LIDDLEVILLE

Classification: Terrestrial technological construct

Creator: Dr. Doom, Puppet Master

User/Possessors: Dr. Doom, Puppet Master

Inhabitants: Ben Grimm (Thing), Dmitri Fortunov, Alicia Masters/Alicia Masters Grimm, Phillip Masters (Puppet Master), Johnny Storm (Human Torch), Franklin + Reed (Mr. Fantastic) + Sue (Invisible Girl/Woman) Richards, Sergei, Tabitha Smith (Meltdown), Vincent Vaughn (Dr. Doom) - all former residents/inhabitants of synthe-clone bodies;
    Micronauts (Acroyear, Bug, Devil, Marionette, Arcturus Rann) - visitors;
    Mrs. Lucas, Betty Lou, Dr. Singh, Doom's robot guards - robots without known human hosts;
    Josiah Liddle (alleged town founder)

Location: Dr. Doom's Adirondack Castle (though it has also been found in Doom's Latverian Castle)

First Appearance: Fantastic Four I#236 (November, 1981)

 

 

Powers/Abilities/Functions: Liddleville is a miniature town (no more than several feet across), a perfect scale model, inhabited by numerous miniature robots in humanoid form. There are several stations where people can be mentally linked, so that their minds are transferred into one of the "synthe-clones" of Liddleville--which are miniature versions of their original bodies, formed from their own cells and combined with circuitry--and they believe themselves to be residents of the town. Within the town are working models of everything that would exist in a similar town at full size..
    Robot Guards exist on the perimeter of Liddleville, to prevent any of its inhabitants from escaping the town.
     The style of the cars and shops of the original version of Liddleville were early 20th Century, but the version rebuilt by the Puppet Master was styled completely along the lines of the modern era.

History:
(Fantastic Four I#236 (fb) - BTS) - Wishing to regain control of Latveria, Dr. Doom concocted a plot to keep the Fantastic Four from interfering. He enlisted the Puppet Master to construct Liddleville to his specifications. Doom's technology provided the robotics and other means to facilitate the process. The Puppet Master then used his clay to control each of the Fantastic Four, as well as Franklin Richards and Alicia Masters, and bring them to Doom, who hooked them up to his device and transferred their minds into synthe-clones.
    Each of the subjects had no memory of their lives as the Fantastic Four and lived out imaginary lives where they never gained their powers. Reed and Sue were still married and had a son, Franklin, but Reed worked at Liddleville College, as a subordinate to Vincent Vaughn, who was really Doom. Doom used his technology to addle Reed Richards' thoughts just enough that he could never succeed as a scientist, to prevent him from realizing what was really going on, and to allow himself to enter Liddleville as Vaughn and humiliate and taunt his now inept foe. Johnny was a young bachelor, while Ben and Alicia were happily married, and Alicia had never been blind. Masters' primary role in Liddleville was to enjoy his daughter's happiness.

 

 

 

 (Fantastic Four I#236) - Within Liddleville, the Fantastic Four began to have dreams of their real lives. Comparing notes and noticing the similarities, they began to suspect some unknown connection. Eventually, as Vaughn continued to belittle Richards, he finally broke free from his conditioning and realized the truth. He told the others, who initially doubted him. Ben was especially resistant to return to his real life, as he preferred this fictional one. However, when they confronted Masters, the Fantastic Four were taunted by the real Dr. Doom, who towered over the tiny city. Doom considered them to be helpless and left them to live out their lives trapped in Liddleville. Doom trapped the Puppet Master in Liddleville, as well.
    Using a functional particle accelerator at Liddleville College, Reed replicated the energies that originally granted them their powers and unlocked the power within the cells from which their synthe-clone bodies had been made. In fact, he subjected them to much higher relative levels, such that even in their diminutive forms, their powers would be comparable to their original levels, if not even greater. The Four then made their way to the edge of Liddleville, overpowered Doom's miniature Robot Guards stationed there, and escaped the village. They planned to return their minds to their own bodies, but found that Doom had removed the primary power shuttle module. Recognizing their need for a new powers source, Reed and the boys rewired some of the equipment, while Sue attracted Doom to investigate. They then manipulated Doom into contacting their power transfer device, which restored them all to their own bodies.
    At the same time, Doom, to escape the danger of the energies unleashed against him, had transferred his mind back into Vaughn's body. He planned to allow the FF to cart off his real body, and then to return to it when the Fantastic Four were offguard. However, the Puppet Master had reprogrammed the robots of Liddleville to serve only him, and they attacked Vaughn, destroying the device which controlled the mind transfer, and chasing him out of town.

(Micronauts I#41 (fb)) - Masters pretended surprise when the "people" of Liddleville elected him mayor, but the surprise was all too real when Dr. Doom returned and took over Liddleville by force. Having designed a miniature version of his own armor, "Vaughn" used it to defeat and imprison Masters.

(Micronauts I#41) - Seeking to build a new Reducta-Craft to take them back to the Microverse, the Micronauts followed a recommendation from the Thing to try the reduction machinery present in Doom's Castle in the Adirondacks. The Castle was apparently empty, but the Micronauts encountered and investigated Liddleville. Based on the requests of the villagers, they investigated the miniature version of Castle Doom within the village, fighting off attacking Doom's robots, but being knocked out by anesthetic gas when confronted by Doom. In prison, they learned the origins of Liddleville from Masters, whom they then freed. As the Micronauts again confronted Doom and his robots, Masters used a small amount of radioactive clay he had sneaked into Liddleville to fashion a puppet of Doom, which he then used to immobilize his former captor. Masters mocked the helpless Doom as his castle went up in flames, and his own artificial face began to melt.
    The Micronauts left Doom to suffer his fate under Masters.

(Fantastic Four I#246) - Scant seconds after the Micronauts left Castle Doom, one of the Doombots approached Liddleville, confronted and smashed the Puppet Master synthe-clone, and removed the Vincent Vaughn/Dr. Doom synthe-clone, which they later used to restore Doom's mind to his true body.

(Thing I#4 (fb) - BTS) - Apparently after taking the Doom synthe-clone, the Doombots smashed Liddleville into pieces.

(Thing I#4) - Just a few rooms down from the smashed remnants of Liddleville, the Puppet Master's mind restored itself within some bits of his clay.

(Fantastic Four I#393 (fb) - BTS) - Masters apparently rebuilt Liddleville.

(Fantastic Four I#393) - Masters ambushed the Thing, gassed him, and brought him to the rebuilt Liddleville. There he transferred both Ben and Alicia's minds into synthe-clones so that they would live a happy life together. Ultimately, Masters awakened the Thing and asked him if he should keep Alicia in her happy, fictional world, or bring her back to reality, where she was sad and alone. Ben instructed him to wake her up and crushed the control device to Liddleville.

(X-Force#63 (fb) - BTS) - Liddleville was apparently transported to Doom's Latverian Castle at some point.

(X-Force#63 (fb)) - With Doom missing in action as a result of the final confrontation with Onslaught, Dmitri Fortunov, apparently the grandson of the Latverian baron Doom had deposed decades before, sought to retake the castle for his family. However, upon breaking into the castle, he and his friend Sergei were captured by Doom's robot guards, who placed their minds into synthe-clones in Liddleville. Sergei's mind was apparently destroyed in the process, and he died.

(X-Force#63 (fb)) - Seeking to take Doom's time platform, X-Force followed Nathaniel Richards into Doom's Latverian Castle. There Meltdown was separated from the group, captured by a robot servitor of Doom's, and placed within a synthe-clone in Liddleville.

(X-Force#63) - Meltdown ran into Fortunov, and the two barely had time to swap stories when they were located by Cable, who returned their minds to their own bodies with the aid of Nathaniel Richards.

Comments: Created by John Byrne.

    I realize that it wouldn't be as good of a story and would basically ruin everything else, but it always makes villains lose credibility in my eyes when they capture a hero and then put him through some elaborate plot--which they always escape--rather than just kill their foes when they get the chance. I call it Dr. Evil syndrome.

    It was never specified where the Puppet Master rebuilt Liddleville, but it was described as distant from Castle Doom in Latveria. It may well have been Doom's castle in the Adirondacks, or somewhere else entirely.

    Those robots in X-Force were apparently able to manufacture synthe-clones in mere minutes.

In What If? II#109 (Earth-989), there was an alternate world version of Liddleville:
    In this alternate reality, Ben Grimm chose not to join his comrades in their attack on Doctor Doom, but chose to remain in Liddleville. However, Reed Richards gave him instructions in case they did not contact him within a certain amount of time so that he could become the Thing and investigate what happened to them. Indeed, Grimm did not hear from his comrades for some time, and so he decided to become the Thing again. Doing so, he ambushed one of Doctor Doom's guardian robots in Liddleville and forced it to bring him to the sky in Liddleville. To his horror, Grimm saw that all of his comrades were dead. Without his aid, they did not defeat Doctor Doom.
    Grimm returned to his home with Alicia only to find that Doctor Doom (in his Vincent Vaughn identity) had taken Alicia, Franklin, and Jacob Reiss(?, probably Phillip Masters?) captive. Realizing that Vincent Vaughn was of course Victor Von Doom, the Thing demanded that he return them to their true bodies, and stole the ring that Von Doom used to jump from body to body with, stating he would not return it till his demands were met.
     Franklin, Alicia, and the Thing then woke up in their true bodies-or so they thought. Immediately, Doom appeared above them, revealing that he had created a miniature version of his castle in which they would be forced to persist in their artificial bodies for the rest of their days.
    Also, that story had Ben Grimm go to "Sam's Tavern and Lounge" and talk with Sam.
    --Per Degaton

Clarifications:
No known connection to:


images:
X-Force#63, p10, panel 1 (all counts including ads)
Fantastic Four I#236 p22; p20+21


Appearances:
Fantastic Four I#236 (November, 1981) - John Byrne (writer/artist), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Micronauts I#41 (May, 1982) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Gil Kane (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (inks), Al Milgrom (editor)
Fantastic Four I#246 (September, 1982) - John Byrne (writer/artist), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Thing I#4 (October, 1983) - John Byrne (writer), Ron Wilson (pencils), Hilary Barta (inks), Ann Nocenti (editor)
Fantastic Four I#393 (October, 1994) - Tom DeFalco (script/plot), Paul Ryan (plot/pencils), Dan Bulanadi (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
X-Force I#63 (February, 1997) - John Francis Moore (writer), Anthony Castrillo (pencils), Mark Morales & Chad Hunt (inks), Bob Harras (editor)


Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Last Updated: 01/26/04

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