1964: Act 2: monarchy -v- democracy
A2Annual 2: Doom as a mirror to Reed... and Ben
For me. Paulo Rivera is the
greatest FF artist ever, for stand alone images. (Obviously for
sequential story telling there is only one Kirby.) This image of his
sums up annual 2 better than I could: Ben and Reed at college. Doom
symbolizes Reed's desire to personally defeat the unbeatable foe. This
image would still be perfect even if Doctor Doom didn't exist: it's
power is its symbolism.
We start annual 2 with a flashback to before Act 1: Doom was
Reed's nemesis right from the start.
Doom's early decline foreshadows Reed's later decline: he is unable
to take criticism, believing that his way is the only way. Reed
believes that Ben's desire to fight and Sue's desire to be gentle
are both signs of limited
minds, rather than different
minds. Like Reed, Doom starts to learn his
lesson by the end of act five.
Other similarities include:
Doom's scar and his psychology
- Similar methods: their laboratories. This is part of the
American Dream and zeitgeist of the early 1960s: scientists as
magicians! (Doom, master of the occult, is a literal scientist
magician, and Ben often comments on Reed's ability to cook up
miraculous devices when needed).
- Similar desires: to fix the world or rule the world (since
only Reed can fix it then in his world he would inevitably rise
to a place of unquestioned power). Both gain their power from
their fathers (as we discover when Reed reaches his lowest
- Similar roles: their nation (or the world) depends on them.
- Doom thinks he has won, and cannot recognize a superior
intellect. This Foreshadows Reed's career: Sue has the answers
and he cannot see it, thinking everything reflects his own
genius rather than his foolishness. But again this is to as
extreme as in Doom's case. Doom is Reed without Sue.
Doom's scar is one of those really interesting Jack Kirby things. During
his later life Kirby maintained that Doom's scar was minor, and the
whole point was that his vanity cannot stand imperfection: he would
rather destroy something than have a single flaw. There is a famous
picture by Kirby of Doom without his mask, and he is very handsome
except for the scar (which itself looks cool, like a scar that says
"this guy is tough"). A lot of people say that contradicts Stan Lee's
view that Doom's face was horribly disfigured. But I don't think it
does: I think that illustration was symbolic.
Jack Kirby drew Doom's face as monstrous in FF 10 (he doesn't actually
show the face, but it is strongly implied, and he does show the hair
which looks like it's burnt off. Then in Doom's origin in FF annual 2,
Kirby shows Doom putting on the mask when it is still hot: the monks say
"but master, it has not cooled yet" and when he puts it on we see smoke
coming off it.
Later when Byrne showed Doom's origin he made this explicit: Byrne shows
that Doom only had one scar, but putting on the red hot mask destroyed
his face. Byrne shows Doom saying "pain is for lesser men" then when the
red hot masks goes on he screams and runs outside to bury his face in
the cooling snow. This is good in that it makes the situation clear, but
I think Kirby's original was better: yes, the mask was hot, yes the
mask would have disfigured his face, but Doom was right, he would not
care about pain. The whole point of the story (to Kirby) is that to Doom
destroying his face was nothing. It was trivial. Because to Doom that
one scar meant his face was already destroyed.
I love Kirby's stories, I love the way he thinks. I think Doom's origin
can be read in a very realistic and powerful way. As a child, Doom saw
his family and people killed and humiliated by their rulers. He was
unable to save them. He is like Batman: he vowed from that point to
always be strong. Doom has good reason (well maybe not good, but totally
understandable) to trust nobody and to not allow any weakness at all.
He knows that when the whole world is against you, the tiniest flaw can
cause disaster. Just as the tiny flaw in his original machine in college
caused it to explode, ruining everything. The scar is just a symbol of
his mind. Everything has to be perfect and perfectly under control, or
it's like losing his family all over again.
If we want to go super-realistic (and I do) then it must be that of
course Doom does make mistakes, but as long as the world doesn't see
them that's OK. That's how dictators must work. So when Reed pointed out
the flaw in Doom's calculation the problem was that whatever happened,
here is a man who has seen Doom's weakness. If Reed had not been there
then the machine would still have blown up, but Doom would have carried
on: all scientists have failures, but the hero is the one who gets up
and tries again. As long as nobody sees the weakness they cannot exploit
it. But Reed saw the weakness: he made Doom feel vulnerable and weak.
Again, being weak brings back his childhood and losing his family again.
I hope I'm not going far when I say that to Doom, Reed seeing his
weakness was like rape. Some people (horrible, unfeeling, chauvinists)
could argue that rape is not so bad as long as the victim is not
physically harmed: it was not her fault, why can't she just get over it?
But the whole point of rape is the horror of feeling weak, utterly
helpless against an enemy, of that enemy seeing your most private self
that you try to hide. To Doom that is what Reed did when he looked over
Doom's calculations and saw a mistake. Doom felt like he was raped, like
Reed now had power over him, and Doom spent the rest of his life trying
to destroy and humiliate Reed. This is not because Doom sees himself as
a victim, but Doom sees himself as voice and power of justice.
Note that Doom's is greatest humiliations come
from Ben, not Reed. It was Ben who crushed Doom's hands, and Ben
defeated Doom in a
straight fight when Doom had the surfer's power. But since Ben has
obviously enormous power Doom can dismiss this as a temporary thing, a
mere battle in the war that Doom will win. There is no shame when a
vastly powerful opponent beats you, as long as you then come back and
beat him. The shame comes when an ordinary guy sees your actual
weakness. Reed saw Doom's actual weakness, and that is why Reed is great
enemy. In my opinion.
Other points to note (first story)
- Kirby's Eastern European origins
didn't mind [her son being an artist]. In fact she encouraged him to do
anything he wanted as a creator. He also says that she was an immense
influence on him. Being from an eastern European country, she was deeply
superstitious, and her impressions were to live with him forever. She
was full of legends, she used to write herself, she used to dramatize
everything, she had a wonderful imagination and we talked and talked and
she made up stories for me. I think my style in comics directly relates
from her form of delivery." (source)
- Realism and
The origin of Doom shows his earliest use of robots. Later robots
can be explained by the use of Ovoid technology from issue 10 (almost all superhero tech is
copied from alien tech). The early robots, while far more
primitive than later models, were still far in advance of anything
that could be created in the 1960s, and even pushes the boundaries
today (2013). So how do we explain them? The
Ovoid story provides the clue with its emphasis on mind swapping.
Thanks to CyberCoyote from comicboards FF board for pointing this
- Pre-Ovoid demonic possession
When Doom uses the Ovoid mind swap trick he is basically
demoniacally possessing people. But the Ovoids never used the power to
possess others, but just to switch to an empty body body created for the purpose. So how was
Doom able to take their ability further than they could? And how is
nobody else able to copy his trick? The answer is in his origin. Before Doom met the Ovoids his
emphasis was on mystical and demonic powers, not pure science. Ovoid
knowledge allowed him to refine what he already had: the ability to
mind control objects.
Doom and Diablo parallels
Doom's technology in annual 2 parallels Diablo's potions in FF30. Diablo
even possessed someone: he controlled Dragon Man through use of a
mind. Doom, like Diablo, and other mystics, was able to call upon
mystic power to temporarily control inanimate objects. ("Mystic
power" simply means calling on more advanced beings to use
technology - see the page on super
science for a more complete discussion). Diablo and Doom do the same thing.
The Ovoids simply gave Doom a technological advance to what he did
The Doom homunculus theory
Doom's origin suggests a possible explanation for his powers.
Although Stan Lee's text mentions him having a mother, Jack Kirby's art
shows no sign of this. Doom's may instead have demonic origins.
The Skrull Milk theory is my working
hypothesis for how these comics can make sense. In short, advanced
aliens probably do exist out
there somewhere in the universe. If just one of them visited Earth then
everything in the Fantastic Four (and Marvel comics in general) follows
naturally. All super powers could (in theory) be traced to Reed
Richards, and all high technology could (in theory) be traced to a
single Skrull spacecraft, plus a couple of similar craft that followed
as a result, years later. So far so good. But Doom poses a problem. He
does not seem to fit he Skrull theory,
and this is why:
His technology is too advanced. In FF 5 he has a working time
machine. In FF 6 he has a mechanical grabber with insane abilities (plus
some highly advanced forms of transport, nets, etc).
In FF 10 we see that he is found by the Ovoids within minutes of being
lost in space. What are the odds of that? And then of course he gains
access to all kinds of other technology.
He gains some advantage from ancient magical texts, In particular, he
creates a time machine and also attempts to contact the nether world.
This goes way beyond simply repurposing a faster than light drive.
Granted, Reed also tried dimension jumping years later (with the sub space portal)
but he could only design it with the help of the Watcher. Why is Doom
so advanced? And if Doom uses magic then why does he not cast spells?
Simplifying the problem
Applying Occam's razor, we can boil this down to just one problem: the
sub-space portal. Reed's technology is all building up to a dimensional portal.
Doom's is the same. A time machine, and a machine for contacting the
nether world, are both forms of dimensional portals. With such a portal
Doom would obviously attract the attention of any more advanced aliens.
And the portal would give him access to other advanced technology. So
the question is. why was Doom's portal technology so advanced, so early?
Occam's razor provides us with an answer: we should not multiply our
portals unnecessarily. Reed was working on his portal since the 1930s,
so Doom could have got access to a very crude version. So the new
question is, how could Doom use a very crude portal to get more advanced
technology? If the proto-portal was little more than a faster than
light dimensional warper, not ready to transport a person, what could it
do? We have already seen the answer: it can draw the attention of other
advanced beings. This is something Reed would not dare to do, as he
wanted to hide from the other Skrulls. But a more reckless person might
broadcast a message, saying "come and help me!". Let's follow this train
Advanced magic relies on calling on beings from other dimensions: "by
the hoary hosts of hoggoth!", "by the Vishanti!", etc. Any dimensional
warper might draw their attention. You might even crate some pattern in
the warp, and send a message, hoping somebody responds (as with SETI,
the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence). Doom's old books would
talk about this? Even if ancient magicians were all frauds, they would
understand the principle. There must be higher dimensions, and if only
we could get their attention! So Doom's ancient books of magic would be
useful, even in the real world: they are books by ancient thinkers. But
this "asking for help" method has three problems:
- The higher beings might not want to help us.
- If they do, they might be for their own reasons (aliens wanting to destroy us, or demons having fun with us)
- It might be harder than we think to get a message through.
Magicians solved the first two problems, in theory at least:
- Offer to serve them (a deal with the devil)
- Have such high standards that the more responsible ones will trust you (the self discipline route)
SETI solved the third problem, at least in theory: make the message
as simple as possible. So SETI does not look for little green men in
spaceships, it looks for anything non-random. And people who want to send
a message do not try to build their own faster than light space ships
(we don't have the technology for that) but they send information:
simple messages (like the Arecibo message) to indicate we have intelligence, or some have suggested: sending DNA
data into outer space. A dimensional warper (removed from a faster than
light craft) could obviously do more than our simple radio broadcasters,
but the same principle apply: sending or receiving simple information
is much easier than sending a person. This is something that Doom (or somebody like him) might achieve.
OK, so we have a way that Doom could in theory get help from
other dimensions. But how did he use that to get so much technology so
quickly? The ancient thinkers had an answer for this as well: the
Nicolas Hartsoeker [inventor of the microscope] postulated
the existence of animalcules in the semen of humans and other animals.
This was the beginning of spermists' theory, who held the belief that
the sperm was in fact a "little man" that was placed inside a woman for
growth into a child. This seemed to them to neatly explain many of the
mysteries of conception. It was later pointed out that if the sperm was a
homunculus, identical in all but size to an adult, then the homunculus
may have sperm of its own. This led to a reductio ad absurdum with a
chain of homunculi "all the way down". This was not necessarily
considered by spermists a fatal objection however, as it neatly
explained how it was that "in Adam" all had sinned: the whole of
humanity was already contained in his loins. The spermists' theory also
failed to explain why children tend to resemble their mothers as well as
their fathers, though some spermists believed that the growing
homunculus assimilated maternal characteristics from the womb
environment in which they grew. (-Wikipedia)
Homunculi and changelings
The term homunculus refers to any tiny human, whether physical or
spiritual, A tiny spiritual person can control a human just as easily as
a tiny physical one. For example, the human mind is often thought of as
a homunculus: a tiny person sitting inside the human brain, controlling
it. Any spiritual force that is too small to see can also be thought of
as a homunculus. Since both the spiritual and the very tiny are difficult or impossible to see there is little practical difference between them.
the term homunculus brings to mind the name of Paracelsus who proposed a
spiritual homunculus. However, Paracelsus' proposal was limited in
scope to an alchemical operation. The term of homunculus possesses a
broader definition; it may be either a spiritual or physical entity. The
physical homunculus is deliberately created by occult or magical means
combining both human and spiritual efforts. The physical homunculus
usually has a human form created through sexual intercourse between a
human and a spiritual entity. [...] The changeling is the nice term for
homunculus, the amalgam of a human child and a spirit child. Such
amalgamation would be the product of sexual intercourse between a human
and a spirit. [...] At one time it was thought incubi children were produced though a demonic version of the Virgin Birth" (source)
So when an external demonic or angelic force mixed with a human (e.g. as a changeling or a demigod) this seed is also a form of homunculus.
Homunculi and DNA
If a homunculus is a tiny person inside sperm, then he must contain his own sperm, and so on. Eventually we get to the smallest possible homunculus, something that cannot be divided further. To the ancient Greeks, the smallest indivisible thing was called the atom. So the smallest, most fundamental homunculus would be the collection of atoms that makes a human, or DNA.
Normally, DNA and Homunculus are seen as contradictions: one is a plan, the other is a fully formed being. See this blog for example.
However, I think that is "a tiny man" is simply the best way to
visualise DNA in the absence of a more detailed understanding. This is
why the movie Jurassic park had animated DNA in the form of a human.
It's just the natural way to think of DNA. So it is just natural for DNA
and homunculi to be describing the same thing.
Besides, a non-supernatural reading of
ancient texts indicates that the word "spirit" simply means information.
For example in the Bible John the Baptist had "the spirit of Elijah"
because he spoke and acted like Elijah. Even today we still say "that's
the spriit" meaning "that's the right idea". So a spiritual homunculus
refers to the information necessary to create a certain kind of person.
So what was Werner Von Doom thinking?
So anybody with knowledge of medieval thought, and access to a
dimensional device, no matter how crude, would wonder, "what if I could
make a demonic or divine homunculus?" or in modern words, "what if I
send, or receive,
DNA? I could then ask for instructions for how to make it grow. We
have a hybrid alien on Earth, a human with special abilities, and
attracting the sympathy and support of other aliens. they could then use
to gain more and more access to help from aliens: technology, better
dimensional portals, anything! This of course comes with great danger:
the alien might want this as an opportunity to play with us, or
introduce disease, or cause other problems So anybody who tried this
extremely dangerous route would be obsessed with gaining the technical
upper hand and power for themselves.
So much for the theory. Now let's test it: did Doom use this method? Is there any evidence in the comics?
Doom as a homunculus
All the comic book evidence supports the above theory:
Doom somehow attracts dimensional travellers: when he was in space after
issue 6, the Ovoids quickly found him and taught him how to mind swap.
Mind swapping is essentially advanced homunculus skills: taking your
essence from one body and planting it in another.
The Ovoids were not a coincidence. A similar thing happens when he in
space after issue 23. Kang quickly finds him. it is as though part of
Doom comes from another dimension and attracts higher beings.
- A special child:
Doom is not like his father. the origin in annual 2 shows that his father fears him, but does not say why.
- No mother in sight:
We never see Doom's mother. Stan Lee's text talks about his mother, but
of that was Kirby's intent then why don't we see her? If Doom was seeded
from alien DNA then he would not need a mother.
Kirby was well read, and would be aware of legends (and movies, TV
shows, etc) about homunculi. Even if he did not consciously intend it,
he clearly thought of Doom as a special person with special powers,and
these powers came from combining science and ancient texts.
- Magic yet no magic
In the early days Doom was obsessed with magical texts, yet we never see
him perform spells. it is as if magic is essential to who he is, but
wants to control it through mechanical means. Exactly as we would expect
if he was a homunculus.
- The mask
Doom hates anybody seeing damage to his face: he is very uncomfortable
with who he is. This goes beyond vanity: Doom has serious psychological
issues with who he is.
Doom is obsessed with being in control, and not letting anybody near
him. Just as we would expect if he was in danger of being controlled by
the nether world.
- The experiment
Reed's first memory of Doom is Doom's attempt to reach the nether world.
Why? If his DNA came from there then he has the perfect reason.
Despite his obsessive need to be alone, Doom tries to team up with
Namor. Why Namor? Namor is another hybrid without a home in either
Based on the above evidence, here is a tentative timeline for the origin of Doom and his extraordinary technology:
- Early 1930s:
Werner Von Doom is desperate
to help his people survive. Europe is changing, it is the eve of war
(where Hitler will try to kill all gypsies) and his people are under
existential threat. He knows the books about contacting demons for help,
but of course it does not work.
- Reed has just arrived and is desperately trying to find ways to use his dimensional technology to protect the world.
- Reed meets Nathaniel Essex, an expert in genetics, who becomes Reed's human mentor. (See the Skrull Milk timeline for details.)
- Nathaniel knows about German interests in DNA, and homunculus
texts from Transylvania. Werner Von Doom is the perfect subject, ready
to try anything. They use the dimensional device to send and receive DNA data from an uncertain source.
- Doom is born. he has part demonic DNA and no mother.
Doom's family circumstances, and WWII, persuade him that desperate
measures are needed. His semi alien DNA allows him easier access to
information from the other side. His scientific knowledge expands beyond the normal human.
- Meanwhile, his mix of demonic and human DNA give him a special interest in controlling bodies. His early robots are part mechanical, part mind controlled.
Doom's interest in mind swapping, and his advanced science, lead him to try to contact the netherworld more directly, to learn his origins. His experiment fails.
Doom uses his advanced knowledge and contacts to develop a limited use time machine.
Doom's alien DNA attracts the Ovoids
to him. His technology then takes its greatest leap. He no longer needs
magic (that is, begging for information from mysterious dimensions).
From now on he focuses on technology, where he is in control.
This theory is of course tentative and subject to change. But it
solves the Doom problems, and agree with the text. Without this theory
the comic simply do not make sense.
Annual 2, the second story
Doom's "final victory"
At the end of this issue Doom thinks he is victorious at the end, but
the cover rotrays something far greater. This genuinely is the "final
victory", because from here Doom knows he will triumph eventually. It
changes Doom's whole outlook on life.
Here Doom speculates that he is the same person as Kang. Byrne later
referred to Doom as Kang's ancestor, but given the thirtieth century
technology this may not be "ancestor" in the way we mean, and this would
explain how this was a final victory. In FF200 Doom loses his mind, and
it appears from annual 15 that Doom is not tied to a particular body
(see the notes to those issues). If so then he has escaped death. Doom
did not yet know this in annual 2, but he already had Ovid mind swapping
skills, so he would have speculated. When he met Kang he expected to
die (he only had a couple of minutes' oxygen left) so meeting Kang would
have been especially exciting: Kang was proof that Doom would survive
into the far future. This is the final victory: the knowledge that
whatever happened, he would survive and conquer.
Doom's supreme confidence starts here
Note how at the start of the story Doom is defeatist - he admits his
to Reed. But from this point he knows he cannot be defeated in the long
run: he has added confidence and never again
admits that anybody is above him. He returns from Kang, with an advanced space craft, conquers Latveria, and
never looks back. Doom's supreme confidence begins here. Doom's towering
over others begins here.
(For an overview of Doom's development in the rest of his twenty appearances see his own page.)
The story begins with a continuation of the "Reed destroys Ben's
confidence" theme developed throughout act 2. Reed begins by
criticizing Ben where Ben feels most secure - his piloting skill.
Doom and Diablo, Reed and the Wizard
Ben destroys the car that is going to the New York World's Fair,
and then sells it as pop art. Don't worry, I won't mention every
zeitgeist reference in every issue, but this one represents bigger
themes. The center piece of the fair was the World Globe, where
Thundra completed Ben's humiliation in FF133. The same issue
begins in Times Square on New Year's Eve 1973, where the team's
depression reflects the nation's disillusionment, contrasted with
its optimism in 1965. (Issue 133 then moves on to New York's Shea
stadium: the whole issue takes place among thousands of New
Yorkers, where fans pay ten bucks a seat to see superheros fight -
a comment on the zeitgeist of the professionalization of the game
at the time.) Note that this is our world, in real time, not the
parallel comics-only world it would become in the 1990s.
While on the topic, from a literary point of view, Diablo is Doom
without any respect for others. Doom, for all his arrogance, does care a
little for his people, and that is the source of his strength. Diablo
cares for nobody - as an elitist he is even more arrogant than Doom, and
that is the source of his weakness. So Diablo is a mirror for Doom in
exactly the same way that the Wizard is a mirror for Reed: the Wizard
has even worse social skills than Reed and so he is weaker.
This issue contains the most commonly quoted example of Reed's sexism: Reed says Sue is "not a fool... merely a
female." Sean Kleefeld commented: "Mr. Fantastic is a sexist jerk. Or,
at least, he was. Back in the 1960s when the Fantastic Four debuted, the
Invisible Girl was not only written as the perpetual third wheel to the
"real" heroes" ( - Kleefeld on comics)
Sue was strong, Reed fainted more
I have written about the fallacy of the weak Invisible Girl elsewhere.
If you judge by results, Sue has always been the strongest and most effective member of the
team, the one who defeats Dr Doom and other major threats. Reed is
statistically more likely to faint or to go to pieces without her, while
Ben and Johnny are far more repressed.
Sue can be sexist and Reed can be weak
Yes, Reed is sexist. He has to be: as the Great American Novel, a real
time reflection of the zeitgeist, Reed has to reflect common attitudes
of the time. But Sue was just as sexist as Reed: In annual 2 Reed is sexist, but in
annual 1 Sue was sexist first. She said that "all men" are
beasts. As for Sue with her head in her hands, Reed did the same: annual 1 follows directly
from FF14 where Reed spoke of his own despair and weakness in the face
In both cases the judgment, though sexist, was justified. In annual 1,
Johnny and Ben acted badly, and in previous issues so did Reed. They
acted like beasts. Sue merely generalized, saying that all men are like
that. And in annual 2, Reed is technically correct. Sue saw her fiancÚ
(as the thought) acting despicably, therefore she only had one possible
course of action and she took it. Reed spoke the truth. And later Sue
called him out on it. So Reed's sexism, and Sue's submission, though
real, are greatly exaggerated by modern readers. This reflects or modern
need to make ourselves look good by exaggerating the sins of the past.
Sexism: why character development matters
Kleefeld comments that sexism is a problem, because the sliding timescale
pretends that these events took place recently. It's understandable
that they took place in the 1960s, but harder to defend if they took
place after 2001.
"[In the past] it was pretty common
for all male characters to act this way. In most cases of fiction,
though, those characters are eternally relegated to their time period.
[...] But many comic book characters have been in constant publication
since then and, despite their earlier origins, are often seen as
products of modern society. So how do we, as readers, address this kind
of thing? [...][ S]ince the characters continue to this day, they can be
seen as contemporary expressions." ( - Kleefeld on comics)
Kleefeld sees this as an opportunity to educate readers on why this is
wrong. But he does not address the central problem that the sliding time
scale presents these as recent events. How can we say this behavior is
wrong, then pretend 1960s attitudes fit in ten years ago?
This is another example of how the sliding timescale
destroys stories. To rescue the story, to show why sexism is wrong, we
need to accept the truth: these are 1960s stories, set in the 1960s, and
reflect 1960s values and attitudes. We can then see how Reed grew and
developed, and how in the 1970s he had to pay for his mistakes. But we
can also free ourselves from the need to be holier than thou. We can see
that other 1960s values, like idealism and heroism, can teach us good
values that we have lost. Learning is a two way street. We can learn
from history if we let it teach us. We will not learn from history if
the sliding timescale insists on re-writing it.
Other points to note in annual 2
- Reed belittles Ben
The splash page to the second story makes the link between Reed and Doom
in the previous story: the fantasti-car is in crisis and instead of
trying to fix it Reed blames Ben. How could Reed possibly know that Ben
forgot to re-bore the jet exhausts? Besides, isn't that more likely to
be Johnny's job? But Reed's top priority was to blame Ben. Reed does not
mean to be cruel, he no doubt thought he was being helpful, but it's incredibly insensitive.
- Doom and Magneto:
"I always used to get some of the more rabid Magneto fans riled up when I
would point out that all Claremont did was take Doom's origin and
update it a bit, switching gypsy to Jewish. Lee and Kirby touch upon the
same persecution issues, loss of family and a prior connection to the
main protagonist. Only Magneto and Charles are frequently seen as
besties." (- Iron Maiden)
- Persecuted gypsies:
"I have to wonder
how much input Jack Kirby put into the story. He was in the infantry
during WWII and was in Europe. He was in a unit that came across some of
the Nazi prison camps and would have seen first hand how the Jews and
the gypsies were treated." (- Iron Maiden)
- Why doesn't Doom just shoot them?
Why spend so much effort when shooting them would be simpler? See the comments by FF17, about
Maslow's Hierarchy of needs. Doom's need is to feel important,
not to rule: he can only rule if he believes he is the best, so he
must prove Reed Richards to be a fool first.
Doom: towering over the 28 year story
The cover to annual 2 shows Doom as a giant: a theme repeated
many times over the years. Doom is the principle opponent in the
28 year story and bestrides the story like a colossus. His cover
size size reflects his strength: at
times like the 1970s when he lost his way, and other times when
his confidence falters (though he never admits it), he is
shown at normal size.
This image reminds us of this famous illustration from Thomas
Hobbes' book Leviathan, about how the king towers over his people and
represents them. Doom sees himself as an old world monarch (and in
annual 2 this becomes official): he sees himself as above others.
The image reminds us of a major theme of the Great American Novel: old
world monarchy versus American democracy. America is the first major
nation to challenge monarchy. The 28 year story of the Fantastic Four is
about democracy versus monarchy: Reed sees himself as leader, like
Doom, but will he learn humility?