Greetings from the Odinson,
Who is the Boy that Thought He was DOOM?
He has a scientifically brilliant mind on par with the greatest minds in the world like Reed Richards, Tony Stark, and Bruce Banner (though Doom would say his intellect surpasses them). He adorns himself in high tech armor with weapons and capabilities that rival Iron Man (though Doom would say it surpasses his). He is a master of the mystic arts whose spellcasting ranks him right up there with the most powerful magic-users like Morgan Le Fay, Magik, and Doctor Strange (though Doom would say his abilities surpasses them). And, he is the ruler of an entire country and a king whose regal majesty stands him shoulder-to-shoulder with such royalty as Namor, Black Bolt, and T’Challa (though Doom would say all are below Doom).
There can be only one DOOM. So, who is Kristoff Vernard?
First, let me tell you about a man named Zorba. Prince Zorba Fortunov was the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Latveria. That is until the day Victor Von Doom usurped the throne and murdered his father, King Vladimir. In Astonishing Tales, Zorba’s brother, Rudolfo, leads a rebellion to regain the throne. After Rudolfo’s death, Prince Zorba takes command of the rebellion and outs Doom as the monarch of Latveria in The Overthrow of Doom. However, it isn’t long before Zorba’s rule begins to show incompetence and even cruelty, as detailed in Fantastic Four Annual #15.
In Fantastic Four #246-247, Doctor Doom and Marvel’s First Family return to Latveria and discover that under the rule of Zorba, the country has become a dilapidated, impoverished shadow of its former self. Its people live in fear and pray for the return of Victor Von Doom. Doom confronts the unhinged Zorba and takes back his throne. However, a woman is killed during the battle. Honor bound, Victor Von Doom takes that woman’s young son and adopts him as his heir. That boy’s name is Kristoff.
For all intents and purposes, Doom began to raise the child like his own son. Then, tragedy struck. Doctor Doom apparently perishes while the Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer battle the former Herald of Galactus, Terrax. Well, Doom is a man with plans on top of plans with backup plans for his backup plans. Poor young Kristoff is brainwashed into believing he is Victor Von Doom! Yes, Doctor Doom was now a child inside the adult size armor of Doctor Doom and his first order of business was to destroy the Fantastic Four!
In Fantastic Four #278-279, Kristoff very nearly succeeds in destroying his enemies when he rockets their headquarters, the Baxter Building, into outer space! Then, through the use of sorcery, super science, and the Beyonder, the real Doctor Doom returned. Having avoided his seeming demise, Doom planned to use Franklin Richards as a bargaining chip to barter for his mother’s soul which suffered under the thumb of Mephisto (that’s a whole other story, but if you’re interested, check out Triumph and Torment). However, Kristoff, still believing he is Doom, battled the real Doctor Doom who eventually retreated
Kristoff, as Doctor Doom, ruled Latveria for quite a while. He even had an encounter with the Avengers! However, in Fantastic Four #350, having had enough, the real Victor Von Doom takes back his throne and restores Kristoff’s mind. Kristoff would return in Fantastic Four #397-400 and actually aid the FF against a rogue Watcher. A few years later, he would return again to plague Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four.
Kristoff has had a very love/hate relationship with his adoptive father. In Fantastic Four #247, Victor Von Doom took the boy in and appointed him as his heir apparent. However, after Doom’s seeming demise in Fantastic Four #260, Kristoff was swept up in one of the villain’s contingency plans and brainwashed into thinking he was the real Doom. For years Kristoff has struggled with the mental seesaw going on inside his head. One moment, he wishes to follow in Doom’s footsteps, then he wants to destroy his adoptive father, like in Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four. Another moment, he’s seeking extradition by using attorney Jennifer Walters and the courts of law only to reconcile with his old man and part ways amicably.
Is he a friend or foe of the Fantastic Four? Young Kristoff Vernard could go on to use his vast experience to become a champion for justice, or he could follow the villainous path of his despot father. He has definitely had a hard and complicated life and perhaps the MC2 may provide a window into what lies instore for him.
But, at the end of the day, who knows what the future holds for the Boy that Thought He was DOOM.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
NOTE: For past entries of the So Sayeth the Odinson blog, over a decade’s worth of comic book and pop culture articles and reviews, click HERE. Also, be sure to check out my novels The Survivors and Autumn Dawn, which were inspired by 1980s horror – HERE and HERE