Here we go again…
Both Marvel and DC Comics are chock-full of twisted, evil, monstrous villains. Some are unbeatable killing machines, some are twisted serial killers, some are mad scientists, some freaks of nature, and some are cosmic level baddasses. But each company has one dude that is kind of all of those things, and then some. For DC Comics it is undoubtedly Lex Luthor; Superman’s greatest foe, one of the richest and smartest men in the world, completely ruthless, and utterly brilliant, he routinely goes up against Superman AND the Justice League and still lives to tell about it. For Marvel, it has to be Victor Von Doom; one of the smartest men on the planet, has his own kingdom, and has the 2nd most badass suit of armor in the world (behind Iron Man) and is the 2nd most powerful sorcerer in the world (behind Dr. Strange), he routinely goes up against the likes of the Avengers, Iron Man, Dr. Strange, and of course the Fantastic Four, and the dude is still standing strong.
Both are total, unquestionable badasses, but which one is better? Is it Luthor, with his chrome dome head, xenophobia, and suit of armor with the Simon (from Milton Bradley!) chest plate? Or is it Dr. Doom, with his gross face and his penchant for being beaten up by a walking, talking pile of rocks? Let’s begin!
ComicZombie: For my money, Dr. Doom wins this contest, hands-down. Yes, Luthor is a bastard of the highest order, and is not one to be trifled with under any circumstances, but Doom is way scarier. Luthor can crush you in many ways, whether it’s through Lexcorp or with his suit of kind of gay armor, or by having one of the dozens of supervillains he’s had work for him in the past. But Doom can crush you with his infinitely cooler suit of armor, his army of robots, his vast wealth, or he can just cast a spell and have demons drag you to hell. Both would totally kill at a game of Scrabble, or Jeopardy, but when it comes to domination and just general badassness, Doom is unparalleled.
ErikSmash! : I’ll give you that Doctor Doom probably makes Captain America piss his whitey tighties, but at the end of the day he stands out like a cosplayer gone dictator. He’s so one dimmensionally evil that it’s not only in his job description, it was apparent on his birth certificate. Lex Luthor on the other hand isn’t so outlandishly over-the-top evil (most of the time) and therefore is a much more effective super villain. In most comics since the character was reinvented by John Byrne in the 80’s “The Man of Steel” reboot, Luthor is a brilliant business man, a corporate tycoon with a side hobby of world domination and a fetish for murdering Kryptonians.
For the most part, the public is generally on Luthor’s side and with good reason. He’s a billionaire philanthropist who owns half of Metropolis, rebuilt Gotham, once became President of the United States, and most recently saved the world from Earth 3’s Crime Syndicate with the absence of the Justice League (in Forever Evil). All the while he’s running the show from behind the scenes: whether it’s hiring the Joker, creating Metallo, making a deal with Brainiac, or ‘accidentally’ unleashing a Kryptonite-powered Doomsday. Superman is one of the few who is ever actually on to Lex’s schemes, but Lex always manages to stay three steps ahead of the man who can outrun supernovas and punch volcanoes into submission. Lex is scary because he’s as close to a real world super villain as we have, he’s that CEO that’s probably gotten away with murder more times than Ted Bundy and makes more than 99.9% of the world’s population’s annual income in a single hour. He’s not your garden variety wacko in a tin mask and cape, he’s a calm, calculated mastermind…
Your move old friend.
CZ: Funny you should mention John Byrne. In the 1980’s Byrne was most well known (other than his X-Men work) for his long run both writing and drawing Fantastic Four, during which he took great care to portray Doom as a super badass, and a bit evil, yes, but also a man of his word and not without honor. Also, in the INSANELY underrated run on Fantastic Four and FF recently by Jonathan Hickman, Doom actually swallowed his pride enough to work WITH Reed Richards to save everyone. So while at times Doom can be portrayed a bit mustache-twirly, he is also a well rounded, three dimensional power hungry lunatic.
And while Lex is somewhat untouchable because of his image as a philanthropist and all-around good guy, Doom just doesn’t give a shit. What is anyone going to do, invade his sovereign kingdom and start a war with a guy that has an army of robots, a time machine, AND access to supreme amounts of dark magic? “No effing thanks,” says everyone ever. And while Lex is responsible for hiring goons and upgrading Superman’s villains, Doom again just doesn’t give a shit. All of that is way too beneath his genius. He will conquer the world/obtain unlimited power/prove he’s the best thing since iced cream all by his damn self, thank you very much.
And he’s come close more than once.
Doom once stole the power cosmic from the Silver Surfer (!!), and he also stole the nearly limitless power from the Beyonder during Marvel’s trumped-up toy commercial of a mini-series, Secret Wars. I should also point out that during the Infinity Gauntlet when Thanos lost the gauntlet, Doom NEARLY grabbed it, which scared the living piss out of Thor, Hulk, Dr. Strange, the Surfer, and Adam Warlock.
There’s also the time he freaking STOLE the Odinforce from Thor…
Finally, when Dr. Strange was stripped of his title as Sorcerer Supreme, he didn’t know who would inherit the title, but was terrified of the very real possibility that the title, and all the magical goodies that come with it, would go to Doom. I should point out, too, that when Doom got the Beyonder’s power he didn’t use it to, say, kill Reed Richards, but rather ended a huge conflict, smacked down Galactus, and made everything super awesome.
ES: Doom MD can have all the dark mystical power he wants, the only thing Lex needs is his mind… and SCIENCE! (although a paper clip, a box of matches, a ball point pen, and a chunk of Kryptonite off Ebay wouldn’t hurt either)
Luthor is essentially Batman minus the Bat-motif and the whole sense of justice thing. (Brian Azzarello’s “Lex Luthor: Man of Steel” illustrates this best)
His nearly limitless resources consist of an entire multi-billion-dollar R and D department at Lex Corp that develops cutting-edge top-secret high-tech advanced weaponry for the US military to combat an ever-increasing meta-human presence, creating everything from death rays to extraterrestrial bio-weapons to beefed up drones. He has the means to destroy the planet, if it suited him. Even when he was in prison he had connections. He could orchestrate the annihilation of a country from behind bars. He was able to manipulate everyone in the prison to do his bidding and was just biding his time to escape. And even then General Lane went to him for help. The only maximum security prison that could hold him was one he developed himself, because his contingency plans have contingency plans.
He used to wear a Kryptonite ring at all times, until it gave him cancer and killed him, but even then he already had a clone ready to go and used the whole convoluted plot as a PR move in his favor. Since then he’s developed a decked out suit of armor that can take on the Man of Steel should the shit really hit the fan.
He may not have any super powers, but Lex Luthor is the master of finding anyone’s weakness and exploiting it. I’m not just talking Kryptonite either (which btw comes in all shapes, sizes and colors: bullets, explosives, gas, liquid, Red, Blue, etc), I’m talking psychological warfare: He understands that Superman’s true weakness is the fact that he cares about others and he uses it against him constantly, because he’s a heartless mutha fuckin’ gangsta son!
Did I mention he murdered his own father for insurance money? (he then used the blood money to build his entire empire)
Oh yeah and he was the founding member of a little club known as…… THE LEGION OF DOOM!!! (cue music)
“I OWN Metropolis! My technology built it, my will keeps it going, and nearly two-thirds of its people work for me whether they know it or not. Even you have to admit, it’s a model of efficiency. And yet, I’ve often thought… why limit myself to just one city?”
“Doctor” Doom’s got nothin’ on Lex!
CZ: Oh, poor, poor misguided Erik. People went to Lex in prison for help?
When the Avengers arrested Doom (which they could only do because they had the crazy as shit Sentry with them) the US government freaked out and not only released him, but gave him a personal escort back to his country! They were so scared of this dude and his teeny tiny little country that they just flat out ignored the fact that he’s like one of the most wanted men in the world and gave him a freaking escorted ride home!
And you want to talk about resources? Latveria is RICH, man. Rich with a capital Bruce Wayne (does that make sense? Ah, fuck it, I don’t care). And Doom keeps damn near all of it for himself so he can build robot duplicates of himself (that are so smart they often come up with world domination plans and damn near succeed), giant war machines, badass upgrades to his own Iron Man- caliber armor, and build crazy shit like functional time machines (WHICH HE HAS).
And Doom has no need for PR moves, his entire country ADORES him. They literally worship him like a God. All the heroes always think they’ll be scared of Doom, and be like a nation of peasants who pretend to love their leader but really are scared to death of him, but no, these people will fight to the death if you even insult Doom. Seriously, you could be like “man, for a world leader he sure has a lot of capes” and then BAM! A horde of peasants is whomping your ass with pitchforks and the like, and then the robot army comes and kills you. Good times.
Luthor murdered his own father for money? That’s cute. Doom once reunited with his first love (well, as close as he can get, anyway) then promptly sold her soul to demons and made magical armor FROM HER SKIN.
And I would bet all the donuts in the world that Doom’s armor would trump Lex’s. Also, if you have to fight Superman, I’d rather have Doom with his awesome armor AND magic skills, which Superman doesn’t do too well with.
“If you look at history, the great men and women of the world have always been defined… by their enemies” – Lex Luthor
I’ll give you that Dr. Doom could probably kick Superman’s ass back to Krypton, but Lex would make quick work of the FF. This is the guy that’s taken on the entire Justice League on multiple occasions. They’re all toast… even the Human Torch.
Oh yeah and what about Darth Doom’s Vader-mask? What the hell’s up with that shit? Is he all gross and deformed like the Phantom of the Opera? With all his power and resources he can’t seem to fix his mangled, fugly-ass of a face?
Man that is a tragic origin story.
CZ: What’s up with his mask is that it’s totally awesome.
With regards to his face, that’s up for debate. Some writers and artists have implied that it’s nasty as hell; a cheeseburger run through a cheese grater and then stomped on. Others have implied that it’s very slightly scarred, and the imperfection is just not acceptable to ol’ Mr. “I’m the best thing ever”. Some people have done it so that Doom built a machine in college that could view the afterlife so he could find his dear, departed mother’s spirit, and ignored Reed Richard’s advice when it came to starting the machine.
The machine, of course, blew up in his face and scarred it all up.
John Byrne thought it would be better if Doom was chilling with some monks and had them build his super badass death metal mask, and was all impatient when they were making it, like “Hurry up, you bald monks, Doom waits for no man!” and they were all like, “OK, just maybe wait a few more minutes for it to cool off first, it just got finished being THIS close to liquid metal it was so hot” and Doom was all “Whatevs! Put that shiz on mah face!” followed by a sizzling noise that could be heard for miles and a scream that could only be described as ‘girlish’.
I’m going to go with the Stan Lee version, personally. I like the idea that Doom’s hubris, and his hatred for ol’ smarty pants Reed Richards, caused his face to get scarred up a tiny bit, and the imperfection serving as a reminder that Richards (at least in the one instance) was smarter than him was just TOO MUCH for his ego to handle so he put on a super sweet metal mask and was like “FUCK EVERYTHING“.
And before we get too much into Doom and his ‘tragic’ origin story, what about Luthor’s?? This is a guy that swore a vendetta against Superman, the most powerful dude pretty much EVER, because he blamed Supes for the LOSS OF HIS HAIR. I mean…. are you serious? THAT’S your motivation? “He cost me my hair, so I will spend the rest of my life and billions on top of billions of dollars to destroy him!”
Lame, Lex. Seriously lame.
ES: Everyone has their hang ups, can’t really fault the guy for wanting to brutally murder his ‘best friend’ over a minor alopecia-inducing chemical accident am I right? Besides that was Silver Age Lex, it’s been retconned at least a dozen times since then (because that’s just what DC does best, I guess? -looks down and sighs).
There have been A LOT of versions of Lex’s origins over the years, for instance in his earliest appearance, Superman killed him without a second thought, that was before comic writers realized the convenience of a rogues gallery. Throughout the Golden Age he was a prototypical mad scientist… in a purple jump suit. In the Christopher Reeves film he was real estate agent with nukes for some reason. He wasn’t really fleshed out until the Bronze Age when he turned to white collar crime. His backstory since then has gone through a few alterations. (see: “Superman: Birthright”, “Superman: Secret Origins”, and all ten seasons of “Smallville” for more information)
Most versions have Lex growing up in Smallville, Kansas and becoming friends with a young Clark Kent, prior to something traumatic changing him forever, whereupon he leaves and never comes back, leaving no trace behind, except repressed memories. Sometimes he inherited a fortune from a noble line of Luthors, sometimes he started with nothing at all. A few things remain consistent: he had a terrible relationship with his abusive and controlling father, Lionel Luthor (who he usually ends up murdering), and after proving himself to be one of the most successful people in the history of the world, Superman swoops in and steals his spotlight.
Lex is the perfect foil for Superman, he’s both the best and worst of humankind all rolled into one (whereas Superman is what we aspire to be, but could never achieve). Lex Luthor is essentially Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, and Osama Bin Laden all rolled into one. He could cure cancer… if he wasn’t busy dedicating his existence to destroying Superman.
Fact: it takes brass balls for someone without any super powers whatsoever to call out one of the most powerful beings in the DC universe.
In stark contrast, Dr. Doom is a burnt moron who was born into royalty and somehow stumbled his way into a copy of Wiccan for dummies whilst hiding behind an emo face plate and a name that screams for attention. What’s he a doctor of exactly? The apocalypse? Does he have a Phd to back that up?
When you look at his track record, it’s really a miracle that Dr. Doom hasn’t been assassinated yet. He’s always going around the world waving his ‘diplomatic immunity’ in everyone’s face like he just discovered his penis. Why hasn’t Reed Richards done something about him yet? And I don’t necessarily mean kill him, I mean like trap him in the Negative Zone with his good ol’ nihilistic pals. Hell make it look like an accident if you want to avoid legal repercussions. Any one of the Fantastic FOUR would be able to take him out by themselves, not to mention ALL the other Super Hero TEAMS that he’s collectively pissed off.
I have a theory that the Fantastic Four comics are actually the daydreams of a delusional Victor Von Doom after being locked away in an insane asylum (especially those early Stan Lee / Steve Ditko LSD trips). If he were in anyone else’s rogues gallery, he’d be a B-list villain at best, but lucky for him the FF has like 3 all together (and the Mole Man isn’t arch nemesis material). I honestly think Doom suffers from some kind of Napoleonic complex, probably because he was always being made fun of in school. With a name like that, you know he’s had his fair share of wedgies and wet willies.
CZ: Oooohhh, lordy, you done did done it now.
First of all, if Lex is SO smart, how could he grow up with Clark Kent, and have an antagonistic relationship with adult Clark Kent, but not recognize Superman as Clark Kent?!?!
I can buy a dumb shit like Jimmy Olsen or Perry White not getting it, but the smartest man in the world?!
ES: Well… um… you see… the thing about that is… that can… uh… easily be explained by… that one issue… I think… some kind of very convenient case of amnesia in which… uh…….. ok yeah, you got me there….
CZ: And if he could do all of these awesome things, but is so concerned with Superman showing him up, then he’s fucking straight up stupid. As big a deal as Supes is, if someone cured cancer, or AIDS, or whatever, they would be the hugest thing since that time the Beatles killed that dinosaur (… that may not have happened the way my drug addled brain remembers it. The dinosaur may have won…), so if Lex hates Superman for stealing his spotlight there’s a really easy fix, much easier than killing a dude that’s damn near unkillable.
Second of all, Doom was NOT born into royalty. His mom was a peasant gypsy, and his dad was some other dirty ass gypsy. He worked his ass off, got a scholarship to an American university, and had MULTIPLE doctorates by the age of 20. And yes, his Dr. of the Apocalypse PhD is framed on the wall in the dungeon bathroom.
Also, Doom doesn’t leave Latveria that much. When he does, it’s usually to put an unholy ass whomping down on some fools. And Reed Richards has ‘done something’ about him plenty of times, but dude’s harder to get rid of than the freaking Joker. He’s been trapped in alternate realities, never-ending maze dimensions, hell, had his body destroyed, and about twenty other things that would be the end of anyone else, ever. But this is VICTOR MOTHER FUCKING DOOM, and he can’t be killed by conventional methods. Also, with regards to people taking him out? You are wrong, my friend. His armor makes him a match physically for the Thing, can protect him from supernova heat, and has force fields that can counter Susan Richards’. He has beaten the FF by himself, AND the Avengers. He put a horrific beating on Spider-Man, and any time he goes one on one with someone they’re totally, completely boned. When he got dumped into the year 2099 he had taken over the whole world within A YEAR!
“If he were in anyone else’s rogues gallery, he’d be a B-list villain at best, but lucky for him the FF has like 3 all together”.
I don’t…. are you serious?!
Doom would top the list for damn near anyone, other than maybe someone like Thor (who he’s beaten), the Silver Surfer (who he’s beaten), or the Avengers (who he’s beaten). And the FF have better villains than Superman, my friend. I’ll take your Luthor, Doomsday, and….. and….. what, Parasite? And I’ll top them with Doom, Galactus, Terrax, the Super Skrull, and Annihilus, just to name a few. And Doom tops the list, even over the dude that eats planets like M&M’s!
And you want to talk about being bullied as a kid? The rich kid in a hick town like Smallville with no social skills would be like the world’s largest walking target, especially if his only friend was a fucking dork like li’l Clark Kent.
The fact of the matter is Doom is a master sorcerer, engineer, biologist, explorer, and all-around genius badass type. He strolls around like “zero fucks are given” anywhere in the world, despite having more enemies than America. Luthor has to watch his steps around nerds like Lois Lane and Kent.
ES: At least Lex never got defeated by squirrels… If I were a Super Villain, I’d hate to have that on my permanent record…
CZ: Twas a Doombot! A Doombot I tells ya!
ES: Lex Luthor once made the Joker cry. THE JOKER. Your entire argument is invalid.
Joker was torturing Luthor at the time, but Lex turned the tables on the Clown Prince of Crime, and started to psycho analyze him, getting under his sickly pale skin like no one else had ever done before, “Does it bother you … bother you at all, really, that Batman likes Catwoman better? He’ll never love you, sweetheart! You can keep screwing with his city, but he’s never gonna take you to the prom!”
If all that’s not enough street cred, then take for example all the times he’s won, all his evil plots that came to fruition: In Grant Morrison’s “All Star Superman” Lex tricks Supes into exposing himself to a full blast of solar radiation at point blank range, essentially giving him cancer. He once became an Orange Lantern, wielding his own unlimited power of Avarice to wipe out a planet of zombies in ‘Blackest Night’. He even brutally murdered the entire Justice League in an alternate time line…
During “The Reign of the Supermen” Lex gave ordinary citizens super powers only to turn them off when they were flying. He destroyed ‘New Krypton’ and countless Kryptonian refugees along with it. He turned both Lana Lang and Pete Ross against Clark. He took over the Daily Planet and became the President of the United States just to fuck with Supes. In Mark Millar’s “Red Son” Lex saved the world from Brainiac and became a messiah that was worshiped for generations.
AND there’s always that one time he stole Forty Cakes!
He took 40 cakes. That’s as many as FOUR TENS! And that’s terrible…
CZ: Those poor cakes…
SOME CAKES (actually really funny).
Well, I think Doom has some pretty sweet success stories of his own, a few of which I mentioned above.
How about the time he dominated both the Champions AND the Avengers, to the point that he made them all bow to him? This is a group that included people like Thor, Iron Man, Hercules, Captain America, and the freaking Vision!
Or, as I mentioned above, when he straight up jacked the near limitless power from the Beyonder, and bitch slapped GALACTUS like he was late on his rent?
Or smacked Spider-Man around like he stole his Fruity Pebbles?
And Lex has been punked out by everyone from Plastic Man to…. you know what? That name is enough.
He’s been punked out by Plastic Man.
So the next time you go thinking how awesome Lex Luthor is, just remember this: he’s actually a soulless ginger. Also, he’s a whiner of the highest order. If he had a catchphrase, it would be something like “WAAH” or “It’s not FAIR” or something like that. Or maybe something about how he’s bald.
All Doom did was THIS:
So the cases have been made for Lex Luthor and Dr. Doom. Which of the two maniacs is better? Is it the chrome dome xenophobe Luthor? Or the facially challenged monarch Dr. Doom? Does the fact that Luthor has no powers and goes up against someone who is ALL powers trump the sheer might and unquenchable thirst for power that is Doom? Or does the good Dr.’s sheer badassery trump the hundred dollar bills Lex uses for toilet paper?
Sound off in the comments below!