By Jon Durmin
Original Title Art by Jen Cappelli
Salutations, superhero saluting scions of the spectacular Six-One-Six! As the months have passed we’ve used the Rogue Roulette column to explore ways to bring heroes of all sorts into the spotlight. Mutant heroes, heroes of the night. Celebrity heroes, Spider-Friends, and heroes in flight. Brilliant heroes, and those who are dead . . . but what about a national figurehead?
As those of you keeping up with the adventures of Iron Man in the All-New, All-Different Marvel will have noted Victor von Doom has attested a strong desire to turn over a new leaf to apply his considerable talents as a leader, warrior, multi-disciplinary scientific innovator, inventor, and sorcerer to making the world a better place. We’ve long known that Victor always had it in him here at M6P! Where else, but in our very own Analogies to Amaze features, could our humble author have introduced you to the brilliant notion that Doom figures as one of the core fundamental figures necessary to the archetypal DNA of any dimension of our dreams; One of the World’s Finest, so to speak. It shouldn’t be such a grand stretch anyhow as any reader fortunate enough to have enjoyed Marvel’s tremendous tales of 2099 should recall well Doom’s turn as a world unifying super-king in the pages of Doom 2099.
However, if Doom is going to be regarded as a force for positive change in the world, rather than a tyrant operating in a realm of delusion he needs something more than he’s had. What else could we at Rogue Roulette be referring to, but a rousing rogues’ gallery?!?! That’s right, if Doom is doing the face turn I know we’d all love to see, then he’ll need some fearsome foes . . . some truly VILE opposition to challenge his aspirations of making the rest of the world as pleasant and safe as Latveria was under his rule and that’s a tall order. Doom has, himself, been the principal Rogue of Reed “Mr. Fantastic” Richards and the Fantastic Four for more than fifty years of published greatness. Looking at things from Doom’s perspective, Mr. Fantastic probably would have been his principal nemesis for most of his published life. The hatchet has largely been buried, however, thanks to the affectionate relationship between Reed’s daughter Valeria and Doom. Furthermore, that the Richards family is alleged deceased (or at least missing) in the All-New, All-Different Marvel more-or-less takes the Mr. Fantastic we all know and love off the table as a deadly foe of Doom. The other major thorn in Doom’s side (largely beneath Doom’s notice actually, but still part of Doom’s rogues’ gallery) is Bram Velsing, aka Dreadknight. The only other super-being native to Latveria, Dreadknight preferred the old-guard rulers of Latveria that had oppressed and harassed the Roma and other Latverian minorities before Doom overthrew their regime. A super-scientist in his own right, Dreadknight’s punishment by Doom was to seal his head inside the cybernetic Dreadknight mask. It hasn’t stopped him from time-and-again striving to topple Doom however, and it’s entirely possible (probable even) that Velsing is among the rebel groups destabilizing Latveria in the ANAD.
With a goal of bettering the world, and a country in need of reunification, there’s sure to be more challenges in store for Doom than Dreadknight. Perhaps the absence of Mr. Fantastic is a blessing in disguise for the development of Doom’s rogues’ gallery. Mr. Fantastic may be gone, but a Reed Richards is still out there. One of the scarce survivors of Earth-1610, the Reed Richards of the Ultimate Universe progressed to a position of villainy, to a disregard for human life, that puts the likes of Doom, Magneto, and Kang while in the deepest throes of misguided malignancy to shame. As The Maker, the Earth-1610 Richards has come to embody science-without-conscience to an extent that makes Arnim Zola & the Red Skull look like residents of Sesame Street. He treats human life as nothing more than fodder for his experiments, and is preoccupied with finding new realms to explore, all in the name of acquiring knowledge and building more interesting things. A version of Reed Richards who operates without conscience, wholly guided by self-interest? Never has there been a better villain for a Doctor Doom striving for heroism than in the Maker!
Lest we limit Victor by his association with the Richards name it’s time to flesh out his rogue’s gallery further. What other challenges might Doom face? Latveria seems to be in an unstable state at present. Loyal to the welfare and well-being of all the peoples of his homeland, Doon can’t let this sit for long. Dreadknight may be among those destabilizing Latveria with hopes of setting up his own rule. Though the last two bearers of the title are now deceased, this scenario seems like the ripest of times for a new Flag Smasher to appear on the scene ahead of a revived ULTIMATUM ( Underground Liberated Totally Integrated Mobile Army to Unite Mankind for the acronym-challenged among you). A minor Captain America foe, whose successor caught the ire of Deadpool, Flag Smasher and the ULTIMATUM organization are anarchist terrorists in the purest sense. Their sole goal and desire is nothing less than the obliteration of all national boundaries, identity and governments. Seems noble enough in some ways, but they’re even less interested in helping those they “liberate” establish social order and equality than certain real-life villains who are causing real horror in the vicinity of 36N Latitude and 39E longitude. If successful, the victory of Flag Smasher and company in Latveria would establish a beachhead for an anarchic empire (author’s acquiescence – yes, I know that’s a bit of a contradiction in terms) to attempt to destabilize the whole face of the Marvel U! By defeating ULTIMATUM on his home turf, Doom will be saving not only Latveria, but the whole world from collapse into a global dark age!
Oftentimes we only leave you with two proposed new foes for our ascendant heroes here at Rogues Roulette, but this is Doctor Doom! If he can’t handle a bonus baddie nobody can! How could the chaos in Latveria be any crazier? By taking a trip back to Captain America’s rogues’ gallery of course! Not just any part of Cap’s history, but to another villain who, like Flag Smasher, was created by the unparalleled Mark Gruenwald and Paul Neary. Madcap! This living cartoon is impervious to pain and able to bounce back from any injury. As dangerous as that makes him, his more troubling talent is a superhuman ability to spread his own personal brand of insanity, often with fatal consequences, to those in his proximity. Could Madcap be responsible for inciting the chaos in Latveria? If he is, was it by his own design, or thanks to the manipulations of another deadly foe of Dr. Doom? Only time could tell, but one thing is for certain; with enemies like these to threaten his people Doom would poised to be recognized as a hero pretty quick! Until next time Body Politic!