Will Dr. Doom Replace Kang in the MCU? Here Are 3 of the Best Dr. Doom Stories

December 12, 2023

The best Dr. Doom stories feature narratives of Doom as a flawed human, not a mad dictator. (Image courtesy Alex Ross/FB)

Even if you have tuned out of the MCU you are probably still aware of the legal troubles surrounding actor Jonathan Majors. After Avengers: Endgame, Majors debuted in the first season of Loki as He Who Remains, a Kang variant, and appeared in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania as another Kang variant. Trying to explain Kang to the uninitiated is going to give you a headache, but the point is that Kang is a multiverse and timeline-hopping villain who was supposed to be the new Thanos-level threat. Majors’ future with the MCU is shaky at best, and another villain, potentially Dr. Doom might become a replacement. So, I want to introduce you to some of the best Dr. Doom stories.

I don’t want to get lost in the weeds regarding the allegations against Jonathan Majors. His reputation is utterly ruined. His accuser, Grace Jabbari, has been proven to be disingenuous, and volatile, and was even temporarily arrested by the NYPD for assaulting Majors and lying about the incident. However, local prosecutors refused to charge Jabbari and Majors is now in court fighting the original physical abuse charges.

The point is that neither Majors nor Jabbari are innocent and both seem to be very unlikeable people. Whether Majors is guilty of abuse allegations will soon be determined in court, but one thing is certain, his career and public image are in tatters. This does not mean he won’t overcome it in the future but for now, his public image is radioactive. His problems are all self-inflicted wounds.

I don’t delight in celebrity gossip, I bring these matters up because Disney entrusted this talented actor to become the next big and bad line-wide MCU Marvel villain. One of the future Avengers films is called Kang Dynasty.

So, for now, fans are waiting for Disney to clarify whether Majors is staying in the role, will recast Kang with another actor, or perhaps replace Kang with another notable villain, Dr. Doom.

Before I share with you the three best Dr. Doom stories, let’s briefly look at the problem the MCU faces now.

The Thanos Void at the MCU

The MCU is currently aimless when it comes to narrative. Marvel created the interconnected universe in cinema and they barely do that now. The MCU has not made shows or films with characters we care about since Endgame. The genius of Thanos was that we only saw short appearances of the character for a decade and Infinity War and Endgame were basically Thanos films seen from his perspective or dealing with the full consequences of his actions.

We’re in a new era of MCU films and no one cares about the post-OG Avengers heroes, there is no narrative throughline, the Multiverse concept is muddled, and there is no big bad we have to watch out for in the films. There is no serious threat brewing in the background over several films that will reveal itself to be a crisis, like the way Thanos got the gauntlet and assembled the Inifity stones.

So far, we’ve watched Kang die several times in Loki and in Quantumania. Aside from Major’s legal problems, Kang has not been compelling to watch, even though Majors’ talent is undeniable.

It takes time to build up a cinematic threat that requires every hero on Earth and in nearby galaxies to collectively fight against. We need time to understand Kang’s motivations and the severity of his threat to the world, universe, or timelines. (The worst part of the MCU is the universe-ending threats that occur in every film. Universe-ending threats should be Avengers-level problems.)

Anyway, Disney now has to decide whether to keep Majors in the Kang role, which may be unlikely if he loses the trial. Even if he wins the trial, his public image is mud. They could recast Kang, but Major’s problems and the lukewarm reception to Kang by fans are still a problem.

The Multiverse Saga is boring people or repulsing them out of apathy. While there will be some Disney+ shows in 2024, there will be no MCU films in 2024 besides Deadpool 3. (I will be shocked if they don’t delay that film as well.) Disney is taking a year to strategize after the embarrassing failure of The Marvels – still, one bomb since 2008 is still impressive.

Dr. Doom – Backup Villain?

Some fans are clamoring for Marvel to just replace Kang with Dr. Doom. I think this is a weird idea. We will still have to wait years for the MCU to build Doom up as a threat. Dr. Doom will not be comics accurate. The character was created in 1962 as a Man in the Iron Mask and a megalomaniacal East European count or baron-type character determined to rule the world.

The dude is a very vain man who considers himself superior to Reed Richards. Doom engages in an experiment that Reed warned him was dangerous beforehand that exploded and scarred his face. he then put on armor and a mask to hide his scarred face.

Doom has evolved far beyond his humble beginnings and is a master of technology, magic, combat, and military strategy, and ruler of his own country, Latveria.

Dr. Doom’s main foe was the Fantastic Four, but he became a threat to every Marvel Hero. The two Secret Wars comics, on which the upcoming Avengers: Secret Wars is inspired, feature Doom as the main villain.

In the comics, Doom is egotistical, vain, pompous, and homicidally jealous of Reed Richards. He is notorious for referring to himself in the third person. (Dr. Doom referring to himself in the third person in an MCU film is going to get old quickly.) My advice is to be careful what you wish for – the Dr. Doom we potentially get in the MCU will not resemble his comic counterpart.

Additionally, Dr. Doom is one of the best villains in Marvel Comics. If he is introduced into the MCC it should be done properly and organically. It should not be as a bench-warming villain backup plan to save the MCU from its aborted Kang rollout.

To prepare for the potentiality of Dr. Doom replacing Kang in the MCU you should get to know some of his stories. So, here are the three best Dr. Doom Stories in my humble opinion.

The 3 Best Dr. Doom Stories

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

Written by Roger Stern and the art of a young Mike Mignola, Triumph and Torment is one of the best Dr. Doom stories ever created. Don’t be fooled by the title either, this is a Dr. Doom story featuring Dr. Strange, even if the latter’s name appears first.

Every year, Dr. Doom engages in a battle with the Mystics to gain enough power to free his beloved mother from Hell. Dr. Strange agrees to help Doom in his quest but always questions Doom’s motivations.

Some creators make Dr. Doom look like a walking parody of a mad dictator who talks in the third person. The character is an acquired taste if you have never read his stories, but if not, this should be your first.

Doom’s mother made a deal with Mephisto, the devil of the Marvel Comics universe, to help her village, but the bargain backfired on her. As a result, she was banished to Hell. Doom pays a heavy price to succeed in his attempt.

I don’t want to spoil the comic, but you should read it. It makes Doom seem like a tragic, poignant, and at times, sympathetic character. He is usually viewed as a soulless dictator who will do anything for power. But what would you do to help someone you loved who was suffering, especially if the price of success promises more suffering?

You can read this story for free with an Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscription or you can buy it for $9.99.

Fantastic Four: Unthinkable Vol. 1 (2003)

This story was written by Mark Waid, a famous comic book writer and historian, and Mike Wieringo, a talented artist who sadly passed away in 2007. I’m going to say this comic is one of the best Dr. Doom stories ever, but that statement can be true in multiple circumstances. Waid created a new and ominous character narrative for Doom where the character merged mysticism and sorcery with technology.

Doom did this to succeed in his egotistical rivalry with Reed Richards, who is arguably superior to him when it comes to intelligence and technology. To explain how Doom took this rivalry too far and stepped way over the line, even for a supervillain, I have to first spoil the beginning of the story.

Doom looks up a former crush he had, a woman who is hiding from him because she fears him. Doom finds her and promises that he means no harm and that he wants to rekindle their love. Doom then unlives her and uses his soul energy to create armor that is partly powered by magic.

That is the beginning and a small portion of the story — he does a lot more crazier things in this story. Doom uses his magic to harass Reed Richards and Sue Storm and even endangers his children. Doom teleports Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, a being made of living flame, to Hell. Johnny comes back but learns that he was burned by the fires of Hell while in his Human Torch mode.

Reed Richards does not understand or respect magic the way he does data, empirical evidence, and scientific experiments. So, doom, who is as skilled in the magic arts as Dr. Strange in the comics, merges magic and technology in a way to prove himself that Reed’s better. Reed, a brilliant technological and science genius, now has to start from scratch learning about magic to stop Doom.

Get it for $9.15 at Amazon now. My description does not do this story justice, it is truly one of the best Dr. Doom stories ever.

Infamous Iron Man (2017)

Written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Alex Maleev, Infamous Iron Man tells the tale of how Dr. Doom would operate as an anti-hero. Many may question if this story is one of the best Dr. Doom stories ever, but it holds a fond place in my heart.

in 2016 Tony Stark was dead in the comic books. (Too complicated to explain now, but check out Civil War II.) After the recent Secret Wars 2015 comic, where Doom had the powers of a god, his disfigured face was repaired and he wanted to assume the title of Iron Man to do some good.

It sounds like a narrative that goes against everything Doom is about, but Bendis and Maleev make the story work. Every time Doom tries to do good, he is confronted by characters who remind him of his past. Even his old foe Mephisto shows up to put Doom off his game as a hero.

This is a very interesting story that asks viewers how much should we behold ourselves to the past, especially if we’ve wronged others.

Get it for $10.99 at Amazon now.

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