Adult language ahead.
I have to admit that things have not been going all that great for our hero. Two issues ago, he was humiliated by the walking sand trap, Thing, and last issue, he attempted to ruin the wedding of Reed and Sue, only to have the Watcher break his oath of non-interference and give Reed the ability to not only save the day but erase Doom’s memory of the event altogether! I think we can all agree that maybe Victor needs a break from taking on the Fantastic Four. Stan Lee must have thought the same thing, because Doom’s next appearance was in Avengers #25 (February, 1966). Before we examine this tale, however, let’s go to the scoreboard.
Record vs Fantastic Four: 1-8
Record vs. Spider-man: 0-1 (Doom’s scheme was thwarted)
Times Avoided Capture: 10 (Still perfect. No bars can hold Doom.)
Times Screaming about Richards!: Surprisingly, 0
Treacherous Underlings foolishly turning on Doom: 1 (Fuck you, Namor.)
Times Left Adrift in Space/Shrunk into Nothingness/Jumped out of airplane sans parachute: 4
Issues since the accursed Flash Thompson was replaced by the more accursed Watcher on top of the “waiting for swift and unspeakable retribution” list: 1
Our tale opens with the Avengers returning home after a battle with Kang the Conqueror. I don’t care about any of this because this is not a Kang Retrospective. As the team arrives, Doom spies on them with his television. This is now a recurring theme for Doom. He really likes just watching heroes in their most intimate moments. Doom has decided to lower the bar a little. His plan is to strike fear in the hearts of the Fantastic Four by thrashing the Avengers. The Avengers were clearly the B-list team in Marvel at this point, especially so since this is during the “Kooky Quartet” days – Captain America, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver. Surely, such a weak lineup will be easy pickings for Doom.
Doom monologues about how he and Kang might be the same person. Stop it. Just stop it. I skip ahead to the Avengers back at HQ, in-fighting as usual. You think Johnny and Thing are bad? Watch Captain America and Hawkeye go at it:
All the boxes are checked here. Wanda swoons like a schoolgirl at the Living Mummy, Captain America. I like how Captain America just can’t help himself.
Cap: Fuck you, Hawkeye.
(thinking): No, I mustn’t lose my temper. Nothing to be gained..
Cap: Eat my ass, you penny-ante Robin Hood.
Never change, Cap. The scene then shifts to Cap chafing under the strain of leadership. He feels overwhelmed by it all. He’s just a relic of the past! Steve Rogers has no identity of his own! Yeah, whatever. Cap’s whining is thankfully ended by the arrival of a strange letter from the far off and exotic land of “Europe.”
What is in this letter? Why, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver have received a letter from their long lost Aunt in Latveria! Oh happy day! What a coincidence as well, since Doctor Doom wants to destroy the Avengers and he also lives in Latveria. How fortuitous. Wanda and Pietro run off to tell Hawkeye, interrupting his practice and causing him to mess up a shot. Can you believe a guy can be a superhero with just a bow and arrow? I can’t. Anyway, this causes your typical kerfuffle.
Trust me, Hawkeye. I understand. I often wonder how I can be such a giant asshole. Except, unlike you, I don’t actively repulse women. We turn our attention to Doom, who sees through his pervision that the Avengers are heading to Latveria. All is going according to plan. This calls for a pimp strut.
Nobody struts around like Doom. Although, calling Latveria comic-opera seems a little degrading. Stay positive for once in your life, Victor! Doom decides to take my advice and show some generosity.
I think your bedside manner needs a little work, Doctor. Here you are, cripple. Have a penny. I have a scarred face so obviously your miserable life forever in a wheelchair is very similar to mine. As all of this is happening, the Avengers arrive in Latveria and are promptly arrested. As they sit in jail, Cap “remembers” that Dr. Doom rules Latveria and this must all be a trap! Play the sad trombone. How can you forget Doom rules Latveria?! Simple minded peasants. Well, anyway, the four promptly escape but decide they have to be careful. They are law-abiding Americans who respect the rule of law, after all, and Doom makes the laws here. Ah, the black-and-white 1960’s comics era.
Doom is monitoring everything, of course, and the Avengers are acting just as he expected. Time to pull out his ace card!
Pulling a cartoon lever and having a giant plastic dome cover his entire country. What the fuck. I mean, the genius of Doom knows no bounds! The Avengers are trapped like hamsters! The Avengers immediately put all of their prodigious might against the dome – an arrow and a hex bolt which earlier turned off a television – and shockingly the dome holds! Clearly, it is indestructible.
The Avengers are then spotted by the civilian population and are immediately turned on.
Latverian radio shows tells us we need to destroy costumed intruders. I would love to listen to a clip from Latverian radio. Is it Doom pointing at things and then destroying them for an hour? This is you, Reed Richards! Then the sound of glass breaking. This is you, Captain America! Then the sound of piano being overturned. This is you, Thor! Then the sound of a cat getting kicked. I could listen to that for hours.
Shockingly, the Avengers escape what looks to be about a dozen unarmed peasants and make their way to Castle Doom. As they enter, Doom strikes a menacing pose to welcome them.
You will pay for your insolent jest, Hawkeye. Doom does not keep office hours, cretin! Scarlet Witch demands an explanation and Doom basically says “Ok.”
The accursed Fantastic Four. Yes, always that accursed team. Doom’s every waking moment, even in the shower as he scrubs his delicates, all of them are dedicated to seeing Richards humbled. This is a tad creepy, to be frank. The Avengers have heard quite enough, and the fight is on. Doom handles them like children. A beam of light saps Hawkeye’s strength. A magnetic field traps Cap’s shield. A device nullifies Wanda’s hex power. And Quicksilver just gets slapped around. Doom clearly has the upper hand.
Or I should say he did until he gets hit with an arrow?!?! Stan Lee can’t even remember past issues and Doom is sent running from an acid arrow. What is this shit? Not only does it send him running, he has a meltdown a few panels later. Head in hands, he laments that he underestimated the Avengers’ power. Really? You just shit your pants over an arrow, Victor. I think it has more to do with your lack of preparation than the power of the Avengers. Still, Doom has one final attack planned. The Avengers flee the castle and hole up in a cave to plan their next move.
Meanwhile, the mother of the boy from earlier asks if the dome can be raised in order for the boy to see a doctor who can cure him of his crippleness. Doom denies the request, of course. Cannot risk the Avengers escaping! The scene then shifts to America where we see the accursed Fantastic Four listening to the radio. An announcement is made that Latveria has accused the Avengers of spying. I believe it. Too many Latverian radio shows.
The Four race off to their rocket to head to Latveria. Only thing to do is to get clearance to take off.
Which is promptly denied. Man, the 60’s were rough for superheroes. Aunt May shutting down Spider-man every issue. And the FF can’t even take off. You see, Doom is a world leader! It would be an international incident! Back in Latveria, Quicksilver overhears the poor mother sobbing that she can’t take her boy to the doctor because of this dome over the whole country. This blasted dome. Pietro tells the other Avengers and they decide it is time to take the fight to Doom. For cripples everywhere. Cap decides to open the fight by throwing his mighty shield.
Yes. Doom’s supreme intellect. His matchless armor (Suck it, Iron Man). His dazzling skill. What is a mere shield to Doom?
Look on in awe and fear, Captain America. Doom effortlessly catches your shield and sends it back at you with irresistible force. He is more than a match for any of you cretins. Doom uses rocket harpoons and a mesh net to fight the Avengers. For having matchless armor, it does jack and shit. All of his weapons appear out of the walls, mad scientist style. Finally, the net slows the team down and Doom pulls out a big honking disintegrator gun. But when he pulls the trigger, nothing happens.
The accursed Scarlet Witch. At best, your power flips switches. At worst, you have the power to induce forgetfulness? Laziness? Sloppiness? You’re terrible, Scarlet Witch. I will continue to mock your power no matter how many times you make me forget to flush the toilet.
The team piles on and finally they are able to pull the lever that removes the dome from Latveria. The Avengers know they can’t take Doom, so they have to figure out an escape. How will they do it??
By making Doom sneeze. This is some crazy shit. Doom has a sneezing fit and the Avengers escape. The end. A fucking sneezing fit. Take a good look at this people, you will probably never see Doom sneeze on panel again. A fucking sneeze arrow. Hawkeye caused Doom all sorts of trouble with an acid arrow and a sneeze arrow. This is the fucking worst. How long can I keep this up?
Next: Back to fighting the Fantastic Four. And this time, it’s one of Doom’s most famous arcs. Victory will certainly be Doom’s!
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