Aug 25, 2014

Supervillain Hall of Fame, Part Four: Villains4Life

Supervillain Hall of Fame, Part Four 
Ben Smith

When I started this journey to identify the top heroes and villains in superhero comic book history, and induct them into a fictional hall of fame, I knew it would be challenging, I knew it would be special. What I couldn’t have known is that it would change lives, and that is because it hasn’t done that at all. For a second there you thought I was going to tell you an inspirational tale, but there is no room for inspiration in the despair that is my life now that I’ve made the decision to do this. What a terrible, terrible decision. Enjoy!

As I’ve said before, changing the wording slightly each time, this list was devised using a pre-established set of categories (which can be easily located using the internet device of your choice) each of which was assigned a point value from one to ten, which were then divided yada yada math, and then completely disregarded so I can rank the villains however I please.

(I hate introductions. Introductions are like apes on horses firing machine guns. You might have thought it was a good idea at the pet store, but next thing you know you’re living in the woods trying to rediscover fire.)

Apes packing heat aside, we’ve made it to the top 10 villains, so let’s get started.

10. Thanos

Resume: powers, popularity, The Infinity Gauntlet, Infinity, movies, Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy

Thanos is the best of the big apocalyptic bad guys, capable of taking on entire teams because only an entire group of heroes could possibly defeat him. Even then, they frequently need Thanos to subconsciously sabotage his own plans for galactic conquest, giving them the opportunity they need to stop him. The reason Thanos does what he does is to appeal to the personification of Death itself, so that she will love him the way he loves her. Clearly, young Thanos was in need of some serious therapy. Thanos has appeared in a certified classic storyline, The Infinity Gauntlet, in which he wielded one of the all-time great cosmic weapons in comic history. He’s headlined other entertaining series such as The Thanos Imperative, Avengers Assemble, and Infinity, as well as playing a huge role in the Annihilation era of the Marvel cosmic universe. Thanos had a jaw-dropping (literally, my jaw dropped in complete shock) mid-end credits scene in The Avengers motion picture, and promises to play an even larger role in Marvel movies to come.

(I hate Thanos. Despise him. His whole schtick, self-sabotage, is lame. The idea that only he can beat himself just negates any valiant efforts by heroes of the stories. The only character more annoying than Thanos is that moron, Adam Warlock. -Cranky Editor Man.)

8. (tie) Doctor Octopus

Resume: cartoons, Spider-Man 2, Superior Spider-Man, The Sinister Six

The Green Goblin

Resume: Gwen Stacy, Spider-Man, cartoons, Dark Avengers, Dark Reign

The battle between Otto Octavius and Norman Osborn for the undisputed top position as Spider-Man’s greatest enemy, is one of the greatest debate in the history of the human race. As the Green Goblin, Norman kidnapped and killed Peter Parker’s first love Gwen Stacy. Doctor Octopus was able to mind-swap with Spider-Man, dooming him to death in his terminal body, and then taking over his life as Peter and Spidey. Ock handed Spider-Man his first defeat as a hero, but the Goblin was the first villain to discover his real identity as Peter. Otto founded one of the all-time great villain teams, the Sinister Six. Norman founded an equally villainous ensemble in the Dark Avengers. Norman Osborn had the entire Marvel universe running in terror during Dark Reign. Otto Octavius terrorized the city as the Superior Spider-Man. Norman had sex with Gwen (no, that never happened) but Otto had sex with Aunt May (ah, even worse!). Both have had prominent roles in every Spider-Man cartoon that has ever been created. The Green Goblin was the villain of the very first live-action Spider-Man movie, and Doctor Octopus headlined the second (and was much better). The Green Goblin effectively ended the Silver Age of comics, but Doctor Octopus gave the world Aunt May’s sex face, there’s nothing more evil than that. I can’t decide, it’s a tie.

7. Shredder

Resume: movies, cartoons, costume, origin, popularity, Turtles Forever

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are one of the most popular comic book properties in the world, and the Shredder is the unquestioned arch-enemy of the heroes in a half-shell. His personal attachment to Splinter provides the gravitas needed to make him a memorable foe. Like the Red Skull and Magneto, he’s essential enough to have a constant presence in every single iteration of the popular franchise. From his very first appearance in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, to the ‘80s animated series, to the live-action movies of the ‘90s. The cartoon of the early ‘00s established added some much needed credibility to his villainy, culminating in the three-part Turtles Forever, where he nearly destroyed the entire multiverse (seriously, go watch Turtles Forever). The new cartoon that launched on Nickelodeon in 2012 established him as a force to be reckoned with, easily defeating the turtles in their first encounter. Shredder will once again menace the big screen in the upcoming Michael Bay live-action movie. No matter the medium, if the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are involved, Shredder is not far behind.

(No, seriously, go watch Turtles Forever. Here's a link. You have no excuse now. -Cranky Editor Man.)

6. Catwoman

Resume: Batman, Darwyn Cooke, popularity, costume, cartoons, movies, love interest, Halle Berry

Catwoman is one of the most popular villains in the world, when she’s not spending time as Batman’s primary love interest. She’s headlined her own comic book series on several occasions, including a much beloved run by Ed Brubaker and Darwyn Cooke. Her legendary costume is especially spectacular in live-action, as evidenced by Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, and Eartha Kitt in the ‘60s television series and movie. Not to be outdone, Michelle Pfeiffer filled out the costume quite well in the 1992 film, Batman Returns, providing a legendary performance. (The less said about the Catwoman movie starring Halle Berry, the better.) She’s had a major role in every Batman cartoon, including the massively influential Batman the Animated Series, and the insanely fun Batman The Brave and the Bold. However, Catwoman’s greatest achievement was in jump-starting puberty for entire generations of young boys, thanks to the aforementioned ‘60s TV series. For that alone, she will always be remembered as a true American icon.

(Half of you are asking, right now, why Ben broke his "no Deadpool/Black Cat types" rule. The other half of you are happy I posted that picture of Julie Newmar. -Cranky Editor Man.)

5. Loki

Resume: immortality, Tom Hiddleston, movies, cartoons, The Avengers, Tom Hiddleston

Probably no character has had their profile raised higher by his appearances in movies than the God of Mischief himself, Loki (the only other contender would be Iron Man). As Thor’s half brother, he’s been a thorn in the side of the God of Thunder almost from the very beginning of the comic series. The only other comic that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby worked on longer together was the Fantastic Four, and their Loki was an evil and conniving fiend. The first Thor movie gave him an identifiable point of view, kidnapped from his people to be raised in the ever present shadow of the more beloved Thor, with all the rejection and jealousy that comes with that. Loki’s popularity would soar into the stratosphere with Tom Hiddleston’s transcendent performance in the blockbuster Avengers movie. Like in the comics, Loki would be the driving force behind the formation of the Avengers as a team of heroes, which probably was a bit of a backfire on his part. He’s had recurring roles in every modern Marvel animated series, to include Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and Avengers Assemble. All that, and according to my Facebook wall, Hiddleston is like way handsome.

4. Magneto

Resume: origin, powers, costume, Ian McKellen, Michael Fassbender, cartoons

Magneto probably would have challenged for the number two spot, except for the fact that he spends half his time as a hero (and because I like Victor Von Doom more). He’s also surprisingly absent for some of the X-Men’s most historically beloved classic storylines, at least as a villain, which is surprising. The Dark Phoenix Saga and Days of Future Past had nothing to do with him, and he was on the side of angels for The Age of Apocalypse. Therein lies the appeal of Magneto, because he kind of has a point, when he’s not murdering innocent people and hijacking nuclear weapons. The movies have done a brilliant job of highlighting his ideological differences with Professor X, who both only have the interests of mutants in mind, but then he tries to mutate Congress with a radiation spewing hadron collider (I have no idea if that’s what that machine was, but it sounded correct right?). Magneto has appeared in every single live-action X-Men movie, first portrayed by Ian McKellen, then by Michael Fassbender (and then both in Days of Future Past). As you can guess, the cartoons haven’t had any shortage of Magneto either. I’ve said it several times before, but villains like Loki, the Red Skull, Shredder, and Magneto are engaging enough to serve prominent long-term roles in the comics of their respective enemies. Most villains show up, battle the hero, lose, and then go away for a while before they can wear out their welcome. Not villains like Magneto, they stick around, and they should. They’re that good at being bad (except when he’s being good). Don’t forget about the sweet helmet either.

That’s it for now. Come back next time to see who made the top three, because three is … well, not the loneliest number, but it’s close. Damn close.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Wait . . . IIRC Magneto was in the Days of Future Past comic two-parter . . . No? Wasn't that the first "potentially positive" view of Mags?

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