3. Doom steals the Silver Surfer's board

doom surfboard

We've already established that Doom is an mastermind capable of byzantine schemes while also remaining a compelling and sympathetic character, but he's also great at just being a bad guy. Back in the heyday of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee (really mostly Jack Kirby), Doom's skirmishes with the Fantastic Four didn't involve complicated schemes as often as they were simple "villain gets ultimate weapon and wreaks havoc."

In the case of FF #57, that meant that Doom invited Silver Surfer into his castle, told him how nice his surfboard was, and then proceeded to zonk out his new guest and steal his shit.  

doom surfboard

If you were unlucky enough to sit through Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, this plot might seem a tad familiar. It's more or less the basis for the film (minus Cloud Galactus, for which you can blame the Marvel Ultimate Universe), but the movie left some really cool parts out. In the comics, Doom grabs the surfboard in the first act, establishing the threat immediately. Not only that, but Comics Doom isn't afraid to use Surfer's stolen cosmic powers in addition to the board. When he's done smacking Human Torch around, Doom renders him inert by freeze-drying him

doom surfboard

These kinds of stories aren't so much about the resolution as much as how fun it is to watch a master like Kirby take us along on the adventure. The conclusion of the story takes away Doom's powers on a technicality; the characters struggle to explain what just happened before they run out of room on the last page, like a middle-schooler writing outside the lines on an essay question. 

The particulars of the plot are secondary when you get balls-out brawls like this:

doom surfboard

The four issues that comprise this storyline do so much more than the film does with 90 minutes. Plus, you don't have to look at a sad Michael Chiklis in an orange foam suit.

 

2. Doom makes the ultimate sacrifice (just to screw over the Fantastic Four)

doctor doom unthinkable

Doom lends himself to many different interpretations. While the most popular version paints him as a delusional fascist who thinks himself noble, some of the best storylines have made no bones about Doom's monstrousness

Writer Mark Waid seems to prefer the latter take, as shown in the arc Unthinkable, a collaboration with the late, great artist Mike Wieringo. The story begins with a flashback that humanizes Victor von Doom, though we learn quickly that this is only to show the evil that later consumes him.

doctor doom unthinkable

That's Doom above, a strapping young lad and heartthrob of Latveria's peasantry. We also see his companion, a girl named Valeria. If that name rings a bell, it should. See, Valeria is the great lost love of Doom's life. Though they were inseparable for a time, it all ended when Doom ditched Latveria and his people to go work on mad science in the States. During that lost period, Victor became Doctor Doom, and Valeria was nowhere to be found. But it's clear that Doom still cared for her, because when he was asked to deliver Sue Storm's baby (long story), he agreed on the condition that the child be named Valeria

Though the estranged lovers had a few encounters in the time since, Unthinkable begins with Doom promising an end to the push and pull.  

doctor doom unthinkable

Valeria is understandably a little hesitant to get back on the horse with her childhood sweetheart, mostly because he is now a horrible dictator who murders without remorse. But in the end Val agrees to rekindle their relationship, and accepts a fancy brooch that Doom puts around her neck.

What a terrible idea that turned out to be. 

doctor doom unthinkable

Lesson learned: If you happen to find yourself reunited with an old flame who grew into all-powerful maniac, do not under any circumstances accept any jewelry from them, because it will most likely make you the subject of an arcane sacrifice that results in them gaining immense power and you becoming a sad, betrayed skeleton. Might help to write that down on a post-it note somewhere.

So what on earth does Doom want so bad that he'd be willing to murder the only woman he's ever loved? Why, to fuck with his enemies, of course. Thanks to that sacrifice, Doom had access to a crazy amount of mystical power, which he immediately put to use by torturing the Fantastic Four. The stuff he did is downright sadistic, like switching around the FF's powers so that Johnny is in a stretchy torture device and Sue Storm is constantly on fire.

doom unthinkable

Oh, and Doom also sent the seven-year-old Franklin Richards to hell

doom unthinkable

It's easy to forget sometimes that no matter how rad a villain is, they're still villains. Doctor Doom might have a brush or two with relatability here and there, but when it comes down to it, he'd throw you in a cage with ravenous demons if it meant getting a shot at Reed Richards and his family.