Dr. Doom Is Very Different Now

Illustration for article titled Dr. Doom Is Very Different Now

At the end of the last version of the Marvel Universe, Dr. Doom became something like a hero. He snatched enough power from near-omnipotent beings to stop the end of the multiverse and saved portions of various multiple realities. Now that things are back to normal, he’s evil again. Or is he?

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Two weeks ago, Victor Von Doom showed up at the end of Invincible Iron Man #1, looking handsome and unencumbered by armor. Today, the former leader of Latveria gets a big chunk of the spotlight in the latest issue of Tony Stark’s new series and it seems like the changes might run very deep indeed.

Spoilers follow.

Illustration for article titled Dr. Doom Is Very Different Now

The armored Avenger does what most heroes would do when confronted with Marvel’s alpha nemesis: he tries to take him out right away.

Illustration for article titled Dr. Doom Is Very Different Now

When energy attacks don’t work, Tony uses his fancy new shape-shifting armor to try brute force. He doesn’t get any satisfaction there and finally agrees to hear Doom out. The archvillain explains that Madame Masque stole something that she was told was very powerful.

Illustration for article titled Dr. Doom Is Very Different Now
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Doom’s partnership with Iron Man to deal with Tony’s evil former paramour is an interesting shift for the character. Once upon a time, he’d have been the one snatching up powerful artifacts for his own secret plans. Here, he’s helping a good guy retrieve them. And while it’s almost certain that Doom has his own agenda here, he’s not operating the way he used to. No feats of technological showmanship, no grandiose bluster... just slick, knowing negotiation with just enough magical defense to show that he can hold his own.


It makes a weird kind of sense that Tony Stark and Victor Von Doom are being set up as rivals. So far there hasn’t been any sign of Reed Richards in Marvel’s post-Secret Wars comics and part of Doom’s core motivation has been to show how his genius trumps anyone else. With Mr. Fantastic absent, Tony Stark becomes a natural foil for Doom. And magic’s always been tricky for Iron Man to handle. This could be the start of a re-alignment of antagonism for two of Marvel’s biggest players.

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Contact the author at evan@kotaku.com.

DISCUSSION

One of many reasons that I love Doom as a character is that he can become both hero and villain simply by nature of altering his surroundings. He can stay the same, but the world can change, and with it others can see Doom as either a villain, hero, tyrant, liberator, destroyer, or savior.

I’m interested to see what becomes of Doom. One thing that always amused me was, in situations where Reed Richards disappears, Doom is presented at his most heroic (DOOM 2099 was a great read).

He’s never been “good”, but his brand of “evil” was always complicated. He’s the hero of his own story, in his own mind, always trying to bring order and peace to a world he sees as mad and chaotic. And... he’s not entirely wrong.

His methods were his ultimate brain of villain (“end justifies the means”) along with his own inability to admit his faults.