RUDOLFO

Real Name: Rudolfo Fortunov (Rudolfo VI; see comments)

Identity/Class: Human technology user; Latverian citizen

Occupation: Rebel;
    former Prince

Group Membership: Leader of Latverian Underground (Heinrich, Horst, Ramona Fradonia);
    formerly the Latverian Royal family

Affiliations: The Faceless One, the Shroud

Enemies: Dr. Doom, Doomsman, Red Skull (Johann Shmidt)

Known RelativesZorba (younger brother);
    King Vladmir Haasen (father);
    Dimitri Fortunov (half-nephew)

Aliases: Crown Prince Rudolfo, Liege of Latveria, Prince Rudolfo, Rightful Ruler of Latveria;
    Dr. Doom imposter;
    Rudolpho (as spelled in Fantastic Four I#247)

Base of Operations: catacombs beneath the kingdom of Latveria;
    formerly the castle of Latveria (later Castle Doom)

First Appearance: Astonishing Tales#1 (August, 1970)

Powers/Abilities: Rudolfo had no superhuman powers, but he wore a jet pack and used a laser pistol, as well as other weapons likely designed by the Faceless One. He had knowledge of robotics (or, more likely, employed people who did) and military-type strategy.
    He briefly wore a set of Dr. Doom's armor stolen from a Doombot. However, he either did not know how to work the armor's weapons or they were inactivated when he shelled out the robot's armor. In addition, the armor failed to provide defense against a single energy blast from a hand-held weapon.

History: see comments for likely past history
(Astonishing Tales#1/2 (fb) - BTS) - Rudolfo was a prince of Latveria when the previous royal family was ousted by Doom.

(Books of Doom#6 (fb) - BTS) - As Doom's forces approached, King Vladimir had his sons Rudolfo & Zorba brought before him and then sent away via his two fastest horsemen so they would escape Doom.

(Astonishing Tales#2/2 (fb) - BTS) - Doom imprisoned Rudolfo and then created a robot duplicate of Rudolfo, who then handed over the crown of the Royal House of Latveria to Doom. Doom then appeared to sentence "Rudolfo" to exile. However, that same night the real Rudolfo escaped from Doom's dungeons. In addition, while Doom ordered one of his underlings to destroy the Rudolfo robot, that man was loyal to the real Rudolfo and brought the robot to him.

(Astonishing Tales#2/2 (fb) - BTS) - Rudolfo eventually came to lead the Latverian Underground, who sought to replace Doom with Rudolfo.

(Astonishing Tales#1/2 (fb) - BTS) - Rudolfo secretly allied himself with the alien Faceless One in an effort to overthrow Doom.

(Astonishing Tales#1/2 (fb) - BTS) - Rudolfo had a woman, Ramona, made to look just like Doom's old love, Valeria, hoping to use her in his plot to regain the throne.

(Astonishing Tales#1/2) - Rudolfo initiated his plot with Ramona. She was found unconscious by one of Doom's robot guards and brought before Doom due to her appearance. Doom exposed her to his hypno-probe, and she revealed her true nature and purpose to Doom. The rest of the Underground was quite distraught to learn that Rudolfo had planned for this and not told them about it. As per Rudolfo's plans, Doom did not slay the woman who bore the face of his former lover, and wandered off to work on his Doomsman project. Rudolfo then contacted Ramona, awakening her from her trance, and she headed to destroy Doom's power center. She inadvertently ran into Doom himself, but nonetheless smashed his master panel, plunging the castle into darkness.
    Rudolfo then sent his own robot duplicate to lead the Underground to invade the castle. However, several members of the Underground were driven off by the newly revived Doomsman, and more of them were slain by an independently powered Doombot, who detonated in mid-fight. Both "Rudolfo" and Ramona survived the explosion, but were then ensnared by Doom's hypno-probe.

(Astonishing Tales#2/2) - When "Rudolfo" ripped the bars out from his cage, Doom realized he had only captured a robot, and the robot revealed himself to be the very one Doom had used to gain official power in the past. The robot then appeared to flee, knowing that one of Doom's robot guards would fire upon and destroy it, so Doom could not examine it.
    Rudolfo then met with the Faceless One, who revealed to him that the Doomsman had rebelled against Doom's rule, and the two met with the Doomsman and offered to help him to gain permanent freedom from Doom. Soon after, Rudolfo armed the Underground with laser pistols designed by the Faceless Ones, which they used to take out a group of Doom's robot guards. Continuing their assault, Rudolfo and the Underground took out more guards as they advanced on Castle Doom, while the Faceless One invaded the castle. A lackey of Doom's informed him of this invasion, and Doom returned to confront the Faceless One, just as the Doomsman burst into the castle.

(Astonishing Tales#3/2) - As Rudolfo and the Underground arrived at Castle Doom (the current monarch), Dr. Doom ended up taking control of the Doomsman and using him to drive off the Faceless One. Doom was then confronted by the Underground, whom he scattered with an energy blast, but the Faceless One then turned Doom's weapons against him, eventually causing him to vanish. However, as Rudolfo proclaimed victory, Doom's image appeared above them, and he revealed that he had activated an underground vibration machine, which had disturbed the earth fault below Castle Doom. The entire castle then collapsed into the earth, and the Underground barely escaped with their lives.

(Super-Villain Team-Up I#9 (fb)) - Later, when Doom was believed to have died (after falling off a cliff in SVTU#7), Rudolfo met with the exiled Underground and plotted to make another move to retake the rule.

(Super-Villain Team-Up I#9 (fb) - BTS) - While Doom's troops hunted the Shroud and Namor, Rudolfo infiltrated the troop's camp and replaced one of the Doombots with himself. Wearing Doom's armor and behaving like Dr. Doom, Rudolfo was able to fool even Doom's longtime comrade, Boris.

(Super-Villain Team-Up I#8) - Posing as Doom, Rudolfo appeared on a balcony, watching a performance of Tiboldt's circus (the Circus of Crime)

(Super-Villain Team-Up I#9) - As Doom, Rudolfo confronted the Shroud and Namor, using a solution he had found within his armor to save Namor's life. After explaining the situation to them, Namor left them both behind, but Rudolfo and the Shroud concocted a plan. Wearing Doom's armor, Rudolfo would be able to waltz right into Castle Doom, secure it, unmask, and announce an instant revolution.

(Super-Villain Team-Up I#10) - Wearing the Dr. Doom armor, Rudolfo led the Shroud and the Underground into the catacombs beneath the kingdom. However--in an unbelievably stupid move--Rudolfo became too hot under the armor and removed his mask to get some relief. Of course, the guards discovered them at that moment, recognized Rudolfo's face and declared him an imposter. The Underground occupied the guards, and Rudolfo and the Shroud slipped away into Doom's throne room. However, as they approached the throne, it spun around to reveal the Red Skull, who had already usurped the throne. The Skull unleashed an energy blast that dropped Rudolfo, apparently killing him.

(Super-Villain Team-Up I#11) - The seemingly dead armored form of Rudolfo laid at the Red Skull's feet as he revealed his plot, while Captain America, Namor, and the real Dr. Doom infiltrated the Castle. However, as the Skull fought the others and sealed himself safely behind an impenetrable force shield, Rudolfo lifted himself up and activated the Skull's teleport device, beaming the Nazi out of the castle.

(Super-Villain Team-Up I#12) - Rudolfo was taken away for medical attention.

(Fantastic Four I#198 (fb) - BTS) - Rudolfo apparently died from his injuries, as reported by his brother, Zorba.

Comments: Roy Thomas and Wally Wood (writer and artist).

    Here's an excellent piece of Latverian history, courtesy of our own Kyle Smith, based on "Domains of Doom" from the TSR roleplaying module "Lands of Doom" (1992). Before anybody starts groaning about continuity, the author, Scott Davis, read every appearance of Doom through 1991, literally hundreds of comics. It is a must read. Here's the history of Latveria word-for-word by Davis:

   Latveria has traditionally been an agricultural society ruled by a king from the royal bloodline of Haasen and based in the castle at Haasenstadt. That 600 year dynasty has been interrupted only once in Latverian history, by a Gypsy's ascension to the royal throne in the 20th century.
   The first member of the Haasen dynasty emigrated from the north during the late 14th century with a small band of fighting men, composed primarily of his kinfolk, and wrested control of a small patch of land, now known as the capital city of Doomstadt, from local land barons of Transylvania. After consolidating power for a few years, the Haasen regime recruited an army from the oppressed laborers fleeing western Transylvania. With this large army at their backs, Rudolfo and Karl Haasen conquered their foes and carved out a territory of their own to rule, named "Latveria" in deference to their original Latvian homeland. Rudolfo I took the throne as King, his younger brother Karl being named the Baron of the southern Bolgorad region. These territories claimed by the Haasen dynasty have, with little or no border changes, comprised Latveria since it was established.
   Internal problems emerged after Baron Karl Haansen III died without a direct heir in 1447, leaving his lands and title to his shiftless and arrogant nephew Vlad Draasen. This later opened a rift between the Baronies and the Crown of Latveria, the Draasens annexing more and more titles land during thr rule of a weak king and granting those lands to their powerful allies, naming them Counts and Seneschals without a royal decree. Numerous civil wars resulted, though the people always set aside internal difficulties to defend their external borders from the Hungarians and the Turks. The wars waged for over 90 years, but were brought to an end by the Bolgorad Treaties of 1544. The Treaties firmly reestablished the rule of the Haasen dynasty, but maintained a number of the new baronies and counties, including new lands for the Draasen family.
   King Rudolfo I and his family lived in a large, opulent manor house for six generations in the hills west of the fledging settlements of Haasenstadt until the 16th century. In 1588, the Latverian nobleman Count Sabbat aided King Stefan I in financing a huge 110 room castle to be built overlooking the now-capitol city of Haasenstadt; the castle was finished quickly and the Haasen dynasty entered its halls in 1590. A second castle was built by order of the king (completed in 1593) and given to King Stefan's cousins, the house of Draasen.
   While many small Balkan states banded together to form larger countries, the borders of Latveria changed little over the years. The successive kings made highly beneficial treaties with all of their neighbors, preserving their national identity while other similar countries were annexed by larger, more powerful countries.
   Since the 17th Century, Latveria has been a relatively peaceful land of strong, vibrant people who love their homeland and only wish to live in peace in their idyllic country. The country's isolationist policies began in the late 18th Century in response to broken treaties and fouled trading policies with surrounding nations; Latveria quickly became a self-sufficient and calm country, remaining that way until the middle of the 20th Century.
   Exorbitant spending by King Vladimir Haasen and his two royal predecessors over the course of 50 years had driven the little country to economic ruins, paving the way for an armored viper to work its way into power. These last three rulers had opened trade with the West, attempting to modernize their technology and regain their economic stability. The Crown Prince Rudolfo VI openly urged the pursuit of technological studies at Werner Academy, and welcomed an armored stranger with open arms into the Latverian court. Victor Von Doom came to them promising the advanced technology to bring Latveria to the heights of a world power. Latveria is now one of the most powerful countries in the world militarily due to Doom's technology, and this change only cost the Haasens their throne.

    I'm hoping to get more info on the Latverian rulers before Doom took over, and as/if I do, I'll add the info here.
    I'm not certain exactly how long after damaging his face Doom returned to Latveria and took over. Similarly, I'm not certain how long that was before Doom first encountered the Fantastic Four, so very early in the modern era.
    The former ruler of Latveria before Doom has often been referred to as the Baron. However, in Astonishing Tales#2/2, it is shown that Rudolfo (or a robot duplicate of him) handed over the crown to Doom. Apparently, Rudolfo was himself the previous ruler and Doom wanted him to officially hand over the throne.
    King Vladimir was the ruler of Latveria at the time that Werner von Doom had his conflict with "the baron", and Vladimir was Rudolfo and Zorba's father. Doom first slew King Vladimir and then arranged the faux abdication of Rudolfo.

    Zorba refers to Rudolfo as their late king in Fantastic Four I#198...presumably referring to him as the RIGHTFUL king.

The last names of Rudolfo and Ramona were revealed in Andro's profile in FF: Fifty Fantastic Years#1 (November, 2011).

CLARIFICATIONS:
No known connection to:

 


images:
Astonishing Tales#1/2, second story, p8, pan1;
p6, pan8


Appearances: Astonishing Tales#2 (October, 1970) - Roy Thomas (writer), Wally Wood (pencils), Wally Wood (inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Astonishing Tales#3 (December, 1970) - Larry Lieber (writer), Wally Wood (pencils/inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Super-Villain Team-Up I#8 (October, 1976) - Steve Englehart (writer), Keith Giffen (pencils), Owen McCarron (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Super-Villain Team-Up I#9 (December, 1976) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Jim Shooter (pencils), Sal Trapani (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Super-Villain Team-Up I#10-12 (February-June, 1977; bi-monthly) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Bob Hall (pencils), Don Perlin (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Fantastic Four I#198 (September, 1978; BTS) - Marv Wolfman (writer), Keith Pollard (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Marv Wolfman (editor)
Books of Doom#6 (June 2006) - by Ed Brubaker (writer), Pablo Raimondi (penciler), Mark Farmer (inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)


Last updated: 05/23/12

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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