Fantastic Four #246-247 (1982): 1st Kristoff Vernard, Doom Restored as Ruler of Latveria

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Dr. Doom sends a bunch of custom Doombots to the Baxter Building, where the Fantastic Four are storing Dr. Doom’s body, to distract the team and steal back the body.  And really, the customizations are so obvious it’s surprising they weren’t used earlier. Flame retardant foam for Johnny.  Infrared scanning for Sue.

Doom’s brain is stuck in a puppet, so this is his chance to put it back in his body.  And if you’ll recall, Puppet Master is the ruler of Liddleville, a small town located within Doom’s castle, which the Micronauts visited in Micronauts #41.

Byrne adds a little panel tying it all in.  Nice nod to continuity.

Then, despite having just attacked them, Doom recruits the FF to help him get his throne back by showing them how Latveria has become impoverished and broken since the new leader, Zorba, took over.  I’ve read articles about how this is John Byrne’s ultra-socialist side coming out, taking the view that a totalitarian can benevolently ensure that children are educated, people are employed, etc.

The splash to #247 is awesome:
In the course of freeing his country, a civilian woman is killed and Doom takes in her son, Kristoff Vernad.  Kristoff will become a semi-important enemy and future member of The Fantastic Four.

Also, Doom kills Zorba.

Then, again, despite the fact that Doom has tried to kill so many people so many times, Reed and his team agree to let him rule Latveria and trust him to restore the land.  This should go in the category: “Fool me once, fool me twice, fool me three time, I’m blown away.”  But other than that, this is a very good Doom story.

Creator: Byrne
Grade: A-

For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.
And see my Ratings of Runs on comics here.

Fun fact: Rob Liefeld was an obvious fan of this story, because he swiped a panel from it…

LEFT:

John Byrne. Fantastic Four #247, page 21 (1982).

RIGHT:

Rob Liefeld. New Mutants #93, page 5 (1990)

 

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