- My life is changing. When I was young, I made a fateful choice. I chose science over sorcery. And I wanted to choose again. Thus, I made a pact. I conjured a cabal of netherdemons who claimed they would make me the magician I could have been... and greater besides. But as is too often true demons, there was a barter involved. One condition. I had to sacrifice something of indescribable value. Something irreplaceable. Something only you could give me. Farewell, my love. Dear, dear Valeria. I will miss you more than any will ever imagine... ...but I will always hold you close to me.
- -- Doctor Doom
Appearing in "Under Her Skin"
- Valeria (Death)
- Haazareth Three (Behind the scenes)
- Madame Katrina (First appearance), psychic
- Queen Marie (First appearance)
- Colin & his mom (First appearance)
- Fantastic Four (Only in flashback)
- Werner von Doom (Only in flashback)
Races and Species:
- United States of America
- Hungary (Only in flashback)
- Miskolc (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "Under Her Skin"
Doctor Doom has come to the United States to search for his long lost childhood sweetheart, Valeria. To help him on this quest he has paid a visit to a palm reader who tells him that she cannot help him in this quest. She reads his fortune and tells him that he has lived a life of an altered destiny and that his soul aches with remorse. This strikes Victor as true. He tells her that a life of technological achievements have left him wanting. He tells her that he intents to change this and Valeria is the key, should she return his love.
As he exits the fortune tellers business into the streets of Georgia, Von Doom scoffs at the offerings of the United States, not liking being in this uncivilized nation for very long. He recalls that a lot of the times he comes to this country is when he battles his foes the Fantastic Four. However his search for Valeria has brought him here. His travels takes him to a fortune teller named Queen Marie LaVoie to have tea leaves read. When he looks at the arrangements of the tea reminds Victor of autumn. This brings back recollections to his childhood when he and Valeria would spend time together as his people traveled through Hungary, avoiding persecution. He remembers happier times when he gifted Valeria with a wooden music box that he handcrafted. He recalls how things started going dark shortly after his mother died and he discovered her trunk full of magical artifacts. This started Von Doom's infatuation with the dark arts. As he practices these forbidden craft he also learned all he could about science as well. As his obsessive drive propelled him further he became more and more distant to Valeria. Using his mastery of both arts he helped protect his people and fight back against those who persecuted his people. He then recalls how these activities attracted the attention of the United States military who offered Victor a chance to expand his knowledge by pursing his education. When the fortune teller presses Victor to tell more, he stops his recounting, calling her a charlatan and leaving her presence.
Retiring to his hotel Victor walks past a woman with a stroller. When the child suddenly begins to cry, Victor apologizes as the mask he wears to cover his disfigured face frightens children easily. The woman tells him that it's not his face that is making her son cry, pointing out that the boy is blind. Victor returns to his room where he tosses all the electronic devices outside and spends his evening giving himself a Tarot card reading. When he draw the Star card, Victor removes his mask and retires for the night.
The following day Victor visits another phony fortune teller, this one using a crystal ball. Still he continues his narrative, explaining how he left Valeria behind in order to pursue his education in the United States. There he met and formed a rivalry with Reed Richards while attending State University. He recounts how he ignored Reed's warnings that the calculations were off on a device that would allow him to contact the spirit of his mother in the netherworld. Because he did not heed this warning, the device literally blew up in his face. As Victor explains how Valeria knows the man he became after the fact, when suddenly he catches the glimpse of a house in the crystal ball. The fortune teller smirks, telling Victor that not all fortune tellers are frauds. She tells him that Valeria is in the house he sees within the crystal ball and is waiting for him.
Valeria has become obsessed with fortunes herself, destroying the various telling instruments when tell her the fortune she has been dreading. When Victor finally arrive she tells him he was never supposed to find her. Victor explains that he only wishes to bring something very fond to him and give it to her. It is a locket with photos of them as children. This touches her, but when he professes his love to her and asks her to come back with him, she explains that the child she fell in love with is no more. Victor then does something that she does not expect: he takes off his mask and allows her to see his face. He further explains that he comes to her out of his armor as it represents the technology he has come to reject. He tells her that if she returns his love it will make him a changed man. When he opens the music box that he made for her so many years ago, Valeria begins to reconsider. As Victor puts the locket around her neck, she agrees to go with him, at least provisionally in order to give him a chance. When she takes his hand the locket suddenly snaps shut and begins to glow green with mystical energy. When Valeria tries to rip it off, the magic begins to burn mystical sigils on her flesh. As the symbols creep up her skin and Valeria screams in pain, Victor explains how as a child he made a choice and picked science over sorcery and now he is making the choice again. How he is now embracing his mystical heritage and made a pact with netherdemons for unimaginable power, all he had to do was make the ultimate sacrifice -- his childhood love.
Victor bids farewell to Valeria as her flesh suddenly is stripped from her bones. As it turns into a mystical costume fashioned after Doom's traditional armor, he tells her that he will always hold her close to his heart.
- This story expands on Victor and Valeria's childhood romance which was first revealed back in Marvel Super-Heroes #20. The events about the deaths of his mother and father and his interest in the mystic arts and eventual travel to the United States to study resulting in the accident that turned him into Doctor Doom recaps the origin of Doom originally told in Fantastic Four #5 and Fantastic Four Annual #2. Annual #2 states that it was a representative of State University who came to Doom and offered him a scholarship. This is the first time Doom states it was a representative of the United States military. The military angle was explained in detail and expanded on in Books of Doom #1–5.
- The last time Doctor Doom saw Valeria was back in Incredible Hulk #144. Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616 she has been hiding from Victor for roughly eight years of Marvel Time.
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