The Final Victory of Doctor Doom
Review and Media by Jon T
Episode #12 - The Final Victory of Doctor Doom
Original Airdate - December 9, 1978
Doctor Doom leaves Latveria for New York on his royal rocket. Herbie detects the rocket's launch and Doom makes his way to the Latverian embassy. There, he broadcasts a holographic message to the Fantastic Four. Doom tells them that unlike previous occasions, this time he will finally defeat the Four. Not wanting Doom to make the first move, the Four split up and search the city for Doom's whereabouts. Having no success, Reed suggest the team take time out to relax. Ben goes bowling, Reed attends a science convention, and Sue gets here hair done. At each of their chosen locations, the Four are constantly followed by bizarre Doom-balloons floating in the air. The balloons cause the Four to attract ridicule and disrespect from various members of the public, and so they return dejected to the Baxter Building. Doom again contacts the Four and tells them that they will never be able to stop him. Reed discovers that each of them was bugged by Doom, explaining how the balloons followed them. Meanwhile, after having his request for total command of the U.S. armed forces denied by the Pentagon, Doom cuts off the electrical power for the whole country. As the nation grinds to a halt, Reed and Herbie track down Doom's satellite-ship base, but as Doom's balloons were constantly recording the molecular structure of each of the Four, only Herbie with his interchangeable components can disarm Doom's alarm system. After doing so, the rest of the team are able to enter Doom's ship and contend with many booby traps. In the end it falls to a battle of wits between Reed and Doom to determine the victor.
Story by: Stan Lee
Teleplay by: Stan Lee
Notes: Based on "The Final Victory Of Doctor Doom!" from Fantastic Four Annual #2 (1964), written by Stan Lee, art by Jack Kirby.
Review: This episode is a far better example of the FF versus Dr. Doom than his first appearance in this series, with Doom simply seeking the defeat of the FF instead of getting them to do a job for him.
It's satisfying to at last see Doom in this series doing that which he does best; trying to take over the world! In addition, both Doom and Reed are shown using their intellects to their fullest, which ultimately becomes the criteria upon which they do their final battle. That makes a welcome change from the more simplistic force-led methods as usually seen in other shows. It also helps that Doom's dialogue from Stan Lee is of the more familiar regal style from the comicbooks than the almost camp super-villainy of the 1967 show. Due to these factors, it can safely be said that this is probably the best episode of the series.
A final thing worthy of note; just why did the Doom-Balloons have such a strong resemblance to Ben? It's a strange design choice, and their similarity to Ben isn't mentioned in the script. Considering they're an important part of the plot, this strange coincidence does stand out.