Character from the Marvel Comics universe. He first appeared in Fantastic Four #5. Dr. Doom's full name is Victor Von Doom. He doesn't seem to actually have a doctorate in anything, although he is smart enough to have a doctorate in just about everything.

The story behind Dr. Doom is one of pride and persecution complexes. Victor and his parents were part of a tribe of gypsies, and as such, they were harassed by the governments of the countries that they traveled through. His mother knew some magic, and made a deal with Mephisto to try to help her tribe. It didn't work as expected, and she, as well as Victor's father, was killed. Her soul was trapped in Mephisto's demonic dimension, and Victor spent much of his time trying to find a way to get her out.

Victor was a studious boy, amassing as much knowledge as he could about both science and magic. His drive to learn was fueled by his intense desire to get revenge for his family. In college, he tried to build a machine to contact his mother. It blew up in his face, which he blamed on Reed Richards, his only intellectual rival at the school. Reed pointed out some mistakes in Doom's calculations before he tried to use the machine, and it was these mistakes that led to the explosion. After the explosion, Doom left school and went to Tibet, where he lived with a group of monks who made the iron mask he wears. Doom wears his iron mask to hide his scars from the explosion. (Well, probably. There is still a debate as to whether he was hideously scarred from the explosion, or if they were minor scars and he put the mask on while it was too hot, scarring him that way.)

After staging a coup and taking control of Latveria, Doom did what anyone would do. He devoted his life to trying to destroy Reed Richards. Reed Richards had gained superpowers by then, but Doom's position as ruler of Latveria kind of evened things out. Being a foreign head of state has all sorts of perks, like diplomatic immunity. The good doctor was initially unsuccesful in his attempts to destroy Richards and his Fantastic Four, so he expanded his horizons. He proceeded to take on pretty much every hero in the Marvel Universe. (The only one that tolerates him is Silver Sable, who is the ruler of a neighboring country.) His android Doombots, robotic look-alikes, have also been known to mess with heroes, and sometimes even ruled Latveria in his absence.

But don't forget about his sorcerous abilities. Dr. Strange is the only magician more powerful than him. As second in line for the title of Sorceror Supreme, Doom was allowed to make a request of Strange. Doom's request was that Strange get his mother's soul out of the demonic dimension she was in. While there, Doom tried to betray Strange, but when his mother found this out, she rejected him. Of course, this was all part of Doom's plan. His mother's rejection of his evil redeemed her soul, releasing her from the dimension she was in. (This all happened in the Triumph and Torment trade paperback.)

But wait, there's more! Dr. Doom has a time machine, the only one in the Marvel Universe (although this does not make him the only time traveller in the Marvel Universe). He is probably the only person to successfully take over the world. (See the Emperor Doom trade paperback.) He got bored with it, though, and let the heroes beat him. He has stolen the Power Cosmic from the Silver Surfer, and the god-like power of The Beyonder. The man has acheived his goal again and again, yet it is never enough. He continues to be probably the most resourceful villain in the entire Marvel Universe.

Doctor Doom first appeared in an issue of Fantastic Four dated July of 1962, which means that we now have fifty years of stories featuring Doctor Doom. He is primarily an antagonist of the Fantastic Four, but he also is a frequent opponent of The Avengers. He has been around often enough that it would be a difficult task to find a month in which he doesn't appear in at least one Marvel title. He has also appeared in a variety of other Marvel spin-offs, such as television, movies, and video games. In that time, some of Marvel's best creators, such as Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Walt Simonson, John Byrne and Mark Waid, defined Doom's personality.

All of this is a prelude to saying that a complete history of Doctor Doom would be difficult to compile. And would be pedantic, since comic books are not heavy on consistency, continuity nerds to the contrary. And Doctor Doom has been many things in his history. Sometimes he is a slight variation on Lex Luthor, the jealous genius. Sometimes he is like Cao Cao, the amoral leader who believes he is entitled to break laws for what he sees as the Greater Good. Sometimes he is a theme villain, an evil Iron Man: just a thug in a powered suit. Sometimes he is working on an almost cosmic scale, scheming against Galactus or Mephisto. Sometimes he just gets punched out by Spider-Man. This is true of most comic book characters, heroic or villainous, but it might be more prominent in the case of Doctor Doom.

The basic portrayal of Doctor Doom will run along a continuum. On one hand, Doctor Doom is a cultured, intelligent man who loves the arts and always keeps his own code of honor, and is genuinely concerned about the people of Latveria. He is often dealing with events on such a cosmic scale that normal rules of morality seem not to apply. Doctor Doom is a bit of a Nietzchen uberman. On the other hand, Doctor Doom can also be portrayed as a vain, selfish, violent and petty man who uses his scientific genius as an excuse for being an immature narcissist. And then sometimes, the entire character spectrum is put aside and all Doctor Doom is, is a man in a suit who can blow stuff up. How Doctor Doom is portrayed is a function of the writer's taste, the current trends in comic book psychology, and what type of medium he appears in (television show Doctor Doom is going to be less sinister than graphic novel Doctor Doom). How the reader chooses to view him is a matter of the reader's taste, whether we read comic books for an explication on the nature of human evil, or whether we view them to see explosions and fisticuffs.

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