Fantastic Four #84-87
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #84, Fantastic Four #85, Fantastic Four #86, Fantastic Four #87
Sue is still out of the picture, presumably still home suffering from postpartum depression. After a battle with the robots...
...the rest of the FF get captured and Doom removed their powers via hypnosis. The FF are then released in scenes very similar to the Prisoner TV show (and a later letters page confirms that's where the idea came from).
By the way, do not compare Dr. Doom to other arch-villains. Kristoff will learn this same lesson when he compared Doom to Magneto during John Byrne's run.
In these issues, Doom's subjects are terrified of Doom and act normal only on his orders (this is mainly shown from the FF's perspective so there may be some wiggle room for later revisions where Doom's citizens really are happy but all direct evidence here shows that Doom is simply a tyrant, maybe not to the average peasant but certainly to those who work in his castle.)
Doom is currently dealing with a rebellion, and he's got a new type of robot to deal with it.
Doom releases his new killer robots on his own subjects...
...and then later seems to regret it.
Eventually the FF get their powers back, but the robots are too powerful for them.
So Dr. Doom decides to destroy the entire village.
The FF and the villagers survive only because the Invisible Girl shows up to protect them all with a forcefield.
The Fantastic Four then go after Dr. Doom in his castle.
When they get to Doom himself, instead of fighting them he offers them a meal. This scene sure looks like something that may have influenced the Darth Vader scene at Bespin in Empire Strikes Back.
This is all a ruse so that they'll relax while Dr. Doom plays them a song on the piano that secretly will kill them with "hypersound".
But before he begins playing, the scientist Dr. Hauptmann runs in to shoot the FF, but Dr. Doom kills him for endangering Doom's art collection.
Dr. Hauptmann' brother (also Dr. Hauptmann) will be plotting vengeance over the course of a number of future stories.
Doom then calls off the fight and lets the FF leave, in what the cover of #87 calls "possibly the most off-beat ending of the year!".
It is nice to see both Crystal and the Invisible Girl using their powers and generally contributing, but they're still treated as minor supporting characters.
Interesting story with some nice Kirby art but it has that Silver Age quality of the end having nothing to do with the beginning.
Here's some nice pictures of Doom from Kirby in his prime:
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Fantastic Four are just leaving the Inhumans so no FF appearances should take place between this FF entry and last.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: The Villainy of Dr. Doom TPB
Inbound References (7): show
Jack Kirby was indeed a Prisoner fan, and tried to adapt it for Marvel in the 1970s, but it never got published. Steve Englehart, Gil Kane, and Joe Staton also tried but that went nowhere as well.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 7, 2011 12:35 AM
An unused Kirby page from #87 was printed in Comics Interview #90.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 26, 2015 9:42 PM
I really do not like the notion of Doom being billed as The Worst Guy Ever but then he just lets them go at the end? And the way he treats everyone around him is also terrible, there is no nobility, just maniacal and delusional behavior. One of Stan and Jack's weaker Doom stories.
Posted by: PeterA | July 19, 2015 2:41 AM
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