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  1. #1
    Mighty Member Hybrid's Avatar
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    Default Is Doctor Doom the most versatile supervillain in terms of story potential?

    I feel like the best thing about Doctor Doom is his unmatched versatility as a character. He's the Fantastic Four's greatest nemesis, and has the biggest rivalry in all of comics with Reed Richards. Yet, he doesn't have to be an FF villain. Doom has tangled with many heroes throughout the MU, in very different stories, while the FF were nowhere in sight. Even better, none of this diminishes his role as the FF's greatest enemy or Reed's fiercest rival.

    Seriously, you can make an excellent story out of...
    • Doom vs. Avengers
    • Doom vs. Strange
    • Doom vs. Thor
    • Doom vs. Black Panther
    • Doom vs. Iron Man
    • Doom vs. X-Men
    • Doom vs. Hulk
    • Doom vs. Spider-Man
    • Doom vs. Captain America
    • Doom vs. Everyone

    And so on. He's just got that kind of style and charisma to him that makes it work no matter what story he's in. I think the versatility is due to the facets of his personality and style. He can be a criminal mastermind, a powerful sorcerer, a mad scientist, a political figure, a greater scope villain, an uneasy ally, and so on, and it's believable because all elements are well-developed and explored.

    Are there any other villains who have this level of versatility to them as characters?

    That's what I wonder since many villains fit a specific niche, but not Doom. What do you think?

  2. #2
    Extraordinary Member JudicatorPrime's Avatar
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    Yes and no. In some ways Doom is antithetical to good character writing. Try assigning all of his attributes and personality traits to a hero and most of the readership would reject him as a plausible character. But the boogeyman has to encapsulate all of our fears. Doom has to be the ultimate villain, hence the many facets. I think Thanos is right there, too.

  3. #3
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    Versatile in one respect, limited depending on the nature of the character though. There's less logical reason why he'd show up facing down the Heroes for Hire or Daughters of the Dragon, for instance, because what on earth would they be fighting about? And, due to his gravitas, it doesn't make much sense that he'd be facing off with the Power Pack or the Runaways or some other team of kids, because he's way outside their pay grade, and he's either got to come up with some Doomsy reason to let them live because 'it's beneath him to play fisticuffs with children' or whatever, or he ends up looking like a chump because Squirrel Girl or Gwenpool or some other 'fun' character gets to make everyone look like a chump as part of her super-power of Plot Armor.

    He's kind of 'too big' for some stories. And for that reason, I think he's best used sparingly. (And he's not the only one. There's a lot of 'big names' that I feel like Marvel trots out *way* too commonly, and kind of cheapens by having them eventually rack up a string of failures in too short a time period, until everyone just sort of yawns and says, 'Oh look, it's Thanos with his twelfth attempt this decade to destroy all creation. Been there. Done that. A lot.')

  4. #4
    Latverian ambassador Iron Maiden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JudicatorPrime View Post
    Yes and no. In some ways Doom is antithetical to good character writing. Try assigning all of his attributes and personality traits to a hero and most of the readership would reject him as a plausible character. But the boogeyman has to encapsulate all of our fears. Doom has to be the ultimate villain, hence the many facets. I think Thanos is right there, too.
    I have to disagree about Thanos and for the same reasons Sutekh mentions. He should only be used sparingly because it takes so much effort to thwart whatever his plans are, assuming he gets possession of some all powerful artifact like the Infinity Gauntlet again.

    As for Doom, I don't think his attributes are all that overdone. To many part of his appeal is because he is a human with no special powers granted to him by an accident with cosmic rays, not a genetic mutation etc which makes him a far more interesting character.

    Sometimes his plans take years to come to fruition. Like Doctor Strange, he has spent years studying the mystic arts only Doom started much younger and has acquired a vast library of arcana, many of which Strange would consider sources of forbidden knowledge. There are no half measures with Doom...if he is going to acquire a skill he's going to strive to be a master in that field. It's part of his getting back at a world that looked at his family and fellow Roma as worthless and inferior.

  5. #5
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    If they could restrict Doom storylines to writers who respect that Doom is a terrestrial, and sometimes a cosmic threat, then sure.

    And if the writers remember that he's also a Head of State, then he could be attractive as a foe to even SpiderMan at times.

    But too many times, they make Victor look like complete novice. And yes, I know he has an ego and is capable of hubris. But he should have evolved past those kinds of mistakes, long ago.

    And as a Head of State AND an egomanic at times, he should never be bowing down to Black Panther or anyone else. Part of the essence of Victor's character, at least for me, is a certain degree of Magesty. Whatever evil intentions he demonstrates, he's earned the right to be the rightful leader of a country.

  6. #6
    Incredible Member ARkadelphia's Avatar
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    Super Adaptoid
    “The Scarlet Witch is the only thing that will scare them. It’s the only thing they’ll respect.” - Hope Summers, Avengers vs X-Men #7

  7. #7
    Astonishing Member K7P5V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hybrid View Post
    Are there any other villains who have this level of versatility to them as characters?
    Doom is unbeatable. But, these three could be a challenge:

    Baron Zemo





    Thanos





    Otto Octavius


  8. #8

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    Not sure that I agree with your use of 'versatile.' There is only one Doom story. And I'm kind of bored of it. The Wrecking Crew are just as versatile.

  9. #9
    Uncanny Member XPac's Avatar
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    Versatile as far as which characters you can use him against yes. Doom's evolved from being an FF rogue to really being a rogue of the MU as a whole.

    But due to his status as being really the top villain in the MU, you obviously don't want to use him in just any story. It's gotta be something big in order to drag out the biggest villain in the company. If it's not worth his time, use someone else.

  10. #10
    Mighty Member babyblob's Avatar
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    Doom maybe used to be versatile. Like how he showed up in the early issue of Amazing Spiderman to try and recruit him. At one point it was kind of cool to see him show up in other places besides FF> But at this point he has moved past that. I agree with what has been said. He is no longer a random baddie. He is no longer the guy who can show up in a one and done Avengers story. Him showing up should be an event. Like Oh Shit Doom is here something bad is about to happen. So he is not longer versatile. His success has made him limited in what can be done with him.
    Favorite teams. Alpha Flight, Avengers, Fantastic Four, West Coast Avengers, Justice Society of America, Legion of Superheroes.

  11. #11
    Mighty Member Hybrid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by babyblob View Post
    Doom maybe used to be versatile. Like how he showed up in the early issue of Amazing Spiderman to try and recruit him. At one point it was kind of cool to see him show up in other places besides FF> But at this point he has moved past that. I agree with what has been said. He is no longer a random baddie. He is no longer the guy who can show up in a one and done Avengers story. Him showing up should be an event. Like Oh Shit Doom is here something bad is about to happen. So he is not longer versatile. His success has made him limited in what can be done with him.
    That's a good point. Maybe "versatile" is the wrong word, because you can't just use Doctor Doom as some random baddie who gets beat up and taken to jail, in the same way you could use someone like Rhino or Scorpion. His presence, regardless of how it's being used, has to be a big deal. If he shows up marching to you, your thoughts should be "Is this how I die?". If you're on a mission that has you infiltrating Latveria, you should think "Uh, this isn't what I signed up for!" If he's your ally, you should be very uncomfortable for what happens next once business is taken care of. Basically, if Doom is in play at all, he absolutely has to be an important factor in the plot.

    In that sense, he has many applications, but he has to be used with a right amount of seriousness to highlight his worth.

  12. #12

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    Like I said, the wrecking crew are the most versatile.

  13. #13
    Latverian ambassador Iron Maiden's Avatar
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    We actually have a lot of empirical data that bears out that Doom is quite the versatile character. Just go through the sheer number of writers who have chosen to include him in various stories, major arcs, written a one shot or a Doom series. Stan Lee of course but then you have:



    Alan Davis (writer/artist)
    Ann Nocenti
    Archie Goodwin
    Bill Mantlo
    Brian Michael Bendis
    Charles Soule
    Chris Claremont
    Christopher Priest
    Chip Zdarsky
    Chuck Dixon
    Dan Slott
    David Michelinie & Bob Layton
    Dwaye McDuffie
    Ed Brubaker
    Fabian Nicieza
    Gerry Conway
    Gerry Duggan
    Grant Morrison
    Greg Pak
    Howard Mackie
    Jeph Loeb
    Jim Shooter
    Jim Starlin
    Jim Steranko
    Jonathan Hickman
    John Byrne
    Jonathan Maberry
    Karl Kesel
    Mark Millar
    Mark Waid
    Marv Wolfman
    Neil Gaiman
    Peter David
    Reggie Hudlin
    Rick Remender
    Robert Kirkman
    Roger Stern
    Roy Thomas
    Scott Lobdell
    Steve Englehart
    Steve Gerber
    Ta-Nehisi Coates
    Tom DeFalco
    Walt Simonson
    Warren Ellis


    Then you have the "Hollywood" writers like
    Allen Heinberg
    J.Michael Straczynski
    Christopher Cantwell (who is really knocking it out of the park IMO)

  14. #14
    Boisterously Confused
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hybrid View Post
    That's a good point. Maybe "versatile" is the wrong word, because you can't just use Doctor Doom as some random baddie who gets beat up and taken to jail, in the same way you could use someone like Rhino or Scorpion. His presence, regardless of how it's being used, has to be a big deal. If he shows up marching to you, your thoughts should be "Is this how I die?". If you're on a mission that has you infiltrating Latveria, you should think "Uh, this isn't what I signed up for!" If he's your ally, you should be very uncomfortable for what happens next once business is taken care of. Basically, if Doom is in play at all, he absolutely has to be an important factor in the plot.

    In that sense, he has many applications, but he has to be used with a right amount of seriousness to highlight his worth.
    As far as being usable against a very wide range of adversaries, yes. Dr. Doom is versatile.

    But there are a relatively narrow range of plots into which he can properly fit. Almost all of them revolve around a) tormenting Mr. Fantastic, or b) acquiring world-conquering power for himself. You just can't make him work for, say, running a drug syndicate, unless it somehow leads back to one of his two most common plots.

  15. #15

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    If doom is so versatile, why has he failed so miserably as a movie villain? Magneto and Loki don’t seem to have that problem. Thanos also proved to be a threat across the cinematic universe.

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