Doctor Doom developed the process to create "synthe-clones": Puppet-like, miniature bodies of a given individual taken from that person's cell tissue, to which Doom could transfer that person's mind, temporarily or permanently, by taking the person and submitting him or her to a specific machine. The synthe-clone body would live and even age in a miniature environment where Doom could affect and control that person in ways beyond his possibilities in the "real" world. Doom could, for instance, affect the memories of the clone so that the clone could only access his real memories in dreams. As the synthe-clones were made from a person's cells, should that person have biological super-powers such as those of an altered human, the clone would not inherit the powers, but only the potential for them - Similarly, accidental losses such as blindness or disfiguration were not transmitted to the clones. Should a synthe-clone get superpowers, he or she would have limited comparative strenght. The synthe-clones did not bleed as such, but had similar leaks.
Doom was approached by fellow villain the Puppet Master who was looking for Doom's help. The Puppet Master intended to create a "toy world" where his daughter Alicia could be happily married to the man of his chosing Benjamin Grimm - who had become the monstruous superhero Thing and refused to marry Alicia even if they loved each other. The Thing was a member of the Fantastic Four, a superhero team that had become Doom's nemesis. Should Doom helped the Puppet Master create a fantasy world where the Four and Alicia could live "pretend" but happy lives, Doom would get rid of his enemies, and the Puppet Master could see Alicia happy at last. But the Puppet Master could not do this by himself, requiring Doom's technical progress.
The Puppet Master created the fictional miniature town of Liddleville to Doom's specifications. Liddleville, supposedly founded by a Josiah Liddle, was populated by robots except for the Fantastic Four -the Thing, the Human Torch, his sister Invisible Girl and her husband Mister Fantastic- along with the two laters' son Franklin and Alicia, who was married to Grimm in Liddleville. The six of them, captured by the Puppet Master, were synthe-clones. The Puppet Master refused to become a synthe-clone, believing that Doom could manipulate him, and instead chose to create a robot body of himself to which he could transfer his mind using a ring mechanism. Doom did the same, with his alter ego being a Professor Vincent Vaughn, in charge of the local university. Vaughn harassed Professor Reed Richards -formerly Mister Fantastic-, who was mostly incompetent in Liddleville due to his incapacity to concentrate in anything beyond a few minutes -something that Doom himself had arranged. By frustrating Richards, Doom got sadical satisfaction.
The Fantastic Four started having dreams related to their past as superheroes. When Richards tried to find an explanation and had a dream himself, he remembered his past life and confronted the Puppet Master, who explained the situation. Doom, appearing as a giant, explained the remaining details, froze the robots at Liddleville and left the Fantastic Four to live their lives as puppets. To prevent them from escaping Liddleville, Doom stationed miniature Servo-Guards in the city limits.
Reed accessed a particle accelerator at the university and replicated the process that gave the Fantastic Four powers. Now with powers, they defeated the Servo-Guards and tried to manipulate the controls to go back to their bodies. Doom had retired a primary power suhttle module from the machine, but Mister Fantastic found an alternate way to return to their bodies by making use of Doom's well-designed redundancy systems and by tricking Doom so that he would fall on a pond and his armor could power the machine. By doing this, the Fantastic Four, Franklin and Alicia returned to their bodies. Doom tried to escape by hiding in the miniature body of Vaughn.
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