How To Make a Dr. Doom Series
By Kevin McVicker
Apart from being a genius Doctor Doom is one of the foremost skilled sorcerers in Marvel continuity, and rules the country of Latveria. He has been everything in Marvel from an evil despot, to an arrogant diplomat, a reluctant ally, to a threat on a global level. He is by far one of the greatest characters the Marvel Universe has to offer, and this is the reason why he deserves his own series, but how would that series best serve him?
Victor Von Doom first appeared in comics in July of 1962 in Fantastic Four #5. To give some perspective on the relevance of that statement, apart from the Red Skrull, Namor, and the Mole Man, Doctor Doom is one of the first villains to ever appear out of the start of the Silver Age continuity of Marvel comics (the Red Skull would reemerge from his Golden Age tales, but not even the publishers had thought that far by this time in Marvel’s publishing). Doctor Doom is also only predated by the heroes of the Fantastic Four, Hank Pym (only in a horror/sci-fi story), and the Incredible Hulk. This makes him not only one of the greatest villains in the Marvel universe, but also one of the longest lived characters in all of the 616.
First off when looking at a character as rich and complex as Doom, you have to consider what factors will make for the most original and interesting story. Two stand out to me – the social/political ties revolving him and his subjects and the second one is how one juggles the quantifiable with the unquantifiable (science vs magic). For the sake of time and looking at this as a potential on-going or at least maxi-series (twelve issues or longer), I think the social/political theme would create a better thread to weave a plot around and make Latveria a much more dynamic country in the Marvel Universe over it being generally used as just where Doom hangs his head.
What is also great about this idea is the fact that this idea can be placed virtually anywhere in the stream of continuity (say we want this to be Doom post Secret Wars but prior to his apparent death in Fantastic Four #381). It is retconning without rewriting the entire fabric of 616 existence; more-so just filling in gaps. By doing this the plot is limited in having a dramatic plot twist moment. It either has to be done perfect as to not completely redefine a character (which is dangerous retconning) or it has to be a character driven plot examining the fictional people or a fictional country. If you are a good enough writer the second option is the best, but even as a good writer many people will read and give the criticism that “nothing happens” because shields, claws, and green fists are destroying public property. At that same time if done well it could create an “indie” feel in the recent tradition of Hawkeye or Superior Foes of Spider-Man and be taken for what it is as an alternative to mainstream superhero comics; this is what you want.
Okay, so far we have a Doctor Doom based series revolving around Latverian social and political themes. Doom is well known for being a ruthless king, so the social and political plot involving the country could be the evolution of a revolt and attempt to overthrow him as dictator and set up a democracy.
With all of that here is the first arc in a rough first draft plot outline…
SHIELD loves technology; I mean LOVES technology and Doom has some of the best in the world. His tech is so profound the small country of Latveria not only has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, but is also a superpower. It is like America being crammed in Switzerland. Due to this, SHIELD has enlisted a few of it’s newest and unregistered recruits to defect to Latveria and sow the seeds of a revolution. The idea behind the revolution these specialists are attempting to insight is the hope of propping up a pro-SHIELD puppet regime if necessary so SHIELD can take their sweet time dredging through the tech and weapon stockpiles. The specialists become key to the story as their worldviews potentially reflect the readers’ worldview, whereas the Latverians have been subjected to not only a robotic police force but also to massive amounts of pro-Doom propaganda.
The specialists infiltrate Latveria under the guise of a sect broken away from a Gypsy group. This allows them to insert themselves into Doomstadt fairly unnoticed and create relationships while they begin to slowly encourage discontent and discord.
While all of this is occurring unbeknownst to Doom, he sits in his castle surrounded by his surrogate Doombots and a few trustworthy advisers. He is licking his wounds from his accent to god-like powers and his quick humiliating decent at the hands of the Beyonder. For a few fleeting moments, he had the power to set his mother free from Hell and he focused it instead on crushing men whom if Doom wanted he could crush without that god-like power.
Doom is incredibly intelligent, but with that power also comes periods of obsessive behaviors, mainly in his thoughts. He dives back into the problem of saving his mother. He decides that now is the time to focus and solve this problem once and for all. He will free his mother’s soul. In an obsessive fashion and meshing sorcery and technology, Doom focuses on the problem of defeating Mephisto once and for all. This could be considered a tired plot thread, but it is also a class plot in the history of Doom and one which actually makes Doom a sympathetic character. If the reader isn’t cheering for Doom in some aspect then why title the series after him?
Doom’s intentions though are all great and dandy except the seeds of revolution are starting to sprout in the general population. The SHIELD agents are doing their job and doing it well as they make others grow to believe a revolution is their personal idea through subtle manipulation.
The secret revolution comes to a head as Doom uses magic and science to face off with Mephisto in Hell. Doom comes back from his challenge against Mephisto weakened and defeated once again to find a revolution occurring on his doorstep. The revolution has used inside connections to gain access to Doom’s weapon caches and this is turning the tide against the onslaught of Doombots and loyalists. Doom rushes to one of his science labs only to discover SHIELD there riffling through his inventions and discoveries. They have a confrontation and Doom gets them to admit who they are and who they work for and why the revolution is occurring.
Using his armors weaponry, even in his weakened state he is able to quickly dispatch those SHIELD agents to their surprise, but Doom knows this will not stop the revolt. He quickly gets on one of his time pads and travels back to a few weeks prior in time. As a final attempt to correct their failure, one of the SHIELD agents fires a weapon at Doom’s Time Pad as he starts to disappear and then collapses dead.
A few weeks prior on a country side of Latveria, the young SHIELD agents are seen for the second time infiltrating Doomstadt. A large shadow looms over the agents as Doom’s voice is heard acknowledging that he takes few true pleasures in life but being able to kill twice the spies who started a revolt is a true joy for him. He kills them on the country side of Latveria before they are able to even start their assignment.
Unknown to Doom his Time Pad was damaged by that SHIELD agent, so he is stuck. He quickly surmises that his course of action was done out of rashness and probably wasn’t the wisest course of action. His actions have created a parallel timeline to his own and he is now stuck in that parallel timeline. The current timeline which he now inhabits contains two Dooms which is unacceptable. Doom is like a Highlander; there can be only one. The battered and weary Doom must pull himself together for his greatest battle of all time.
Second Story Arc: Doom vs Doom.
That is my idea on how to create a Doom solo series with a rough first draft outline for the first four to six issues. I hope you enjoyed reading through my hastily prepared concept. Let me know what you think and what you would have done differently.