Christopher Hastings explains why Gwen won’t stand a chance against the Doctor!

Gwenpool taking on Doctor Doom seems like a bad idea…but nobody told her that!

Both writer Christopher Hastings and artist Irene Strychalski have made themselves complicit in this ominous setup for Gwen—and on November 8, in GWENPOOL #22, we’ll find out just how bad things will get for the fourth wall-shattering super hero.

Ahead of the showdown, we had Hastings analyze six reasons why taking on Victor Von Doom won’t end well for Gwenpool.

Doctor Doom has long proven himself to be a master of technology.

“Yeah—and Gwen’s pretty much limited to whatever she can buy or steal,” the writer acknowledges, “Doom has the advantage here!”

Victor Von Doom has also demonstrated an incredible talent with sorcery.

“And Gwen knows none! However, Gwen’s awareness that she exists in a comic book has reached new levels, granting her the ability to manipulate the panels and pages, or as everyone else sees it, reality itself.” Though he admits, “She’s still figuring it out.”

The Doctor does not enjoy facing lighthearted or wacky opponents.

“Gwen infuriates Doom—which may inspire a swift end to this battle,” teases the writer.

He seems pretty committed to being a good guy nowand Gwenpool hasn’t been great at committing to the concept of “hero.”

“Gwen likes the idea of being a hero, but she’s just learning to be a decent person in the Marvel Universe—that’s been a slow and painful process. But I’d say the same for Doom. Their difficulties ‘trying to be better’ manifest themselves very differently, but I can see some parallels.”

Given that Gwen remains relatively new to the Marvel Universe, she might have missed that Doom no longer stands as the number one baddie around.

Christopher agrees: “This might be a major issue. Gwen showed up at some point around Secret Wars, which means she has not read any comics since then—she still thinks she’s going up against classic Von Doom.”

Doctor Doom has been one of the most disciplined figures in the Marvel Universe for years. Gwen…not so much.

“Yeah, Gwen carries swords around but I don’t think she’s learned anything about how to wield them since the one time she watched some YouTube tutorials.”

Well…good luck, Gwen!

GWENPOOL #22, by Christopher Hastings and artist Irene Strychalski, throws down on November 8!

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David Baldeón looks back at the introduction of the FF’s greatest foe!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

Sometimes a comic comes along and changes everything for a reader. For SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE artist David Baldeón, it turned out to be FANTASTIC FOUR #5. As he explained in yesterday’s Kirby 100 installment, seeing the King’s work in that classic 1962 issue in a Spanish reprint completely changed how he looked at comics. He left behind other books and fully focused on Kirby!

Looking back at this issue, it’s no wonder that it so completely captured the future artist’s imagination. Not only does this installment introduce the world to none other than Doctor Doom, but it also features kidnapping, villainous origins, time travel, and the male members of the FF playing pirate!

“I’m not sure I took it all in,” Baldeón recalls. “Not in the first read, at least. It was all image after image after image. The nets, Blackbeard Thing, the sequence of Thing putting on his pirate disguise—I had never seen something like that. Mr. Fantastic stretching from boat to boat! That panel alone broke all the ideas I had in my head about comics. And Doom’s story! It was just too much. But I do remember the feel of ‘there’s so much more.’ There [are] other stories behind and around this thing I’m reading, it’s all part of something bigger, and not knowing exactly what was exciting and enticing.”

To get into a little more detail, the issue kicked off with this new villain, Doom, vowing to defeat the Fantastic Four. Back in their building, Johnny and Ben get into a fight over the Torch’s Hulk comic book before Reed and Sue break it up. They really stopped, though, when Doom surrounded their building with electrified cables and asked for Sue to come up, followed soon by the others.

Fantastic Four (1961) #5

Fantastic Four (1961) #5

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“I think this probably was the first time I saw Doctor Doom,” Baldeón remembers. “I had already read quite a few Marvel comics, but mostly Spider-Man. And of course, I didn’t have the slightest idea of who he was and what he meant! I did know, though, that that was not your average, run-of-the-mill villain. That design!”

Doom showed his true evil by bringing the team back to his castle and then demanding Mr. Fantastic, Thing, and Human Torch go back in time to steal Blackbeard’s treasure and return with it. Thrust into the past, Thing donned Blackbeard’s togs while Reed and Johnny dressed as standard pirates and they got the job done. Though Doom clearly became the most memorable part of this story, Blackbeard Thing has also taken on a life of its own.

“Honestly, I think it was just Kirby’s magic,” says Baldeón. “The Thing as Blackbeard is just one of those ideas that just cannot work or make any kind of sense, unless you’re Kirby and do it effortlessly, with just the right amount of epic and comedy and power and pure raw energy to make it not only possible, but iconic.”

Upon the team’s return, Doom turned out to be a robot, setting the stage for a recurring twist still used to this day. The real Doom then began to suck all the oxygen from the room, but Sue saved the day by rescuing her teammates. In the end, they escaped with their lives, but didn’t get their hands on the villain who would become nearly synonymous with the team itself!

“Looking back at it now, it’s just incredible that there’s so much information and so many concepts seamlessly contained in just one issue,” Baldeón concludes. “It has not lost one ounce of power, and it still works like clockwork. It is strange to think of ‘clockwork’ when talking about such an apparently raw, untamed sci-fi/fantasy story. But still, there it is. The pacing, the comedy. You can see why it is a classic. I go back to it and completely understand why it made such an impact.”

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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Brian Michael Bendis walks the fine line of writing Victor Von Doom!

This week, the star of INFAMOUS IRON MAN, Victor Von Doom, began to feel the threat of a perennial foe closing in as Reed Richards made his appearance in issue #8. This version of Mister Fantastic hails from the dead reality of the Ultimate Universe, which presents a unique new take on one of Marvel’s oldest rivalries and a sturdy obstacle for would-be-hero Doctor Doom.

We spoke with writer Brian Michael Bendis about how he manages the challenges of writing a villain-centric series alongside long-time artistic collaborator, Alex Maleev.

Marvel.com:  Brian, let’s start things off with talking about the challenges of writing a villain book versus your more typical hero book.

Brian Michael Bendis: Well, we have someone who is arguably the biggest villain in the Marvel Universe who wants to attempt to redeem himself. This is the man with the biggest hole that he’s dug for himself and [he] is going to try and crawl out of it. That is something I have been dying to do for years. I can’t tell you what year I wrote down this idea, but I can’t think of anyone who would be better suited to attempt this with and be more difficult. You have to live inside his head and approach it from the perspective of knowing everything that he’s done. There is no falling back on something like “Oh, he’s got amnesia!” He knows everything that he did, he knows where all the bodies have been buried, and he is still going to climb out of it. That is the biggest challenge; it’s looking through that perspective that is oh-so-different than mine on every level.

Marvel.com: Despite the challenges, there are some rewards to it, right?

Brian Michael Bendis: You know, it’s funny. My favorite thing that I do with this book that is so different than any other title I’ve ever written is there are a lot of quiet moments with Victor; I think more than we’ve ever seen before. I mean, there are other books that have shown him with quiet moments, and that’s well established that there is public Victor and private Victor, but this is all Victor’s interior. We’re seeing Victor in some personally strenuous circumstances, but I try to find places where the “old Victor” can pop out just for a little bit: “Unhand me, woman!” You know those lines. That is how he speaks when he is angry, and I’m not sure it’s something that would go away just because he decides to be a better person.  So, writing that is a lot of fun. I literally go “Ok, now I have to write a ‘Victor is a [expletive] part.’”

Marvel.com: Apart from the fun in writing Doom’s voice, what’s the greatest challenge to tackling the Lord of Latveria?

Brian Michael Bendis: [Laughs] I’d say looking at the story through his perspective and finding empathy—not sympathy, but empathy. I think that’s the hardest thing with a “villain book.” You have to find that thing to which you are emotionally connected, or at least, understand where they are coming from so you can use that for yourself in your writing.

It’s so funny. In comics, it’s such a unique thing to have a character like this, but it is the norm in television from Tony Soprano to Walter White—characters with a lot of layers, but [who] are making their money with criminal activity. As the writer of “The Sopranos” would say, “people will watch as long as they are good at their job.” You want to watch Victor try to crawl out of a hole because oh my God! That’s like hearing a David Blaine stunt is about to happen! Who could not watch that?

Infamous Iron Man #9 cover by Alex Maleev

Marvel.com:  Now, you mentioned your interest in seeing villains dig their way out of impossible holes. I know you touched on this a bit, but do you find you connect with this on a personal level that translates into Victor’s story?

Brian Michael Bendis: No…I mean, that would be ridiculous of me to say “Oh, I crawled my way out of a hole or two in my day.” Everyone has said “I need to fix this or that,” you know? I think anyone can relate to the idea that when you do fix a mistake, it’s the best feeling in the world. Don’t you feel great when you call up a friend and go “Hey, remember that thing you heard? It’s not true…I love you.” Then it goes away, right? What a lovely thing that is, right? So, imagine that experience, but instead of it being between your friend and you, we’re talking about your entire life and the reality of the world depends on you healing this mistake. As far as Victor goes, “Could he do it? Could he honestly do it?” In every issue, he is moving two steps forward one step back, but he is getting closer.

Marvel.com: This leads right into my next question! Naturally, we have all made mistakes, like you were mentioning. Some of us have even made some truly awful ones; but one of the things that I was thinking about, particularly in relation to where Victor was and where he is trying to go, is there a point of no return? Is there a point where the readers cannot, or dare I say should not, connect with the villain, given how horrible their past actions were?

Brian Michael Bendis: Yeah! Well, I should say yes, but with Victor—you see, the really big “gift” that’s given to me with Victor and the reason why I think people are more forgiving, for lack of a better word, with him is because they know the story of his past. They know his Romani past, they know about his mother, and they know what she did to him. Once you kind of understand where it all started from, you’re kind of like “Okaaaay. This little boy is trying to escape from this hell,” and you’re rooting for him. That is really where people’s heads go. It is never too late in a lot of people’s eyes.

Marvel.com: I see you’re also turning the screws on this setup in bringing back Ultimate Reed Richards, aka The Maker. In this instance, we are seeing a sort of inverse of Doom: a once-hero now-turned villain. Was it too much to resist pairing these decades-old antagonists against each other again?

Brian Michael Bendis: I mean that wasn’t in the initial planning of when I wanted to do this book, but once you start putting all the cards out, you start seeing all 52 of those cards laid out and start going “Oh my God! There is an evil Reed and a trying to be good Doom!”

I remember I called [editor] Tom Brevoort and I said, “I can’t think of a reason not to do this. It’s just too good. There [has] got to be something that I’m not considering, you know this has got to be done before or something.” I almost wanted Tom to tell me “Oh, this has been done before” and I would have been freed of that burden. But instead, he responded, “Yeah, I think we have to do that. For people who are desperately missing the Fantastic Four, there is a little something for all of us.” Then what happened—unplanned—was an emotional Fantastic Four story. Here they are trying to re-discover themselves and find out who they are without the tropes of that other book. That’s fun to write and it’s very in-tune with the “adultness” that the other book had. It’s a little more emotionally sophisticated in INFAMOUS IRON MAN than maybe a book about the teenagers would be because we are dealing with serious issues.

Marvel.com:  One last question for you, Brian. I know that you’ve said before that this story has a definitive beginning, middle, and end. Where are we right now in Doom’s redemptive arc? Any hints as to how it’s going to end for one of Marvel’s most infamous villains?

Brian Michael Bendis: Mmmm. I would say past the half way mark. Truthfully, you are going to love this, this is a great last line of an interview that really doesn’t answer the question. It will end in the only way it could.

Marvel.com: I think you might be right about that!

Brian Michael Bendis: I swear to God, the ending I pitched was like, “Could I get there?” And nothing has moved it. There is no other ending in sight. Maybe it will change tomorrow, and sometimes that does happen. You think you know the ending of the story and you hear a lot of writers talk about that—knowing their ending before they start. This ending is powerful. I even shared it at the Marvel retreat a year ago, which was before the book had even shipped. That’s how sure was of where the story was going to end. And it hasn’t [changed]—which is very unusual for me! I try to leave an open mind at heart, because I want to be surprised. And this one? The only surprise has been how fun the journey is to write, but the ending is still the ending.

Continue to follow Doom’s journey of redemption in INFAMOUS IRON MAN #9 by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev on June 28!

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The Infamous Iron Man seeks membership with the help of Mark Waid!

On May 10 in AVENGERS #7 from Mark Waid and Phil Noto, the Infamous Iron Man seeks to join the Avengers and help defeat a new mystical menace, but does he have what it takes? You decide! 

Name: Victor Von Doom

Aliases: Doctor Doom, Infamous Iron Man, etc.

Headquarters: Undisclosed

Position applied for: Team leader

Powers and abilities: Command of the mystic arts, mind transference, hypnosis, master martial artist, master swordsman, super-genius intellect.

Have you ever committed a crime? Many. However, as I am fighting for justice, picking up where Tony Stark left off as Iron Man, I do not see this as particularly relevant at this time.

Reason for seeking to join the Avengers: I have decided to focus my efforts on pursuing justice and leading the Avengers to achieve their fullest potential.

Education and Training: Given my track record I do not believe it necessary to elaborate on my capabilities.

Avengers #7 cover by Alex Ross

Qualifications: To better understand how to show the team I will be an invaluable asset I sought out chronicler Mark Waid, in an attempt to quell the team’s uncertainties. Waid has informed me that you’re, “never going to have a roll call vote where the team says, ‘Yay, we should let him in. Here’s an ID card, here’s the headquarters, make yourself at home.’” That is perfectly acceptable to me. I already posses a home and I do not wish to become friends; I only wish to better the team’s fighting abilities to ensure our world’s safety. Waid also believes my arrogance will be my downfall, saying that I view the team as chess pieces, moving them around at my will with no regard for their individual needs. To this I say, why is that problematic if I am an incredibly efficient and successful chess player? Remember that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Waid does admit that I posses a skillset the team needs, saying, “Nobody else has the mystical, magical connection that he does and that’s a big part of it; the strength, the flying, the armor, there are people on the team that can serve those functions, but Doom’s big skills are his command of magic and his scientific prowess.” Something the Avenger’s no longer have without The Scarlet Witch, and logically, I am the most qualified individual to fill that void. However, some believe I am, “a grenade that the Avengers have to leap on; his immediate instinct and solution to any problem is to blast it out of the way.” But when thought about logically, this is also a positive. It shows quick thinking, decisiveness and efficiency, all things needed to successfully lead a team in a combat situation.

Waid also told me what he believes is my only way to win some semblance of acceptance from the team: “I think they would have to hear genuine regret and compassion over past deeds, over a sustained period of time.” To this I will simply say that I am remorseful for past indiscretions, but my wallowing in regret does nothing to make up for these acts and so I will not waste more time explaining how I have changed. Instead, I will leave you with Waid’s opinion: “He genuinely believes he’s turned over a new leaf, he genuinely believes he’s a different person.”

References:

Mephisto, extra-dimensional demon – “Gives him a big thumbs up for his persistence, for his ingenuity and for his ability to act correctly under pressure.”

Magneto, mutant super villain – “One of his strengths is that he has the long game in mind, he’s always taking into consideration a world view, an idea of how things that he does affect the planet around him.”

Loki, Asgardian God – “Would definitely laud Doom’s cleverness and how he is a good problem solver.”

Will the Avengers come around to the idea of adding Victor Von Doom to their roster of heroes? Find out May 10 with AVENGERS #7, and June 7 in AVENGERS #8, both written by Mark Waid with art by Phil Noto.

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A closed beta of Marvel Heroes Omega has been confirmed for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One!

Earth’s mightiest heroes will unite for Marvel Heroes Omega on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this spring! Gazillion Entertainment and Marvel announced today the action-packed RPG/MMO, a spin-off of Marvel Heroes 2016, will bring together the Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men, the Avengers, the Defenders and more. Play as your favorite hero from the Marvel Universe across the nine-chapter story campaign and take on some of our most infamous super villains, including Doctor Doom and Loki.

Lovers of lore can also expect a fantastic tour through famous locations, from the dark streets of Hell’s Kitchen to the mystical realm of Asgard. Players can look forward to joining forces with fellow Super Heroes in the game’s many Headquarter areas to tackle the game’s most challenging end-game content. Other modes available include Operations, Midtown Patrol, and Danger Room. For loot seekers, tackle the Legendary Missions and Heroic/Superheroic/Cosmic Trials.

Take a look at the announce trailer and photo gallery above.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Heroes Omega” news.

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Brian Michael Bendis imposes a mother of a problem on Doctor Doom!

By Josh Weiss

It can be hard to go from a life of super villainy to one of super heroism, especially if you had a rocky childhood. But Victor Von Doom seems to manage it ok after taking up the mantle of Iron Man in the INFAMOUS IRON MAN series. However, things just got a little more complicated for the now good doctor with the surprise appearance of his mother in issue #5.

We spoke with the man behind the reformed bad guy, writer Brian Michael Bendis, about Mother’s Day coming a little early this year for Victor. Needless to say, things are never that simple when you’re a member of the Von Doom clan. Bendis discusses the opening of decades’ old emotional wounds, an undercurrent of nefarious sorcery, extremely cautious optimism, and a full-on Shakespearean tragedy.

In other words, there’s nothing like a mother’s touch.

Marvel.com: Victor Von Doom and his super villain persona have always been more of the egotistical, lone wolf types. What does the surprise appearance of Cynthia von Doom mean for this lifestyle up until now? 

Brian Michael Bendis: One could argue that all Victor ever wanted was his mother.

All of his studies in the early part of his career and most of the quests that he was venturing on were an attempt to contact his mother or rescue his mother from her own fates. Probably for that one last hug. And when he couldn’t make that happen he would lash out at the world. So, for most of his life, Victor found himself sculpted by his drive to not only get his mother back, but to get his mother back using the tools that his mother had mastered as a sorceress. She was also a sorcerer. She was banished to a dark demonic dimension. These are very complicated, huge, Shakespearean level events that Victor was consumed by and forged by.

Marvel.com: To many sons out there, a mother’s advice and approval are invaluable when making major life choices. Does Cynthia have either to offer to a son who is now trying to walk the path of do-goodery?

Brian Michael Bendis: I think he’s going to be more focused on the mystery of her reappearance and what it means. I think Victor is rightly suspicious.

Marvel.com: Do you think it’s fair for her to show up now that he’s reformed or should she have been present during his darker times too, even if she was ashamed?

Brian Michael Bendis: Oh God, no. But life is never fair and certainly never to anybody who is the lead of a monthly Marvel comic. Victor’s mother showing up brings so many more questions [than] we have answers for. Is it really her? Is it a trick? Is it that demon that Victor battled to rescue her soul masquerading as his mother in an attempt to mess with him? Is it The Maker, the evil Reed Richards, trying to defeat Victor with the ultimate mind [expletive]?

Infamous Iron Man #6 cover by Alex Maleev

Marvel.com: Would you say Victor is a mama’s boy at heart?

Brian Michael Bendis: I would call that an oversimplification. He is completely involved in a Shakespearean level tragedy. Most people whether they are conscious of it or not, spend most of their lives trying to live up to their parents or stay away from their parents or understand them, but it’s all wrapped up in that relationship. I think that’s why the book is connecting with so many people. It’s not that they identify with Victor, because very few people have walked in his shoes, but I think they do respond to the idea of someone trying the biggest “do over” of all time while at the same time dealing with the adult realities of a truly messed up childhood.

Marvel.com: At the end of issue #5 we learn that his mother isn’t just back in his life to tell him how proud she is of him in his new hero role. Is there anything you can tell us about how she factors into the future of this series?

Brian Michael Bendis: Nothing is what it seems. And for those who think they know what that means…they don’t know what that means.

The Von Doom family drama continues to unfold in INFAMOUS IRON MAN #6 by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, available March 29!

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Ben Grimm comes for Victor Von Doom in the latest round of their ongoing feud!

Ben Grimm, the world-famous Thing, and Victor Von Doom possess a shared history marked by near-constant strife and struggle—against each other. They’re about to throw down once again in INFAMOUS IRON MAN #4, out January 25, but it’s anyone’s guess how it will go. From past experience, it’s bound to be messy.

Here’s a look at some of Doctor Doom’s past matches with The Thing. Better bring a helmet…

Fantastic Four (1961) #23

Fantastic Four (1961) #23

  • Published: February 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
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FANTASTIC FOUR #23
After a few near-skirmishes with his armored foe, Ben finally got his big mitts on Doom when the Latverian monarch laid a trap for the Fantastic Four in the path of a “solar wave.” Too bad for Victor: the Thing’s actions sent him spiraling into space, armor and all.

Fantastic Four (1961) #40

Fantastic Four (1961) #40

  • Published: July 10, 1965
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?
FANTASTIC FOUR #40
With a surge of returned power, the Thing managed to grab Doom’s arms in this battle and crush both his evil devices and his hands. Realizing he’d humbled his enemy, Ben allowed the doctor to slink away, beaten.

Fantastic Four (1961) #60

Fantastic Four (1961) #60

  • Published: March 10, 1967
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
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FANTASTIC FOUR #60
Desiring revenge for the injury to his hands, Doom laid into The Thing with the Power Cosmic, and though he held the upper hand that time, the armored despot marveled at Ben’s tenacity in the face of the overwhelming odds against him to win.

Fantastic Four (1961) #157

Fantastic Four (1961) #157

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FANTASTIC FOUR #157
After defeating the android Doomsman, Thing jumped at the chance to clobber Doom once more, but Victor surprised Ben with new and improved armor that withstood his rocky punches and led to a sobering stalemate.

Fantastic Four (1961) #350

Fantastic Four (1961) #350

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FANTASTIC FOUR #350
Doctor Doom returned with new armor after a long absence and again found himself in the path of Ben Grimm’s fists. The battle ended with the untimely interference of Ben’s former partner Sharon Ventura before anything could be proved on either side of the argument.

Fantastic Four (1961) #361

Fantastic Four (1961) #361

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FANTASTIC FOUR #361
When The Thing returned to his old stomping grounds on Yancy Street he discovered Doctor Doom attempting to design a cure for drug addiction. Nevertheless, Ben attacked and drove Doom away from his cherished neighborhood before the despot managed to complete his work.

Fantastic Four (1998) #552

Fantastic Four (1998) #552

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FANTASTIC FOUR #552
A future version of Victor Von Doom arrived in the present to warn the Fantastic Four of the Reed Richards of tomorrow’s coming mischief. When Ben felt his foe insulted Reed, he slammed Doom so hard the armored monarch ended up in another building across the street.

Found out who will come out on top in INFAMOUS IRON MAN #4 by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, available January 25!

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The Sorcerer Supreme and Doctor Doom face Mephisto for the soul of an innocent!

In 1989, Roger Stern and Mike Mignola created an epic, standalone tale called DOCTOR STRANGE & DOCTOR DOOM: TRIUMPH AND TORMENT. The graphic novel kicked off with an appearance by old school Strange character The Aged Genghis concerned about Doom—Doctor Doom that is.

Aged Genghis remembered the time that Victor Von Doom came to his cave searching for guidance in the mystic arts. The mage sent him along to a group of remote monks who he soon overtook and used to create his iconic armor, including the mask which he put on his face before it had fully cooled.

Back in the present, Aged Genghis announced a magical competition of sorts to all of the world’s most prominent sorcerers, including Doctors Strange and Doom. The old one channeled Hoggoth, Oshtur, and Agamotto to create a shell around himself that the attendees tried to get through. The winner officially received the title of Sorcerer Supreme.

Strange and Doom remained at the end of the contest with Stephen winning and Doom avoiding the gods’ attacks. Aged Genghis then explained that, as the winner and Sorcerer Supreme, Strange owed runner-up Doom a boon. The despot knew exactly what that would be: help in saving his mother’s soul from the demon Mephisto.

Doctor Strange & Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment (1989)

Doctor Strange & Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment (1989)

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Before venturing to the location of their prize, the two headed to Latveria where Strange saw that the people seemed to love their ruler. He also learned that, many years ago, Cynthia Von Doom made a deal with a devil to help her Gypsy clan gain power in Latveria. She perished before seeing the fruits of her labor, but her son eventually picked up the idea and took power.

After Victor amassed a different kind of power, that of magical training and education with Strange in the role of professor, the duo traveled to Mephisto’s realm. Amidst strange visions that recounted some of Stephen’s own history, potential betrayal, and a mother’s rebuke, the pair still figured out a way to beat the devil at his own game, but not necessarily walk away with a pure victory.

Over the years, Doom continued to study the mystic arts himself, using them to battle the Fantastic Four, Black Panther, and the forces of Hell to the point where Strange worried that the Latverian leader might actually be selected as the next Sorcerer Supreme when he gave up the responsibilities.

Opening the Book of Vishanti

The Aged Genghis first appeared way back in 1965’s STRANGE TALES #136. In that story by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Artie Simek, Stephen searched the globe looking for help with an Eternity problem. In turning to Aged Genghis he commented that the ancient mage had been driven mad by his long years of existence. As a counterpoint, Aged Genghis claimed to know everything and provided the Master of the Mystic Arts with a scroll that helped him on his journey. Far from a regular player, Aged Genghis only popped up a few times between this issue and TRIUMPH AND TORMENT, specifically in the second DOCTOR STRANGE volume.

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T'Challa recruits the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and more to combat Doctor Doom!

Read through some of T’Challa’s most thrilling adventures on Marvel Unlimited to mark Black Panther’s 50th anniversary!

An entire year of stories built to one event: Doomwar. With the launch of the 2009 BLACK PANTHER series, Reginald Hudlin set up Shuri as the new Black Panther and put T’Challa on a path of conflict with Doctor Doom standing at the other end. Jonathan Maberry picked up that baton and ran with it through the rest of the series and right into the six issue DOOMWAR limited series in 2010.

For a bit of a recap, Doom attacked T’Challa after the then-king of Wakanda denied an alliance with the Latverian leader. With Black Panther nearly dead, his sister Shuri took over as the Princess Regent and representative of the Panther god! That proved but a small part of Doom’s plan, though, which involved stealing all of Wakanda’s Vibranium and super-charging it with magical energies to, according to him, “create a peaceful world.”

DOOMWAR proper kicked off with Doom forcing Storm to help him get through the last in a series of locks to get at the out-of-this-world metal. After passing through a purity test administered by Bast, The not-so-good Doctor made off with all of the Vibranium leaving T’Challa, Shuri and the X-Men, who came to help, scratching their heads.

Doomwar (2010) #1

Doomwar (2010) #1

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No longer aided by their mutant allies, the Wakandans turned to another group more than familiar with Doom and his machinations: the Fantastic Four. Though the combined forces did a heroic job hitting the dictator’s many holdings around the world, the repeated altercations with Vibranium-enhanced Doombots lead to considerable losses.

To mix up the playbook—which he feared Doom could see completely at that point—T’Challa introduced a few wild cards, including Deadpool. The Merc with a Mouth helped throw off the script, but Black Panther kept an even crazier card up his sleeve. At the final showdown, the former king repeatedly offered Doom the chance to surrender, but the villain refused. With that, T’Challa pulled the ultimate trump card and nullified all of the processed Wakandan Vibranium in the world!

With his newfound power completely gone, Doom supplicated himself to Shuri after Storm destroyed the nearby Doombots. “I want to kill you more than I’ve wanted anything else in my life,” Shuri said. “But that is the action of a savage, and I am the ruler of a sovereign nation. A nation that does not wage illegal wars…the war ends here, Doom.” She then added that if Doom came at Wakanda again, they’ll hunt him down and utterly destroy him.

Secrets of Wakanda

Sad as it might seem, DOOMWAR proved to be the last true victory for T’Challa, Shuri, and Storm in the name of Wakanda. Right after this, T’Challa took off to fill in for Matt Murdock in Hell’s Kitchen. To prove himself, he asked Storm not to intervene. Even when she did, it was to save him from Kraven the Hunter. Eventually, the Phoenix-filled Avengers Vs. X-Men story hit which ultimately lead to the annulment of their marriage thanks to the banning of X-Men from Wakanda. From there, T’Challa became the head of Necropolis, joined the Illuminati and ultimately helped reshape reality in the pages of SECRET WARS.

Next time, Storm battles the Shadow King, her own fears, Cyclops and even her own husband in X-MEN: WORLDS APART by Chris Yost and Diogenes Neves.

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One of the few survivors of the Marvel Universe, T'Challa attempts to dethrone Doom!

Read through some of T’Challa’s most thrilling adventures on Marvel Unlimited to mark Black Panther’s 50th anniversary!

What happens when the reality holding all your favorite characters dies? You get a huge event mixing old and new elements from every alternate reality around!

Last year’s epic SECRET WARS by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic kicked off with a battle between the last two existing universes: the main Marvel U and the Ultimate one. Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man, Star-Lord, Thor, Mr. Fantastic, and a Phoenix-possessed Cyclops survived the experience of both universes dying and Doctor Doom creating a patchwork one thanks to a high-tech life raft.

After Doom’s right hand man Stephen Strange uncovered another life raft ship with members of the Cabal inside, he returned to the one he had in storage that held Black Panther and the other heroes. After releasing them, Strange dispersed everyone to the far corners of Battle World before Doom killed him for his transgression. While the other heroes figured out their own angles to get the world back to normal, T’Challa and Namor traveled to Strange’s Hidden Isle of Agamotto where they received the Siege Courageous and gem-filled Infinity Gauntlet which T’Challa quickly took control of.

Black Panther by Esad Ribic

Black Panther by Esad Ribic

The next time we see the kingly duo, they destroy part of the Shield wall holding back the undead hordes and offer them glory and honor if they pass through the Siege Courageous and help them attack Doom. When they at last enter the final battle, T’Challa declared, “Your reign is over and it ends with us,” as he led Namor and an army of zombies into the fray. Empowered by the Infinity Gauntlet, Black Panther battled God Doom long enough for Reed Richards to reach Molecule Man and even the field of battle for the final confrontation between mortal enemies.

Secrets of Wakanda

Secret Wars spun out directly from Jonathan Hickman’s run on NEW AVENGERS and AVENGERS. As the former title launched, Black Panther re-instituted the Illuminati to figure out the deal with these alternate reality incursions. Namor abandoning the Illuminati for the evil Cabal did not sit well with T’Challa and Black Bolt who worked to trap the sea king in the Ultimate Universe prior to its imminent destruction. As you can see from SECRET WARS, that didn’t quite work out, but Namor and Black Panther got over their differences enough to work together to save reality. Before the world unraveled itself, T’Challa used the Time Gem to head back to Wakanda in a scene originally presented in the pages of 2013’s NEW AVENGERS #1! Compare the two scenes to see how his latest stint with the team changed The Black Panther.

Next, Captain Britain, Meggan, Shadowcat, Captain America and War Machine visit Wakanda in EXCALIBUR #59-60 by Scott Lobdell and Scott Kolins.

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