A question you sometimes get asked is, "If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?" Aside from the fact that it would be slightly macabre to raise someone from the dead just to have dinner with them, while also assuming that a corpse would still be interested in consuming food, let's move on to the gist of the question: dining and conversing with someone you otherwise wouldn't have access to. That seems harmless enough.
Unless your host for the evening turns out to be none other than:
Being invited to sup with Dr. Doom is a little like being called into the principal's office (assuming your principal is a power-mad despot)--you're uneasy about why you're there, and you have to endure what seems like an interminable wait until the hammer drops. Only at Doom's table, you're the one likely to drop--through a trap door and into a vat of acid. It depends on whether or not Doom is short on entertainment that evening.
In the case above, it's Reed Richards, Medusa, and Reed's coach from State U., Sam Thorne, who are on the guest list--only they think they've been invited to attend a college reunion. Technically, that's true, though it would be a reunion of only a select few gathered in a posh townhouse in Manhattan; also, there's one alumnus they weren't expecting to run into here, a man who made an abrupt exit from academia and never made it to the cap and gown ceremony.
And since we've already been witness to the same shocking scene our guests are gaping at, we might as well skip the hors d'oeuvres and move on to the main course: assault! (Or assalt, if you like!)
Probably not the sort of scrimmage Coach Thorne wants to find himself in the middle of.
But we're missing out on the full experience of dining with Doom if we're not joining him at his castle, where his full staff of chefs and servers are present to tempt our palate. And Doom is often ready for any guests who drop in--even those who are fighting for their lives.
Don't you just love Crystal thinking things through? Wary of Doom's motives, but that doesn't stop her from digging in!
At any rate, Doom does have rather hardcore entertainment in mind--the use of a hypersonic piano, emitting deadly waves of sound aimed right at the other members of the FF. Only Doom's presumptuous scientific assistant, Hauptmann (you remember his equally presumptuous brother, right?), has taken it upon himself to carry out their execution--not taking into account the fact that Doom might consider other items to be more valuable than self-serving loyalty.
A scene which totally spoils everyone's appetite, though I think we saw Crystal throwing some meatballs into a makeshift doggie bag, didn't we? Following Hauptmann's untimely end, the FF are shown the door, but with a modicum of grace from their host.
Sue is able to engage in more conversation with Doom in another encounter, when a scheme to disgrace Reed fails--and as an unofficial truce takes effect, Doom serves both the FF and the X-Men a lavish buffet as they prepare to leave his country. But Sue has a few parting words for the monarch, even as he plays cat and mouse with her while partaking of a delectable delicacy.
Doom also has an opportunity to host the X-Men separately, even if only one of them accommodates his dinner invitation. Storm believes she is sufficiently distracting Doom, while her teammates raid his castle in order to rescue his hostage--but Doom, like any proper host, makes sure to keep tabs on all his "guests," even while observing dining etiquette.
Now that's what I call a TV dinner. (Though Doom would be loath to admit it.)
There was plenty of etiquette to be found when the Fantastic Four first dined at Doom's table, at the Latverian embassy--though at the time they were unaware that Doom was Latveria's ruler, and that their errant host was even now hatching one of his devious schemes.
The Thing, years later, would receive an unexpected, singular honor--a personal invitation to join Doom at his table. That is, if he can withstand the agony of approaching it.
As for Doom, he finds that he has a captive audience for which to extoll the virtues of his beloved Latveria and its peaceful, devoted subjects. The Thing is no doubt riveted--in searing neuro pain, that is.
Boy, is Ben hungry, to make such an effort to reach that spread! And who wouldn't? Anyone would want to go back to the states and say that they spent an evening sitting across from Victor Von Doom, while drinking his wine and eating his superbly prepared food. But if you've heard the old saying, "sing for your supper," then you'd know that a guest of Doom must at times lunge in abject agony for theirs.
Out already? Didn't Ben know that after-dinner brandy was on its way?
Reed Richards would also dine personally with Doom--but like any meal with the master of Latveria, that's a story to be appreciated in full.