Among the minor questions that plague comic book fans (after “Who’d win in a fight between X and Y?” and inappropriate queries about heroies’ romantic lives) comes in the expectation of what lies beneath Victor Von Doom’s steely mask.  Some (including Jack Kirby) favored the notion that a tiny scar caused perfectionist Doom’s rage against the various machines.  Others (including Stan Lee, based my readings) implied that Doom’s  face was terribly scarred in his college accident  John Byrne seemed to imply both back in the 80’s, with Doom preparing the mask because of a small imperfection, but suffering horrific burns when he donned it too soon after forging.  (Doom was the original hipster; he put on his mask BEFORE it was cool.)

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) is a matter of taste: Doctor Doom’s face: Ravaged mess or imperceptible scarring?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. May 24, 2012 at 11:51 am — Reply

    Imperceptible Scarring.

    I’ve always thought of the mask as a psychological crutch, because in this day and age Doom could easily have gotten reconstructive surgery if his face was so badly scarred. So the mask isn’t just to hide his face, it also hides him from reality. With the mask, he is the Doom he believes himself to be and not the crazy villainous dictator that the world sees.

  2. Rome
    May 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm — Reply

    I always imagined a mangled mess under the mask.

    Though the small scar with huge psychological consequences is intriguing, as a hook.

    But I’m still going to go with major scarring, just because it seems scarier to fight a really ugly villain.

  3. foolsmask
    May 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm — Reply

    Doom is a master of technology and magic. He should have the ability to fix any physical problem with his face, so the problem is in his head. Imperceptible scarring.

  4. May 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm — Reply

    Given how he had his mask applied, I imagined a ravaged mess with no eyelashes/eyebrows & only a suggestion of a nose left. Thus, his vanity over the little scar that drove him to wear the mask & his impatience has punished him worse than he ever could have contemplated.

    And frankly, I hope we never actually see it because seeing the “OMG so horrible” scarring never lives up to the horrors a reader’s imagination can devise (good example would be the Talon in Batgirl #9, whose reveal was nowhere near as horrible as what I was expecting).

  5. May 24, 2012 at 2:38 pm — Reply

    Given how he had his mask applied, I imagined a ravaged mess with no eyelashes/eyebrows & only a suggestion of a nose left. Thus, his vanity over the little scar that drove him to wear the mask & his impatience has punished him worse than he ever could have contemplated.

    I like that, too, but I’m not sure if Marvel still follows that editorial viewpoint. I haven’t seen a Doom origin in a dozen years or more…

    • Armaan
      May 24, 2012 at 3:24 pm — Reply

      There WAS a retelling of Doom’s origin sometime recently.. about his gypsy upbringing, his magical mommy, his first love, how he forsaken her to come to America, met Reed, and became DOOOOM! One of my favorite Doom stories ever, and in it, he is reunited with his long lost love, Valeria(yep. Mr. Richard’s daughter is named after Dr. Doom’s first love), asking her for a second chance.
      She wasn’t sure she even had feelings anymore for a man who’d gone all supervillainy, , so he took off his mask for her. She was shocked, but didn’t look away, and Doom talked about how everyone else did(adding credence to the “Ravaged Mess” theory), but that fact that she didn’t mean that she must still have SOME feelings for him.

      I really really really wanna tell the rest of the story but in the off chance that you can find the issue it was in(and I can’t tell you the issue number, because in india it was just released as Fantastic Four #25) it is DEFINITELY an ending you should read for yourself.

  6. Armaan
    May 24, 2012 at 3:13 pm — Reply

    I believe it’s Ravaged Mess.
    And I believe that though he could change it, he won’t, because it lets him hold on to his grudges, to his hatred of Reed. To his darkness. To let the scarring go would be to let his rage go, his grudges go, and that’s just not something Doom does.

    I know Doom can be petty, and vain, but to wear a mask all the time for the sake of an imperceptible scar is not something I’m going to believe.

    I also believe he wears the mask for the same reason any superhero does – its his identity.

  7. Xian
    May 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm — Reply

    I don’t know that I ever bought the idea that Doom was so vain or impaired that he couldn’t bear to see an imperceptible imperfection (or have it seen) because the base design of his mask has traditionally had rivets… something not typically included as an aesthetic choice- and, if it were- stand as the kind of character-giving pockmarks on otherwise seamless metal which would incline a person to be able to show off similar biological pockmarks.

  8. Shush
    May 25, 2012 at 3:27 am — Reply

    I lean towards the ravaged mess theory or at least somewhere in between. Maybe his face is not ‘ravaged’ per say, but I couldn’t buy an’ imperceptible’ scar. Were he so vain and that much of a perfectionist, then the innate features of the human face would probably bother him. No human face is actually symmetrical; not perfectly. Photoshop a face, any face, and mirror each half separately and you’ll get two different faces, some looking more alike than others.

    As such, it is my belief that these inherent inconsistencies could be seen as imperfections by Doom and, if he were that pathetically vain, would drive him towards a mask even without any scarring. And so my conclusion is that he must have at least a significant and noticeable scar. How bad it really is is still up to the imagination.

  9. Oldcomicfan
    May 25, 2012 at 6:14 am — Reply

    I’m of the old school. Doom was incredibly vain and competitive, and in trying to compete with Reed Richards, had a terrible accident that turned his face into a ravaged mess that would have made Darth Vader barf. And since plastic surgery wouldn’t have restored the original perfection (in his own mind) of Victor Von Doom, he sealed his face behind the mask, which he applied while Red Hot, completing the job the accident had started. He naturally blamed Reed Richards for the original accident, which explains his hatred of Reed Richards and the FF. I haven’t read any FF since I dropped Marvel in the late 70s so I haven’t read any revisionist versions of his origin story.

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