There are a few characters vying for the position of Marvel’s top villain. Strangely, several of them are in the Avengers, but that’s a story for another time. There isn’t going to be a true consensus among fans who the biggest bad is in Marvel, but there’s a good chance that Doctor Doom would top a majority of people’s lists. A low-born, poverty-stricken boy, Victor Von Doom (geez, these names) became a world renowned scientist and attempted to use his influence and intelligence to help his desperate home country, Latveria. However, he was scarred in an accident which really triggered his vanity and instability. Rather than help his country, he rules it with an iron hand.
Doctor Doom is a tragic character. He truly believes himself to be the good guy and does (sometimes) mean well, but his ego gets in his way. Well, that and the borderline insanity. Despite having a large role in the Marvel Comics verse, his depictions in film have been less than flattering. However, with the news that FOX has a solo film in development focused entirely on the Latverian dictator, we thought we’d take a look at this complicated character’s equally complicated history. Here are the 15 Worst Things Doctor Doom Has Done, and yes, the doctor will see you now.
15 Took over the entire world...
Doctor Doom has taken over the world on several occasions. Rather than using cosmic powers as he has in Secret Wars, there was one time where it was all thanks to a combination of magnificent scientific prowess and absolute cruelty. Victor kidnapped the Purple Man (who was still a non-threatening D-lister at the time) in order to hook him up to machinery that would allow him to control the minds of everyone in the world. But first, Doom needed to make sure Purple Man knew his place. Kilgrave attempted to use his abilities to make Victor kill himself, but his will was too strong. No one had ever been able to resist Purple Man’s psychic abilities until right then. Kilgrave toed the line after that.
And then Doom took over the world and...actually made it a better place. The economy boomed, wars ended, and everybody loved him for it.
14 ...but he got bored and gave up
As Spock once said, “Sometimes wanting is better than having.” Sure, everybody loved Victor Von Doom, but they were brainwashed into it. It wasn’t real. He wanted everyone to give up their free will freely, which is an incredible insight into his ego and psychosis.
Then Namor—the poor man’s Aquaman—shows up. Turns out, Doom forgot about Namor and Atlantis because, well, wouldn’t you? Between the boredom of ruling over a peaceful world along with ruling over the brainwashed silent masses of said world, Doom decided to stand back and allow Namor to destroy his machinery, freeing the Purple Man from his prison and saving the world. War, cruelty and the unending production of Fast and Furious movies continued. But we had our freedom back, which is nice.
13 He wouldn’t let a crippled boy leave Latveria
Doctor Doom isn’t exactly a people person in the traditional sense. He does love his people, but only as long as they don't get in his way. When the Avengers invaded Latveria (it’s really hard to pick a side here), Doctor Doom closed the borders to make sure they couldn’t escape, hoping to use his forces to smoke out, surround, and destroy Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. There was only one problem: a disabled Latverian boy needed to leave the country to get a life-saving surgery (what a surprise that Latveria has awful health care).
Doom worried that re-opening the borders would give the Avengers a chance to escape, so he basically shrugged and told the kid that life isn’t fair. It is, actually, a valuable life lesson, but not one the kid can really appreciate or adapt to for very much longer. You know, because Doctor Doom essentially just let him die and whatnot.
12 He’s Incredibly Cheap
Being fiscally responsible is an important quality in a leader, but then again, so is honesty. Doctor Doom is a chizler and a liar. This isn’t a great sign. Luke Cage had a run-in during his Hero for Hire days and ended up taking the Latverian despot on as a client. Some of Victor’s Doombots had gone rogue, and he needed them destroyed. He hired Cage because the bots were disguised as African Americans, giving the freelancer a greater reason to take the job. Doom then skipped town rather than pay Cage the $200 he promised.
First, Luke Cage needs to know his worth. Even adjusted for inflation, that was a low rate. Second, Doom is the leader of an entire country. Granted, it’s a crap country, but he can afford more than that.
Another incident saw Doom spend the money to create the Terrible Trio—a gang of super-powered maniacs—to do his bidding. Rather than pay them for their services, he banished them to limbo until they were useful to him again.
11 He stole Namor's Sea Horn just to be a dick
We mentioned earlier that Namor is a braying jackass who was really quite angry at Doctor Doom. Well, we may have the reason why. In the kid-friendly series Spidey Super Stories, Doctor Doom was reduced to being little more than a spastic nuisance. He ended up touring Atlantis, where Namor took Victor to see his poorly decorated throne room. Upon seeing a giant sea horn, which was a priceless Atlantean musical instrument, Doctor Doom began playing it, to the king’s chagrin. Then Doom ran off with it, getting away on some bizarre Atlantean cro-magnon hippo-dinosaur looking thing while yelling, “Ha-ha! I’m the master of the world!”
Admittedly, after this we really can’t argue his point. While we can never be entirely certain, there is also a good chance that before leaving Atlantis, the good doctor left an upper-decker in the royal washroom.
10 Dr. Doom revealed as a Brony
Doctor Doom is known for his odd, courtly, yet overwrought patois. Writer Brian Michael Bendis, meanwhile, is very well known to comic fans for his dialogue. The art is sometimes drowned out by his poppy, talky dialogue balloons as characters ramble on in conversations that are meant to be more realistic than we normally see. Unfortunately, Bendis does tend to overwrite. It’s become something that the Internet loves to roast—altering and parodying the dialogue in the comics he’s written.
Bendis’ Doctor Doom dialogue was less than stellar, so an internet hero changed it, and immortalized the good doctor as a Brony. Doom then regales us with a reading of his My Little Pony fanfiction (called Galaxy Trails; it’s only the first volume). It has since taken on a life of its own. There’s a popular redub of the old Fantastic Four cartoon where the doctor declares his love for the series, more altered comic book panels of Doom describing his favorite characters, and entire catalogues of fan art mixing Doctor Doom and the My Little Pony franchise together. It’s all quite unsettling.
9 His movie appearances
Common sense would dictate that if you’re going to be a world-conquering villain, you should exude dominance and scare those around you. Casual fans will only know Doctor Doom from the recent Fantastic Four movies. The first two were goofy and campy, and featured a version of Victor whose skin turned to metal, making him look like a cheap-ripoff of the T-1000. The 2015 reboot turned him into a Tron-inspired Crash Test Dummy. It tried for grim; but ended up becoming a parody. Rather than be played like a man whose fall from grace is both operatic and tragic, the live-action Von Doom is a socially awkward, lovelorn creep who becomes evil because the plot requires him to.
There’s a strong argument to be made that Doctor Doom’s biggest enemy is himself. Judging from his film appearances, yes, that’s clearly true; no one could look at the character in the same light after these films. You could even imagine them being made in the regular Marvel universe as propaganda against him, or as an evil ploy to bore us all to death.
8 Doors, cake, and vandalism
Doctor Doom has a bizarre fixation on cake. While having a state dinner with a fellow villain, Doom was offered a slice of strawberry (?) cake. Since he was full, the magnanimous despot ordered his servant to “bestow it on some deserving peasant family with my command to enjoy it.” Well, that’s nice. People are starving in the streets, but at least they can have cake given to them by Victor Von Antoinette. Another incident found Doctor Doom celebrating his birthday with a giant cake gifted to him by his loyal subjects. It turns out that law requires the cake; his subjects are given a choice to either make the cake or labor in the mines.
Doom also refused any doors be built in his castle. He’d prefer to crash through walls like the Kool Aid Man, necessitating constant repairs. When asked about this, he claimed that doors were for peasants. Admittedly, this isn’t evil so much as awesome.
Finally, Doom once revealed that he previously owned four Pierre Auguste Renoir paintings, but destroyed one of them because it “displeased him.” We here at Screen Rant much prefer the work of Bruegel, so we remain unmoved by his revelation.
7 His relationship with Scarlet Witch
After going insane, killing three of her teammates and then committing genocide against the mutants, Scarlet Witch was left depowered and amnesiac. Doctor Doom came upon her, and the two legitimately fell in love. Doom himself took steps to ensure that she remained unaware of her previous life; not only would her ignorance protect the world, but she would have a peaceful life. When the Avengers and the X-Men came to take her back, her powers and memories (along with her instability) returned, and she attacks everyone. Doom was furious over the loss, even yelling at Magneto that this was his fault; mind you, Mags controls metal and Doom wears nothing but metal, but Doom still told him off.
But through the power of love, Doom and Scarlet Witch remained together…until he went mad for power again and tried to remake the world in his image. She stopped him, scarring his face all over again. Doom broke up with her and implied that he manipulated her into destroying the mutants in the first place. What a dick.
6 That time he threatened Santa Claus
This story, published in a 1991 issue of What The?!, doesn’t take place in the regular Marvel Universe. However, this is a printed story, so there is a universe where this story really did happen. Doctor Doom disliked Christmas and decided to pull a full-on Grinch. He dressed up like Santa (putting a red suit and beard over his cloak and iron mask) and went about stealing everyone’s presents.
The Avengers fight him in the streets when some dumb orphan confuses Doom with the real St. Nick and asks him why the superheroes are beating him senseless. The kid’s doe-eyed expression melts his heart, and he decides to give all the toys back. The real Santa Claus shows up and compliments Victor, who then threatens the jolly old diabetic. It’s revealed privately that Doom kept a teddy bear for himself, which he smiles at and hugs.
Next time someone tells you Doctor Doom is so cool, bring this up to them.
5 He created a Flashpoint-level retcon
To DC Comics fans, Flashpoint is an infamous story. It heralded the New 52, which saw characters like Wally West, Cassandra Cain, and Stephanie Brown disappear. It massively reshaped the DCU into something incredibly bleak and base in an attempt to do something more “youthful and edgy.”
When Doctor Doom obtained the powers of the Beyonder at the end of Secret Wars II, it caused Reed Richards, Franklin Richards, and Molecule Man to remake the Marvel-616 universe. And look at the events that have taken place since: Iron Man is in a coma, Captain America is a Nazi, and there were truly terrible sequels to Civil War and The Clone Saga. There’s non-stop political soapboxing, the X-Men are an afterthought, and the Fantastic Four disappeared. All the good guys are bad guys, all the bad guys are good guys. Dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. Yeah, thanks, Doc. You really made things better.
4 “First night”
We’ve made a lot of jokes at Doom’s expense here. Quite a bit of his villainous history is very funny—he’s been defeated by Squirrel Girl (which is, really, more embarrassing than funny) or the time he dressed up as Santa. Writers have even tried to paint a more complicated portrait of the man: “Sure, he’s a psychotic dictator, but there’s total peace in Latveria!” Well, that false moralism has led to a lack of freedom and the right of “first night” (historically known as Droit du seigneur) that Doctor Doom loves to take advantage of.
As the sovereign of Latveria, he has the right to sleep with any woman in the country at any time. If they deny him, he’ll just have them killed. As seen in the picture above, it isn’t something to look forward to. It’s legalized rape. If that isn’t uncomfortable enough, Doctor Doom is currently considered a superhero in the Marvel Comics continuity, having taken over the role of Iron Man. So, yeah, moral relativism.
3 Sacrifices the love of his life in a black magic ritual...
During Mark Waid’s Unthinkable story arc, Doctor Doom was humanized. Rather than being a delusional psychopath, he was more of a tragic figure. Delving into his past, it’s revealed that as a young man, he loved a woman named Valeria (unrelated to the terrible movie). They grew apart once he traveled to America, but he never stopped thinking about her. They had little contact over the years—becoming a mad scientist is fairly time-consuming—but Doom still thought of her, and he even had Sue Storm name her daughter Valeria in exchange for delivering the baby.
Finally, after decades apart, Doom comes to Valeria and tells her he still loves her and gifts her an amulet. She reciprocates his feelings, but then the amulet burns her skin off. It was a ruse; Doctor Doom sacrificed her as payment to give him a near-unlimited amount of mystical power.
2 ...to gain the power to torture the Fantastic Four and send Franklin Richards to Hell
It always comes back to the Fantastic Four. After becoming nigh invincible from killing Valeria, you would think Doctor Doom would do the rational thing and quickly dispatch with the team before Reed Richards pulls another miracle victory out of the maw of defeat. But, no. The good doctor is too operatic for that. Instead, he decided to torture them. He lit Sue on fire, had the Thing fight losing battles against endless hordes, and contorted Johnny into a mess by giving him Reed’s powers.
Reed himself was locked away in a room full of mystic anthologies, something the scientist couldn’t make heads or tails of, forcing Reed to admit that Doctor Doom was smarter than he was. But that wasn’t enough either. The doctor then scarred Reed’s face the same way his had been.
But the best/worst part? He sent Franklin, Reed and Sue’s then-seven-year-old son, to hell, where demons tortured him until he literally cried for his mommy. A smidge too far, wouldn't you say, Vic?
1 He ruined Latveria
Victor Von Doom broke his own country. He’s made it a place where there is no crime and no sickness, but also no freedom. His Doombots enforce the rules so that any infraction is punished with prison, torture, or death. Despite having a prosperous economy, there are still peasants. (This could be an editorial inconsistency, but both of these things are often mentioned.)
In instances where Doom has been dethroned, Latveria quickly disintegrates in every way. It’s the only place in the world where freedom and democracy just don’t work. The people of Latveria don’t know how to handle life without Doom’s leadership, and outsiders don’t know how to handle the culture Doom created. Every single time, Victor has had to return to reduce freedom and keep the country from the brink of complete destruction. He is Marvel’s greatest villain because he created an example of a dictatorship that can never end.
Is Doctor Doom your favorite Marvel villain? Why is Namor such a zilch? Let us know in the comments.