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Certain doom} ?> Sometimes I forget that villains consider themselves to be the heroes of their own stories.
Take Dr. Doom, for example. He believes he’s the hero of everyone’s story.
In Doomwar #3, Dr. Doom faces a mystical arch that blocks his path, inscribed with the words “Only Through Purity Unencumbered by Pretense May You Pass.” Dr. Doom has killed untold thousands in his conquest to gain power, so purity isn’t exactly his namesake. I mean, his name pretty much says it all.
He removes all of his armour—something he has never done up to this point in history—and walks through the arch naked and totally vulnerable.
He is transported to the mysterious cosmic lair of Bast, the Panther God of Wakanda, an incredibly powerful deity who could destroy Dr. Doom in a moment should he be found of impure heart. Bast recalls the decades of death and destruction Dr. Doom has caused and asks him why he would think for a moment he is pure enough to pass through alive.
Dr. Doom genuinely humbles himself before Bast, and explains the justification for his actions. He says that he’s looked into tens of thousands of possible futures and in every one the human race is enslaved or destroyed by an alien power; every future, that is, except the one where he rules humanity as an absolute dictator.
Every attempt he made to overthrow the world’s governing powers, every time he fought to destroy the Fantastic Four or the Avengers? He did it for the good of humankind.
Bast sees that Dr. Doom is telling the truth, deeming his intentions “pure.” He allows him to pass.
This is why Dr. Doom will never admit defeat. If what he’s seen is true then giving up would mean humanity’s inevitable destruction. His seemingly evil deeds are motivated by the greater good.
Can we really say that Dr. Doom is evil when his goal is to save our entire species? Or has he allowed the idea of being humanity’s saviour to infiltrate his ego and justify his violent rampage?
Freedom and security exist in a precarious balance. If you had to choose, which one is more important to you?
Humanity has been asked this question time and again, and its answer has always been freedom. That’s why human empires are destined to fall. No matter the security that Rome, Persia or the Huns could offer, the idea of freedom and hope has always been stronger than steel blades or stone walls.
Dr. Doom is aware of this, but that hasn’t deterred him from his mission. And so he is doomed to his Sisyphean task of being the evil mastermind who tries to save humanity from itself. If you ask me, I’d say he’s doomed.