Dr. Doom In Animation - A Retrospective

Part One - Part Two

Iíve seen some scary things in my time as a webmaster. Iíve sat through, review and screengrabbed the entire run of Spider-Man Unlimited in a single, alcohol free weekend. I sat and took pictures of Mary Jane being evaporated. Iíve written hundreds of bios ranging from Ms. Lions to Spider-Man himself. But none of these horrors even come close to The Mask Of Doom.

Again, for some odd reason, Doom seeks Blackbeardís treasure. Apprantly being the ruler of a country isnít too profitable a venture for olí Victor, and he kidnaps Sue to send the other 3 idiots into the past to search for this treasure. Johnny annoyingly falls in love at first site with some really weird chick and The Thing decides that the weather is much nicer in Greece than New York so he decides to stay there, and not bother with that pesky girlfriend he has back home. He mustíve remembered that Greece doesnít have TV or something, because he quickly bolted back towards Reed and Johnny and returned home as if nothing happened. A true testament to how truly screwed up this seasonís version of The Thing was.

Doomís origin is also explained in this story; although itís done in such an amazingly poor way Iíd have preferred they not bothered. To add insult to injury, the conclusion is so inexcusably rushed itís not even funny. The four return home, provide me with an amusing image for a funny quote and Doom flies away. For such a long, tedious drawn out saga, I was expecting some resolution, but no, it sucked. Every single last second of it sucked.

Doomís design changed in each episode but one thing remained Ė the terribleness of the suit. With a costume as cool as Dr. Doom, I donít understand how this season managed to screw it up not once, not twice, not three times but four times! Four complete eyesores for one character! Surely it canít be that hard to make Dr. Doom creepy, but every single clichť you could think of was thrown into this design with not a single one of them resulting in anything cool. Whether it be the baby teeth, glowing red eyes or dark hood, poor Victor Von Doom never looked anywhere near as cool as he shouldíve done and came across as more of a wimp than a threat.

He fairs slightly better in the season finale, where he actually becomes a threat because he steals the Silver Surferís powers. Thereís an outrageously corny scene in which he deflects a bunch of missiles hurled at him and truth be told the episode is a little better than the average season one romp, but itís still pretty terrible. The return of Galactus couldíve come as quite a cool surprise had it not already been ruined in the title! Galactus easily dismantling Doom without effort was quite a cool scene and showed just how powerful Galactus could be if he wasnít written by someone who clearly didnít have the slightest grasp on either the Fantastic Four or any of their illustrious rouges.

Doom was revamped in season two, along with everything else in the show. A new design was desperately needed for the character at this stage but itís not as nice as Iíd have liked. The colouring seems off, and I just thought it couldíve been done better. Considering how much I like the designs for everyone else in this show, itís a shame Doom doesnít quite live up. His new voice is an improvement over Neil Ross, simply because it fits the character more - Simon Templeman really brings Doomís snobbish nature to life. He appears in the first episode of the second season, A Blind Man Shall Lead Them in which a powerless Fantastic Four team up with Daredevil to stop Dr. Doom, who has taken over the Baxter Building. However, the real highlight comes not from Victor Von Doom, nor The Man Without Fear Ė itís all about The Thing in this episode as he once again changed from a normal man to a ugly orange monster. Itís an episode thatís almost heartbreaking to watch, especially as The Thing crushes Doomís hands in sheer rage out of being transformed back into his rocky form once again.

His next appearance, another guest starring episode sees Doom still recovering from his hand injuries, and looking for a partner who can surpass the Thingís strength like Doom surpassesí Reedís intelligence. Which brought us a sensational Hulk vs Thing throwdown and again, saw Doom take a backseat for the majority of the episode. The plot of the whole episode is rather thin, but the action scenes more than make up for it.

Doom would appear again in the series finale, Doomsday, once again stealing The Silver Surferís power cosmic. The episode is pretty much the same as the first season finale, only with a lot more heart and effort. Doom is actually presented as a threat (re: Doom kicks The Avengers asses) and Reed is shown going to great lengths to try and stop Doom from taking control of the planet, and his plan to stop Doom was actually very, very clever.

Doom would return once again to animation in guest starring episodes. Everybody loves guest starring episodes! Due to the tight continuity between Iron Man/Fantastic Four/The Incredible Hulk in the mid 90ís, we often saw them popping up in each otherís shows. The Fantastic Four would appear in The Incredible Hulk, but not before Dr. Doom managed to make his presence known on the show. The same model/voice from FF is used, but I think he comes across as much more threatening here. In fact, I think Dr. Doom was the best villain to appear in the show, although that admittedly isnít saying much Ė the villains have always been one of Hulkís major shortcomings. The episode he appeared in, Doomed, is probably best known for being She Hulkís premiere in the show, but I think Dr. Doom steals it with his best animated appearance since the 80ís.

Unfortunately, his second appearance really hit the skids. The history of Hulkís fall from grace in animation has been well documented both here on this forum and the site but unfortuantly not even Victor Von Doom could be spared from the suckiness that is The Incredible Hulk and She Hulk. The most annoying thing about the episode is that it had the potential to be fascinating, She Hulk and Hulk once again meeting the man who turned her into She Hulk to begin with. Sadly, itís probably the worst episode the season has to offer. Once again, any mention of interesting characterisation or a riveting plot is thrown aside so we can listen to She Hulk boast about how utterly brilliant she is, this time, She Hulk wants to star in her own movie. Add this and the fact that Hulk jumped from space back down to Earth just left me feeling like Iíd wasted 22 minutes of my life that I couldíve spent doing something better for my body Ė like taking off all my skin and rolling in a barrel of salt or sniffing vodka through my nose. (The second one is not advised Ė my mate Danny literally went blind for a few minutes when he tried it!)

To top it off, they added an articulated jaw to Doomís design that looked beyond ridiculous. It just looked incredibly stupid Ė the whole episode is nothing but a stain on the Doctorís good name.

Doom would fair much better in his next and final animated appearance before this eveningís premiere Ė as the main villain of Spider-Man: The Animated Seriesí Secret Wars.

Here, Doom is portrayed as a tyrant despised by his people for the way in which he rules over them before he is transported to Battle World, where he quickly becomes the ruler of New Latveria. He only cameos in the first episode before he becomes centre stage in the conclusion to the arc, Doom. Doom quickly establishes a perfect society in his new country, just as he believes he had done on the original Latveria. Using the advance alien technology, he even created a device which cured the horrible scaring on his face, and a device which allowed The Thing to transform back into Ben whenever he wanted. Doom then stole The Beyonderís powers and vanished all the other villains from Battleworld. With the ability to make his very thoughts reality, Doom finally gained the power he has always sought. His final exchange with Spider-Man is one of my favourite scenes in the show.

Spider-Man: Hold on Doom. Weíre not your pawns. Under that metal suit, youíre just a very disturbed human being. You canít possibly control the God like abilities youíve stolen. You might place us all in great danger if you donít give that power up!

Dr. Doom: Do you take me for a fool? Who amongst you has ever wanted to give up your superpowers?

Spider-Man: I have. Because Iíve learned, time and time again, that with great power, there must also come great ] responsibility.

Like the rest of the Fantastic Four cast, Doom was given a new voice in Tom Kane, which I personally thought was the best one weíve had since the 80ís. His new design looked a hell of a lot better than any of the other designs weíd seen in the decade and he was just much better than all the other versions. Once again, Spider-Man had a better version of Dr. Doom than The Fantastic Four.

Ben later separated Doom from The Beyonder, and all on Earth was returned to as it was. Some people complain that this season of Spider-Man was a little too cosmic, but I always thought it was pretty good. It was much better than season four.

Doom wouldnít appear in animation again until the new Fantastic Four cartoon currently airing on Cartoon Network. With a terrible, terrible live action translation which is pretty much Dr. Doom in name only, I can only hope that weíll know see the ruler of Latveria as he should be. Itís not quite happened yet in animation, but I have high hopes for the new show.

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