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Supervillain Origins: Mr. Doll

VO: Dan Paradis
Script written by Craig Butler This guy went from playing with dolls to being a living doll – or two, even. Join as we explore the comic book origin of Mr. Doll. As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginations and different versions to a character's past. Special thanks to our users ibriers and Tyson Turner for submitting the idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Supervillain Origins: Mr. Doll
This guy went from playing with dolls to being a living doll – or two, even. Join as we explore the comic book origin of Mr. Doll.
As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginations and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen primarily to follow the storyline which unfolded in 1963's Tales of Suspense #48 and was expanded upon in 1979’s Spider-Woman #11 and 12.

Marvel’s original Mr. Doll began his villainous carrier by turning a harmless toy into a deadly weapon – and became a major pain for Iron Man a run as a result. He wasn’t a major villain, but he’s responsible for a major change in iron man’s look.

Mr. Doll popped up in 1963, early in Ol’ Shellhead’s career – so early in fact that Tony Stark was still sporting his original, bulky armored look. As the story began, Tony Stark learned that a billionaire Carleton Carter was calling off an important deal with Stark Enterprises. Suspicious, Stark drove to Carter’s home to find out what was going on.

Spotting a mysterious figure, Stark changed into his Iron man outfit. He soon learned that the mysterious figure was Mr. Doll, a villain who possessed a magic doll. By molding the features of the doll to resemble a living person, he could inflict tremendous pain on that person.

Mr. Doll had been threatening Carter into calling off the deal with Stark and signing his fortune over to him instead. When iron man attempted to intervene, the villain quickly molded the doll’s face to resemble Iron man’s helmet. He thus was able to defeat him. Thinking Iron Man dead, Doll re-molded the features of his weapon to resemble Carter once again and continued his nefarious plot.

Unbeknownst to Mr. Doll, Iron Man survived their encounter. The hero realized one of his problems was that his armor was too heavy. That excess weight drained a lot of the energy he needed. Stark fashioned a new set of armor that was much more lightweight but just as resilient. Thus was born the classic Iron Man armor with which the character is most often identified.

Meanwhile, Mr. Doll was turning his attention to another billionaire to victimize – none other than Tony Stark. The police arranged to use Stark as a decoy to lureMr. Doll out. Stark was able to slip away and change into Iron Man to battle his new foe. During that battle, Mr. Doll revealed that he stole this doll from an African witch doctor. It looked like Doll might get the upper hand on the Armored Avenger. Fortunately, his new armor enabled him to withstand the villain’s torture and soundly defeat him.

Mr. Doll’s origin was expanded somewhat in 1979. Spider-Woman had stumbled across a pair of villains known as the Brothers Grimm. She also had come into contact with the widow of Mr. Doll, who kept a pair of Brothers Grimm dolls in her dresser.

Why? As Mrs. Dolly recounted, her late husband was a curio dealer who traveled the world. He had a habit of sending her back dolls from wherever he went. In addition to the doll he had used to inflict pain on people, he had found in the Balkans a pair of dolls with another special ability. These death effigies could be used to store a person’s own life energy.

Unfortunately, Mr. Doll didn’t operate the effigies correctly. His soul ended up trapped in them, but he fell into a coma. The dolls could grow to human size. As the Brothers Grimm, they committed crimes for Mrs. Dolly while she searched for a way to reverse the process and restore her husband to life. Didn’t work out that way, though.

Nathan Dolly didn’t make many appearances as either Mr. Doll or as the Brothers Grimm. But a pair of other villains did take on the Brothers Grimm identities after him, at least. Still, Dolly’s appearances were memorable. And without him, Iron Man might still be running around in that cumbersome and awkward original armor.

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