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The Way It Began!

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Doctor Doom's first appearance in this new era of the Marvel Age is a very minor one, although the story he appears in is an interesting one.

He appears right at the start, in a splash page which seems to show him murdering Sue Richards. However, when The Thing tries to help it turns out to just be a hologram, generated by Reed Richards using his new improved Thought Projector Helmet. Apparently the best way to test it was to think of the most repulsive thing he could imagine, which was Doom killing his wife. The Thing, quite rightly, points out that this is a bit of a strange way to go about research.

That's all there is of Doom, with the rest of the issue seeing The Thing and Human Torch use the Thought Projector Helmet to re-tell the events of their first issue, including their origin and first adventure with The Mole Man. Re-telling a superhero's origin story is almost obligatory for a new creative team, re-working it, or focusing on different aspects, as a declaration of intent for how they intend to write and/or illustrate the series. Here Roy Thomas re-uses much of the dialogue from the original story, while John Buscema re-draws the characters to be much more in line with their current looks. This is not unusual, but does lead to one weird moment when the Thing recalls his original, more monster-like design. A few pages later, Buscema draws Ben Grimm transferring into the more rocky figure that had become familiar in recent years. Future revisions of the Fantastic Four's origins would keep the original, lumpy, version of The Thing as part of the story, with John Byrne even reverting the character to this original look for a while, but here it's introduced only to be ignored a few pages later.

Otherwise it's a straightforward re-telling which seems to be there primarily to acknowledge what has gone before, possibly to reassure long-term readers that this is the same story they've enjoyed before, even if the original creators are now gone. The 'Stan's Soapbox' section of 'Bullpen Bulletins' in this issue takes up almost a full page, as Stan Lee explains to readers that's he's handing over Marvel's editorial reins to Roy Thomas so he can go off in search of new markets for their characters. With that in mind it's not surprising that Roy Thomas chose to include Doom. As a central part of The Fantastic Four it wouldn't really be a new starting point without him, but it would be quite a while before he returned to his 'home' series in an actual story.

link to information about this issue

posted 1/2/2019 by Mark Hibbett

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DOOMBOT FILTER: an animal that says 'buzz' (3)

(e.g. for an animal that says 'cluck' type 'hen')

A process blog about Doctor Doom in The Marvel Age written by Mark Hibbett