In the latest issue of Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Doom manages to turn Emperor Hulkling into his sidekick in a battle against the Guardians. As one of the most powerful and notorious villains in the Marvel universe, Doom needs no introduction. Hulkling is much lesser-known, but the character has been gaining some momentum in recent years. Hulkling is the son of Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel, and a Skrull princess. This puts him in a unique position to become king when the warring factions of the Kree and Skrull make peace. As king, he wields a powerful sword called Excelsior, the Sword of Space. His parentage also gives him an impressive set of powers. Among them are super strength and shape-shifting, allowing him to transform his body in ways that give him a vast set of physical abilities.
In this issue, Doom ambushes the Guardians in an attempt to gather enough power to face a yet-to-be-named upcoming cosmic threat. After easily subduing the heroes, he takes the power he came for, Hulkling's Sword of Space. Doom commences his obligatory egomaniacal posturing as he poses victoriously over the fallen heroes with his prize. Not to be outdone, Emperor Hulkling is able to summon the sword from Doom's hand. A sorcerer, polymath, and genius, Doom has never been a villain easily defeated. As Hulkling soon learns, Doom will always find a way to take the upper hand in battle.
The two foes lock eyes. Using his expansive mystical powerset, Doctor Doom is able to exchange minds with Hulkling. In Hulkling's body, Doom is once again in possession of the Sword of Space. He uses Hulkling's powerset and the cosmic sword to fight the Guardians. It would seem like a bad move for Doom to put Hulkling in charge of his highly weaponized armor, but Doom plans for all contingencies. He activates the AI protocols of his armor. Hulkling, inside the human body of Victor Von Doom, can no longer controller the armor he wears as it fights against his own allies. Doom has effectively forced the other emperor to be his sidekick as they fight side by side.
One of Doctor Doom's only weaknesses, his hubris once again leads to his defeat. The heroes trick him into attempting to body swap back to prove he only needs his own armor to best them. As his mind begins to transfer, the powerful telepath Moondragon is able to redirect his mind into the body of Rocket Racoon. With Doom trapped in Rocket's body, the heroes discuss how to potentially imprison him. They realize they may need Doom's help to defeat the upcoming cosmic threat (and also that no prison could possibly contain Doom). In a classic page turn reveal, Peter Quill enlists Doom as the newest member of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
The current Guardians of the Galaxy series is written by Al Ewing (Immortal Hulk) with art and colors on this issue by Juan Frigeri and Frederico Blee. The series has shaken up the usual Guardians roster with several additions, Doom easily being one of the most intriguing. Guardians of the Galaxy #14 almost serves a tryout. Victor reminds the Guardians just how powerful and tactical he is by easily subduing them and turning one of their strongest members, an emperor no less, into a sock puppet.
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