Thanos sacrificed the thing he loves the most to gain power in Infinity War, but Doctor Doom did it years before to destroy the Fantastic Four.
The long-lost love of Doctor Doom, Valeria was introduced in Marvel Super-Heroes #20 by Larry Lieber, Roy Thomas, Frank Giacoia, and Vince Colletta. She was one of the few ties to a more noble and pure-hearted Victor, before his transformation into the greatest threat the Fantastic Four has ever faced.
A kind-hearted path was one that the Marvel villain was never fated to walk and Valeria was doomed from the start. So who was Doctor Doom’s lost love Valeria, and what power did Doom sacrifice her to gain?
After years of fighting the Fantastic Four and failing to defeat them, Victor Von Doom decides to stop playing around and go all out in “Unthinkable” from Fantastic Four #67 through the renumbered #500 by Mark Waid, Mike Wieringo, Karl Kesel, and Paul Mounts. To this end, he must first find his lost love, Valeria. Throughout his quest, he remembers the romance they shared in their youth which would be shattered when he departed for America and set upon the path that would lead him to become Doctor Doom. After searching across the United States for her years later, Von Doom finds and confesses his undying love for her. Presenting her with a locket containing pictures of them when they were happier, Valeria even admits to Victor she still does have feelings for him
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This, unfortunately, is exactly what Doctor Doom wanted to hear. Doom reveals that he’d made a deal with demons to be granted incredible magical power. In exchange, he had to sacrifice something of “indescribable value” which in this case is true love. As the spell on the locket activates and kills Valeria, her skin is peeled off and turned into a mystical leather armor for Doom. Similar to the action taken by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, this ultimate power boost came with a most devastating cost. For Thanos, it was sacrificing his beloved adopted daughter Gamora to gain the Soul Stone but at least this act weighed on Thanos, a genuine heartbreak during his terrible mission. Contrastly, Doom lacked any guilt over his actions, quickly using his new powers to torment the Fantastic Four with malicious glee.
With these new enhanced mystical powers, Doom quickly proves to be an almost unstoppable threat. He’s able to defeat Doctor Strange in a duel, capturing him and preventing him from helping the Fantastic Four. He banishes Franklin Richards to hell, and kidnaps their daughter Val, briefly bonding her to him as his familiar. He captured the Fantastic Four as the ultimate challenge for his hated rival, Reed Richards, giving him access to a library full of mystical tomes and a challenge to prove his intellect by mastering magic quick enough to stand up to him. As an additional motivator, Doom tortures the rest of the family, having Thing be beaten by Mindless Ones, lighting Invisible Woman aflame with an endless fire, and stretching Human Torch’s body to the breaking point.
This test is almost too much for the logically-minded Richards. However, Mister Fantastic gets some unexpected help from Doctor Strange, who communicates across the Astral Plane to assist Reed in his efforts. He even helps Reed gain a device that can channel mystical energy, giving Mister Fantastic a fighting chance against Doom. Mister Fantastic eventually tricks Doom into luring the demons he’d bargained with into creating a portal, letting the family retrieve Franklin, save Doctor Strange, and cast out Doom.
But the victory comes with many lingering scars. Franklin is left briefly incapable of expressing himself due to the trauma, Johnny is left with many broken bones, and Reed’s face is mystically scarred by Doom’s last act. None of Doom’s self-professed honor or dignity kept him from doing these genuinely monstrous things, and he’s rarely shown even a slight hint of guilt over his actions. Doom’s wrath over losing would even lead him to eventually escape hell and cause the death of the Thing, although this would later be reversed. Like Thanos, Doom proved willing to sacrifice love for power. But this unbelievable sacrifice didn’t even shake him and “Unthinkable” remains one of Doom’s darkest assaults on the Fantastic Four ever.
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