Tragedy Among the Gypsies
Victor von Doom was born to the Zefiro travelers (Gypsies) Werner and Cynthia in Latveria, a small European country which grew out of Hungary and was ruled by King Vladimir Vassily Gonereo Tristian Mangegi Fortunov, Baron of Sabbat, Baron of Haasen, Baron of Krozi. Victor barely knew his mother, a witch who had invoked the demon Mephisto for power, which raged out of control before she was finally slain by a soldier. Before dying, she asked Werner to protect young Victor from Mephisto. Victor’s father, a doctor, was forced to treat King Vladimir’s wife. When Werner could not cure her cancer, Vladimir blamed him for his wife’s death, and Werner fled with Victor. Werner died from exposure to the cold while protecting his son. Before dying, Werner placed Victor into the care of his best friend, Boris, and tried to warn his son of the fearful life he foresaw him falling into, but he died before he could make Victor understand.
A Chosen Path
Discovering his mother’s mystical artifacts, Victor schooled himself in sorcery. He began an annual contest against the might of Mephisto, attempting to set his mother’s soul free. By the time he was a teenager, he had also become a scientific genius and used his inventions to wage a one-man war against the monarchy of Latveria, always a step ahead of them. His genius was heard of even in America, and he was invited to New York’s Empire State University on a scholarship. Victor had been in love with Boris’ granddaughter Valeria, but he left her behind as his desire to acquire knowledge and the means to seek revenge on others consumed him.
Disgraced, Scarred, and Doomed
Arriving at State, Doom was greeted by Reed Richards, a fellow student who was interested in rooming with him, but Doom rejected his offer of friendship. Throughout his university days, Doom pursued a rivalry with Richards, convinced of his own superior intellect. Doom’s greatest invention was a machine designed to rescue his mother’s soul from the netherworld. Richards tried to warn him of a flaw in his calculations, but Doom was too proud to listen. He activated the machine and it exploded in his face. Expelled for the explosion, Doom sustained only a few facial scars, but believed his looks had been ruined. Filled with self-loathing he left America for Tibet, seeking new enlightenment. There he found the Aged Genghis, one of the enigmatic Immortal Nine. The now senile sorcerer directed him to seek out a long-lost order of monks. Doom made them his servants and had them forge his first suit of armor, designed to hide his features from the world. Doom had them press the mask to his face before it had cooled, ensuring that if his face had not been hideous before, it was now.
The New Ruler of Latveria – For Life
Dr. Doom then conquered Latveria, slaying King Vladimir, imprisoning his son Rudolfo, and having a robot duplicate of Rudolfo surrender the Latverian crown to him, after which he renamed the capital city, Haasenstadt, as Doomstadt. He used his genius and technology to transform Latveria into a paradise where no citizen wants, no one is threatened by war, and all praise Doom– or face the consequences. While Doom maintained a puppet prime minister, the outside world was largely unaware of Doom’s status as ruler, tending to dismiss his existence as a myth. Doom stepped up his scientific prowess, designing a time machine and robotic duplicates of himself: his Doombots. In one of his earliest time travels he journeyed back to World War II and considered killing Adolf Hitler for the crimes his Nazi regime had inflicted upon the Zefiro and other travelers, but ultimately decided to leave him to his own fate.
Goals Set Down
Armed with his genius and the might of Latveria, Victor set for himself three goals: to rescue his mother, to prove his superiority over Reed Richards, and to conquer the world. By this time, Reed and his friends had become the Fantastic Four, so Dr. Doom sought them out and abducted the Invisible Girl. He forced the other members to journey back in time to recover the gems of the legendary sorcerer Merlin for him; but Mr. Fantastic tricked him, bringing back a chest full of chains instead. Although the FF survived Doom’s attacks, Doom escaped them by using a Doombot as a decoy. Dr. Doom next formed an alliance with the Sub-Mariner, believing that their mutual hatred of the FF made for a natural partnership. Doom nearly cast the Baxter Building into the sun, but the Sub-Mariner turned on him and Doom was cast adrift into space. He was saved by the alien Ovoids who taught him how to exchange bodies with others. With this new power, he had Marvel Comics creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby lure Mr. Fantastic into a trap so that he could take over his body. However, the Fantastic Four saw through Doom’s facade and he was forced back into his own body, then accidentally cast into the microverse.
Through Time and Space
But the microverse proved to be merely a new challenge for Dr. Doom’s genius rather than a prison. Doom conquered Mirwood, the kingdom of Princess Pearla, and brought the Fantastic Four there as prisoners. Aided by Ant-Man (Hank Pym), the Fantastic Four escaped and followed Doom back to Earth, where they battled him aboard his Flying Fortress, from which he threatened to unleash chaos throughout the globe–when the FF thwarted his plan, he escaped again. Doom soon attempted to reclaim his abandoned Flying Fortress from military custody, but the newly-formed Avengers intervened and he was forced to destroy it. Dr. Doom next empowered and sent the Terrible Trio (Bull Brogin, Yogi Dakor, and Harry Phillips) against the Fantastic Four, but this plot also failed and ended with Doom cast into space by a Solar Wave, a fate he had meant for the FF. He was rescued by the time traveler Rama-Tut, who was so impressed with Doom that upon his return to his own time, he created for himself the masked identity of Kang the Conqueror. Rama-Tut had suggested to Doom at the time that they might actually be the same person, though this eventually proved false.
A Crushing Defeat
Dr. Doom next engaged Reed in a mental battle at the Latverian Embassy to determine who had the greater intellect. They employed an encephalo-gun which would cast the loser into Limbo, and Doom seemed to win the contest; but Reed had actually hypnotized Doom into believing Reed was cast into Limbo. When Doom was freed from the mesmerism by a Latverian hypnotist, he again targeted the Fantastic Four, who had temporarily lost their powers. But Doom was humiliated in the ensuing battle when the Thing regained his powers and angrily crushed Doom’s hands inside his gauntlets then allowed him to slink away, furious that he had been forced to become the Thing in order to stop Doom. Doom, in turn, never forgot what the Thing had done.
The Machinations of Doom
When Reed Richards was wed to Sue Storm, a spiteful Doom used an Emotion Charger to send scores of super-villains to the wedding site, but they were defeated by the FF and their super-heroic wedding guests. Reed ultimately undid the assault with a sub-atronic time displacer which sent all of the villains back to before Doom summoned them with no memory of what had occurred. Reed and Sue’s wedding took place without further incident. Doom engaged in new schemes, once stealing the Silver Surfer’s powers, which he lost by challenging the barrier Galactus had placed around the Earth. He also swapped bodies with Daredevil, but this farce was foiled by the FF. Doom’s obsession with the FF once nearly led him to sacrifice an entire Latverian village to kill them. Doom has also played deadly games with his robot, the Prime Mover, games which have manipulated Nick Fury and Shang-Chi into battling robot duplicates of enemies such as the Yellow Claw and Razor-Fist.
Diablo once tried to force Doom into a partnership by holding his long-lost love Valeria hostage, but Doom used his time machine to cast Diablo into the future. He saved Valeria, but then lost her again–Valeria was ashamed of Doom’s gloating over Diablo’s fate. Doom’s throne was threatened by its rightful heir, Prince Rudolfo, who was assisted by the extraterrestrial Faceless One. Doom also had to contend with his rogue creation the Doomsman, and with the Red Skull, who attempted to claim Latveria for himself. The Black Panther, ruler of Wakanda, foiled Doom’s attempt to steal Wakanda’s Vibranium, but Doom intended to make an ally of T’Challa one day. Doom also accumulated various power objects, culminating in his using the Cosmic Cube to usurp Galactus’ power, but Reed stole the Cube, reversed its effects, and erased the events from everyone’s memory. Doom also fought side-by-side with the FF to save the Earth from the Overmind, acknowledging that while he had no love for them, he would not allow anyone to threaten Latveria.
A History of Ugly Partnerships
When the Faceless One sponsored another Latverian revolt, Doom hired Luke Cage to spy on them in the United States; however, he then refused to pay Cage for his services, so Cage tracked Doom down in Latveria and fought him to a standstill until Doom finally agreed to pay Cage what he was due. After rejecting Doom’s offer of a new alliance, Namor reluctantly sought Doom’s aid when the people of Atlantis were rendered comatose and Mr. Fantastic could not revive them. Namor aided Doom against Andro, formerly the Doomsman, who had brought many of Doom’s robots under his control through a self-created religion; Doom in turn aided Namor against his enemies Dr Dorcas, Tiger Shark, Krang, and Attuma. Still, Namor could not bring himself to fully trust Doom, so Doom ruined the water rebreather suit Namor needed to survive at that time and threatened to destroy Atlantis unless Namor pledged his allegiance to him. Namor was forced to comply.
A War With the Master of Magnetism
Learning of Namor’s fate, the FF came to Latveria to aid him, only to discover that the United States had signed a non-aggression pact with Latveria, forcing them to depart. Surviving an assassination attempt by the vigilante Shroud, Doom subsequently mind-controlled the Avengers into fighting Attuma for him. Finally, after receiving Namor’s aid against the Red Skull, who had slain Rudolfo and briefly usurped control of Latveria, Doom made good on his bargain, restoring the Atlanteans to consciousness; Namor then ended their partnership. Following this, Doom spread a neuro-gas into Earth’s atmosphere to bind the entire world’s population to his will. His authority was challenged by the mutant Magneto, and they fought, manipulating the Champions, Avengers and Hulk into fighting for their sides. When Doom was attacked by the Ghost Rider, his mask overheated and he was forced to remove it, inhaling his own neuro-gas; this rendered him unable to control anyone affected by the gas. Via power gained from the Negative Zone, Doom accessed the netherworld, only to be overwhelmed by spirits posing as his parents.
Realizing that his villainous actions had injured Latveria’s reputation, Doom planned to abdicate the throne to his “son”, actually a clone of himself named Victor von Doom II; but his son’s true origins were exposed, and Doom was forced to slay the clone when it turned against him. However, this plot had merely been a ruse for Doom to take mental control of the United Nations using his Solartron Complex. After he was exposed to multiple images of his own face projected by the Solartron, Doom went completely insane and was imprisoned. Prince Zorba, Rudolfo’s younger brother, reclaimed his family’s throne from Doom, but Doom was freed by Boris and regained his sanity.
An Heir to the Throne
Aided by the Puppet Master, Doom had the Fantastic Four’s minds placed into miniature synthetic bodies, living a mostly-idyllic life in the miniature town of “Liddleville” within his Adirondack Castle. Doom hoped this would prevent the FF from interfering with his attempts to regain the throne, but the FF managed to turn the tables on him and he wound up imprisoned within a synthetic body in Liddleville. The Puppet Master, furious at how his stepdaughter Alicia had been treated by Doom’s world, led an army against him there. Doom sought aid from the alien Microns when they passed through, but was finally rescued when his Doombots activated a contingency plan to return his consciousness to his own body. Learning that Latveria had fallen into anarchy without him, Doom convinced the Fantastic Four to assist him in overthrowing the now-insane Zorba and retaking his throne. Doom himself slew Zorba. In the aftermath, a young Latverian boy named Kristoff Vernard was orphaned by Zorba’s forces and Doom took the child under his protection, making him his heir. Another man, Alexander Flynn, claimed to be Doom’s true son, but that was later shown to be a falsehood created by the mutant telepath Shadow King.
New Power, Gained and Lost
Unleashing Terrax against the Fantastic Four, Doom was disintegrated when Terrax exploded in a blast of cosmic energy. Using the Ovoid technique, Doom transferred his mind into the body of an onlooker, Norman McArthur, an instant before his death. He eventually regained his original body from the Beyonder, who sent him back a short distance in time to participate in the “Secret Wars” on his artificially created Battleworld. There Doom briefly usurped the immense power of not only Galactus, but the Beyonder himself, though he eventually lost all of his stolen power. Back on Earth, Doom once more achieved world domination, using the Purple Man’s mind control powers to subjugate the global population. Although Doom was able to solve most of the world’s problems by using his work in Latveria as a model, he found the mindless obedience of humanity unsatisfying, and ultimately allowed the Purple Man to slip from his grasp during a conflict with the Avengers and Namor.
The Rise and Fall of Kristoff Vernard
After Terrax seemingly killed Doom, his Doombots had activated a contingency plan whereby Doom’s past experiences were implanted within Kristoff’s mind so that he could assume Doom’s role. Kristoff went mad, believing he was Doom trapped in the body of a child. While Kristoff ruled Latveria, one of the Doombots, believing itself to be the true Doom, made a weak attempt to overthrow him. Finally, the true Dr. Doom returned to Latveria following a time travel adventure, and he retook the throne from Kristoff. Soon after this he helped cure Ms. Marvel (Sharon Ventura), a new member of the FF who had become a grotesque “She-Thing”. Doom used her to spy on the FF, but she eventually gave in to her conscience and turned against him. He transformed her into an even more grotesque creature as punishment.
Doom Defeated? Never!
Doom often attributes his many defeats to his Doombots; perhaps the most humiliating case is when Squirrel Girl defeated a Doombot by sending her squirrels to chew apart the wiring in its armor. Another Doombot participated in the “Acts of Vengeance” teaming up with the other prime movers–who were unknowingly pawns of the Asgardian trickster-god Loki–against new foes. Other Doombots, such as Mechadoom, have even turned against Doom and pursued their own goals, though such betrayal rarely long survives Doom’s discovery. Doom has seen to it that Latveria’s history is constantly revised to suit his needs, employing the mysterious Editor to affect all such changes. Doom tends to blame failures on underlings–such as Gustav and Gert Hauptmann–who seldom live to fail again. Doom claims to have a contingency plan for every situation, and regards the FF’s victories over him as mere setbacks. Doom’s greatest victory came when, after years of combating Mephisto, he and Dr. Strange finally rescued the soul of Cynthia von Doom from Hell, allowing her to pass on to a better afterlife.
The Death of Doom
After briefly usurping the cosmic energies of Aron the Watcher, Doom was severely wounded while seeking the power of the alien Hunger. Doom attempted to take Reed with him and the pair were seemingly disintegrated in a powerful energy blast; however, the immensely powerful Hyperstorm had teleported them away. Long believed dead, Doom was freed from his extra-dimensional prison by the Fantastic Four and Kristoff, and aided them against Hyperstorm. Returning to Earth, Doom seemingly died yet again, this time alongside Earth’s heroes battling Onslaught; but Doom and the others were preserved in the new Counter-Earth, created by Franklin Richards, and Doom lived out a new life in which he was an old friend of Bruce Banner, Reed Richards and Tony Stark, who had all been members of a fraternity called “Knights of the Atomic Table”.
Conquering All Reality
But history repeated itself, and Doom became a villain on this Earth as well. When the heroes regained their memories, Doom helped them return to their own Earth via the Negative Zone, but when he attempted to abscond with Franklin, Doom was assaulted by Thor and cast back to Counter-Earth. With no super heroes to oppose him, Doom soon became ruler of Counter-Earth. He recruited Divinity, Dorma, Lancer, Shakti and Technarx as lieutenants, and won a decisive victory over the powerful Dreaming Celestial, which had attempted to claim Counter-Earth for itself. For a while, Doom ruled both Counter-Earth and Latveria simultaneously by projecting holograms back to Earth, but he ultimately found that Counter-Earth could never equal the utopia of his Latveria, so he returned to Earth to resume his duties in Latveria, leaving Lancer to rule Counter-Earth in his stead. Doom has also shown an infatuation with the X-Men’s Storm (Ororo Munroe). Via the powers of a defective Cosmic Cube, Doom once merged two realities, creating one in which he ruled Earth as emperor, with Storm as his queen. Like all of such efforts to achieve supreme power, however, the power was eventually usurped from him, and normal reality restored.
The Road to Hell
When Thor led an unauthorized invasion of Slokovia, a country neighboring Latveria, Doom aided the Avengers in fighting their rogue ally-manipulating events so that when Slokovia’s government collapsed, Doom moved in and annexed the country, adding it to Latveria. Dr. Doom assisted in the birth of Reed and Susan’s daughter Valeria Richards, who was named after Doom’s childhood love, but Doom only performed this act of kindness as part of a grander scheme. Having recognized that it was in magic that he was truly Reed’s superior, Doom forged an alliance with the Haazareth Three demons and sacrificed to them his greatest love, Valeria. The Haazareth increased his mystical might to the point where he was a threat to even Dr. Strange. Dr. Doom fashioned for himself new armor from his former lover’s body and made Valeria Richards his familiar. He wielded his new mystical power against the Fantastic Four, attempting to break them as he never had before, sending Franklin Richards to Hell and torturing the FF. Once again, Reed defeated him by both mastering some magic himself and turning Doom’s own pride against him by having him claim to acknowledge no superior in front of the Haazareth. The Haazareth took Doom into Hell with them, but he left “parting gifts”– a traumatized Franklin and a scar down the left side of Reed’s face.Determined to devise a final solution to Doom, Reed created an infinitely large Mobius dimension to serve as Doom’s prison, and had all of Doom’s backup equipment in Latveria destroyed. Doom briefly escaped the prison by taking mental possession of the FF, but was ultimately forced back into his own body.
Recently, Doom escaped from the Mobius dimension while chasing after the Mjolnir (Thor’s hammer) which was flying through the dimensions following the fall of Asgard. Returning to Latveria, Doom assumed that he was worthy of the hammer since it appeared for him and went with a troupe of robots to obtain it. He was met by the FF, who wished to stop him. Doom reached the hammer, but found he was not worthy of lifting it. Angered, Doom returned to Latveria, where he currently resides.