins monitoring them in case they should invent anything he could use to further his own ambitions.

November 1964 – In order to mock America’s achievement of landing men on the moon, Doctor Doom teleports a sphere containing a pre-recorded holographic message to the lunar landing site, knowing the astronauts will discover it. Doom has programmed the sphere to be activated by the sound of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s voice.

Pleased with his little jest, he continues working on his latest android creation, a cosmic-ray empowered humanoid programmed with Doom’s own brain patterns. Doom is convinced that this artificial superman, called the Doomsman, will be able to crush the Fantastic Four, yet be unable to betray its master. His work is interrupted when the Latverian Underground sends in a woman to impersonate Valeria. However, Doom immediately sees through the ruse and hypnotizes the woman. In a trance, she reveals Crown Prince Rudolfo’s plot to regain the throne. Unconcerned, Doom begins the process of transferring his brain patterns into the Doomsman’s body, but the woman appears, having overcome the hypnosis, and smashes the main control console. Then, Rudolfo and his men storm the castle, forcing Doom to focus on putting down the insurgency. After he has apparently captured Rudolfo, Doom realizes the Doomsman came to life during the battle, but rather than coming to its master’s aid, the android fled into the forest. While interrogating his prisoner, Doctor Doom discovers that it is not Rudolfo at all, but the robot double that Doom created for his coronation ceremony five years ago. The robot is destroyed by a Servo-Guard while trying to escape. Doom is frustrated, but impressed that Rudolfo has used his own tactics against him.

The next day, Crown Prince Rudolfo and his rebel army storm the castle, overcoming the Servo-Guards with energy weapons provided by a mysterious ally in a space-suit called the Faceless One. Doctor Doom confronts the Faceless One, and each one tries to use the Doomsman against the other. During their battle, Doom is surprised to find that the Faceless One is really a spheroid alien with six insect-like legs, sitting atop a robotic humanoid body. The Faceless One is able to skitter away and take over Doom’s master-control center, turning Doom’s own weapons against him. Doom teleports himself to safety, then activates a device that causes an earthquake. As the castle begins to crumble around them, the rebels and the Faceless One are all driven back to the hills. The rebellion has been crushed, but the Doomsman has proven too dangerous to keep around. Thus, Doom banishes the android to another dimension. He then orders all the able-bodied men of Latveria to participate in rebuilding the castle, making them work in round-the-clock shifts until the project is completed.

December 1964 – After he has finished designing the improvements he wishes made to his castle during the reconstruction process, Doctor Doom decides to visit the French Riviera until his living quarters are finished. However, he is disgusted by the indolence and insolence of the people he finds there. He soon returns to Latveria, only to discover the Red Skull has taken advantage of his absence to conquer the small nation. Though initially captured by his foes, Doom soon breaks free and attacks them. Despite being badly outnumbered, Doctor Doom’s armor allows him to drive off the Red Skull and his six henchmen, known as the Exiles.

Doom immediately dismantles the concentration camps the Exiles had set up and frees his grateful subjects. To assess the toll taken on the population by the Red Skull’s coup, Doom orders an immediate census. This enables him to find Valeria, only recently returned from America. He orders her brought to his castle, where she is kept a virtual prisoner while Doom tries to woo her.

January 1965 – Doctor Doom uses a high-tech tunnel-boring machine in an attempt to obtain the ultra-rare mineral vibranium from the African nation of Wakanda, but he is stopped by the Black Panther. Though his plans are foiled, Doom recognizes T’Challa as a fellow king and affords him the respect he feels he deserves.

Later, while visiting the Latverian embassy in New York, Doom joins the Invisible Girl, the Thing, and the Human Torch in battling an alien telepath called the Over-Mind. Though Doom is initially gratified to see Mister Fantastic reduced to the Over-Mind’s obedient slave, he realizes that defeating the alien is in his own self-interest. Thus, Doom fights valiantly alongside his old foes until he is overwhelmed by the Over-Mind’s psychic might. Luckily, the enigmatic alien known as the Stranger intervenes and banishes the Over-Mind to the Microverse. Calling an end to his alliance with the Fantastic Four, Doom returns to the embassy to recover from his injuries. He is satisfied that Reed Richards has been completely humiliated, and believes he has proven himself the superior man.

February 1965 – Desiring an ally to help him seize the Cosmic Cube from A.I.M., Doctor Doom tracks the Sub-Mariner to Chicago and finds Namor suffering from amnesia. Though Namor initially attacks him, Doom is finally able to persuade the Sub-Mariner to join him. They fly down to New Orleans aboard Doom’s private jet. Namor insists that his new friend, Cindy Jones, be allowed to accompany them, and Doom permits it, realizing he can use Cindy as a hostage to ensure Namor’s cooperation. After they have breached A.I.M.’s underwater base in the Gulf of Mexico, though, Doom finds that one of his guards is attempting to rape Cindy, so he executes the man on the spot. Leaving the jet, Doom learns that the base is staffed entirely by androids under the control of M.O.D.O.K., whom Doom had thought dead. After fighting his way through M.O.D.O.K.’s defenses, Doom breaks into the vault where the Cosmic Cube is stored. Unexpectedly, one of Doom’s men proves to be an impostor and turns on him, battering Doom’s head with a lead pipe. Stunned, Doom is nearly vaporized by the out-of-control energies of the Cosmic Cube, but Cindy Jones drags him to safety. Namor then flies Cindy and the dazed Doctor Doom back to the jet, and they abandon the base before it is obliterated. Disappointed that he has lost the Cosmic Cube but indebted to Namor and Cindy for saving his life, Doom drops them off in New Orleans before heading back to the Latverian embassy in New York.

When the Hulk is sighted in New York City, Doctor Doom goes out in his diplomatic limousine to search for him. Fortunately, Doom soon comes across the Hulk’s harmless alter-ego, Bruce Banner, and Doom is able to easily kidnap him. After using a robot decoy of the Hulk to distract the American soldiers outside his embassy, Doom takes Banner to Latveria and brainwashes him into a loyal subject. After setting Banner to work on constructing a gamma bomb, Doom turns his attentions back to Valeria, who has resisted all his efforts to make her see him in a positive light. She complains that Doom has kept her a prisoner in his castle despite her wish to never see him again, calling him a “deranged admirer.” Hurt, Doom orders his guards to take Valeria back to her quarters. Later, Doom sends the hypnotized Hulk to carry the armed gamma bomb into Yugoslavia on his back, hoping to impress Valeria with his ability to deal with this manufactured crisis. However, the plan goes awry and the bomb explodes over an unpopulated area near the border. Valeria reveals that she was aware of Doom’s diabolical scheme and sabotaged it. Stunned by her betrayal, Doom pronounces Valeria guilty of treason and orders his guards to take her to the dungeons. Just at that moment, the Hulk returns for vengeance on Doom, and their battle causes widespread destruction to the castle and the surrounding village. When falling rubble threatens Valeria, who has taken advantage of the chaos to flee from the castle, Doom swoops to her rescue. This allows the Hulk to grab Doom, but Doom refuses to surrender even when the Hulk is clearly victorious. Losing interest in the fight, the Hulk leaps away and disappears into the distance. Unmoved by Valeria’s concern for his well-being, Doom has her immediately placed under arrest.

Having hardened his heart towards his former love, Doctor Doom presides over Valeria’s trial for high treason. She is quickly found guilty and executed.

March 1965 – Doctor Doom returns to the Latverian embassy in New York when he learns of a radical new plastic surgery technique, hoping that his disfigured face can be reconstructed. Doom is annoyed to find protestors led by Cosette LaFarge have been picketing the embassy in recent weeks. Nevertheless, he carries out his plan to kidnap the surgeon, Dr. Donald Blake, and take him back to Latveria. However, when Blake sees the extent of Doom’s disfigurement, he claims it is beyond the power of medical science to repair. Outraged, Doom has Blake thrown into his dungeon, but the physician is quickly rescued by Thor. Doom battles Thor, but the thunder god easily defeats him, then wrecks his missile-silo complex for good measure. After the dust has settled, Doom finds that Pierre LaFarge has shot up his own laboratory and been killed by a ricocheting bullet. Doom is frustrated that his ICBM program has received such a crippling setback.

June 1965 – On Midsummer’s Eve, Doctor Doom attempts to rescue his mother’s soul from Mephisto’s hellish realm by battling a demon called Kagrok the Killer. As ever, his efforts come to nothing.

July–December 1965 – Doctor Doom devotes himself to his research on robotics and artificial intelligence, trying to improve upon his Servo-Guards, which he considers too primitive and unreliable. He wants to create perfectly loyal automatons that can nevertheless think for themselves, and even act in his stead when he is away. He also experiments with androids and cyborgs, creating a fearsome creature he dubs the Seeker. When his Servo-Guards become increasingly erratic near the end of the year, Doom has them all deactivated.

January 1966 – Doom creates four prototypes for his next generation of robots, but something goes wrong with their programming and they flee Latveria. He tracks them to the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of New York City, where the robots have disguised themselves as African American men. Doom appreciates the cleverness of their ploy: since there are no black people living in Doom’s kingdom, he is forced to seek outside help. Thus, at the embassy in Manhattan, Doom orders his military attaché to hire the super-strong private detective Luke Cage to find the robots. Though Cage is initially reluctant, he takes the case. Doom then monitors Cage’s progress as he tracks down the renegade robots and smashes them to pieces. Satisfied, Doom leaves orders for Cage to be paid his fee, then jets back to Latveria. When he arrives, Doom finds a full-scale robot rebellion in progress.

In the midst of the robot rebellion, Luke Cage suddenly smashes his way into Castle Doom and demands to be paid the $200 he is owed. Believing Cage to have been paid already, Doom tries to dismiss him so he can focus on the renegade robots. However, Cage refuses to back down and they get into a fight. Cage proves to be a surprisingly formidable opponent, and even manages to damage Doom’s chestplate and knock his armor’s offensive systems offline. At that moment, the Faceless One shows himself, intent on killing Doom. Doctor Doom immediately realizes the insectoid alien is responsible for all the recent problems with his robots. Cage drives the Faceless One off, not willing to allow Doom to be killed while he still owes him money. Doom is amused, realizing that Luke Cage reminds him a bit of himself in his early days, when he was the scourge of the Latverian nobility. Thus, Doom gives Cage $200 in cash, no longer caring whether or not this “hero for hire” is trying to scam him. After counting the money, Cage departs.

In a pitched battle, Doctor Doom destroys all the rebel robots, then hunts down the Faceless One. He is frustrated when the alien flees the country and disappears, thus escaping Doom’s vengeance. Doom then sets about redesigning his robots’ control circuits to prevent such a rebellion from ever happening again. He also continues work on Operation: Babel, which is entering its final stages.

May 1966 – One day, Doctor Doom is forced to fight his own palace guard and other subjects when they suddenly begin transforming into demons. After about an hour, his foes revert to their normal human selves and all the damage done during the fight is magically undone. At first, Doom suspects it was all some mass hallucination, but soon divines through sorcerous means that the demonic entity Dormammu had tried to merge the earth with his own mystical Dark Dimension, but was defeated by the Avengers.

June 1966 – Doom once again fails to free his mother’s soul from Mephisto’s clutches.

July–September 1966 – Doctor Doom sends a number of his agents to infiltrate NASA in order to sabotage the plans for their Solar Shuttle project. He is frustrated when his spy ring is discovered by a NASA administrator named Desmond Pitt, who intercepts and destroys the spies’ final report. Doom kidnaps Pitt, faking his death and framing him as a traitor to the United States. Back in Latveria, Doom transforms Pitt into a demonic-looking purple-skinned cyborg monster. He also laces Pitt’s skeleton with a mystical metal known as promethium, using the only known supply of the substance in the world. Doom erases Pitt’s memory and convinces him he is Darkoth the Death-Demon, a figure from Latverian folklore. Doom then sends Darkoth to terrify the residents of a small town across the border in Transylvania.

October 1966 – With Operation: Babel at last ready for deployment, Doom decides to kidnap the Fantastic Four, to ensure that they witness his ultimate triumph. Thus, he lures Alicia Masters to Transylvania with false hope of a medical procedure to restore her sight, then has Darkoth defeat and capture the Thing. Meanwhile, Doom organizes a phony class reunion at his skyscraper headquarters in Manhattan to lure Mister Fantastic into a trap. The scheme inspires Doom to also invite Sam Thorne and his wife, since he found the football star almost as detestable as Reed Richards during their college days. Everything goes according to plan, with the Invisible Girl’s replacement, Medusa, taken captive along with the others. Finally, he kidnaps the Human Torch and his friend Wyatt Wingfoot as well. However, while the emotion-manipulating vibro-bomb is being prepared for launch into orbit, Darkoth betrays Doom and frees the Fantastic Four. Doom sends his Seeker android into the New York sewer system to pursue them, then launches his rocket. When it reaches 2,200 miles up, the vibro-bomb deploys successfully and begins bathing the earth in its mind-altering rays. But, having overcome the Seeker, the Fantastic Four attack and smash up Doom’s control room. Doctor Doom retreats to his spaceplane and blasts off, intending to rendezvous with his satellite. Unfortunately, Darkoth has stowed away on board and attacks Doom savagely, causing the spaceplane to crash into the vibro-bomb. The craft is ripped apart in the ensuing explosion, and Doom plummets the 2,200 miles back to Earth, protected by his personal force field. He lands in the Atlantic Ocean, where he floats unconscious for several hours.

When Doctor Doom regains consciousness, he finds himself aboard the flagship of the Royal Atlantean Fleet and learns he has been rescued by the Sub-Mariner, who is wearing a strange black costume for some reason. Doom expects a fight, but Namor instead proposes an alliance, since all of his subjects have been thrown into suspended animation in a freak accident. Doom rejects the offer, knowing he cannot trust the Sub-Mariner not to betray him. Too weakened by his fall from space to risk a major conflict, Doom blasts his way out of the ship and flies to a nearby island, where he uses lightning to recharge his armor.

November 1966 – When he finally gets back to Latveria, Doctor Doom determines that the Sub-Mariner’s black costume was created by Reed Richards to help Namor survive on land after being rendered fully aquatic by a mutagenic gas. Doom begins to ponder how he can use this new weakness against Namor in the future.

June 1967 – On Midsummer’s Eve, Doctor Doom fares better than ever before against Mephisto’s champion, nearly defeating his demonic opponent. As a reward, Mephisto reveals that one of Doom’s subjects, a peasant woman named Helena, looks exactly like the Silver Surfer’s long-lost love, Shalla Bal. Doom decides he can use this information to capture the Silver Surfer and siphon some of his power cosmic into a new android, the Doomsman II. Having learned his lesson with the first Doomsman, Doom has created this new model incapable of independent thought. It is merely a powerful puppet under Doom’s complete control, and just needs a proper energy source to be able to destroy the Fantastic Four once and for all.

July 1967 – Doom orders the peasant woman Helena to report to his castle, where he erases her memory. He then dresses her in a slinky golden outfit and tells her she is a princess called Shalla Bal. Amidst great pomp and circumstance, Doom marries her and proclaims her the new Queen of Latveria. Posters are put up throughout the nation bearing the new queen’s likeness. However, Doom does nothing to consummate the marriage, focused instead on monitoring the Silver Surfer, who appears to be meditating on top of Mount Everest.

Soon after, Doom grants an audience to an eastern mystic called the Black Lama. However, Doom is insulted when the Black Lama suggests that his past defeats were due to Doom’s lack of “inner peace.” Declaring the Black Lama to be a charlatan, Doom banishes him from Latveria.

August 1967 – After several weeks, the Silver Surfer finally rises from his meditations and streaks into the sky. He slams into the barrier Galactus erected around the planet, and as he falls back to Earth, Doctor Doom uses a tractor beam to draw him to Latveria. The Surfer crashes into the village outside Castle Doom, leaving a smoking crater in the ground. Seeing the posters of the queen, the Surfer flies at once to the castle, entering the queen’s chambers and frightening her with his professions of love. Doom enters and tells the Silver Surfer he will restore Shalla Bal to him if he will fly at once to New York and kill the Fantastic Four. The Surfer agrees to the bargain and departs. However, he returns shortly afterward with the Fantastic Four as hypnotized prisoners rather than corpses. Nevertheless, Doom is satisfied and has the FF imprisoned in the dungeon, using special shackles to neutralize their powers. One of Doom’s lackeys then directs the Silver Surfer to the energy-siphoning chair Doom has prepared, thus energizing the Doomsman II. When the Fantastic Four break free, Doom uses the Doomsman II android to attack them, but they destroy it with the help of the Silver Surfer. Undaunted, Doom is ready to battle his five foes directly, but the queen intervenes, stopping the fight by convincing them that their conflict could well destroy the castle and the national archives contained within it. The Fantastic Four are willing to call it a stalemate if Doom lets them leave in peace. Sensing that he is being used by sinister forces, Doom agrees, telling his foes to get out of his sight. Believing Shalla Bal to be an impostor, the Silver Surfer departs. Doctor Doom then has his marriage to Helena annulled and she returns to her life as a peasant.

November 1967 – Doctor Doom discovers that one of his engineers, Bram Velsing, is plotting to overthrow him by using his own technology against him. Doom has Velsing arrested and, to punish the young man for his claims of being Doom’s intellectual equal, he orders a ghastly metal mask fused to Velsing’s face. Velsing is then driven into the mountains to the north, where he disappears. Following Velsing’s betrayal, Doctor Doom purges all human workers from his laboratories and workshops, then begins creating android laborers to replace them. To offset the resulting unemployment, Doom hires a staff of beautiful dark-haired women to manage his operations in the castle.

January–March 1968 – With the help of his new android labor force, Doctor Doom builds a solar-power generator that, when complete, will harness the energy of the sun with peak efficiency, decades ahead of the rest of the world. Doom is gratified that Latveria will no longer be dependent on fossil fuels or nuclear power, and will have exclusive access to an inexhaustible clean energy source. He becomes mildly annoyed when his androids begin to manifest crude ritualistic behavior, seeing it as a flaw in their programming, but he doesn’t bother to correct it so long as it does not interfere with the androids meeting their work quotas.

April 1968 – Doom reconsiders forging an alliance with the Sub-Mariner, as he realizes that, with the population of Atlantis in suspended animation, Namor is in a uniquely vulnerable position. Thus, he sends a taskforce of android soldiers to attack Atlantis and blow holes in the force field protecting the city. When the Sub-Mariner comes out to defend his kingdom, Doom convinces him to come to Latveria. When Namor arrives, Doom gives him a tour of his laboratories and workshops, boasting of his recent innovations. However, they are suddenly confronted by the original Doomsman android, now calling himself “Andro, Lord of the Androids,” who has escaped his banishment to another dimension. Andro directs the android workforce to smash the solar generator and attack the two men. Realizing they are hopelessly outnumbered, Doom floods the complex, drowning the androids. Rather than battle with Doctor Doom directly, Andro teleports away. Realizing that his androids are too vulnerable to Andro’s influence, Doom decides to go back to using purely metallic robots. He reactivates his Servo-Guards and orders them to clean up the mess. The Sub-Mariner decides against Doom’s proposed alliance and departs.

Brooding about how superheroes—particularly the Fantastic Four—have interfered with his plans in the past, Doctor Doom decides to continue to pursue an alliance with the Sub-Mariner. Thus, he sends a robotic fish to follow Namor around and monitor his activities, watching for an opportunity for Doom to put the Sub-Mariner in his debt. After a few days, Doom’s efforts are rewarded when he sees Namor defeated and captured by three of his enemies, Attuma, Tiger Shark, and Dr. Lemuel Dorcas. Doom immediately travels to Namor’s new base of operations, a floating artificial island called Hydrobase, to save him. Though the raid is successful and Namor is rescued from his captors, his old girlfriend, Betty Dean Prentiss, is killed during the battle. Also, Attuma and his allies continue to hold the amphibious denizens of Hydrobase hostage, using them for slave labor. Thus, while Namor recovers from his injuries, Doom plans an all-out assault on Hydrobase to ensure that Namor’s foes are crushed and his friends liberated.

The next morning, Doctor Doom and the Sub-Mariner launch their invasion, inflicting many casualties on their enemies before ultimately winning the day. However, when Doom murders Attuma’s harmless jester, Saru-San, for daring to mock him, the Sub-Mariner turns against his ruthless ally. Their argument quickly escalates into a fist-fight, their combat carrying them to a nearby U.S. Navy battleship. Though Doom defeats Namor, his victory is spoiled when a scientist steals much of the energy from Doom’s armor and feeds it into a body floating in a vat of gelatinous fluid. Doom knocks out the scientist, but decides not to expend the effort to kill him. Doom jets away into the sky, realizing that trying to forge an alliance with Namor was a mistake.

May 1968 – In order to recreate his solar generator in absolute secrecy, Doom sets up a front corporation in the United States called Cynthian Associates. He hires a man named Arthur Thornhill to assemble a staff of scientists to work at a high-security facility in upstate New York. There, they construct a massive crystalline chamber called the “solartron.” Unexpectedly, a couple of workers are driven mad when they view the crystal facets with unshielded eyes, prompting new safety precautions to be implemented.

June 1968 – On Midsummer’s Eve, Doctor Doom makes another attempt to rescue his mother’s soul from Mephisto’s realm, but is easily defeated by the demon’s champion.

September 1968 – Doom grants permission for the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime to take refuge in Latveria. Though they are permitted to entertain the peasants, the criminals are warned that if they commit their customary robberies, they will be put to death. The Ringmaster promises they will stick to the straight-and-narrow while in Doom’s kingdom.

October 1968 – Doctor Doom is alerted to unauthorized use of the time machine at his castle in the Adirondack Mountains, and upon investigating detects a source of tremendous magical power. Intrigued, Doom travels back in time to Salem, Massachusetts in August 1692, where he finds Spider-Man, the Vision, the Scarlet Witch, and Moondragon battling an ancient wizard called the Dark Rider. With the help of the four superheroes, Doom defeats the Dark Rider before the wizard can siphon off his magical energies. Doom then activates his time machine by remote control and returns to the present day.

November 1968 – Doctor Doom decides to trick the Sub-Mariner into serving him, so he creates an energy beam to cause Namor’s body chemistry to revert to its normal amphibious state, undoing the effects of the mutagenic gas. Doom then travels to Hydrobase and uses the energy beam on Namor, thereby temporarily weakening him. Though he believes he is dying, the Sub-Mariner refuses to accept any of Doom’s terms. Thus, Doom takes Namor down to Atlantis and begins shelling the undefended city, destroying monuments that have stood for thousands of years, until Namor finally swears an oath to be his servant. Then, Doom gives Namor some poison, claiming it is an antidote that will keep him alive for 24 hours, and offers to free him from his oath if Reed Richards can “cure” him before the “antidote” wears off. As the Sub-Mariner races to the Baxter Building, Doom returns to Latveria, enjoying his little jest. As Doom expected, Richards fails to determine the true nature of Namor’s condition in time, so Doom uses his Ovoid teleportation device to bring the Sub-Mariner to Latveria. Though he is in fact perfectly healthy, Namor believes he must have a daily dose of Doom’s “antidote” to stay alive.

Soon after, Doctor Doom receives the United States Secretary of State at his castle, the first official visit paid to Doom by a representative of the U.S. government. After giving the Secretary a tour of his facilities, Doom concludes their negotiations and signs a non-aggression pact between Latveria and the United States. Thus, when the Fantastic Four storm into the castle to rescue the Sub-Mariner, they are stopped cold by the Secretary of State himself, whom informs them that no American citizens are permitted to interfere in Latveria’s internal affairs. Unwilling to violate an official government treaty, the Fantastic Four reluctantly withdraw. Doom then escorts the Secretary to his waiting helicopter and bids him farewell.

Before dawn the next morning, Doom takes three of his wolfhounds out for an early-morning hunt. Along the way, he stops at a peasant cottage and interrupts the family’s breakfast. He informs the father that he is invoking his droit du seigneur—his absolute right to the company of any woman in the land—and taking the man’s beautiful maiden daughter Gretchen with him on his hunt. Soon, on a moonlit hillside, Doom unleashes his baying hounds and sets them after their prey. However, Doom’s plans for Gretchen are soon scuttled when he is attacked by an American man in a black costume calling himself the Shroud. Doom is annoyed, but the Shroud proves to be a formidable opponent. He manages to attach a device to Doom’s armor that sends waves of searing heat into Doom’s body. To avoid being roasted alive, Doom jettisons his chestplate, leaving his flesh exposed. Suddenly, a wolf leaps out of the darkness and bowls Doom over, followed by the three dogs. In the midst of their struggle, Doom and the animals roll off a high cliff and plunge into the Danube River below.

Doctor Doom regains consciousness to find he has been rescued by the current de facto rulers of Atlantis, the Sub-Mariner’s cousin Namorita and a red-skinned alien woman named Tamara. They threaten to kill Doom unless he releases Namor from his oath of servitude. With his armor compromised, Doom devises an elaborate ruse, claiming that Namor came to Latveria of his own free will to enlist Doom’s aid in changing the amphibians of Hydrobase back into normal people. After a quick stop at Castle Doom, Namorita and Tamara escort Doom back to Hydrobase to begin working on his cure. There, Doom stalls for time, looking for an opportunity to turn the situation to his advantage.

Unexpectedly, Captain America, the Scarlet Witch, the Vision, Iron Man, Yellowjacket, and the Wasp storm the island, looking to capture the Sub-Mariner. Doom notices at once that the Avengers are all wearing some type of high-tech slave collar which seems to inhibit their fighting abilities. With help from Namorita and Tamara, Doom defeats the Avengers. Under interrogation, Captain America reveals they have been forced to serve Attuma. Namorita and the Vision convince Doom that it would be in his own self-interest to help them defeat Attuma before his genetically enhanced warriors overrun every nation on Earth, including Latveria. Thus, Doctor Doom teams up with the Avengers to attack Attuma’s undersea kingdom of Skarka. There they rendezvous with more Avengers: the Beast, Wonder Man, and the Whizzer. However, Doom abandons the fight to steal the device Attuma used to create his enhanced warriors and takes it back to Hydrobase. Before he can analyze its systems, though, the Avengers return and attack him. During the fight, Attuma’s device is destroyed, so Doom activates his flying harness and beats a hasty retreat, taking refuge at the Latverian embassy in New York.

Almost immediately, Captain America forces his way into the embassy and reveals that the Red Skull has once again conquered Latveria during Doom’s absence. Outraged, Doctor Doom flies his private jet back to Latveria, allowing Cap to accompany him. When they arrive, though, Latveria’s anti-aircraft defenses destroy the plane. Doom and Cap bail out just in time, but the Red Skull uses Doom’s old shrinking ray technology to reduce them to the size of field mice. Nevertheless, the unlikely pair manages to sneak into the castle through some small sewage ducts. Upon reaching the throne room, Doom sees the Red Skull, the Sub-Mariner, and the Shroud, who is cradling the body of Crown Prince Rudolfo. Dressed in a copy of Doom’s armor and robes, Rudolfo clearly made an ill-fated attempt at staging a coup. The Shroud reveals that the Red Skull has rebuilt the Operation: Babel satellite in order to take over the world. Despite being miniaturized, Doom storms into the room and attacks the Red Skull’s ankles. Unfazed, the Red Skull grabs Doom and tries to crush the life out of him. Doom swears to Namor that if he restores him to normal size, Doom will find a way to bring the Atlanteans out of suspended animation. Knowing Doom is a man of his word, Namor agrees and activates the size-changing ray. Doom then fights with the Red Skull until the Shroud’s interference enables the former Nazi to teleport himself to a hidden base on the moon. Doctor Doom and the Shroud put aside their differences to pursue the Red Skull and destroy his mind-altering satellite. After a fierce battle on the moon, Doctor Doom is victorious, and he leaves the Red Skull trapped in a damaged spacesuit under a lunar landslide. With the satellite destroyed, Doom returns to Latveria to reassert his rule before the Latverian Underground can turn Rudolfo into a martyr.

January 1969 – To fulfill his oath to the Sub-Mariner, Doctor Doom travels to Atlantis to revive the population from suspended animation. When they arrive, Namor must battle the exiled Atlantean warlord Krang, who returned to loot the city with an army of mercenaries after Doom damaged its protective force field. The fight creates enough of a distraction that Doom is able to slip into the city and deploy a violet miasma that quickly brings the Atlanteans out of stasis. The revived warriors go to battle the mercenaries alongside their prince, and Doom captures Krang when he attempts to flee. Later, as the Atlanteans celebrate the rebirth of their city, Doctor Doom is gratified to know he is widely considered a hero of the realm.

February 1969 – Doctor Doom is intrigued when he learns that Reed Richards has lost his superhuman powers.

March 1969 – A fortuitous laboratory accident provides Doom with a powerful “neuro-gas” that leaves anyone who breathes it subject to his will. He immediately releases massive amounts of the gas into the atmosphere, and within days, he has brought the entire world under his heel. Unfortunately, no one realizes it, and Doom quickly grows bored with such an easy conquest. He is relieved, then, when Magneto enters his castle one day to propose an alliance. After demonstrating his power over Magneto, Doom challenges the mutant to wrest control of the world from him, if he can. Magneto accepts, so Doom gives him the antidote to the neuro-gas and sends him on his way. Magneto immediately travels to New York and tries to recruit the Avengers to his cause, but manages only to free the Beast from Doom’s thrall. The two mutants then fly out to Los Angeles to seek help from the Champions. Meanwhile, Doctor Doom travels to Washington, DC to take control of the United States from President Richard M. Nixon. However, Doom is disgusted by the way the American politicians fawn over him, the neuro-gas having reduced them to obsequious sycophants. When Magneto and the Beast arrive to challenge him, Doom orders the Hulk, the Black Widow, Angel, Iceman, Hercules, and Darkstar to fight them. Ghost Rider, though, proves to be immune to Doom’s influence, and he assists Magneto and the Beast. The fight finally ends when Ghost Rider hits Doctor Doom in the face with a blast of hellfire. Seeing flames engulfing his iron mask, Doom panics and yanks it off. Without the mask’s air-filters, Doom breathes in his own neuro-gas, thereby breaking his hold over the human race. As everyone comes to their senses, Magneto declares victory and flees the scene. Invoking his diplomatic immunity, Doctor Doom returns to Latveria and shuts off the flow of neuro-gas, deeming his scheme a failure. Within a few days, the neuro-gas already in the atmosphere dissipates.

April 1969 – Having to return to more traditional methods of conquering the world, Doctor Doom decides to stage an elaborate test of the effectiveness of the British intelligence agency MI-6, just as he had tested S.H.I.E.L.D. years ago. Reactivating the Prime Mover, Doom focuses this “game” on Shang-Chi, one of the agency’s most efficient operatives and, interestingly, the son of the notorious Chinese criminal mastermind Fu Manchu. As a nod to Shang-Chi’s ethnic heritage, Doom designs a scheme involving robots with multiple levels of disguise—identities within identities within identities—like a Chinese puzzle box. Shang-Chi is brought to Doom’s Twickenham Estate in Sussex for the main battle, and though he smashes all of Doom’s robots and rescues his friend Clive Reston, Doom nevertheless declares victory, for he has determined that MI-6 poses no real threat to his ambitions.

Soon after, Doctor Doom receives an ultimatum from an orbiting supercomputer called F.A.U.S.T. to dismantle his atomic weapons or be destroyed, along with the world’s other nuclear nations. As this presents a possible setback to his plans for world conquest, Doom is relieved when F.A.U.S.T. is destroyed by Thor.

Learning that the United Nations is planning to vote on censuring Latveria and may even expel it from the UN altogether, Doom hatches a plan to turn the throne over to his clone, Victor von Doom, the Second, now an adult. Thus, Doom reinstates an ancient Latverian law that will require him to choose a successor and abdicate the throne within a prescribed timeframe. Furthermore, Doom intends to use the occasion as a means to deliver a device to the UN’s General Assembly Hall that will enable him to control the emotions of the UN delegates, a device based on technology left behind by Psycho-Man, a supervillain from the Microverse. Doom also plots to capture the Fantastic Four and transfer their cosmic-ray-spawned superpowers into his clone, though to achieve that, he realizes, means first helping Reed Richards regain his stretching abilities.

When the Fantastic Four announce that they have disbanded, Doom sends Arthur Thornhill to recruit Reed Richards to work at Cynthian Associates. Naturally, Richards accepts the lucrative offer and soon starts his job at the company’s high-security facility. Doom sends his clone to pose as the company’s CEO. The clone is accompanied by scientist Gert Hauptmann, the brother of the roboticist Doom murdered five years ago. Together, they brainwash Richards into dressing as the Invincible Man and using Psycho-Man’s technology to kidnap the other members of the Fantastic Four. With his teammates held hostage, Richards is brought out of his trance and coerced into piloting a specially-prepared spaceship into a cosmic-ray storm to restore his powers. Unfortunately, something goes wrong and the ship explodes during re-entry. Doom is convinced that Richards has perished, but determines to proceed without him.

Doom decides to hide his emotion-controlling device inside a statue of himself wearing kingly regalia, which will be donated to the United Nations following his clone’s coronation ceremony. The statue is prepared by Latverian artisans except for the face, which is left to Alicia Masters to sculpt. While she is working on the statue, Doom introduces the remaining members of the Fantastic Four to his “son,” the clone, knowing they will be shocked by this revelation. Soon, the three heroes are sedated and placed into the power-transference machine, but the process is interrupted when Mister Fantastic, still alive and with his stretching powers restored, storms the castle with Prince Zorba and members of the Latverian Underground. Richards is soon captured and placed in the machine with his teammates, then the transference process is completed while Doom poses for Alicia. Though the FF attempt to escape, their efforts fail and they are thrown into the dungeons.

A few hours later, Doctor Doom begins the ceremony of coronation to crown his “son,” Victor von Doom II, as the new monarch of Latveria. The event is carried live on televisions across the globe, as Doom wants the UN delegates to witness his abdication. However, Zorba disrupts the ceremony, backed up by the Fantastic Four, and reveals that Doom’s heir is just a clone. Enraged, Doom orders his robots to attack his foes, causing the crowd to panic. During the battle, the clone suddenly transforms into a Thing-like form, manifesting the FF’s other abilities as well. Horrified that his clone’s face is now almost as ugly as his own, Doom realizes that Richards must have sabotaged the transference process. The clone attacks Doom, and they fight savagely. Sickened by the whole scheme, the clone tries to make Doom face his own self-loathing, but Doom, unable to bear such accusations, electrocutes him. With a full-scale peasant revolt breaking out around the country, Doom flees with his statue to try to salvage what he can of his carefully-laid plans.

After a transatlantic flight, Doctor Doom returns to Cynthian Associates, then sends a squad of Servo-Guards to deliver the statue to the UN Building in New York City. Minutes later, Mister Fantastic invades the facility and confronts Doom. Both men realize this is the showdown they’ve been building towards for the last quarter-century. Richards overcomes Doom’s many diabolical death-traps and pursues him into the crystalline solartron complex. While Doom is distracted by reports of the rest of the FF battling the Servo-Guards at the UN, Richards is able to attach an explosive device to his armor. The resulting explosion shatters Doom’s armor, knocking all its offensive capabilities offline. Nevertheless, Doom activates the device within the statue, then attacks Richards, giving full vent to his years of frustration, even accusing Richards of sabotaging the device that scarred his face all those years ago. Mister Fantastic manages to pry the iron mask off Doom’s face, as its locking mechanisms were weakened when his armor short-circuited. Shocked, Doom recoils from his foe and stands up, inadvertently looking into the crystal facets all around him. Unable to cope with the sensory overload, Doctor Doom is immediately driven into a catatonic state and collapses to the floor.

Doctor Doom is returned to Latveria, where his suit of armor is replaced with facial bandages and a straightjacket. He is locked inside a padded cell and tended to by medical professionals, while Prince Zorba begins the process of transforming Latveria into a democracy.


Notes:

1922-1944 – Victor von Doom’s early life is chronicled in Fantastic Four Annual #2, Marvel Super-Heroes #20, and Fantastic Four #278, the stories in which all overlap and interweave with one another. The circumstances of his mother’s death are revealed in Iron Man #150 and Secret Wars #10.

1945-1951 – Victor’s college career and his subsequent metamorphosis into Doctor Doom are shown in Fantastic Four #5, Fantastic Four Annual #2, Marvel Super-Heroes #20, and Fantastic Four #278. In Fantastic Four #143, Doom reveals that he hated Sam Thorne almost as much as he hated Reed Richards during their college days. The rivalry between Victor and Reed Richards is detailed in a flashback in Fantastic Four vs. the X-Men #4. Although Victor’s search for the Ancient One is not mentioned in the original stories, it stands to reason that if he were searching for occult secrets in Tibet, he would try to find Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme. Coincidentally, Stephen Strange was also searching for the Ancient One at the same time, and I am forced to wonder if the two Westerners ever crossed paths. It’s another possible Untold Tale of the Original Marvel Universe. It is likely that the Ancient One subtly guided Strange to his temple while actively preventing Doom from finding it.

1952 – Doom’s annual combat with Mephisto’s champion is seen for the first time in Astonishing Tales #8, though he’s been facing the grueling contest for many years at that point.

1953-1957 – Doctor Doom’s involvement in the creation of Nathaniel Richards’s time machine is not explicitly stated in Fantastic Four #271–273, but since Richards’s device is virtually identical to Doom’s, it is heavily implied. A time-traveling Victor von Doom meets Adolf Hitler and Thor in Invaders #32–33, setting up an intriguing temporal paradox involving Dr. Olsen’s research into interdimensional teleportation.

1958 – Doom’s purchase of the Twickenham Estate in England is noted in Master of Kung Fu #60.

1959 – Doctor Doom’s coup is seen in flashback in Astonishing Tales #2, and takes place “more than half a decade” before Hulk #143. Further details are provided in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #3. The origin of Nesheim’s portrait of Werner and Cynthia von Doom is explained in Punisher #29. The international community’s perception of Latveria is discussed in Fantastic Four Annual #2. Hauptmann’s torture of Prince Zorba is shown in Fantastic Four Annual #15. Zorba’s optical sensor is eventually weaponized with technology smuggled out of Doom’s labs. Valeria’s avoidance of Doom after he conquers Latveria is mentioned in Marvel Super-Heroes #20.

1960 – The distance between Doctor Doom’s castle in the Adirondacks and NYC is specified in Uncanny X-Men #145. Lucius Dilby is introduced in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #14, and has been working for Doctor Doom for ten years at that point.

1961 – Henry Pym’s research is roundly mocked in Tales to Astonish #27. The Fantastic Four have their first public adventure in Fantastic Four #1.

March 1962 – Doctor Doom makes his debut in Fantastic Four #5. At this point, the Doombots are apparently not capable of independent thought or action, but are merely operated by remote control. Doom issues his orders to Otto Kronsteig in a flashback in Hulk #155.

April 1962 – Doctor Doom and the Sub-Mariner instigate their first “Super-Villain Team-Up” in Fantastic Four #6. Doom’s rescue by the Ovoids is revealed in Fantastic Four #10.

July 1962 – As seen in Hulk #155, Otto Kronsteig is actually transported into the Microverse. Doctor Doom uses the Ovoids’ mind-transference technique on Reed Richards in Fantastic Four #10. Since Doom panics when hit by the size-reduction ray, even begging Richards for help, it seems he was not yet aware of the existence of the Microverse.

August-September 1962 – Doctor Doom’s sojourn in the Microverse is seen in Fantastic Four #16. He tries to revenge himself on the FF in the next issue before encountering Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #5.

October 1962 – Doom is behind the scenes as the FF make unauthorized use of his time machine in Fantastic Four #19. Doom’s new headquarters is finally revealed in Fantastic Four #143.

November 1962 – Doom and his hapless trio of lackeys capture the FF in Fantastic Four #23. His rescue by Rama-Tut is shown in flashback in Fantastic Four Annual #2.

January 1963 – Doctor Doom remains behind the scenes when Kang the Conqueror appears in Avengers #9. Kang, of course, is a descendant of Nathaniel Richards from the alternate reality where he had been trapped, and has appropriated his ancestor’s technology for his schemes of conquest, as revealed in Fantastic Four #273. Doom, quite naturally, assumes that Rama-Tut / Kang must be his own descendant. In the second story in Fantastic Four Annual #2, the toast Doom drinks before his encephalo-gun duel with Reed Richards is laced with the same drug he used against the FF, naturally, causing him to believe he is the winner.

March 1963 – In the first story in Fantastic Four Annual #2, we are introduced to Doom’s kingdom of Latveria. During the story, Latveria is said to be located both in the Bavarian Alps and in the Balkans, leading to a good deal of confusion as to where it was supposed to be. Eventually, the Balkan locale was firmly established. The night Doom visits his mother’s grave is most likely the 40th anniversary of her death.

April 1963 – The kidnapping of Pierre and Cosette LaFarge is seen in flashback in Thor #182.

May 1963 – Daredevil aids the FF in the Battle of the Baxter Building in Fantastic Four #39–40, at the end of which Doctor Doom suffers one of his most humiliating defeats. Doom then makes a brief appearance in Fantastic Four #43, still licking his wounds.

June 1963 – Doctor Doom does manage to disrupt the Fantastic Four’s wedding festivities in Fantastic Four Annual #3, drawing Attuma and his barbarian hordes, the Beetle, the Black Knight, the Cobra, Diablo, the Eel, Electro, the Enchantress, the Executioner, the Grey Gargoyle, the Human Top, a gang of HYDRA agents, Kang the Conqueror, the Mad Thinker and his Awesome Android, the Mandarin, the Melter, Mister Hyde, the Mole Man and his army of Subterraneans, the Porcupine, the Puppet Master, the Red Ghost and his three Super-Apes, the Super-Skrull, and the Unicorn to attack the Baxter Building the hour before the ceremony is to begin. However, when Mister Fantastic dispatches the villains with the Watcher’s time-warp device, Doctor Doom reportedly loses his memory of the event. Operation: Babel, which Doom spent years developing, is revealed in Fantastic Four #143.

August 1963 – Doom remains behind the scenes when Galactus and the Silver Surfer come to Earth in Fantastic Four #48–50. He is then seen spying on the Avengers at the end of Avengers #24 and at the beginning of the following issue.

September 1963 – Doctor Doom fights the Avengers for the first time in Avengers #25. Since it seems unlikely that Doctor Doom would allow his subjects to leave Latveria for any reason, even to seek medical treatment, I surmise that Zuroch, mentioned in this story, is another city in Latveria, located outside the range of Doom’s force field, which is probably limited to the vicinity of Doomstadt. Doctor Doom is behind the scenes during Captain America and Nick Fury’s battle on Liberty Island in the S.H.I.E.L.D. flashback story in Strange Tales #160–161.

November 1963 – Doom steals the Silver Surfer’s cosmic powers in Fantastic Four #56–60. His encounter with Galactus is shown in the flashback in Daredevil #37. The Silver Surfer liberates himself from Doom’s castle in Fantastic Four #61.

February 1964 – Doctor Doom is largely behind the scenes during the S.H.I.E.L.D. stories in Strange Tales #162–167, appearing only at the very end of the story arc.

May 1964 – Doom involves Daredevil in his revenge schemes in Daredevil #36–38, a story which then continues into Fantastic Four #73, though Doom does not appear in the latter issue. Latveria’s four neighbors are not named in this story, but the map of the Balkans on Marvel Earth would eventually become clear. The return of the time machine to the castle in the Adirondacks is mentioned in Fantastic Four Annual #11.

July 1964 – Doctor Doom meets Diablo and, more importantly, has his long-delayed reunion with Valeria in Marvel Super-Heroes #20. The castle in the Adirondacks is now guarded by the U.S. military probably at the behest of Captain America, after the Avengers used the time machine themselves earlier in the month, as seen in Avengers #56. Following this story, Valeria eventually makes her way back to Latveria.

August 1964 – Franklin Richards is born in Fantastic Four Annual #6. Doctor Doom discusses his clone’s origins in Fantastic Four #199, though the connection to Franklin’s birth remains implicit.

September 1964 – The Fantastic Four invade Latveria in Fantastic Four #84–87, in Stan Lee & Jack Kirby’s homage to the hit British spy drama The Prisoner, which premiered on American TV during the summer of 1968. The Servo-Guards make their first appearance in this story, and, unlike the Doombots seen previously, these robots are capable of independent speech and action. (Unfortunately, Doom’s human palace guard often wears uniforms and helmets similar to these robots, making it difficult to tell the two apart in some instances.)

October 1964 – Doctor Doom battles Namor at the Latverian embassy in Sub-Mariner #20. Cosette LaFarge’s escape is discussed in Thor #182. Doom’s creation of a Bucky android for M.O.D.O.K. is shown in flashback in Captain America #132.

November 1964 – Doom puts down Crown Prince Rudolfo’s bid to reclaim his throne in Astonishing Tales #1–3. The Apollo moon landing occurs five years earlier in the Original Marvel Universe than in the real world due to advanced technology from Stark Industries and others. Unknown to Doom, it is at this time that Mephisto teleports the Silver Surfer’s true love, Shalla Bal, to Latveria, where she lives as a peasant woman called Helena, as revealed in Fantastic Four #157. The Surfer is unaware that Shalla Bal is even on Earth.

December 1964 – Doctor Doom’s disastrous vacation to the French Riviera and his battle with the Red Skull and the Exiles occur in Astonishing Tales #4–5. Valeria is revealed to have been living in Castle Doom against her will in Hulk #144.

January 1965 – Doom encounters the Black Panther in Astonishing Tales #6–7, then helps the Fantastic Four defeat the Over-Mind in Fantastic Four #116.

February 1965 – Doctor Doom and the Sub-Mariner join forces once again in Sub-Mariner #47–49. Doom probably discovered the location of A.I.M.’s secret base after his dealings with M.O.D.O.K. in Captain America #132. Doom tries to make the Hulk his pawn in Hulk #143–144. Valeria’s execution for treason occurs behind the scenes, but she made no further appearances in any canonical story. Furthermore, it is heavily implied in Super-Villain Team-Up #14 that Valeria is dead. She was brought back in 2003 to be immediately killed off, but that story lies well outside the scope of the Original Marvel Universe.

March 1965 – Doom faces off with Thor in Thor #182–183.

June 1965 – We witness Doctor Doom’s attempt to free his mother’s soul from Hell in Astonishing Tales #8. Doom’s brief run of solo stories ends here as the title ceases to be a “split-book.” The devil in this issue is not identified, but will be confirmed as Mephisto in later stories.

January 1966 – Doctor Doom hires Luke Cage and deals with the Faceless One’s robot rebellion in Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #8–9. Most likely, someone on the embassy staff, perhaps even the doorman himself, decided to pocket the $200 Doom left for Cage’s fee, believing there was no way Cage could go after Doctor Doom for such a small sum. No doubt Doom ferreted out the thief and had him executed.

May 1966 – Doctor Doom makes a cameo appearance in Avengers #118.

July–September 1966 – The origin of Darkoth the Death-Demon is revealed in Fantastic Four #193, with the detail of his promethium-laced skeleton being added in Excalibur #39.

October 1966 – Doctor Doom comes closer than ever to taking over the entire world in Fantastic Four #141–144. His subsequent meeting with the Sub-Mariner is shown in Giant-Size Super-Villain Team-Up #1.

June–August 1967 – In Fantastic Four #155–157, Mephisto has a little fun at Doom’s expense, getting to torment the Silver Surfer in the bargain. I assume Mephisto informed Doctor Doom about Shalla Bal, since I don’t see any other way Doom could have known anything about her. Furthermore, like the Silver Surfer, Doom appears to remain unaware that “Helena” is the real Shalla Bal. Doctor Doom meets the Black Lama in a one-panel flashback in Iron Man #74.

November 1967 – Doctor Doom’s role in the origin of the Dreadknight, a.k.a. Bram Velsing, is shown in flashback in Iron Man #102. Doom’s recent faux-marriage to Shalla-Bal, herself a black-haired beauty, may have reopened some old wounds concerning the late, lamented Valeria. This may be why Doom decides to staff his castle with a bevy of similar-looking women, as seen in Super-Villain Team-Up #3.

April 1968 – Doctor Doom and the Sub-Mariner battle Andro, Lord of the Androids, in Giant-Size Super-Villain Team-Up #2. The story continues in Super-Villain Team-Up #1–4. The scientist on the battleship is Simon Ryker, and the body in the vat energized by Doom’s power will become the Symbionic Man, as revealed in Marvel Spotlight #27. Throughout Super-Villain Team-Up, Doctor Doom’s main castle is referred to as “Castle Latveria,” but will be better known later as Castle Doom.

May 1968 – Arthur Thornhill and Cynthian Associates are introduced in Fantastic Four #192.

September 1968 – The Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime are found touring Latveria in Super-Villain Team-Up #8.

October 1968 – Doctor Doom battles the Dark Rider alongside Spider-Man, Vision, Scarlet Witch, and Moondragon in the story presented in Marvel Team-Up #41–44.

November 1968 – Doctor Doom enslaves the Sub-Mariner, battles the Shroud, teams up with the Avengers, and saves Latveria from the Red Skull in Super-Villain Team-Up #5–12, the story crossing over into Avengers #155–156. The U.S. Secretary of State is drawn to look like Henry Kissinger, a topical reference. The Secretary of State seen in this story would be serving President William E. Miller, who took over from President Morris N. Richardson after the latter’s suicide when Captain America discovered he was also Number One of the Secret Empire. However, as this story takes place shortly after the 1968 presidential election, it is highly likely that the Secretary is working closely with Henry Kissinger, the incoming National Security Advisor for Richard Nixon.

January 1969 – Doom revives the Atlanteans with surprising ease in Super-Villain Team-Up #13.

February 1969 – Mister Fantastic loses his stretching powers in Fantastic Four #178.

March 1969 – Doctor Doom finally achieves his goal of conquering the world in the story begun in Super-Villain Team-Up #14 and concluded in Champions #16, though he quickly becomes disenchanted with the manner of his conquest. The President of the United States is portrayed as Jimmy Carter, though this is only a topical reference. Carter’s Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, also makes an appearance. In the OMU, this would be the successor of the Secretary of State seen in Super-Villain Team-Up #6–7. Doom’s reasons for abandoning the use of neuro-gas are explained on the letters page of Fantastic Four #201.

April 1969 – Doctor Doom attempts to prove that his kung fu is stronger than Shang-Chi’s in Master of Kung Fu #59–60. Doom then makes a brief cameo appearance in Thor #271. The big showdown between Doctor Doom and Mister Fantastic plays out across Fantastic Four #192–201. The Fantastic Four came into possession of Psycho-Man’s armor at the end of Fantastic Four Annual #5, and Doom most likely obtained it when the FF cleared out their headquarters and placed all their equipment in storage shortly before this story arc began. Afterwards, Doom remains catatonic for a full year before being restored to his villainous glory.


OMU Note: The final canonical appearance of Doctor Doom was in Fantastic Four #352.


Next Issue: Too Many Dooms!


2 comments:

  1. Damian6/04/2014

    Great research. Not sure if you read comments.

    I had collected all of Doom's appearances when I was a fan from the 60s to 90s. A few musings that I had back then:

    I have one issue where Stan Lee wrote a captain indicating that Ben and Victor never met each other in college, as demonstrated by Doc not recognizing Grimm's human form. What is your stance on that?

    Why would Doom switch bodies with Daredevil? Doom mused that Daredevil would inhabit his body for eternity.

    How could the Red Skull and Exiles so easily invade Latveria just because Doom was at the Riviera? I recall previous issues showing that Latveria had automated defenses.

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  2. Hi, Damian! I do read comments; thanks for some interesting questions.

    I'm not surprised by the idea that Doctor Doom would not remember Ben Grimm. Even if Doom had seen Ben hanging out with Reed Richards on campus, I'm sure he would have seen Ben only as a loutish football player who was beneath his notice. It's doubtful they had any classes together, so Ben probably wouldn't have left any impression on Doom. And for Ben, Doom would have just been a weirdo that Reed complained about from time to time. I know I encountered a lot of people in college whom I wouldn't recognize 15 years later. Saying they "never met" is shorthand for they never really knew each other and so don't remember each other.

    I imagine Doom saw Daredevil as a superhero who could infiltrate the Baxter Building and attack the Fantastic Four, but was still weak enough to be easily captured for the mind-swap. Doom knew Daredevil was friendly with the FF from their earlier encounter. When Doom thinks, "He is trapped in that form forever," he might just mean that Daredevil is unable to initiate the mind-swap and is therefore trapped indefinitely. Doom, however, is not trapped, as he could switch back--or switch again with someone else--whenever he wanted to.

    As for the Red Skull, I would guess that he had help from Prince Rudolfo and his underground resistance movement.They'd been driven into the hills right before this, rather than captured or killed, so they were around to cause trouble. They may have been contacted by one or more of the Exiles and so had no idea they were working with the Red Skull, who often liked to lurk behind the scenes. Once the Red Skull was in Latveria, he would, of course, have turned on his allies and thrown them into one of his concentration camps.

    That's my take on things.

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