Reviving Villainy

I just read Magneto’s first “Secret Wars” issue. It might have been among my favourites in the series. Great art. And Namor. That’s always good.

But the big bad name of the actual event is Doctor Doom. Like Magneto and Namor, his villainy has generally been imbued with streaks of idiosyncratic nobility. Like the former, he was targeted in the early years of the last decade by the attempt of an acclaimed author to override those sympathetic elements through acts of freshly fiendish depravity beyond any apparent redemption. In Doom’s case, the story arc, written by Mark Waid, was even called “Unthinkable”. It started with his pitiless sacrifice of an early love to demonic forces in exchange for magical power, and it went on to include sorcerous control over the young daughter of his rival Reed Richards. That kind of wicked thing. Oh. And the daughter was called Valeria, named by Doom after that aforementioned sacrifice.

Magneto’s descent into deeper darkness was the work of eccentric iconoclast Grant Morrison, focusing on the mutant mastermind’s mad bid to eradicate humanity. Magneto’s the dude whose character was lightened fairly early through the revelation of his survival of the Holocaust. He was on the Jewish side of things. As a child. In Germany. A bit of an odd choice for the perpetrator of new genocide.

Apparently, editors thought so, for the man behind those acts was revealed to be an impostor immediately after Morrison left the series, and the true Magneto emerged again to another stint on the heroic side of things, which has been going relatively well to this day. With some bumps. It happens. Doom seemed to recover too. He even worked with the Fantastic Four quite recently, bonding sincerely with the same child he’d previously exploited. Their connection managed to endure even after she succeeded in her endeavours to cure some ailment that threatened him. He somehow managed to accomplish this refreshment of morality without actually losing responsibility for his crimes. He didn’t seem to need editorial absolution to reclaim his histrionic hints of haughty heroism. Despite Stalin’s claims about morbid statistics, apparently one death isn’t necessarily more tragic than millions. And the child lived at least. Unlike the swathes of New York citizens who got thrown in ovens by the false Magneto.


So . . . Yeah. I suppose that I can see why official revision may have been less crucial for the dude with the metal face than it was for the one with the metal powers. And the latter’s had a steadier history of altruism. He's placed there with greater firmness, and that's in effect currently. Currently, Doom is . . . Well, Doom’s ruling over the fractured remnants of countless universes under the title of “God Emperor”. “Doctor” really has lost a fair amount of cachet in recent years.

Incidentally, this is the costume Doom wore when he was working with the Fantastic Four, and it's been made his default for his recent inclusion in the "Marvel Heroes" video game. Appreciation for his good side seems quite resilient after all.   Bonus Question! Magneto! How does he work? Mysteriously.

Incidentally, this is the costume Doom wore when he was working with the Fantastic Four, and it's been made his default for his recent inclusion in the "Marvel Heroes" video game. Appreciation for his good side seems quite resilient after all.

 

Bonus Question!

Magneto! How does he work?

Mysteriously.


Copyright © 2011, Jaymes Buckman and David Aaron Cohen. All rights reserved. In a good way.