One of the more noticeable things about my podcast setup is the montage of comic book characters in the background.
While they typically adorn our bedroom or basement walls, the assembly of heroes reflects our aspirations and fantasies.
Yet, most superheroes exist only to vanquish evil, maintain justice, and restore peace. While their powers are multi-faceted, superheroes’ motivations seem almost one-dimensional in comparison to their evil counterparts.
As much as we laud superheroes, can we learn from supervillains?
Let’s look at Dr. Doom.
While not the most ardent comic book fan, I have to admit that Victor Von Doom strikes me as an underrated villain.
He’s… complicated. Well, at least his motivations are.
Victor Von Doom isn’t your typical conquer-the-world type of baddie. It’s his tenuous relationship with the Fantastic Four that makes Doom such a fascinating villain to dissect.
It’s almost like they need him as much as he needs them.
I’ve had opponents that pushed me to the brink. They forced me to level up my game and it made me a better fighter than I ever thought I could be.
It’s a symbiotic relationship that all great competitors appreciate.
Dr. Doom fails not because of the Fantastic Four. On the flip side, the Fantastic Four succeeds in spite of Doom.
Despite his immense talent, skills and power, Dr. Doom struggled to achieve the prominence he believed he rightfully deserved.
It always seemed like he was one step behind long-time rival Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic.
Even with his regality and genius intellect, he could not win the affections of Sue Storm against Richards.
But after an accident that left him horribly scarred, Victor Von Doom did what most could not.
He leveraged his disfigurement into unleashing the greatest version of himself, albeit an evil one.
Seeing himself superior and far more gifted, Doom was consumed by revenge and Richards became the target of his ire.
In the process, Victor Von Doom lost the remaining shred of his humanity, transforming into the villain Dr. Doom.
Dr. Doom was confident that with his abilities alone, he could overcome anything – even his outward appearance.
Instead of reaching out to Richards, he spurned the latter’s advances to help.
Does this sound familiar? I’m sure many of us are guilty of doing the same. Letting our pride get in the way of reconciliation or seeking help we actually need.
On the outside, Doom appears to embrace his destiny, going so far as to wear metal armor and bioskin that imbues him with powerful abilities.
How many of us have internalized trauma that manifests itself in our exterior? From the way we treat others to how we respond to criticism, these behaviors have roots in our past.
Scarred by his look, Dr. Doom thought to use his self-hatred as a motivation to restore his body, face, and in turn his dignity by robbing Richards of his own.
Yet, Victor fails to comprehend that armor he wears is one of shame, embarrassment, and guilt over his shortcomings.
Doom is many things but Fantastic Four he is not. They are a family, each with flaws and weaknesses just like Doom. But they have each other and their strengths compensate.
By using his own ego and pain to stoke his desire, Doom cannot find the one source of help he truly needs – good people.
And this is the story of Dr. Doom, a villain so powerful, it becomes his undoing.
Just think about his medley of disciplines – master of the dark arts, polymath, sorcery, hand-to-hand combat and technological prowess. That’s hard to beat.
Not to mention, his roles are diverse. In both the comics and on film, he’s been a scientist, magician, and even a politician of his Latverian nation.
While I can’t say I’ve replicated the various masteries that Dr. Doom has, I’ve often tried to step into different shoes, although some have been harder to fill.
I wasn’t content just being labeled a fighter. I was also a company spokesperson, a clothing line business owner, an investor, and a motivational speaker.
Yet, I must acknowledge that I’m extremely fortunate to have met the right people along the way who helped me take on these roles.
I owe my growth as a fighter and as a man to the spirit of competition and the pride of holding my own against my peers.
Equal praise should be given to coaches, friends and family who have selflessly supported and guided me in pursuing this unorthodox career path.
And I’m certainly not forgetting the ones in and around the business who opened doors for me to new financial opportunities.
It’s silly to compare my character arc to that of a comic-book villain like Dr. Doom.
What I want is to contrast how the tragedy that continues to befall Doom is that of his own doing.
And his story shows just how important it is to surround yourself with good people, no matter your individual greatness.