November 7, 2009

Ye Olde School Cafe’: Emperor Doom

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Written by: Billy
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Welcome back to another edition of Ye Olde School Cafe’. In this week’s column, I’ll be talking about the Marvel Graphic Novel, Emperor Doom. This is a book that I wanted for a long time but just recently acquired. So let’s get to it. This story was written by David Michelinie and visually conceptualized by Bob Hall in 1987.

2658_4_027emperor doom

Our story begins with Zebediah Kilgrave, a.k.a. The Purple Man, tanning on a beach only to be subdued by a shadowed figure. Next we see a cloaked figure walking the streets of New York, thinking to himself that everyone around him is beneath his mighty stature. Enter Namor; he’s been loved and hated by the people of the world on many occasions, and for good reason. Once, he tried to wipe out everybody on the surface of the planet. He has also on the other hand helped save the world during WWII along side Captain America and Bucky. We see Namor walk into a restaurant and talk to Dr. Doom about how Doom wants to take over the world and will give Namor all the power over the seas. Doom tells Namor of his plans to build a machine that is going to use The Purple Man’s powers of persuasion to bend the world to his will. Namor agrees to help Doom by stopping three specific beings that won’t be affected by the machine: The Vision, Ultron, and Machine Man. They don’t have the capacity to be affected by Kilgrave’s powers so they need to be dealt with first.

Namor first decides to go after The Vision. At first, it appears as though he tries to go right after Vish with no plan, but when he can’t subdue Vish, he shows him that he already controls Starfox and The Scarlet Witch, so he surrenders to Namor. There is a funny scene here where Namor commands Vision to dance for him to make sure the mind control device is working properly. So next on the hit list is Machine Man. He doesn’t have a clue that his business partner is under the control of Namor, so he gets taken out easily. Finally we see the mighty Ultron get smacked around by Subby and controlled as well. With these players out of the game, Doom can now activate his device and start his take over.

In the meantime, We see Tony Stark and Wonder Man talking about Wondy taking some tests inside some crazy chamber where he will be isolated from the rest of the world.  The West Coast Avengers see a security tape of Namor controlling the Vision, so they decide to pay Doom a little visit on a remote island that he recently purchased. Once there they are confronted by an army of robots, but that only slows this team down, and before you know it they are in Doom’s chambers getting ready to wring his neck. Before they can even act, Doom throws the switch for the mind control device and turns all the Avengers into mindless slaves.

Next, Doom goes to the U.N. to give them the “good news” about his reign that is about to begin. At this point in the story, Doom turns on Namor and basically tells him he doesn’t need his help anymore. Namor gets furious and tries to stop Doom, but Doom has a contingency plan for this and winds up getting Namor to do his will too. We then see pictures from around the world where people are not sure why they’re doing certain things, but know that they have to do it.

Everything at this point seems to be going Doom’s way, but he doesn’t know about Wonder Man, who is just getting out from Stark’s test chamber, and boy is he surprised to find out what’s going on. He sees the T.V. talking about Emperor Doom and his conquest of the world. Upon questioning the other Avengers, he finds out that they are going to try and take him in to see Doom for some programing. Doom seems very intrigued by the idea of someone who will oppose him. After narrowly escaping Doom’s mind controlled Avengers, we see a conversation he has with himself about maybe it being time to throw in the towel. After a brief pep talk to himself, Simon decides to go incognito to try and find out what Doom is using to control everyone. Using the computers at Avengers HQ, he finds out about how Doom used The Purple Man’s DNA to control people. He’s confronted by Captain America, but gets the advantage, and forces him to watch a tape of Doom trying to kill superheroes and overtake the word. This snaps Cap out of it, and then they both use it on the remaining members too.

We switch scenes to Doom, who has found out that The Avengers have broken free of his control, and he knows they are headed his way! With lightning speed, our heroes fly to the island to take on Doom and his army of robots and tanks. These provide little resistance to The Avengers, so during the fight The Wasp gains access to the room where Doom is holding The Purple Man and his device. Doom is watching the entire time and speaks of a back up plan, using nerve gas on the intruders, but he doesn’t. We see for the first time that Doom is really having second thoughts about ruling the whole world and all the crap that goes along with it. He decides to let things play out without using anything he has ready to surprise his guests. The Wasp helps free Namor just in the nick of time, and then subsequently destroys the device controlling everybody on Earth.

We see a snapshot of people all around the world getting snapped back into their daily lives. Doom, of course, is way gone, and we see him taunting The Avengers. All in all this was a good read. I think if more people would read this story from top to bottom they would appreciate it for the short drama that it is. These Marvel Graphic Novels are awesome. Well, until next time readers, so long!

Billy Dunleavy



  1. So the Purple Girl was tanning? Dont know if I can stretch my imagination THAT far lol

  2. I’m sorry…Purple MAN lol like thats even better lol

  3. This was my favorite Marvel Graphic Novel! It was a great, in continuity story, even if it’s never really referenced in the comics. We see Doom use Namor to do most of the dirty work to prepare for the big take over, and of course, Dooms betrayal of Namor afterwards.

    It was great seeing all the positive things Doom had done while the world was under his control, like the dismantling of nuclear arms, the scaling back of countries militaries (to act as stand by for aid in natural disasters), an end to war, the end of world hunger, the end of apartheid in South Africa, and the fair distribution of goods throughout the world. The Avengers were morally conflicted about stopping Doom, knowing that all of these things would come to an end if/when they defeated him. It was Captain America, of course, who pointed out that as long as people don’t have free will, what good is any of it? Still, it was a choice that was difficult for the Avengers to make.

    Lots of cool little touches in the story, like Power-Man and the Hulk being Dooms bodyguards and Dooms staying in the White House while he was in North America. We also got to see how dissatisfied Doom was with such “easy” control…he almost regretted the take over! It was a really interesting look into the psyche of Doom.

    Also, it should be mentioned that Namor was responsible for the death of the Purple Man at the conclusion of the story. I think this is the only carry over into the comics that there is, as I don’t remember ever seeing any references to Dooms take over.

    I would highly recommend this to any fans of the Avengers, Namor, and especially to fans of Dr. Doom! I believe its long out of print, but it’s well worth it if you can get a copy.

  4. billy

    @speech-lol, yeah really does somebody that’s purple really tan? Funny scene too because Kilgrave tells his servant to amuse him so he starts doing cartwheels and falls on his A**.

    @bill-this was an awesome story, especially because Doom actually won but got a little complacent I think. Seeing him not really know if this is what he truly wanted because there was no fight or conflict definitely made you think twice about this happening in the future. It kind of reminded you of a “What If” story.

  5. Eli

    I’ll have to be on the lookout for this book, a nice look into the man that is Doom. Nice job Billy!

  6. Marie

    Nice article Billy! I also enjoyed the purple man tanning. What color does he turn?

  7. Infinite Speech

    I actually miss the Marvel Graphic Novel books

  8. Who the heck is Purple Man?

  9. Andy,
    Purple Man was a long time nemesis of Daredevil. His skin was purple (hence the name) and he could make people do whatever he told them, unless they proved of an exceptional will, like DD or Doctor Doom. The Purple Man was mostly a small time, c-list villain…this was his moment in the sun, so to speak. Too bad for him, he didn’t survive the story.

  10. billy

    @everybody-The Purple Man (Zebediah Kilgrave) was also a Luke Cage nemesis but he did survive this GN. If you remember back to New Avengers #1 he was a prisoner on The Raft that was broken out and tried to use his powers on Cage but they had been dampened inside the prison and Cage beat the snot out of him and had to be restrained before he almost killed him. The Kingpin also proved to have a strong enough will to resist him. 🙂

    @Andy-he was on an episode of X-men the animated series too! The episode where Scott went back to the orphanage where he grew up.

  11. You know, that’s right! I forgot the Purple Man was in the Raft. How and when was he brought back from the dead? He was killed by Namor at the end of the graphic novel, and he’s even listed in my Marvel Universe Book of the Dead, saying that he died from injuries suffered from Namor.

  12. billy

    @Bill-I’ll have to check up on how PM survived or was revived. Maybe he was a Skrull? Food for thought since he hasn’t been seen since eh?

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