CYNTHIA VON DOOM

Real Name: Cynthia von Doom

Identity/Class: Human spirit, magic user

Occupation: Sorceress

Group Membership: Zefiro

Affiliations: Blade (Eric Brooks), "Dizzy the Hun," Dr. Doom, Dr. Strange (Stephen Strange)

EnemiesKagrok the Killer, Mephisto and his demons, Baron Sabbat and his royal guardsmen

Known RelativesWerner von Doom (husband, deceased), Victor von Doom (Dr. Doom, son)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Currently unknown (some higher astral plane);
    formerly Mephisto's realm of Hell;
    formerly mobile throughout Latveria

First Appearance: (mentioned) Fantastic Four Annual#2 (1964);
    (pictured and named) Astonishing Tales#8 (October, 1971)

Powers/Abilities: Cynthia von Doom possessed unspecified magical abilities, including knowledge of spells which allowed her to contact demons and deal with them for power. In one such instance, she gained the power to project magical bolts, though the magic she unleashed proved beyond her ability to control.

History:
(Fantastic Four Annual#2 (fb) - BTS) - Cynthia was a sorceress within the group of Latverian Gypsies known as the Zefiro.

(Marvel Comics Super Special#1 (fb) - BTS) - Cynthia was trained in sorcery by a Latverian mystic who would later use the alias "Dizzy the Hun."

(Books of Doom#5 (fb) - BTS) - Torval of the Zefiro played fiddle at Cynthia's wedding to Werner von Doom.

(Blade III#2 (fb) - BTS) - Cynthia was imprisoned by the Baron (the future King Vladimir) while she was pregnant with her future son, Victor. Cynthia had some experience with another prisoner, Lucas Cross (Blade's father), whom she recognized as dangerous. The prison was overrun with vampires.

(Blade III#2) - Decades in the future, Dr. Doom (the adult Victor von Doom, having allegedly remembered these events while in utero) sent the Dhampir Blade back in time to help her. Blade unwittingly freed Cross in exchange for his help in locating Cynthia (whom he had every intention of slaying in hopes of preventing Victor's rise to power). Blade had to join forces with Cynthia to thwart the large number of vampires, and she convinced him that attempting to kill her would change the future too much. He accompanied her to a waiting horse, on which she made her escape.

(Fantastic Four Annual#2 (fb) - BTS) - Werner and Cynthia had their son, Victor.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#350 (fb) - BTS) - Amongst Cynthia's possessions was the gem known as the Dragon's Egg.

(Iron Man I#150 (fb)) - For a time, Cynthia led the Zefiro, ruling with a superbly efficient blend of power and compassion.

(Astonishing Tales#8/2 (fb) - BTS / Marvel Graphic Novel: Dr. Strange and Dr. Doom: Triumph and Torment (fb)) - Unlike her husband, the peaceful healer Werner, Cynthia refused to accept the Baron 's condemnation and harassment of the Zefiro.

(Books of Doom#1 (fb)) - Werner fruitlessly tried to dissuade Cynthia from using the black arts.

(Astonishing Tales#8/2 (fb) - BTS / Marvel Graphic Novel: Dr. Strange and Dr. Doom: Triumph and Torment (fb)/Books of Doom#1 (fb))) - One Midsummer's Eve she cast a spell which summoned Mephisto, who offered her the power to avenge her people and give them the homeland they deserved. Though she realized that the price was her soul, she agreed to the pact. That night she stormed into a local tavern and confronted the Baron's guardsmen, telling them that the Baron had until dusk tomorrow to repay her people for the crimes committed against them in her name, or else she would level his castle stone by stone. When the guardsmen taunted her, she fired a magical bolt that slew one of them, but then the other guardsmen fell to the ground, dying, as well. Soon the night was filled with wails and lamentations -- not a single child in the village would survive the night, and Cynthia sensed that the spell she'd unleashed was the cause; Mephisto had granted her power, but not control.
    Cynthia desperately tried to renounce the pact and the power, and she failed to hear the dying guardsman who staggered after her and ran her through with his sword. Mortally wounded, she ran from the village and deep into the woods. Hours later, Werner found her barely a dozen yards from their camp; she lived long enough to tell him what happened. With her dying breath she begged him to protect their son from the demonic power she had unleashed.
    Knowing that no gypsy in the region would be safe if the Baron learned what happened, Werner buried Cynthia in an unmarked grave.

(Marvel Comics Super Special#1 (fb) - BTS) - The Latverian mystic who would later use the alias "Dizzy the Hun" spoke Cynthia's eulogy.

(Books of Doom#1 (fb) - BTS) - At Cynthia's funeral, Boris and some of the other Zefiro asked Werner to take Victor and leave to spare them the further persecution of the Baron. Victor, barely more than 4 years old, swore that if the Zefiro cast them out that he would grow up to be just like his mother and that he would track them all down and bring a blackness upon them that would make his mothers' actions as nothing.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Dr. Strange and Dr. Doom: Triumph and Torment (fb)) - Werner led the Zefiro to flee before the dawn. At the first bridge they crossed, Werner dumped Cynthia's trunk of arcana into the water, but three nights later he found the trunk, dry and whole, back in his wagon.

(Iron Man I#150 (fb)) - Because Cynthia died unconfessed, she was cursed to an eternity of damnation.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Dr. Strange and Dr. Doom: Triumph and Torment (fb) - BTS) - Over the next year, Werner tried over and over to destroy the Trunk, using fire, large rocks, an axe, etc., but it could not be destroyed. Eventually, Werner gave up and tried to lose the trunk amongst his own meager belongings.

(Fantastic Four Annual#2 (fb)) - The young Victor von Doom discovered his mother's trunk of arcana, filled with magic potions and strange scientific secrets, spawning his interest to study the arcane.

(Fantastic Four Annual#2 (fb) - BTS / Books of Doom#2 (fb)) - Victor contacted the netherworld (via the "Necrophone") in an effort to free his mother. His spirit glimpsed her being tortured by Mephisto before being cast back to Earth, after which his machines exploded, scarring his face and getting him expelled from State University.

(Books of Doom#6 (fb) - BTS) - Doom summoned Mephisto, who agreed to duel with him for Cynthia's soul over Midsummer's Eve.

(Astonishing Tales#8/2 (fb) - BTS) - Each year, on the night of Midsummer's Eve, Victor von Doom cast spells, calling up demons (and worse), battling them in an effort to save his mother's soul, each time failing.

(Astonishing Tales#8/2 - BTS) - On the night of Midsummer's Eve, Doom summoned a demon (presumably Mephisto or one of his agents) and performed his yearly challenge, this time facing Kagrok the Killer in combat. Though Doom fought Kagrok to a standstill, he was eventually defeated, and his mother's soul remained damned.

 

 

(Iron Man I#150 - BTS) - Doom sought an alliance with Morgan le Fay to gain sorcerous power to help in his struggles to save his mother.

(Fantastic Four Annual#20) - On the night of Midsummer's Eve, Doom used his Swarmbots to abduct Franklin Richards from Four Freedoms Plaza, after which he brought Franklin to Castle Doom in Latveria. He then summoned Mephisto and offered to trade him the soul of Franklin Richards (who had previously destroyed Mephisto) in exchange for his mother's soul. However, the meeting was then disrupted by Kristoff Vernard, who successfully convinced the Doombots that he was the true Doom (when Dr. Doom admitted failure, the Doombots decided that he must be the fake).
    Mephisto abducted Franklin anyway, but Franklin's powers surfaced and he threatened to destroy Mephisto again, at which point Mephisto banished him from his realm. In the distance, a female figure could be seen observing Mephisto's encounter with Franklin. PRESUMABLY, this figure was the spirit of Cynthia von Doom, though this is unconfirmed.

(Avengers I#332, 333 - BTS) - Doom trapped the Avengers within their headquarters with a Doombot claiming to be the real Doom, and threatened to set off a neutron bomb unless they used their resources to help him rescue his mother. However, Rage reasoned that they were dealing with a Doombot because if he had set off the bomb, it would have taken his own life, and he destroyed the Doombot.

(Marvel Graphic Novel: Dr. Strange and Dr. Doom: Triumph and Torment) - Having taken second place in the Aged Genghis/Vishanti's contest to determine Sorcerer Supreme of Earth, Doom earned the right to request a boon of the winner, Dr. Strange; Doom requested that Strange help him save his mother's soul. Strange and Doom journeyed to Mephisto's realm of Hell, where they struggled against Mephisto and his legions. Doom appeared to betray Strange by incapacitating him and offering him in exchange for his mother. After Strange was in Mephisto's possession, Mephisto recreated Cynthia's body and placed her soul within it. However, when Cynthia learned what Doom had bargained -- reasoning that Doom had as much as forfeited his own soul in the process -- she refused to be a part of it, and returned to an inert statue form. Mephisto appeared to possess the souls of Cynthia, Doom, and Strange, but then a device of Doom's shattered Mephisto's crystal holding Strange, releasing the sorcerer. They then assaulted Mephisto, who mocked their attacks and unleashed powerful energies to destroy them.
    Strange had shielded Cynthia's effigy, but he then allowed Mephisto's attacks to destroy it, releasing her soul. Having refused to leave Hell under Doom's pact, Cynthia had redeemed her own soul, and thus it had become a thing of purity, which Mephisto could no longer tolerate. Cynthia's soul escaped Hell, passing on to a higher plane. Defeated, Mephisto released Doom and Strange from his realm.

Comments: Named only as a sorceress by Stan Lee.
    Pictured and name revealed by Gerry Conway, Gene Colan, and Tom Palmer.
    History fleshed out by Roger Stern, Michael Mignola, and Mark Badger.

    I thought there were other times Doom fought to save his mother, but I can't remember what they were. If you know, please tell me.

    I'm not 100% positive that it was on the anniversary of his mother's death that he struggled for her soul each year. It makes sense, and I THINK I read it somewhere, but I'm not positive.
    The answer is that yes, it is the same day. Everything took place on Midsummer's Eve. I don't much about magic and sorcery, and even if I did, this is Marvel magic and sorcery - but it seemed that there was something about that day that allowed it easier to cross the barrier to Mephisto's realm (such as with Cynthia with her deal with the Demon (later to be revealed as Mephisto), and with Doom to free his mother).
-Nathan Fairchild

    After the Fantastic Four left for Latveria in pursuit of Doom and Franklin, Kristoff Vernard controlled the Swarmbot via a whistle, and used it to free himself from captivity.

    Thanks to Chris Keels for pointing out the Iron Man I#150 info.
    And to Per Degaton and Prime Eternal for adding the Avengers and Amazing Spider-Man mentions.

    For Doom, DSDDGN can only take place sometime between FF 352 and FF 370. For Strange, DSDDGN can only take place sometime between DRSTR3 34 and DRSTR3 48. In other words, sometime between the Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity War crossovers there must be a six-week period during which Strange trains Doom in the mystic arts. I'd just be guessing if I were to try to be any more specific about how it fits into their chronologies.

I finally remembered where that reference to Doom's having saved his mother soul appeared. It took place in FANTASTIC FOUR UNLIMITED #12 (December, 1995), in a flashback in which Reed Richards recounts what happened to him and Doom following their apparent deaths in FF #381. After Hyperstorm "rescued" them from the time stream, he imprisoned them and began torturing Doom with his own memories. One page was devoted to Doom's memory of his mother's fate. Here's what Hyperstorm said as he narrated that memory:

"First loves have a special place in a man's heart -- as do fathers -- yet foremost of all is that reserved for his mother! Your mother's place -- because of an unholy bargain made when you were but an infant -- was long in the dark realm of Mephisto! With the aid of the sorcerer Dr. Strange, you finally freed her soul -- or rather, enabled her to free it herself -- but only at the cost of her love for you! I can only imagine the excruciating spasm that must lance your brain when you recall that greatest of all losses."

This clearly establishes that the events of DSDDGN must take place sometime before FF #379-381 since that storyline leads directly into Doom's "death" and his subsequent torture by Hyperstorm. And since Doctor Strange loses much of his power soon after the INFINITY WAR crossover, we can assume that DSDDGN probably takes place before Doom's first post-IW appearance in FF 371.

Don Campbell

A locket of Cynthia Von Doom came into the possession of Marc Spector in Moon Knight III#39-40 (June-July, 1992).
--Per Degaton

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
No known connection to:


Trunk of Arcana

It contained all of Cynthia von Doom's scientific and magic artifacts. After her death, Werner von Doom tried to follow her last request and destroy it, but every time he tried to do so, the Trunk either resisted destruction or returned to him after he had cast it away. After a year of attempts, he gave up and hid it amongst his own meager possessions. A year after Werner's death, Victor von Doom discovered the Trunk, confirming the rumors that his mother had been a witch. He studied the contents, training himself in both science and sorcery, using his knowledge to con others and gain wealth.

--Fantastic Four Annual#2

    One of the items contained within Cynthia's trunk of arcana was the Box of Khyscz.

 

 

 


images:
Marvel Graphic Novel: Dr. Strange and Dr. Doom: Triumph and Torment p63, panel 4
    p29, panel 2 (face)
    p32, panel 6 (confronts guardsmen)
    p35, panel 3 (Trunk)
Fantastic Four I#278, page 5, panel 5 (young Victor discovering trunk)
Astonishing Tales#8, 2nd story, page 3, panel 3


Marvel Comics Super Special#1 (1977) - by Steve Gerber (writer/editor), Alan Weiss, John Buscema, Rich Buckler, & Sal Buscema (pencilers), Al Milgrom (inker)
Iron Man I#150 (September, 1981) - Bob Layton & David Michelinie (writers), John Romita Jr. (pencils), Bob Layton (inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Fantastic Four Annual#20 (1987) - Steve Englehart (writer), Paul Neary (pencils), Tony DeZuniga (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Marvel Graphic Novel: Dr. Strange and Dr. Doom: Triumph and Torment (1989)
Books of Doom#1, 2, 6 (January, February, June 2006) - by Ed Brubaker (writer), Pablo Raimondi (penciler), Mark Farmer (inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Blade III#2 (December, 2006) "Bargains in Time" - by Marc Guggenheim (writer), Howard Chaykin (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)


Last updated: 10/25/07

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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