- X-Men #29 shows Doctor Doom successfully leading his team of new team of mutants, with the complex Marvel villain immediately improving on ways Professor Xavier faltered the X-Men.
- Doctor Doom’s mutants have found a home in Latveria, succeeding where Xavier’s Krakoa failed.
- Doctor Doom’s approach to nurturing his mutants is characterized by offering love, care, and a space to hone their abilities, showcasing his complicated nature, even as one of Marvel’s most enduring villains.
Warning: Spoilers for X-Men #29!For now at least, Doctor Doom is leading his mutant squad better than Professor Xavier led the X-Men in the past. Doctor Doom was never much of a team player in his lifetime, very rarely being willing to share the spotlight with anyone. More recently, though, he has taken to playing mentor to a young group of mutants, not too different from the humble beginnings of Charles Xavier’s X-Men.
X-Men #29 – by Gerry Duggan, Joshua Cassara, Marte Gracia, VC’s Clayton Cowles – revealed the origin story for Doctor Doom’s new team of mutants. When it is discovered that there were mutants unaccounted for in Latveria, Wolverine, Ms. Marvel, and Shadowkat make a trip to find them, leading to a tense exchange with Doctor Doom.
As they find out, Doom takes an approach to nurturing his students not unlike Xavier, though Doom does one thing that Xavier could not: give these mutants a land to roam free. In this particular sense, the Latverian nation is succeeding for Doctor Doom’s mutants where Professor Xavier’s Krakoa failed.
Doctor Doom Nurtures Mutants like Xavier Couldn’t
When the X-Men arrive to Latveria, they meet Doctor Doom’s equivalent to the X-Men, which he acknowledges as his Daggers of Latveria, including Nerium, Volta, Slag, Ironcloak, and Dreamer. Doom’s mutants put their powers on full display in as they battle the X-trio. Nerium is shown to have plant-like abilities, said to be the definition of Latveria in body and mind. Slag is made out of Latverian molten lava rock, making him virtually unkillable. Sibling refugees Dreamer and Ironcloak were the only ones not to engage, as Doom seemed to want a fair three-on-three fight, depriving a showcase of their powers for now.
Interspersed with the fight are flashbacks of how Doctor Doom recruited each member of his mutant team. The running theme of each recruitment is that Doom merely offers love, care, a home to live in, and a space to hone their abilities. His approach is not unlike that of Charles Xavier’s during the early days of the X-Men, back when he still had a school. The critical difference is that Xavier no longer has a school nor a nation to house any of his mutants under. By contrast, Doctor Doom taps into his best skill as a villain to create an X-Men of his own design.
Doctor Doom Showcases His Best Asset As a Complex Villain
Doctor Doom was never an over-the-top villain with one grand, ludicrous plot after another. Instead, Doom’s plans have often found him going out of his way to be better than the hero, simply out of spite, such as when he forced his way into becoming Valeria Richards’ godfather, formulating it as a revenge against Reed. The revenge wasn’t Doom incorporating Val into his scheme, but rather being a better parental figure than Reed; one who, sometimes, Val likes more than her old man. His paternalistic approach to his mutant enforcers isn’t much different. In this sense, it would appear as though Doctor Doom’s X-Men were created to prove he can lead a team better than Xavier.
X-Men #29 is available now from Marvel Comics.
X-MEN (2021) #29