Fantastic Four (Vol. 1) Annual #2

Credits:

Cover Date: September 1964

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Sol Brodsky

“The Origin of Doctor Doom!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Chic Stone

“A Gallery of the Fantastic Four’s Greatest Foes”

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Chic Stone

“The Final Victory of Doctor Doom!”

Plotters: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Scripter: Stan Lee

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Chic Stone

What’s Going On?

In “The Origin of Doctor Doom,” we learn about…well, the origin of Doctor Doom.

In “The Final Victory of Doctor Doom,” the Fantastic Four are lured into a trap by Doctor Doom.

Details:

In “The Origin of Doctor Doom”:

  • It’s a flashback story, telling the origin of Doom!
  • The gypsy father of young Victor von Doom was a noted healer. When he was unable to heal a local baroness, he knew that he needed to flee with his son, or else the grieving baron would have them both killed.

  • The two managed to avoid being captured by the baron’s men, but Victor’s father died in the process. The young Victor swore revenge on the world.

  • While going through his late father’s belongings, Victor cane across a chest that had belonged to his late mother. Inside, he found magic potions and mystical writings —- his mother was a sorceress!

  • As he grew into a young adult, Victor became renowned for his inventions. Specifically, he became famous for cheating the rich and giving to the poor.

  • His legend grew to the point where foreigners began to hear rumors of his achievements. The dean of an American university tracked von Doom down and offered him a scholarship.

  • In college, he meets (and is rude to) a young Reed Richards.

  • A friendly (but nosy) Reed later spotted a calculation error in Victor’s private experiments. Victor takes no heed.

  • While trying to communicate with the dead, Victor’s mistakes became costly. His invention exploded, and his face was scarred. He was expelled from the college for his recklessness.

  • Victor traveled to the Far East, where he found some monks with mystical knowledge. He quickly learns enough to become their master. Once he was ready to rejoin the world, he crafted his armor and became Doctor Doom!

  • Back in the present time, Doctor Doom is seen as the firm ruler of Latveria. His subjects treat him with respect, for he has brought them prosperity since taking power.

In “The Final Victory of Doctor Doom”:

  • After his last appearance, Doctor Doom was left drifting aimlessly in space. He had only minutes to live. In an improbably moment, a spaceship not only crossed Doom’s path, but took him on board. He was saved!

  • Doom’s savior turns out to be Rama-Tut. After a short chat, they realize that they have a lot in common. They both hate the Fantastic Four, live by their own rules, and (because Rama-Tut is a time traveler) are even related to each other. For some reason, though, they both seem to think that they might actually also be the same person, at different points in his time-traveling life!

  • Since they might be one and the same person, the villains do not team up. Rama-Tut agrees to return Doom to Earth, and he will travel back to the future.

  • After landing, Doom visits the Latveria embassy in NYC, and has them invite the Fantastic Four to a special dinner/obvious trap.

  • At the dinner, the heroes are entreated to sample a special regional drink. Reed does not try it, but the others do.

  • The juice turns out to have some hallucinatory effect; Ben, Johnny, and Sue see images of their teammates being mean to them, and get upset with the real people.

  • This misunderstanding leads to the FF fighting each other.

  • Meanwhile, Doctor Doom is depressed. He realizes that no victory over the Fantastic Four will heal his scarred face (which seems like a “no duh” sort of realization, but whatever…).

  • Reed and Sue hear Doom freaking out, so they stop fighting each other to investigate. Not surprisingly, Doom doesn’t exactly invite them in with open arms.

  • The FF fight Doom, but it eventually comes down to a showdown between Doctor Doom and Mr. Fantastic.

  • The two engage in a duel, one where the weaker mind will be vaporized. Shockingly, Doom wins!

  • But actually, Reed didn’t die. Or lose. When they toasted before the duel, Doom drank some of that regional drink that made the FF hallucinate earlier. So Doom leaves with a smile on his face, and thinking that Mr. Fantastic is dead, and the FF all live to fight another day.

Is It Good?

It’s pretty good! This issue does a lot to develop Doctor Doom, making him by far the most sympathetic and complex villain in the Marvel universe. It also establishes Doom as a decent leader of his people.

Of course, Reed’s sexism has aged poorly, especially in the presence of Sue handling herself well against Doom in battle. And the nonsense about Doom and Rama-Tut being the same person is just plain dumb.

So, it’s not a totally great issue, but it’s mostly good and is very important for Doom’s character.

Continuity:

  • This issue includes a reprint of Fantastic Four #5, which contained a brief origin for Doom. “The Origin of Doctor Doom” builds on that story.
  • While I assume that it is the country where Doctor Doom’s castle from Fantastic Four #5 was located, this is the first time the nation of Latveria has been named.
  • Ben Grimm and Victor von Doom met in college, even if neither paid particular attention to the other. Maybe that’s why Ben didn’t recognize Doom’s voice when they met again in Fantastic Four #5.

  • It isn’t made explicit, but Doom’s scarred face is at least partially the result of him placing a still-hot mask on his face.

  • It was hinted in Fantastic Four #19 that Rama-Tut was a distant descendant of Doctor Doom. This pin-up (and the second story in this issue) makes that more explicit.

  • Doctor Doom last appeared in Fantastic Four #23.
  • Rama-Tut last appeared in Fantastic Four #19.
  • Doom is the ruler of Latveria, but the outside world is not aware of that fact.

  • There are several pin-ups in this issue:

image-2263

  • Doctor Doom has diplomatic immunity.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • Stan and Jack don’t appear to think much of pop art, huh?

  • This is idiotic. Ignoring the many ways two people might compare and contrast their lives and conclude that they are not, in fact, the same person, this is just so dumb. There is no reality where Doctor Doom goes anywhere and takes on anyone else’s name. Nope. He is incapable of not naming things after himself or his loved ones.

  • This is goofy logic. If Rama-Tut is a future version of Doom, then Doom dying would cause him to never exist. But if Rama-Tut is killed, Doom ceases to exist…because his future self was killed in the present? How does that work?

  • Doom walking down a busy New York street in full costume is adorable!  I really enjoy picturing him waiting at a crosswalk.

  • This may be the funniest Reed has ever been, which also makes me wonder how Sue didn’t immediately realize it wasn’t the real Reed.

Well, That Aged Poorly:

  • Shut the hell up, Reed.

  • Jesus, Reed, just SHUT THE HELL UP.

  • COME ON, REED, KNOCK IT OFF

<<<Fantastic Four Annual #1

<<<Fantastic Four #30

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s