Doctor Doom reveals the memory “too precious” to forget, and the reasons are complicated.
WARNING: This article contains BIG spoilers for Wastelanders: Doom # 1, for sale from Marvel now!
Doctor Doom has always been a morally ambiguous character who jumps from brutal villain to reluctant antihero depending on the day. The one constant throughout most of his life has been his absolute hatred of Reed Richards, and therefore it is surprising that one of Doom’s best memories is also one of his happiest enemies.
IN Wastelanders: Doom # 1, (by Torunn Gronbekk, Julius Ohta, Bryan Valenza and VC’s Cory Petit) Doom arrives in an idyllic town untouched by his grip on the hunt for Darkhold. An obsessed Sofia Strange promises to guide him through the Sanctum Sanctorum in exchange for one of his precious memories. When presented with the birth of his goddaughter Valeria Richards, he considers it “too precious” to lose. He chooses instead the memory of casting his first spell. Afterwards, he kills Sanctorum’s ruler Baron Mordo and takes the source of his power. He leaves town and promises Sofia to use it grimoire to rule over the wilderness.
It should come as no surprise that Valeria Richard’s birth is the only memory most important to Doctor Doom. His life has been filled with tragedy, some the world has forced upon him, and others he has had a direct involvement in manifesting. Doom traded his mother’s soul for Mephisto for more power. Doom killed the only woman he ever loved so he could use her skin to make his strongest magical armor. From his birth to before Valeria’s birth, Doom’s life had always been about destruction. Valeria’s birth was the first and only time he brought life into the world.
During pregnancy, Valeria emitted radioactive outbreaks that threatened to kill her mother. Because Mr. Fantastic had been kidnapped just as the invisible woman was about to give birth, Human Torch went to Doom for help. The villain used a twisted combination of magic and science to give birth to the baby. In return for his help, Sue Doom appointed the godfather and allowed him to name her. He chose “Valeria”, after the only woman he ever loved. As their relationship developed, Valeria Doom became the moral center. She is constantly pushing him to become a better person.
Doom’s relationship with Valeria, however, is two-sided. He loves and appreciates her, but their connection also serves to undermine Mr. Fantastic. In Doom’s eyes, he has stolen every possible relationship, Mr. Fantastic could have had with his daughter. Doom was there for Valeria’s birth, while Richards was not. “Doom” was the first word Valeria ever said. Valeria moved to Latveria to be with her godfather because she stopped trusting her father. Every heartwarming moment between Doom and Valeria serves to hurt Doom’s deadly enemy. It’s the classic anti-hero Doom, doing something good, but undermining Reed Richards every step of the way.
Given the loving uncle-niece relationship between Doom and Valeria, it makes sense that he would never give up the memory of bringing her into the world. Even in a world where Doom was an integral part of killing the Fantastic Four, the time he spent with his goddaughter will always be something he deeply appreciates.
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