Victor was born to Werner von Doom, a noted healer, and Cynthia von Doom, who was said to be a witch. His mother was killed when Victor was an infant.
While a child, he discovered his mother's magical artifacts and von Doom began his studies into the occult as well as developing his innate scientific abilities. His astounding reputation came to the attention of the dean of science at State University in America, and von Doom was offered a full scholarship. At State, von Doom first met both Reed Richards and Ben Grimm, two men who would go on to become his enemies in later years as Mister Fantastic and the Thing, respectively. Richards, in particular, represented a substantial threat to Doom's self-perceived superiority. Doom began conducting hazardous extra-dimensional experiments.
The focus of Doom's research was to construct a trans-dimensional projection device with which he could communicate with his dead mother. There was a flaw in the design which Richards pointed out to him, but Doom's pride prevented him from accepting Richards' advice and fixing the device before testing it. The machine worked perfectly for two minutes and 37 seconds, in which time Doom discovered that his mother was trapped in Mephisto's Hell. Then the device exploded, permanently damaging Doom's face; the most recent retelling of Doom's origin attests that this was the work of Mephisto striking at him, and by some accounts, the facial damage amounted only to one cheek being marked with a long, jagged scar, a scar that Doom's incredible vanity magnified into a hideous disfigurement. Refusing to acknowledge his own fault in the matter, Doom blamed Richards for the accident, finding it easier to believe that Richards had sabotaged his work out of jealousy than admit to his own imperfection.
Doom was expelled from school afterward, and traveled the world searching for a cure for his scarred face, which he viewed as a symbol of his failure. Eventually Doom discovered a village of Tibetan monks amongst whom he lived for a number of years. Mastering their sorcerous disciplines, he took control of the monastery, and had the monks assist him in crafting a suit of body armor. In his eagerness to finish donning the suit and begin his new life as "Doctor Doom," however, he donned the armor's fresly-cast mask before he it had been properly cooled, ensuring that, if his face had not been seriously disfigured before, it now most certainly was. This suit would become his trademark, and thanks to his technological enhancements, it puts him on par in terms of personal power with most superheroes in the Marvel universe. After this, he returned to his homeland, overthrew the standing government, and crowned himself king. Ruling with an iron fist and an equally strong will, Doom began to redirect the small nation's resources to help him realize his goals.
Doom was briefly deposed by Zorba, a prince from the royal family Doom had previously overthrown. After months in exile, Doom managed to convince the Fantastic Four to aid him in taking back Latveria by showing them that under Zorba's corrupt rule, the nation had fallen into crime and poverty. Realizing Doom's rule was superior to this, the team reluctantly agreed. Doom soon killed Zorba and reclaimed his throne, but in the process one of his loyal Latverian subjects was killed before his eyes. Doom adopted the fallen woman's son, Kristoff Vernard, and raised the boy as his heir. In addition, as Doom considers his genius and leadership to be priceless assets to the Earth, he used Kristoff as a fallback plan to be used in the unlikely event of his premature death. When Doom was indeed seemingly killed, his robots enacted this plan and copied Doom's knowledge and memories into young Kristoff's brain. For a time, Kristoff even believed himself to be Doom, but eventually realized the truth and submitted to the true Doom's rule. Kristoff seems to be the half-brother of Doom's hated rival Reed Richards, though none of the three seem to be aware of this fact.
Goals of Doom Doctor Doom is driven by three principal objectives: the destruction of Reed Richards, world domination, and the liberation of his mother's soul from the demon Mephisto's realm. He has so far achieved two of these aims. With the help of Doctor Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts and Earth's Sorcerer Supreme, he wrested his mother's spirit from Mephisto's grasp; a vital step in this process turned out to be tricking his mother into renouncing her love for Victor, and though it was difficult for him he was able to make that necessary sacrifice.