Greetings all, I hope the other side of the Atlantic is as dark and gloomy as the weather is here. A fittingly devious opening for todays discussion - The presence of evil, or more so, those behind it. Being a comics fan, I'm obviously bound and expected to like heroes, which of course I have my fair share of favourites, but let us shift the limelight from those who would "try to stop what's right" and hope they shall "burn like my power, Sinestro's might." Sorry, that seemed funnier when I thought about it, but like the anti-hero Rorschach states "I live my life free of compromise." That's all of the quotes I have for now, so you're lucky. Once again I've been sidetracked.
I am as much a fan of the baddies as I am the goodies, if not more inclined to prefer the former, OK, definately more a villains guy. Their virtues and motivations are for me, more interesting to follow than our run-of-the-mill hero (that's not to take away anything from their stories, great also). But that's not our focus today, what is, is blind hatred for our nemesis. The villain can vary from mindless brute (Vermin springs to mind) to sophisticated, calculating monoliths of the underworld such as Magneto and Dr. Doom. And then we have those who advocate role-reversal and switch from saviour to destroyer, yes you guessed it, The Sentry, Hal Jordan, ...... [insert other tortured soul turned enemy here]. We're in for the long haul on this one, prepare your self for an immense amount of reading. Enjoy.
My first point of concern is those who have become mentally unhinged, through the manipulations of others, catastrophic circumstances, or psychological disorders. I will only recount characters that have impacted upon me. Hal Jordan chielfy among the list, was thrown overboard with the destruction of Coast City, was eventually possessed by Parallax and formed an alliance with Extant to re-create the timeline. This is exactly the kind of power crazy fools I love reading about. Both one time heroes, fighting their former allies, both super, super powerful. Acting with anger or vengeance and nothing more, boy was Cyborg Superman in trouble.
Continuing the crazies section would have to be a personal favourite of mine Graviton a.k.a Franklin Hall, accident granted abilities rendering powers in the high echelon of dangerousness, the formation of a megalomaniacal complex (the best of all complexes), and there we have it, sublime. It's a shame he had to go and kill himself, nevermind, all the more power for us.
Genis-Vell a.k.a Photon, internalised his nega bands and gained hyper-esque cosmic awareness, with which he could perceive everything and anything at once. Unfortunately this knowledge, along with his power set, drove him insane, apparently so much so as to destroy the entire universe, an accolade few can lay claim to. Omniscience is a terrible thing.
Sentry, as I'm sure you're all aware, my numero uno, had a psychological flaw instilled in him by the villain Mastermind (I do not wish to concede to him being a druggy, I will not, I shall not. Defiant to the end, like our subject matter). Villains creating villains from heroes, now here's something ingenious, bad guys can recognise a minds potential for demise, the harnessing for darker purposes, apparently. I like that, and so they should. Enter the Void, who operates within the confines of balance, excellent also, no need for overkill, only what is just in accordance to him. A good personality and an evil one, think how Legion (David Charles Haller) must feel then. The fear of self.
Hatchet well and truly buried with that last concept, let us look at those who are the prevalent malevolent (poetry, who knew?). Basically one whom is iniquitous in nature, their corruption is neither an illness, burden or curse, simply their state. An awful act to them is addressed as norm in their world, death becomes them, as is their charge, one can assume. My preferential characteristic of a villain, blackness to the very core. Not that I can name many examples. One might say Joker, but I consider him criminally insane, and his motivations have never really been brought to light so one can hardly hypothesise with such dwindling a resource. The Fallen One (great ominous title), however, has been stated as being truly dark in nature. Galactus' first herald empowered not with the power cosmic, but black matter, a mysterious and ultimately volatile power source, bestowing Fallen One with credentials far surpassing that of Silver Surfer. Unfortunately his demise was met through two Proemial Gods, Tenebrous and Aegis, those which I think he should have been able to successfully challenge, but alas I do not write these stories.
Off the top of my head, Ultron (you may disagree) is another whom is destined to be an intrinsically nefarious being, immediately rebelling and developing an Oedipus complex, something which is inconsequential when it also plans the extermination of humanity. From what I understand it has only ever shown a desire for "true techno-organic perfection," simply an imposition of its will on others, can it be considered a natural state of evil for wanting the assimilation of all life? I'll take a bold step forth and say Yes it does. It is a challenge trying to distinguish the truly wicked from other villainous archetypes. I'd love to see who you think is "Evil in purest form."
And now we move on to what I think has long been established as the predominant stereotypical rival of the do-gooders, a wrathful schemer, calculator and manipulator (rhyme for the win?!). Often their motivations can be judged not as neccesity for wrong, but betterment of themselves and their people. I'll keep this one short as you all know so much about these characters anyway. Dr. Doom, lives to serve his nation Latveria, in my eyes a noble act, but he will also tend to plots for great power as achievement, or another aspect, greater control of what is, for example joining The Cabal. Hail Doom.
The Master of Magnetism does not seek power for the sake of gaining strength, he wants the survival of his race, the mutants. Ostensibly this mien is often portrayed as a distinct lack of care for human life, a common trait with lots of clever bad guys, using humans as nothing more than pawns in a game they cannot comprehend. I suspect he also believes many of his own kind don't understand what he strives for or agree with his methods, but they will no doubt be thankful when they live still, as a result of his machinations. He thinks himself superior, verging on a delusional perception of self importance. I'm on his side though, he has a case.
A quick mention to my favourite Spidey rogue Mysterio, a normal person that longs to be famous, how crude a disposition, a premise which has given him sufficient drive to continually be a thorn in his nemesis' side though.
Finally, a new breed of enemy has emerged, or at least one I had never really given much consideration, the disgruntled hero, one unhappy with the current status quo, I speak of course about Wonder Man a.k.a Simon Williams, ok so he's a little unstable recently, but he has amassed a team dubbed the "Revengers" of others who have tried to fight the good fight, on their terms, not conform to standards of say the Avengers, who are similarly discontent with their current situation. Not true villains as yet, aside from such powerhouses as Ethan Edwards and Atlas, it is intrguing to see how many others they could rally for their cause, the thunderbolts perhaps? Either way, not often enough do heroes turn as a direct result of a greivance with their team mates and formulate a plot to succeed them. I approve.
Judgement time again, or at least the point of this article. A commonality is the villain's proverbial inability to succeed, and why I ask? For once, well more than once, I would like to see the offender defeat the defender, and watch as their plans come to fruition, of course that would leave lasting repercussions in the respective universes. Ultimatum, although poorly executed, performed this feat to an extent.
Sure Sentry/Void killed Ares and Loki during Siege but that didn't actually acheive anything, he failed to win. Ultron ruled the Phalanx in Annihilation: Conquest but where did that get him? The whole Chaos War/Chaos King (I didn't read it) event or whatever has dissipated rather fast. Call me crazy, but I long for EVIL TO PREVAIL, in proper fashion. Well, much 'wisdom' (term used very loosely) you've be dealt there. Until the next time.