The NZA Posted August 29, 2009 Share Posted August 29, 2009 I forget which writer it was i read the interview on years back in Wizard, but the quote was "the hero's made by his villains". its been said numerous times, and its rather true: i really love characters like Green Lantern, Moon Knight, etc but i couldnt name you 5 good villains with a straight face, personally. Id love to've put the X-Men up here, but 1) they're a team and 2) the latter half of Ultimate X-Men reminded me how hard it is to make some of their more iconic 90s villains really work. Hell, has an OK cast - but is anyone else reading Wolverine: Origins? motherfucker's killing them all off, its crazy! I'm told Flash has a fun gallery as well, but in the you-cant-be-serious-about-these-guys kinda sense. Such is not nearly the case with these two. If nothing else, the recent movies've shown just how iconic their enemies are, and while they're very much apples & oranges in many regards, i thought itd be fun getting into that as well. The Batman has many even non-comic fans can name. What's unique about his is that, at the core of the classic villains, they can be broken down into psychological disease/dysfunction. Given the early date of this book (and its changing feel over the years), this is probably one of the sharpest things about golden age bats: as many writers seem to often forget, before he was the dark knight, or moody, or even a hand-to-hand pro, he was the world's greatest detective. These roots reek of pulp crime classics, and it really speaks to my notion that you didnt often see recurring hand-to-hand villains show up until at least the silver age and beyond. Even in the awkward, lethal days of rainbow suits, Bats needed to outthink most of his opponents - once having done so, they werent terribly hard to subdue, though this has been adjusted over the years to an extent. if the villains are a natural reflection of the hero, its interesting it took till about Frank Miller to really examine the cracks/flaws in the character to the extent he did, as they're clearly what stands out & helps define him. but per the thread's intent (this is where there's gonna be some fun debate), im going to list their 1st tier and 2nd string villains of note. my personal criteria for top tier is that, on numerous occasions, theyve gone nearly toe-to-toe giving the hero a run for his money, in good/fun stories (i.e., both the Hulk and Juggernaut have given Spidey the fights of his life, but they dont apply here). Top tier/A-list villains: The Joker Penguin Riddler Ra's al Ghul (excellent mix of mind/physical) Poison Ivy Two-Face Scarecrow Catwoman (not sure she entirely applies) Mr. Freeze (?) Killer Croc (? 2nd string?) 2nd stringers/JV squad Man-Bat Bane (arguable) Clayface (?) Ventriloquist Mad Hatter? Solomon Grundy? Harley Quinn (does she count separate from Joker?) Hush? Red Hood? eh. anyone past KGBeast etc i cant in good faith list. I'm certain bish & others will have more names, im interested in the arguments behind em as well. Those're the ones that come to mind easiest though. Comparitively - and i dont know that many writers addressed this before JMS - Spidey's villains are often from the same sort've totem animal kingdom his concept hails from, and while i think his early books are a pinnacle of Silver Age writing/fun, he got so, so many greats in the first dozen issues from Lee/Ditko that many writers in the decades since have had a hard time trying to build past. Its wroth noting since at this point the writing also focused on Pete's intelligence, he had a fun mix of brains & brawn in his enemies, but much more leaning towards brawn than bats'. Top tier/A-list villains: Green Goblin Doctor Octopus Sandman Venom The Scorpion Kraven the Hunter (moreso in the 80s and prior) Chameleon (anyone reading AMS right now? this is a great take on him) The Kingpin (primarily Daredevil's, sure, but theyve crossed over numerous times) Hobgoblin (arguable, but he's had some impact story-wise) 2nd stringers/JV squad Carnage (but i loved him!) Vulture Mysterio Electro (arguably the Shocker, too) Rhino (i could see an argument for top tier, at times) Morbius Tombstone Morlun Traveller & Scrier (not as much post clone-era, but this is where the book took Ravencroft in some Arkhham directions - good short stories, worth a footnote here given the context) Demogoblin? Jack-O-Lantern? eh...might be stretching it here. anyway, just wanted to get the ball rolling. What say you? Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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