Marvel Super-Heroes #20
Issue(s): Marvel Super-Heroes #20
In this story, we go the route of fighting another super-villain, but the story also introduces a new side of Doom: the fact that he once had a love named Valeria.
Diablo contacts Doom suggesting an alliance.
When the fight is inconclusive, Diablo reveals his ace-in-the-hole: He's managed to find and capture Doom's old love, Valeria.
Doom chose to seek power over staying with Valeria, and so their relationship ended. But seeing her now brings back memories.
Doom seemingly agrees to the alliance. Diablo wants to use Doom's time machine to conquer the world in the past, but Doom rigs it so that it traps Diablo in the far future instead.
It is worth noting that Diablo seemed sincere in keeping the alliance (although he was obviously not very honorable in the way he was demanding it) but Doom betrayed Diablo the first chance he got.
Doom's gloating over his defeat of Diablo causes Valeria to leave him.
Doom uses his secret ring to unlock his mask at one point.
As with all Marvel Super-Heroes books, the rest of the issue is reprints. One of the reprints here is from Jun 1955's Sub-Mariner Comics #40, entirely by Bill Everett, and it's part of the period where Everett was exploring Namor's pre-Marvel Comics #1 adventures. I'm just going to sneak it in here.
Namor, Namora (who is colored blue) and the Emperor's step-son Prince Byrrah explore Admiral Byrd's abandoned settlement called Little America, in Antarctica. While they are exploring the vacant shacks, Namora accidentally starts a fire, and Namor discovers that he's vulnerable to it...
...but that water will protect him...
...and also that it has its uses.
I love that Namor finds the food of his people "cold and tasteless". I guess that's why he can keep his bodyfat so low. No impulse snacking.
An ad at the end of this issue promises that next issue will feature Starhawk...
...but in fact after this issue the series becomes an all-reprint book, and Starhawk won't actually appear until Defenders #27 in a somewhat modified form.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: At the same time this story was published, Doom was also appearing in Fantastic Four #84-87. The Marvel Index places this story first, although there isn't any specific dependency.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I've always loved when Giacoia gets the chance to ink Doc Doom. He makes the armor look darker and more menacing than Sinnott does, IMO.
Posted by: Dan Spector | July 8, 2014 8:20 PM
This submariner story was acctually my introduction to the character. It felt like a huge difference when I read his eventual portrayel in the early fantastic four books.
Posted by: Silverbird | July 17, 2014 8:34 AM
That "Starhawk" promo is so bizarre, making him look like just a daredevil pilot... and this was just after they'd already done the Phantom Eagle in the pages of this same title. Were they going to hedge their bets and do WWI-era flying ace and futuristic flying ace?
Did this particular character just split into Starhawk and Star-Lord? They both look influenced by this design and Star-Lord actually seems a little more of a direct evolution.
Posted by: Dan H. | November 10, 2014 3:16 PM
They recently printed the first few pages of the planned Starhawk story in the Marvel Masterworks "Rarites" collection. This Starhawk was a sort of Buck Rogers in a post-apocalyptic wasteland with typical babbling Roy Thomas dialog, nothing like Star-Lord or Gerber's Starhawk.
Posted by: Andrew | February 15, 2015 6:40 AM
And one day they did meet again, and he wore her as armor, after naming Reed and Sue's daughter after her the year before. That Doom, he's one hell of a guy!
Posted by: PeterA | July 19, 2015 2:25 AM
The cover to this issue is simple but effective. I would argue it's the best thing Larry Lieber ever drew. Not a high bar, I know...
Posted by: Robert | March 6, 2016 6:20 PM
Wow! The artwork on this story by Larry Lieber is great. I mean, it's obviously not nearly as good as it would have been if Kirby had penciled it, but then again very few artists in the 1960s could ever match Kirby.
For instance, on the page where Diablo reveals the captive Valeria, the artwork in that panel where Doom is thinking to himself "It was so far back... so many years ago..." is really powerful. For a moment there Doom appears genuinely vulnerable.
This is one of the stories that really is crucial to making Doom such a fascinating and three-dimensional villain. He is, in certain respects, a tragic figure because he *could* have been a good man, a person who worked towards the genuine benefit of humanity, but he allowed his monumental ego and ambition to overwhelm any potential decency. Lieber's artwork definitely plays a role in establishing all that.
So, yeah, very good work by both Lieber and Roy Thomas here.
Posted by: Ben Herman | March 6, 2016 7:03 PM
I don't have this issue, so I don't know how the Doom story was credited. On the authority of Roy Thomas the GCD credits the first half of the story to Lieber and the second half to Thomas and Giacoia (as penciller). It credits Vince Colletta with the inks.
One place Thomas has talked about this is an interview he conducted with Lieber for ALTER EGO vol. 3 #2, which can be found at http://www.twomorrows.com/alterego/articles/02lieber.html , but he doesn't go into detail there.
Now, there's an issue of whether Lieber only plotted his pages, or dialogued them as well. (The GCD thinks it's likely he dialogued them.) I don't know whether Lieber normally dialogued his solo work as he went, or after the story was drawn. If the latter, if he did dialogue his part of the Doom story it might be an indication it was originally intended as a complete instalment.
The GCD tentatively attributes pp.1-11 to Lieber. Not having the story, I don't know whether p.11 is a plausible instalment-end.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | March 25, 2016 3:19 AM
@ fnord12, These credits appear to have been updated by GCD since this entry was written.
As per the previous comment by Luke Blanchard, and https://www.comics.org/issue/22726/ - they should be:
A lot of that work is discussed in that interview, but it's hard to parse out. He wrote full scripts, which provided both dialog and narrative, panel by panel and page by page. Here, in this Dr. Doom story, he's doing the pencils too. Stan really believed in him and encouraged him to do everything. I've seen him do plots, scripts, pencils, and inks for several stories, including both Marvel Age stories and pre-Marvel Age sci-fi & western stories.
Based on that, I'm fairly certain that he wrote the dialog for these 11 pages, too.
Lieber deserves much more recognition than he normally gets, for writing most of the earliest Stan Lee-plotted scripts for Thor, Iron Man, and Ant-Man, plus the Human Torch solo stories appearing in Strange Tales, primarily in 1962 and 1963-- two of the three earliest years of the Marvel Age.
Posted by: Holt | November 19, 2017 8:40 AM
Updated the credits. Thanks Holt & Luke.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 20, 2017 12:58 PM
I've had the opportunity to read the first 11 pages now. They do read like a complete instalment with a to-be-continued ending. What's more, p.12 is a splash and could have been intended as the opening of a second instalment.
This has a bearing on the origin of the Angel/Dazzler serial from Ka-Zar Quarterly #2-#3/Marvel Tales #30. Marvel Super-Heroes #20 reportedly went on sale in Feb. 1969. If the first 11 pages of the Doom story were intended as the first instalment of a "Dr Doom" series they support the theory that Marvel prepared stories for split-books in 1968.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | January 8, 2018 6:37 AM
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