Nearly 60 years is a long career for anyone, much less an intergalactic terror like Doctor Doom to antagonize an entire multiverse without many returns. Since his inception in the pages of The Fantastic Four, Latverian dictator and all-around ne’er-do-well Victor Von Doom has continually had his iron fists (literally) around the throat of the Marvel Universe and its most prominent figures like Reed Richards, Peter Parker, and Tony Stark, to name a few. At the same time, the most recent pages of Infamous Iron Man have shown the kinder – if not exactly gentler – side of Doom.
While the sudden attitude-shift is shocking to many Marvel fans, there’s one man who doesn’t consider the mystical menace a true villain in the first place – his co-creator, Stan Lee.
The 93-year old Marvel maven and comic book legend, Stan the Man, recently found himself fielding some rather pointed questions from 14-year-old fan and leukemia survivor. In town for the Rhode Island Comic-Con, Lee took some time out for a sit-down with super-fan K.J. Ricci, which was arranged by local radio station Cat Country (via CBR). During the interview, he addressed some of his favorite comics, including Spider-Man #1 (a legendary book, for sure), as well as diplomatically declining to divulge any upcoming Spider-Man storylines. However, when it came down to favorite super villains, Stan stated emphatically that Doctor Doom was tops in his book and sought to clear up a few misconceptions about the notable nemesis:
“Everybody has Doctor Doom misunderstood. Everybody thinks he’s a criminal, but all he wants is to rule the world. Now, if you really think about it objectively, you could walk up to a policeman, and you could say, ‘Excuse me, officer, I want to tell you something: I want to rule the world.’ He can’t arrest you; it’s not a crime to want to rule the world. So […] it’s unfair that he’s considered a villain, because he just wants to rule the world. Then maybe he could do a better job of it. So I’m very interested in Doctor Doom, and I’d like to clear his name.”
In recent months, Lee’s take on Doom has itself (incidentally or otherwise) become part of Marvel’s curious round of changes during the aftermath of Secret Wars and Civil War II. Since his time on Battleworld, Doom has been acting strangely altruistic, aiding Tony Stark in his personal life and stepping down from his position as the Latveria’s ruthless leader. The one-time villain also found himself with a new calling (much to Stark’s chagrin) – taking over for Iron Man in his absence.
As with any reformed foe (such as Lex Luthor), fans and superheroes alike have their doubts about the do-gooding intents of Victor Von Doom. Former Fantastic Four member (now with the Guardians of the Galaxy) Ben Grimm certainly has his doubts, and it also appears like Stark’s handpicked successor Riri Williams will clash with the self-proclaimed Iron Man replacement. However, in light of Lee’s take on the longtime menace, could Marvel’s current writers fall in line a little closer with Doom’s creator’s perspective?
Lee wasn't all gloom and Doom during the meet up, also tackling another pressing issue during the interview: who would win in a fight between the Incredible Hulk and Thor (although he doesn’t get into Hulk vs. Doomsday)? Despite Hulk’s incredible power and strength, the comic impresario suggests that Thor would win thanks to his immortality and his status as a Norse god. Nevertheless, it’s his take on Doctor Doom that’s most intriguing, especially in light of his dislike of Fox’s handling of the character and the recent Marvel stories.
It will be interesting to find out whether Stan Lee’s take on Victor holds any water as Infamous Iron Man plays out in the coming months. Perhaps Lee’s insight is more relevant now than ever, as villains try to be heroes in the pages of Marvel, DC, and the real world. Check out the entire interview below: