Real Name: Zorba (last name unrevealed, possibly Haasen; see comments)
Identity/Class: Human cyborg; Latverian citizen
Occupation: Former ruler of Latveria;
former rebel leader
Group Membership: Formerly
Latverian Underground/Freedom Fighters (Koro, Kronar);
formerly the Royal Family of Latveria
Affiliations: Agent-Z, Starn
(advisor), unidentified Colonel
formerly the Fantastic Four (Human Torch/Johnny Storm, Invisible Girl/Susan Richards, Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards, Thing/Ben Grimm);
utilized Doctor Doom’s killer robots
Enemies: Dr. Doom (Victor von Doom), Gert and Gustav Hauptmann, Latverian citizens
Known Relatives: King
Vladimir (father), Rudolfo
Dimitri Fortunov (half-nephew)
Aliases: King Zorba, Prince Zorba
Base of Operations: Formerly
Castle Doom, Latveria;
formerly the catacombs beneath Castle Doom and an underground grotto in Latveria
First Appearance: Fantastic Four I#198 (September, 1978)
Powers/Abilities: Zorba wore a cybernetic eye to replace his lost organic right one -- he could fire a "nega-beam blast" from this eye. He had some experience with combat and paramilitary strategy.
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 195 lbs.
(Astonishing Tales#1/2 (fb) - BTS) - Zorba was presumably 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 and Zorba brought before him and then sent away via his two fastest horsemen so they would escape Doom.
(Fantastic Four I#198 (fb) - BTS/Fantastic Four Annual#15 (fb)) - Zorba was captured by Doom, who had his minion, Gustav Hauptmann, experiment on the prince's eyes. Hauptmann replaced Zorba's right eye with a cybernetic eye.
(Fantastic Four I#198 (fb) - BTS) - With the death of his elder brother Rudolfo, Zorba took over the role of leadership of the Latverian Underground/Freedom Fighters.
(Fantastic Four I#198) - Reed Richards sought to assault Doom's Latverian castle, but his ship was shot down and he crashed into a small body of water. Reed was recovered by Zorba's men (now numbering only 50); Zorba revealed Doom's plot and convinced Reed to join him in an effort to depose Doom. Reed's powers helped Zorba and a small group of Freedom Fighters to approach the Castle seemingly undetected, gain entrance to its interior, and take out several guards. The others were then dropped with a gas attack, but Reed managed to pull Zorba to safety. They then ran into Gert Hauptmann--brother to the one who had experimented on Zorba--and they were able to coerce his cooperation. Reed then disguised himself as Hauptmann and approached Doom, who saw through his disguise, knocked him out, and captured him.
(Fantastic Four I#199) - Zorba gathered a group of
Latverian citizens and demanded an audience with Doom. Zorba intended to
reveal Doom's plot to replace himself with a
clone to continue his rule of Latveria. Doom fired an energy blast
at Zorba, but when the prince led the Underground to aim their weapons
at the castle, Doom appeased the crowd by assuring them that he would
give up power at the upcoming coronation.
Later, at the ceremony, Zorba secretly made his way into the castle, where he managed to free the captured Fantastic Four. Alongside the Four, Zorba rushed into the ceremony and revealed Doom's successor as a clone. Doom unleashed his Omni-Bots against his foes, but Doom's clone then turned against his progenitor, attacking him, resulting in Doom slaying his own clone.
(Fantastic Four I#200) - Amidst a crowd of gathered citizens, Zorba denounced Doom's plot as a ruse to maintain leadership, and he demanded that Doom surrender the throne. Doom responded with his vortex machine, which scattered his accusers. Zorba escaped and rejoined the Fantastic Four, assisting them in their search for the details of Doom's master plan. Ultimately, the FF defeated Doom, driving him temporarily insane. As a result, Zorba was crowned King of Latveria... until the intended elections in the next month.
(Fantastic Four Annual I#15/2 (fb) - BTS) - Zorba was apparently elected to power (see comments). He sought to make changes, but found increasing resistance from the citizenry as he increased taxes to enable these changes.
(Fantastic Four I#247 (fb) - BTS) - Zorba revoked Doom's laws, but also his threats of punishments, and Latveria was reintroduced to crime, as well as poverty and hunger. Prices rose without reason and stocks were depleted without replacement (see comments).
(Fantastic Four Annual I#15/2) - A mob gathered to decry
Zorba and his tax increases. His advisor Starn revealed some of the
shortcuts Doom had used, and played the devil's advocate, explaining the
things the people missed about Doom's rule. Reacting to some of this
advice, Zorba checked on Doom's body--still held in confinement--and
found it to have been replaced by a robot. Zorba refused to take his
advisor's recommendation to send a spy to infiltrate Doom's Loyalist
Underground, instead firing Gert Hauptmann and his staff for their
failure. Awakening from nightmares of Doom and his own torture under his
hands, Zorba correctly suspected that the Underground would try to steal
Doom's armor. Rather than call his guards, he investigated himself,
encountered the rebels, and was incapacitated by them, but not before
capturing one of them.
Realizing that he had to sink to Doom's level, Zorba sent a man to spy on the Loyalists, and he learned that Doom had regained both his mind and his armor, and that Hauptmann worked for the Loyalists, too. Zorba led a contingent of soldiers to destroy Doom and the Loyalists, but was driven off by Doom's power.
(Fantastic Four I#247 (fb) - BTS) - Frustrated by his inability to control the populace and becoming paranoid over the threat of Doom's return, Zorba unleashed Doom's Robot Guards, reprogrammed to serve as his secret police, on the people of Latveria (see comments).
(Fantastic Four I#246-BTS, 247) - Doom told the Fantastic
Four that Zorba had become a mad tyrant and gained their aid in
investigating this. Meanwhile, Zorba oversaw a failed attempt to torture
Doom's old ally Boris
to gain information. When his aide commented that Doom controlled the
populace through fear and threat of punishments, Zorba became furious.
Resenting their lack of gratitude at his giving them liberty, he decided
to give them the ultimate release: death. Zorba unleashed Doom's
Killer Robots on Latveria.
As the Fantastic Four overcame the robots, Doom confronted Zorba, easily countering his nega-beam blast, stunning the maddened monarch. Doom then grabbed Zorba by the neck, hung him over a balcony, and accused him of treason. Zorba responded that he was the only true heir to the monarchy of Latveria and that as long as he lived, Doom had no claim to the throne. Doom's response? "Precisely."
Doom then returned to the Fantastic Four, revealed the conflict to be over, and directed the Four to leave his country immediately.
Comments: Created by Marv Wolfman, Keith Pollard, and Joe Sinnott.
See the Rudolfo profile for further discussion on the royal lineage of Latveria, and their other relatives.
Zorba mentioned in casual conversation to his advisor that things had gone sour since he had been elected; but Kristoff Vernard's mother told the FF that Zorba had declared martial law and "delayed" the elections until certain problems were corrected. The truth is uncertain, but both sides were likely either biased or deliberately misrepresenting the truth. I tried to put the two contrasting accounts together as best I could, but the "truth" is likely somewhere in between. The info from the flashbacks in FF#247 and Annual I#15 should be taken with a grain of salt.
Doom never directly confirmed that he had killed Zorba, and his death was never shown, but there is really no good reason for Doom not to have killed him.
New and additional images by Ron Fredricks.
Profile by Snood.
Zorba has no known connection to:
images: (without ads)
Fantastic Four I#198, p11, pan4 (main image - Zorba)
Fantastic Four I#198, p8, pan2 (headshot - Zorba)
Fantastic Four I#247, p20, pan7 (Zorba fires nega-beam blast from his cybernetic eye)
Fantastic Four I#247, p21, pan7 (Zorba speaks his final words to Dr. Doom)
Fantastic Four I#198-200 (October-November, 1978) - Marv Wolfman (writer/editor), Keith Pollard (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks)
Fantastic Four Annual I#15/2 (1980) - Doug Moench (writer), Tom Sutton (artist), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Fantastic Four I#246-247 (September-October, 1982) - John Byrne (writer/artist), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Books of Doom#6 (June 2006) - by Ed Brubaker (writer), Pablo Raimondi (penciler), Mark Farmer (inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)
First posted: 02/07/2004
Last updated: 10/23/2023
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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