Doctor Faustus
Doctor Faustus
Art by Mike Perkins
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceCaptain America #107 (Nov. 1968)
Created byStan Lee
Jack Kirby
In-story information
Alter egoJohann Fennhoff
Team affiliationsSecret Empire
National Force
PartnershipsRed Skull
Notable aliasesDoctor Faustus, Master of Men's Minds, Edward Marlowe
AbilitiesExpert in psychological warfare
Genius-level intellect
Use of hologram projectors, hallucinogenic gas dispensers, androids and elaborate props
Ability to modulate his voice in a highly persuasive manner

Doctor Faustus (Johann Fennhoff) is a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is depicted usually as an adversary of Captain America. An Austrian psychiatrist and criminal mastermind who employs psychological manipulation on his enemies, the character was created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, and first appeared in Captain America #107 (November 1968).[1]

Johann Fennhoff appeared in the first season of the Marvel Cinematic Universe TV series Agent Carter, portrayed by Ralph Brown.

Publication history

Faustus' name comes from the famous character of Christopher Marlowe's Renaissance play The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus about a man who sold his soul to Lucifer in exchange for 24 years of service from a devil called Mephistophiles in order to gain all knowledge. This character predates the Christopher Marlowe play, in the legend built around the real-life Johann Georg Faust.[citation needed]

Fictional character biography

Johann Fennhoff was born in Vienna, Austria. He became a psychiatrist and criminal mastermind.[2] He has proclaimed himself the "Master of Men's Minds", and is known for the use of psychological methods of combat. His plots typically involve manipulating his foes into positions where they will, essentially, kill themselves.[volume & issue needed]


In his first appearance, Faustus induced nightmares and hallucinations in Captain America (Steve Rogers) in an attempt to drive him insane. However, he was easily bested in a physical confrontation.[3][4]


It was later revealed that Faustus had been treating the amnesiac Peggy Carter, and captured Sharon Carter and Sharon's parents in an attempt to destroy Captain America.[5] Faustus, with the help of Karla Sofen then acquired stolen weapons from Stark International with which he planned to threaten New York City, and organized a private flight of American criminals; however this plan was thwarted by Captain America.[6]

Faustus is briefly able to control Spider-Man and use him in an attempt to introduce a "psychogenic additive" to a flu vaccine (which would permit hypnotic control of the public), but he is defeated.[7]

Faustus is the mastermind behind the neo-Nazi group National Force, directing them behind the scenes. He is responsible for the creation of the Grand Director to lead the National Force, as well as brainwashing S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Sharon Carter and programming Sharon to commit suicide, though Carter survives. Faustus also temporarily brainwashes Captain America and battles the latter and Daredevil. His legs were injured by falling gas canisters during this confrontation.[8]


Faustus later mentally conditions Everyman to be his operative, later known as Zeitgeist. He used his absorbascan to draw in psychic power from other people in an attempt to mentally defeat Mister Fantastic and prove his worth to the Secret Empire. Everyman subsequently battles Spider-Man and Mister Fantastic, but they defeat him. When Richards subsequently seeks Everyman's backer, Faustus attempts to attack Richards psychologically by using elaborate androids to foster the illusion that Richards has killed the rest of the Fantastic Four. Richards sees through the ruse and causes Faustus himself to have a breakdown.[9]

After recovering from his breakdown, Faustus then allies with the Red Skull, and aids in the villain's mansion. Faustus unsuccessfully attempts to coerce Captain America into committing suicide through the use of ghostly holograms.[10]


Faustus is presumed dead for a number of years, but reappears, living undercover as a S.H.I.E.L.D. psychiatrist, employed by the Red Skull. He is tasked with manipulating Sharon Carter, and claims responsibility for Sharon's increasing romantic attachment to Steve Rogers.[11] Faustus is responsible for manipulating Sharon Carter into assassinating Captain America following the 2006 storyline "Civil War".[12] It is further revealed that the Captain America from the 1950s is alive and in Faustus's possession, recuperating slowly, and reconditioned to be an agent sent to attack the new Captain America (Bucky Barnes). The failure of this attack, and the ever-increasing verbal abuse of Faustus by the Red Skull and Arnim Zola, causes him to withdraw from the project, but not before freeing Sharon and giving crucial information about the Red Skull's plans to S.H.I.E.L.D.[13]


Rogers, Falcon and Black Widow are instrumental in exonerating Barnes when the latter is tried for the crimes committed as the Winter Soldier, in light of the mind control to which Barnes was subjected.[14] This is done in part with Faustus's testimony in the trial, and a demonstration of his mind-control abilities, which he displays by manipulating the prosecuting lawyer into attacking the judge.[volume & issue needed]

Faustus is later revealed to have established a real estate development business based in Jersey City, New Jersey called Hope Yards Development Relocation Association, as a front for a Hydra cell. The cell's purpose is to implement Faustus's plan to market energy drinks and aerosol sprays laced with mind controlling nanomachines.[15] The plot is foiled by teenaged Jersey City resident Ms. Marvel,[16] as is Faustus's subsequent attempt at getting one of his minions elected mayor of Jersey City.[17]

During the Secret Empire storyline, Doctor Faustus is part of the Hydra High Council that the new Madame Hydra is collecting to assist Steve Rogers,[18] who had the man's history altered to be a HYDRA long-time sleeper agent since childhood by the Red Skull's clone using the powers of Kobik.[19][20][21] an inadvertent side effect of Kobik's restoration of Rogers's youth.[22][23] After Hydra's global takeover, Faustus is assigned the task of 'convincing' Sharon Carter of loving Rogers regardless of this new allegiance, but as the final battle commences, Sharon pretends to have been won over by Faustus and then shoots him. Sharon reveals that she spent months after Faustus used her to shoot Steve listening to recordings of his voice so that the doctor would never be able to control Sharon again.[24]

Powers and abilities

Doctor Faustus has no superhuman powers but has a genius intellect,[5] and is extremely charismatic and can modulate his voice in a highly persuasive manner. He has a doctorate in psychiatry.[citation needed]

Faustus regularly employs hologram projectors, hallucinogenic gas dispensers, androids, and elaborate props. He also hires henchmen to impersonate various people as a part of his scheme to affect his victims' minds.[5][9]

Faustus has suffered extensive leg injuries, forcing him to use a cane or wheelchair for mobility. He can stand or walk without assistance for only a brief time.[citation needed]

Other versions

The Ultimate Marvel version of Doctor Faustus appears in Ultimate Comics: Armor Wars. Here, Johann Fennhoff became an information broker for the European underground superhuman mercenary community, stationing in Prague. At some point through an accident involving a dimensional portal, he wound up with a little entity living in his head.[25]

In the alternate timeline of the 2005 "House of M" storyline, Dr. Faustus is a scientist working for the Army, heading up the research on battlefield confrontations.[26]

In other media


Video games

Doctor Faustus appears in Midnight Suns.[31][32] This version is a member of Hydra who seeks to use a combination of magic and science to resurrect Lilith and bring her under Hydra's control. While he succeeds in the former, he is killed by Crossbones to keep the Midnight Suns and the Avengers from learning her plans.


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  16. ^ G. Willow Wilson (w), Takeshi Miyazawa (p), Takeshi Miyazawa (i), Ian Herring (col), VC's Joe Caramagna (let), Sana Amanat (ed). "Super Famous: Part 3 of 3" Ms. Marvel v4, #3 (20 January 2016), United States: Marvel Comics
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  22. ^ Spencer, Nick (w), Saiz, Jesus (p), Saiz, Jesus (i). Captain America: Steve Rogers #2 (Aug. 2016)
  23. ^ Marston, George (June 28, 2016). "How Steve Rogers Became a Hydra Agent – Spoilers". Newsarama. Archived from the original on August 6, 2016.
  24. ^ Secret Empire #9
  25. ^ Ultimate Comics: Armor Wars #2. Marvel Comics
  26. ^ New Thunderbolts #11. Marvel Comics
  27. ^ Abrams, Natalie (February 18, 2015). "Agent Carter boss teases what's next after the big sacrifice". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  28. ^ Misiano, Christopher (director); Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters (writer) (February 24, 2015). "Valediction". Marvel's Agent Carter. Season 1. Episode 8. ABC.
  29. ^ Roth, Bobby (director); Owusu-Breen, Monica (writer) (October 7, 2014). "Making Friends and Influencing People". Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2. Episode 3. ABC.
  30. ^ "New Year's Resolution". Avengers Assemble. Season 4. Episode 14. December 3, 2017. Disney XD.
  31. ^ "Vaush is a villain in a new marvel game Midnight Suns". 2 December 2022.
  32. ^ "Marvel's Midnight Suns: Everything you Should Know before Purchasing the Game". 5 December 2022.