Fantastic Four #258- "Interlude"
Cover Date- Sept 1983 Price $ .60
Writer: John Byrne Aritst: John Byrne
(Editor's Note- The word "Doom" appears a lot in this post. I apologize for the redundancies)
Story: This issues opens with the evil dictator ,Dr. Doom, looking out over Latveria's Capitol City of Doomstadt. There is much hustle and bustle, and it's revealed by Doom's thoughts that the subjects are rebuilding the city after a would-be upstart named Sorba recently tried to take over. Doom ponders for abit, and then a local gypsy comes by and tells him that Dr. Strange is looking for a new apprentice. Doom is intrigued, but he doesn't want to be the learner, only the master.
Doom then goes into his castle and visits with his young ward Kristoff. Kristoff's mother died while under Doom's protection, so now he showers the lad with love and attention. It's quite touching and really messed up to see Doom act like a loving father. The two spend the day doing dictatorial things: checking on the Doombots, deciding between the matters of subjects a la King Solomon, etc. etc.
The next day, old Vic gets a bite to eat (somehow while still wearing his armored mask) from his personal chef, and is interrupted via communicator by his lackey Hauptmann. Hauptmann calls DD down to his lab and shows him an invention that will infuse anyone who steps into with a power that's not unlike the Silver Surfer's Power Cosmic. Hauptmann tells the good Doc that the machines all warmed up and ready to go, so Doom does just what you'd expect- he throws Hauptmann inside. The massive amount of power turns Hauptmann into chalk dust in a matter of seconds, and Doom's theory that a normal human body being too frail for the machine is proven correct.
DD then searches through his files for a suitable body to put into the machine. Young Kristoff returns and suggests that Doom ask Magneto, because Mags' powers almost rival Doom's. Doom lifts the child in the air and yells at him that "No one rivals Doom! NO ONE!"
Yes, threatening kids- the hallmark of a true supervillain. Kristoff scampers back to his room and Doom goes back to his task. He finds a suitable name, of a yet-to-be revealed character...
Later, in Manhattan, a pair of Doombots skulk through a hospital hallway. Looking for Doom's query, they find a room with a patient whose bones have all been broken from a great fall. The patients in total traction, and his eyes burn with rage as he gazes upon the D-Bots. They grab the patient, and cart him back to Latveria.
Over the course of 6 weeks, Doom nurses the mystery patient back to health. When finally rested, we find out the injured patient is none other than Tyros. Tyros used to be the intergalactic scourge known as Terrax the Destroyer, but lost his powers and fell off the top of the World Trade Center after a fight with the Fantastic Four. Doom uses this fact to entice Terrax into getting into the machine that the dear departed Hauptmann had created. Since Terrax is an alien, his physiology can handle the massive powers bestowed by the machine. Terrax gets in, powers up, and flies away on a Green Goblin like glider, intent on exacting his revenge on the Fantastic Four. Doom is happy, mostly because he knows that Terrax's body can only handle the power for about 5 hours before he becomes the next Hauptmann. Doom is going to let Terrax soften the FF a bit before he finishes the job. I guess that's why they call the issue "interlude"!
What I Thought: If you like Dr. Doom even a little bit, you need to read this comic. It's an entertaining spotlight on a much used villain whose characterizations have become rather stilted over the years. Sometimes the good doctor is a dictator who cares about maintaining his power over his nation and people, sometimes he's a cliched mindless supervillain type, sometimes he's just a bit player who really appears for no reason other than the fact that Dr. Doom is cool(see Mighty Avengers). I think this comic did a good job of portraying Doom as an evil, maniacal, egotist in any and all situations. And if you can't trust a megalomaniac to remain consistent, do you really want to read about him?
Until next time, vive la DOOM?