Tales of the Watcher #3

Aug 3, 2017 by     No Comments    Posted under: Dr.Doom

Previously, in Marvel Rebooted: Tales of the Watcher…

The enigmatic and immortal Celestial Utau has been curiously observing a fracture in reality. His unwavering eyes have been witnessing the end of a pocket universe adjacent to the Marvel Rebooted Universe he has spent lifetimes watching over. Within that realm, a man named Frank Castle — a man much different than the Frank Castle who held the title of “Nick Fury” within the MRU — has been working tirelessly to find a solution for the ending world. The only hope to save as many people as possible are tears in time and space — gateways to other dimensions. Before the gateways can be controlled, Frank comes face to face with a terrible foe who flings him from his world to another — to the universe Uatu has watched endlessly…

Watcher MR

Uatu the Watcher stared along the impossibly thin ley line that twisted from the cracks in time and space into his observed Universe from the other dimension that was threatening to spill into this one. He watched with rapt attention. It had been time beyond time since the Watcher had observed events unfolding without the slightest notion of what would occur next. It was something he had not experienced in eons: uncertainty, mystery, the concept of “new”. New bends in the streams, new versions of the men and women he had known forever, and a new threat he had no familiarity with.

The other Universe was folding in upon itself. It was being erased from being by an untold force. Soon, it would be as though it never was. The people of the world, desperate to survive, had somehow sliced time and space and found the Earth Uatu held dear. The notion that refugees of this infant, pocket realm would somehow seek sanctuary among the alternate versions of themselves was thrilling. It would alter the course of everything Uatu had seen below, and the thrill of that filled him with joy.

He adjusted his gaze to follow the minuscule threads to the tiny few players that were a part of this drama. The Universe was ending; the threads connecting souls from realm to realm were rapidly extinguishing. The end was near, and only a scant few would survive…

Randy Lander presents
Marvel Rebooted : Tales of the Watcher
#3 – I Am Victor Von Doom
by Rohit Dutta  and Romit Dhara

 

June 11th, 1964
Other World

The Carpathian Mountains that surrounded the lands of Banat stood in peace, listening to the pleasant sounds of its inhabitants when a vice broke through the serenity.

“Help! Help!” a boy’s cry interrupted the voices. Somewhere in the dense mountains, he cried helplessly to seek help while holding his injured mother in his arms. Her consciousness faded with every ounce of blood she shed. “Mother…” the ten-year-old boy cried while caressing his mother’s face. The sight of his mother was blurred by the tears that filled his eyes. “Help!”

No one listened.

“Victor…” the woman whispered.

“You are dying…” the little one cried as he pressed her wound.

“Victor, my boy…You will be safe…”

“No, mother…not without you…” his voice shivered.

“He…will come to protect you…” she whispered as her hand reached for her son’s face. Victor reached for her hand, his now blood-covered hand holding hers firmly. He cried in her warmth. While his hold strengthened, hers weakened. Within instants, she let loose of herself. She was gone.

“No…No…” Victor cried, his face buried in his mother’s palm. An aura of sorrow engulfed him, and before he could reach for her face-

BLAM!

Her hand dropped, and his cry ended.

At a distance,

“Potentials eliminated.” a man reported to a baron as he withdrew from his rifle.

“Let the beasts loose.” the baron’s grim voice came from around the grunts of the beasts. Having said that, he exit the scene.

 *  *  *

April 13th, 1978 – 14 years later
Krowler Castle
Bavaria, Other world

On the lands of Bavaria stood a castle, the castle of a practitioner of the dark arts called Heinrich Krowler. Heinrich was in all times of the 20th century. Little did anyone know about his origin. His involvement in various mystical quests earned him immense respect. Heinrich was one of the many reasons behind Hydra’s uprising. Hydra was a secret organization that led a part of the world into a war with itself before being put to rest by Captain America and his Howling Commandos. Sensing defeat, Heinrich severed ties with the dying organization. He initiated a new beginning.

Besides his desire to ascend the mystic ladder, Heinrich took special interest in moulding potential candidates. He would hand-pick a few potentials from around the globe. His children would grow up to protect the castle. One such student was Amadeus Mordo. Heinrich was particularly interested in Mordo considering the boy’s traumatic childhood. Mordo was picked at the age of eighteen, a few years after his father was murdered in cold blood. Heinrich’s care for Mordo made him a father figure. Mordo trained under his master for years before growing up to be one of the strongest young souls, second only to one other, a man imprisoned in the mystic dungeons of the castle.

Nobody ever spoke about this other man, Heinrich ensured. Mordo would not face him directly until about five years from that day.

“You have been called by our Master,” a man informed Mordo who was gazing at the moonlit through an open window. With a nod, Mordo followed the man. He was led to Heinrich. The two bowed before him.

“Leave us alone.” Heinrich said to the man. The man bowed before taking a leave.

“Mordo.” he said, looking down at his student, his arms crossed behind him.

“Why would you send me to the Himalayas?” he quoted Mordo.

Mordo’s brows puckered on hearing Heinrich repeat the question he had asked his master while going through the final phase of training.

“It’s about time you know. Come.” Heinrich said as he led a way out of the Great Hall.

“Out of the many young pupils I have trained, only two have mastered the arts beyond any others. You are one.”

The two walked through a dimly lit hallway leading to the dungeons.

“The second…” he paused. “He grew up in this very castle, mastering the dark arts. He was no ordinary student. He was casting spells moments after I instructed him. He began creating his own soon after.”

“ He was a prodigy like I had never seen.”

“Who is he?” Mordo asked.

Heinrich continued undeterred, “Besides the dark arts, the boy would often engage in creating something extraordinary out of things no one ever imagined would do any good.”

“Blessed,” Mordo whispered.

“Cursed,” Heinrich said darkly. He was reminded of something horrific, something that had altered the boy’s purpose forever. “It was not long before he discovered the remnants of his previous life.” he spoke.

“Previous life?” Mordo asked.

“Cynthia, his mother and a former student of mine, engaged in the dark arts. She left this castle only to have a baby she would soon name Victor. Times in her homeland Latveria were not pleasant. The barons there had treated the people improperly. Victor’s mother would not tolerate any further. At the time of carrying her baby, she invoked the demon Mephisto, ruler of Hell. The demon granted her all she wanted to revolt against the barons, but at a cost she would pay years later. While she killed the barons, she also killed the innocent.” he paused.

“It wasn’t her intention to kill the latter. The demon was playing its game.”

“Why couldn’t you intervene?” Mordo asked. Heinrich said nothing.

“Cynthia fled with her child. Though they did make it far, they had no escape. In her dying moments, she reached out to me, seeking protection for her boy. It was too late to know. I could not save the boy in time, but I could not afford to lose him. From my encounters with her family, I knew that the boy was destined to take a place in this castle.” he paused again and lingered on the memory.

Mordo looked silently at his Master, waiting to hear more.

Heinrich sighed and continued, “I invoked the spirits of the Dark Dimension, sacrificing a few many to the fires of Dormammu, the ruler of the Dark realm. After performing several rituals, I succeeded in resurrecting the boy.”

“And his mother?” Mordo asked.

“She is in the clutches of Mephisto, beyond my saving.”

“When the boy learned of his mother, he did not hesitate to challenge the demon. It was then that insanity took over. Before he could dissolve the gates of reality, I sealed him away from the world.” he spoke, lost in the events of the past.

They had stopped walking, reaching the mystic dungeons. They stood facing a humongous dome-like structure. Mordo gazed in awe.

“What is this thing?” Mordo questioned.

“A barrier between sanity and insanity,” Heinrich said as he gazed at the structure, lost in thought. “I have brought you down here to know, to know the threat we are all facing.” Mordo’s brows puckered.

Henrich looked Mordo in the eyes, and unblinking, spoke directly and seriously, “Victor Von Doom, the boy, evolved faster than I could imagine. Containing him only slowed him down.”

“But did not stop him from getting stronger.” Mordo added. Heinrich’s nod confirmed.

“Why didn’t you kill him?” Mordo asked.

“They all wanted him dead. But I contained him instead because I wanted him. When my attempts to search for a measure failed, I intended to kill him. But it was too late. He had sealed himself away behind the containment.” Heinrich spoke.

“Behind a spell that couldn’t be broken.” he whispered.

“He was never sensed since then.”

“How could he seal himself away from your magic?” Mordo asked.

“A reason might come from the fact that Victor bathed in Mephisto’s magic while Cynthia practiced.”

Mordo listened intently.

“I know not how long this place can contain him. But I do know that it cannot contain him forever.” Heinrich spoke nervously.

“When he breaks free, and I know he will, there will be no escape.” he said, expressing fear. He turned to Mordo.

“He is the reason why I want you to go to the Himalayas and seek further knowledge. It is the only place where he cannot get to, not while the Ancient One* is conscious. Your time here has come to an end. You have learnt what you could.” [‘*’ Tales of the Watcher #2 ]

“You, out of all, have a chance of stopping him when he returns.”

Mordo stared at Heinrich, contemplating.

“Why didn’t you tell me earlier?” he asked, his gaze now fixed at Heinrich.

“If I did, you would have spent all these years training to fight somebody else’s fear and not your own.” Heinrich said.

“Now that you have overcome your fears, you are ready.”

Mordo turned to the containment. Not a second passed by before,

“I shall go.” he said to his master. Heinrich stepped forward to pat his student’s shoulder, expressing a hint of relief.

“ You are our hope, son.”

“We shall make arrangements. You leave at the earliest.”

Having said so, he led the way out. In moments, the place was left to stillness. Or was it?

 *  *  *

Back in the room, Mordo contemplated the events in the dungeons. As usual, he stood in front of the window, gazing at the moonlit open. It was then that something strange started to occur. Out of thin air, appeared ghostly bands of pure energy. They swam across the room, taking a man-like form behind Mordo. Unaware, Mordo turned to head elsewhere when-

ZAP!

Mordo hit the ground. An aura outlined his body before fading away. No light, no sound.

It was day now, and in the Great Hall awaited Heinrich.

“Come, son.” Heinrich said as his sight caught Mordo. Now a few steps away, Mordo gazed at Heinrich. He said no word. He expressed nothing. Heinrich wasted no time. With a gesture of his hand, Heinrich opened a gateway to a secluded site in Tibet.

“Return before it is too late, son.” Heinrich said. Mordo gave a nod. He walked, not waiting. Now on the other side, Mordo discovered the place. The gate closed behind him. He was all on his own. Or was he?

 

 *  *  *

April 25th, 1983
Kamar-Taj
Somewhere in the Himalayas
Other World

“Take him.” Wong said to the Temple’s masters. They carried the Ancient One away to provide relief. He turned to Strange.

“*Men and women with powers. I fear the world might slip into chaos before cosmic storms consume it.” Wong quoted the Ancient One. [ ‘*’ Tales of the Watcher #2 ]

Strange contemplated before, “With the Ancient One now removed for a while, we are the temple’s keepers. We should go around the place once. The barriers are weak.”

Wong nodded in agreement.

“His consciousness was never removed from place. Age may have taken a toll on him.” Wong said with a tone of worry as the two took steps toward the door.

Before the two set out,

“Where is Mordo?” Wong paused to ask.

“I’m sure he is watching the place.” Strange said, hiding his doubt about Mordo. The two marched separate ways. Strange walked through the temple hallways, ensuring nothing was out of place. He spotted Mordo in one of the rooms.

“Mordo!” Strange exclaimed as he spotted Mordo lying on the ground. He rushed.

“What happened?!” Strange asked as he tried to deal with Mordo who struggled with himself.

“The barriers have grown weak…this is his opportunity…let me out of here, Strange! He can get to where I am finally!” Mordo grunted. Strange could not comprehend.

“Who is he?” Strange asked, puzzled.

“A man named Victor…he…he has been waiting to pierce through in a long time! He knows everything! Take me far away from the temple before he arrives!” Mordo growled.

It was hard for Strange to believe. Mordo was a little too far from being trustworthy*. Strange instantly grabbed Mordo. With a flick of his arm, he broke a hole in space. He carried Mordo through the hole into the Hong Kong Sanctum where they could be safe, and removed from the temple. The Sanctum was a place for the sorcerers of the Temple. [‘*’ #2 ]

“Idiot! Not here! The sanctums are linked to the temple!” Mordo screamed in pain.

“How do I know this is not a cruel ploy?!” Strange exclaimed.

Suddenly,

A hole punched through the air at a distance. Strange’s attention was drawn toward it. He took a stance. The hole widened to channel a blast of pure energy into the sanctum. The blast pulsed through the two, throwing them toward one end of the hall. Through the door, a man set a foot into the sanctum. A golden aura covered his metal body. Strange recovered to conjure an energy spear out of thin air before launching it at the man only to see it disintegrate.

“Struggle not, doctor. I have not come for you. I have come for your friend.” the man said.

“Why did you not tell us earlier?” Strange asked, his gaze fixed at the man.

“If…if only I could.” Mordo grunted. With a gesture of his hands, scratching the air in a pattern, Strange conjured extra-dimensional energy before blasting it toward the man.

“Enough!” the man exclaimed before clenching his one fist to blast a wave, overpowering Strange and flinging him out of the sanctum. The man felt a small efflux of energy. It would not bother him yet. He reached Mordo.

“How dare you betray me?!” the man said as he punished Mordo with stinging pulses. The metal man withdrew.

“Now, what have I learnt about the Cosmic Cube* through you, Mordo?” [ ‘*’ Tales of the Watcher #2 ]

“Let’s find out.”

Having said that, Victor pierced the space he looked through with a flick of his finger. The gap widened to expose the temple. As Mordo struggled, he started to lose contact with the ground. He hovered, engulfed in Victor’s magic.

“I will need you.” Victor said as he marched through the door to enter the temple. He set to discover what he could not while he was inside Mordo’s head. It was not long before he found himself amidst the masters of the temple.

“Who is this friend of yours, Mordo?” Wong asked as the masters conjured their weapons.

“Leave if you wish to survive…” Mordo’s weak voice came to their ears.

“I mean no harm. I am only here for the cube. Give it to me and I shall leave you all in peace.” Victor said.

“So said the ones that preceded you.” Wong said.

“Well…” Victor said before blasting a pulse at them only to watch it disappear into thin air before the masters. Victor withdrew to stare at them. He felt a little drained. It was their turn now. The masters phased through dimensions, eventually circling Victor. Wasting no time, they targeted their summons at him. Victor failed to counter them as the summons phased randomly through dimensions before stinging him.

“Interesting.” Victor said as he breathed through the metal, sounding a little weak. While the hits were love taps to him, his energy drained for reasons unknown to him. The masters did not stop there. They launched a series of attacks at the metal man.

“The Crimson Bands of Cyttorak!” a master conjured.

Bright bands rooted Victor to the spot. Chants echoed as the masters went against the metal man. Blinding flashes of light and deafening sounds filled the arena. Just when the sorcerers thought that his surrender was evident, Victor screamed as he blew a deafening pulse across the place, shattering several structures, rendering pillars weak and blowing away the masters. Light faded, sounds dampened. While the dust settled and a few many tried to get back on their feet, Doom walked across the place.

“I have learnt so much about this place to be able walk on it unbeaten.” Doom said as his metal boots talked. He walked toward the injured Wong. With a wave of his hand, withdrew the Cosmic Cube from the mystic pockets of Wong’s space-time.

“Thank you, Mordo.” Doom said as he held the cube in his hand.

“All I need.”

He summoned an exit gateway before,

*WHIP*

A sparkling whip rooted his foot to the ground. Doom turned around to see Strange.

“Mister, hand over the cube!” Strange exclaimed, his weak posture suggested the damage he took at the sanctum.

“Pest!” he said. His energy was draining quickly. With a wave of his hand, he tossed Mordo onto Strange. He broke free. Through the door came four identical metal men. While two of them unleashed spells to keep the sorcerers frozen, the other two escorted Doom and Mordo out of the temple. The hold on the sorcerers vanished in time, and with it, Doom and his men. Strange quickly limped toward Wong.

“I didn’t see this coming.” Strange said in pain.

“Nobody but Mordo did.” Wong said.

“Mordo didn’t seem to encourage his arrival.” Strange paused. A thought then struck him.

“Wait. Not even the Ancient One?” Strange asked.

Wong nodded in distress.

“What if he returns?” Strange asked.

“For as long as the Ancient One is removed, we must be ready to fight a war even if we know that it’s lost to us.” Wong said in distress. The sorcerers helped each other while the temple stood in horror.

 *  *  *

The very day
Doom Castle, formerly Krowler Castle

In the year 1979, a year after Mordo left for the Himalayas, Doom, whose spirit and consciousness ever wandered in the castle, broke free and terminated Heinrich’s rule. Upon his rise, Doom fabricated a new beginning. He destroyed the old and built a new. The Krowler Castle became history as new walls replaced old ones. The first to inhabit the castle were Doom’s prisoners, Heinrich being one of the many. Potential men and women soon came under the roof with some of Krowler’s men switching loyalties. It was not long after achieving a desired population that Doom engineered an army of metal soldiers he called the Doombots. They all shared his consciousness. Among the many metal, only one hid Victor’s flesh. Once the army was established, Doom knitted a mystic blanket to hide the castle in an extra-dimensional pocket, hiding the castle from the world.

After the battle against the sorcerers, Doom returned to recover his mystic energies. A man walked into the Great Hall, earning Doom’s attention.

“My liege, the Cosmic Cube has been secured in the vault and the prisoner has been locked away with the rest in the dungeons.” the man said. Doom nodded.

“How could I be of more help?” the man asked.

“I will need to return to New York. So make arrangements.” Victor said.

“As you wish, my liege.” the man said before bowing before him and leaving the hall.

“Three years…” Doom’s thought echoed in the vast hall.

“Three years have passed. The gates to Hell still remain unopened.”

He rose from his throne and walked along the hallway. Each piece of his armor magically detached from him, revealing the handsome man it hid beneath it. The pieces coalesced behind him. While Victor Von Doom marched out of the Great Hall, a part of his consciousness drove the metal armour back to his throne.

 *  *  *

 Victor Von Doom has studied at Empire State University. He needed no formal education to succeed in the areas of science and technology considering his genius level of intellect and the innumerable facilities in his castle. Two reasons kept him in New York for nearly three years. First, his quest to open the gates of Hell, which he discovered existed under the beds of New York state three years earlier, after he took over the Krowler Castle. Two, his love Valeria, a girl from Latveria whom he met in a library.

He would go to the university only to spend time with her. He loved her. But he never told her anything about what he had behind him as he feared she would leave him. He always wanted to, but he could never bring himself to reveal his true self and intentions to the beautiful girl.

After the day, he would return to his work at night. He engineered machines ahead of his time only to discover ways to dissolve the gates of Hell. As a resident of an ordinary world, little could he rely on his dark arts. For reasons unknown to him, his supernatural powers gradually drained the moment he left the castle. Despite his conditions, he carried on, seeking no assistance.

Students of the University called him a jerk, mostly because of his rigid nature. No one but Valeria approached him, let alone bothered to discover his activities. Victor was never bothered by the remarks made by “insignificant minds” as he called them. He was light years ahead in all aspects. The burden on his shoulders made it quite evident.

He was however bothered by one student. Reed Richards.

Richards paralleled Victor when it came to measuring their intellects. He often approached Victor to have an intelligent conversation. When Victor tried to shoo him away, Reed would take a quick peek at Victor’s papers and offer, “I think you should fix ‘t’ between one and ‘T’, and consider the atom A equals…” which only annoyed Victor.

Reed considered Victor’s annoying expressions amusing.

Despite Richards’ constant efforts to annoy him, Victor never banished him to another dimension. These were petty issues to him. Though Richards never interfered with Victor’s privacy, one Halloween night, he and his girlfriend Susan fabricated a plan to prank Victor. The plan was to surprise Victor by getting into his room.

They sneaked in through the window. It was then that the couple discovered the secrets Victor held so privately.

They were baffled and feared what they discovered, but the two decided to keep the secret. Reed placed a nanite he had engineered to keep track of Victor’s activities.

Sometime close to the end their fourth year, Richards discovered a flaw in Victor’s systems. The danger was massive. He rushed to Victor’s dorm, trying to call him – connect with him – to warn him.

Halfway to the dorm, Victor finally answered the call. Richards explained the problem.

Furious on discovering that he was being monitored, Victor disconnected the call.

By the time Richards reached the dorm, a minor explosion had rocked a block in the building.

The fireman found Victor amidst the debris, parts of his body burned.

Victor lived, but he could never recover from the burns he suffered during the explosion. His time at the State University ended with that disaster, but nothing ended between him and Valeria. She loved him as much as he loved her. She wanted to go with him wherever he wanted to go, but he promised her that he would return to Latveria one day and explain everything to her.

Victor had never been to Latveria since he, during his training under his now prisoner Heinrich Krowler, brutally killed the Barons responsible for his mother’s death. It was just not the time to return to the homelands.

Instead, Victor returned to his castle where he was offered a cure, but he rejected it to keep the scars as reminders of his failure.

As years passed, Doom narrowed the gap between science and the dark arts, creating impossible marvels. An unknown event in space brought the gods of Asgard to the earth. Doom witnessed the battle of the gods in the winters of 1984.

An event that changed the world. Astonished by the feats of otherworldly beings, he set out to uncover the mysteries of the cosmos. The more he ventured into the depths of space-time, the more he learned about other worlds, raging cosmic storms, and the Cosmic Cube he had in his possession.

Victor mastered his powers. No longer did venturing beyond his castle affect him. While in some corner of the observable world people hailed the famous survivors of World War II, practitioners of the dark arts hailed their ruler Doom on the unobservable side.

In the 1987, Doom learned of five people who gained powers after falling victims to a minor cosmic storm. The five would later combine forces to form the Fantastic Five. A pilot named Grimm, siblings named Storm, a woman named Walters, and Richards – Reed Richards, the arrogant fool.

Though his disliking for Richards never burned away, he did not care to cross paths with him. His purpose of mastering magic to rescue his mother’s soul adhered to him.

Later in 1987, Doom learned of Valeria’s murder in a civil war that divided the people and the rule of Latveria.

Ignited, he led his army into Latveria, erasing the current rule from existence. He held his love in his arms for one last time, crying to express his regret over not being able to protect her. Witnessing his act, people of Latveria came to stand by Victor’s side. They chanted his name and announced his rule. It was then that Victor realized where he belonged.

He relocated to Latveria where he ruled his people with respect. Latveria was not removed from the rest of the world. It existed in peace. The nation prospered under Doom.

Out of the major improvements he made to his assets, his armor was one among the many notable.

In 1988, the world faced a major threat when The Ultron Program was altered by Ivan Vanko, the mad scientist. Dr. Doom, as he was eventually called, aided Shield by sending in a platoon of Doombots that he had engineered. Peace was restored. The tragedy marked the beginning of a quest by the powers that be of the United States to protect humanity as with advanced tech and metahumans – the Avengers.

In 1990, Shield rolled out the Avengers Initiative in an attempt to set up a response team that would handle supernatural and otherworldly events. The team consisted of Captain America, Iron Man, Doctor Strange and the Fantastic Five.

Dr. Doom went on to explore the cosmos. With the Cosmic Cube in his possession, he created his imaginations to obtain energy from dead worlds. He often returned from his explorations to look after his people.

On one such return in the year 1991, he learned of a strange distortion in the barrier separating the world from the dead below the town of New York’s Scarsdale. With the unimaginable power he obtained during his explorations, Doom set out to Scarsdale. But his quest to fulfill his purpose was soon hindered by the Avengers.

 

Next time, in Tales of the Watcher #4 – The Beginning Of The End

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