By Ben Morse
Nothing beats a family feud, and with the Fantastic Four unquestionably the first family of Marvel, that makes Dr. Doom the creepy uncle who nobody wants to talk to at Thanksgiving-probably because he tried to kill you.
From the day the arrogant Victor Von Doom ignored college rival Reed Richards' warnings of a flaw in his machine and burned his face off as a result, the not at all good Doctor has made the destruction of the future Mr. Fantastic and his fantastic family a top spot on his to-do list. Over the years, Doom has brought
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the full malevolence of his technological genius, mastery of the mystic arts and political power as the monarch of Latveria to bear in attempts to annihilate the FF.
FANTASTIC FOUR #553, shipping January 30, sees the conclusion of a struggle between the FF and a future incarnation of Doom as well as the run of writer Dwayne McDuffie and artist Paul Pelletier on the title. But before that latest chapter of the Fantastic Four-Dr. Doom saga draws to a close, take a look back at some of their most memorable past clashes, many of which you can check out on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited
FANTASTIC FOUR v1 #5 (1962)
In his very first appearance, Dr. Doom demonstrated his genius, his power and also his fondness for needlessly overcomplicated plans that come back to bite him in the end, usually with the help of his own overwhelming ego. The Latverian despot kidnaps the Invisible Girl and lures the rest of the FF to his homeland where he demands they use his time travel platform to go back and steal the jewels of the legendary Merlin. Unfortunately for Doom, Reed Richards began a long-standing tradition of foiling his fun by replacing the gems with chains, allowing the rest of the team to get the drop on their shocked captor. Hey Victor: if you can build a friggin' time machine, just go get the jewels yourself, dude. And also maybe save your fried face while you're at it!
Read it here
FANTASTIC FOUR v1 #10 (1963)
Exiled to space after being betrayed by the Sub-Mariner in a joint campaign against the FF, Dr. Doom finds salvation with the alien Ovoids, who also train him to transfer his consciousness into the body of another. Armed with his new trick, Doom returns to Earth and recruits his most diabolical allies of all: the FF's own creators, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby! With Doom threatening their lives, Stan and Jack have no choice but to trick Mr. Fantastic into visiting the Marvel offices where his nemesis swaps bodies with him-something that takes place here more often than you'd think. Sue, Ben and Johnny eventually figure out Reed seems to be sneering a bit too much and manage to undo the switcheroo, but not before Doom sews discord amongst the team-and no doubt peed on the toilet seat.
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FANTASTIC FOUR v1 #57-60 (1966-1967)
In the most ambitious scheme of his early years as a would-be world conqueror, Dr. Doom played on the frustrations and fear of the cosmically-powered Silver Surfer, imprisoned on Earth following his rebellion against Galactus, offering the alien sanctuary in Latveria only to siphon his powers via a machine of his own design. Now with the power of an interstellar demigod, Doom easily handed the FF their collective rear end, but once again proved his own undoing when he attempted to leave Earth and conquer the stars, only to run face-plate first into the barrier Galactus had erected to keep the Surfer earthbound, returning the Power Cosmic to its rightful owner in the process.
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FANTASTIC FOUR v1 #236 (1981)
Having failed to overcome the Fantastic Four time and again, Dr. Doom decided to eliminate his greatest enemies once and for all in a way they would never suspect: by giving them their fondest wishes. Teaming with the Puppet Master, Doom constructs "Liddleville," a miniature world populated by synthetic beings. Abducting the FF and Alicia Masters, longtime girlfriend of the Thing and beloved niece of the Puppet Master, Doom placed their minds into Liddleville bodies, wiping their minds of their prior lives and allowing them to live out an average existence undisturbed. Unfortunately for Doom, the fighting spirit of the Fantastic Four overcame his mental conditioning and they chose to be heroes rather than be happy, trapping their enemy in his own tiny paradise where the Puppet Master led the populace against his partner over his treatment of Alicia.
FANTASTIC FOUR v1 #381 (1993)
Dr. Doom did actually succeed in killing Mr. Fantastic-at least for a little while. After badly injuring himself attempting to harness the power of the alien Hunger, in a final desperate gambit Doom seemingly disintegrated both himself and his oldest foe in a massive energy blast. In reality, both Doom and Richards had been teleported away and imprisoned by Hyperstorm, an alternate reality version of Reed's son Franklin, until the FF later managed to free them.
FANTASTIC FOUR v3 #67-70, #500 (2003)
Abandoning his traditional tech-based strategies and embracing the heritage of sorcery passed down to him by his mother, Doom perhaps went further than ever in his vendetta against the Fantastic Four in the five-part "Unthinkable" saga by Mark Waid and the late, great Mike Wieringo. Sacrificing his childhood love, Valeria, to the demonic Haazareth, Doom fortifies his mystic strength and strikes at the heart of the FF, trapping Franklin in hell and placing Ben, Sue and Johnny in torturous devices, challenging lifelong skeptic Reed to learn magic in order to challenge him. With an assist from Dr. Strange-whom Doom thought he had successfully imprisoned-Reed manages to rescue his son and lead the Haazareth to claim Doom as a substitute, but not before his armored rival exacts a measure of revenge on Mr. Fantastic by scarring his
face and bringing their relationship full circle.
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