The Fantastic Four and Zorba crash the coronation of Dr. Doom's son- Victor von Doom II! Will the FF and the Lavterian Resistance take down a tyrant?
The Son Of Doctor Doom!
Dr. Doom's machine starts to beam the power of the Fantastic Four, who are trapped unconscious in its transference globes, into the body of Victor Von Doom the Second, whom Doom calls his son. As machine operates, Doom plays a grandiose symphony on his sonic keyboard and muses about his son's upcoming coronation. Once the world sees Doom relinquish control of Latveria, he thinks, it will only be a matter of time before he is truly supreme. Doom's thoughts are interrupted by Hauptmann, who rushes in with news of a peasant rebellion led by Zorba. Citizens are gathering in the courtyard says Hauptmann frantically and Zorba is demanding an audience with Doom himself. Then Hauptmann proudly states that he told Zorba Doom must not be bothered, but Doom slaps him aside exclaiming that Zorba is the brother of Latveria that King Rudolf and could ruin Doom's careful planning.
Quickly, Doom appears on a balcony overlooking the courtyard to address the crowd. But as he launches into a harangue, the crowd becomes abusive, and Zorba shouts that Doom does not intend to relinquish power at all. Instead he says, Doom will continue to rule through his sons. Zorba asserts that he has seen Doom's personal diary, from which he has learned the truth about about Victor Von Doom the Second. At this , Doom opens fire at the crowd with his finger blasters. Zorba and his men stand their guard however and take aim with weapons they have smuggled into the country. Then Doom backs down, asking his subjects to forgive his moment of anger. Tonight when the coronation ceremony takes place , he says, he shall wield power no longer and will be content to garden away his reaming years. As he leaves the balcony, he orders Hauptmann to watch over the power transference machine. Then he heads for Alicia Master's chamber.
In a dungeon buried deep in Doom's fortress, Alicia labours over Doom's statue, wondering whether he can be trusted to release her and the Fantastic Four once it is completed, as he said he would. Doom enters and declares that he does not lie. The statue must be finished tonight, he adds, for it is to be presented to the United Nations when his son takes control of Latveria. It is important that the gift be given before the United Nations takes its vote to exclude Latveria. Alicia remarks that she does not understand why Doom would want his face sculpted without its scars, and she also wants to know who did the statue's body and why is it carved from a hollow stone. Doom replies that he does not what the world to believe that good Latveria is twisted and ruined like the face of its monarch. He was accused of many misdeeds, he adds, so he decided to step aside. With him gone, the world will see Latveria change its ways. Alicia senses that Doom is lying but there is little she can do except continues working.
As Hauptmann manipulates the transference machine, a fist suddenly smashes out of one of its globes and Mr. Fantastic breaks free. Aghast, Hauptmann flees to inform Doom, hoping that Doom will not perceive his failure as disloyalty. Reed swiftly stretches to the machine's console and a few moments later, liberates his three team mates. After they regain consciousness, Jonny wonders how Reed survived the explosion of the spaceship, but Reed declines to explain saying that there is no time to waste. But on seeing Doom's son, who is still groggy from the treatment, Reed says that when he realized that Doom was behind everything, he attached a micro-feedback system to his beat to short circuit Doom's devices. Then Ben cuts Reed short, and the force team mates leave the chamber together, reunited at last. Reed warns that Doom is certain to have left his passageways guarded, but Ben replies cheerfully that he will clobber whatever guards they may encounter. Unfortunately, Ben runs into the blast from the ionic force-displacers of several of Doom's servo-guards. Sue protects him with an invisible field as Reed and Jonny battle the guards. As Ben shakes off the blast's effect she off balances and the guards with invisible force spheres. Then Ben tears up the floor and puts all the remaining servo-guards out of commission.
Alicia hears the sounds of the battle, and Doom declares that her friends are about to join them in the chamber. Sure enough, Ben shatters the wall and the four team mates enter. But Doom takes Alicia hostage. Reed restrains the enraged Ben from attacking, satin that they cannot take the chance that Doom might harm Alicia. Then Doom orders his servo-guards to take Alicia to a dungeon to complete her work. Should the Fantastic Four betray him, he adds his servo units will destroy her. A few hours later, Doom, on the steps of his castle begins the coronation ceremony. With his son besides him he tells the citizens of Latveria that he has always considered their welfare above his own. He built his servo- units to protect them, he continues, and it is also for their own protection that he doe not permit to stray beyond Latervia's borders. He declares that the world has considered him a despot for too long, now he will turn over the Spectre of Latveria to one whom few ever knew existed – his son. As Zorba listens to the speed, he whispers to his aide, Kronar, that he will steal into Doom's castle to try and find the Fantastic Four. Now is the time their power is needed , he says.
Meanwhile , the Fantastic Four are sequestered in a cell and monitored by a spherical crystal suspended from the celling. Zorba steals up to the room, and using the device over his right eye, blasts a robot sentry standing guard before it. This turns off the monitoring crystal, and the Fantastic Four quickly smash out through a wall. Zorba hands Reed a paper he discovered in the castle the night before. Reed deciphers the equations on the sheet and exclaims that the paper explains everything. Lacking time to elaborate, Reed hurries his companions down a corridor saying that Doom must be stopped all costs.
In full view of United Nations television cameras, Doom places the crown of Latveria on the head of Victor Von Doom the Second. Suddenly Zorba runs up, shouting that the main is not Doom's son but his perfect clone. Taken aback, Doom orders his omni=bots to attack the fantastic four, while the latveria citizens flee for their lives. Realizing that his scheme has been exposed Doom tells the clone that it is now his turn. At this, the clone screams in pain and his body begins to change. Shredding his garment he becomes a muscular creature halfway between a normal man and The Thing in appearance. Reed's short circuiting device evidently altered the way the transference machine affected him, so he acquired the Fantastic Four's power incompletely. Reed imagines, as he battles the omni-bots, that the clone's appearance results from an unanticipated power feedback of some kind.
Doom is outraged that his clone's face has become almost as grotesque as his own. He orders him to destroy the Fantastic Four, but instead the clone slams Doom defiantly into a pillar. Doom created him in his own image year ago and raised him in total secrecy, says Victor the Second, but he made a drastic mistake. The power of Fantastic Four did more than just strengthen him, he says. They allowed him to see Doom as he truly is, sickeningly evil. Although he is born of Doom's cell, he continues, he does not possess Doom's maniacal hatred because he is like Doom before the accident that drove him mad. Doom fends off the clone's attack with blasters, but the clone erects an invisible force field – not quite as strong as the one that Invisible Girl can make – to protect himself. Then he grabs Doom and weakly flames on but Doom shoves him aside with force shields. The clone turns invisible and batters Doom, saying that because he possesses all of Doom's knowledge as well much of the Fantastic Four powers, he has become Doom;s most dreaded foe. But Doom counters with his thermal units , forcing the clone to turn visible.
Just then, the Fantastic Four dispatch the last of Doom's omni-bots. Reed observes that the battle between Doom and his clone is like a battle between the two sides of Doom's psyche. The clone stretches out of the way of Doom's blasters and retaliates with flame bolts. He states that he is everything that Doom is, but with a difference, Doom hates himself and hides behind a mask, but the clone is Doom's perfect self. Then he suggests that in creating another human being, Doom lost his own humanity. Doom thunders that he does not hate what he is, that the world feats his every word. But the clone insists that Doom must admit his self hatred or lose whatever humanity remains in him. Unable to bear his clones lies Doom turns on the electromagnetic amplifier in his armour and sends a powerful shock through the clone's body. As Fantastic Four look at the charred corpse of Victor the second, Doom himself stands horrified at what he feels the clone forced him to do.
Notes: Mark Gruenwald was assistant editor on this issue.