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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My Favorite Villainess

Loren's post about his favorite supervillainess got me thinking about mine.

I think my favorite supervillainess in comics is probably Roulette. I like Roulette a lot. She's clever, quick on her feet and resourceful. She also has awesome taste in clothes.

I particularly like the nature of her games and how they're so often specifically designed to their victims. She does her homework and it shows.

I wasn't as big a fan of her Superbuddies appearance, but her JSA ones were gold. Her games led to some of my favorite sequences: Sand and Carter in the race for the antidote, Michael and Pieter in the Chess game to the death... She pairs up the characters for the challenges in really really interesting ways.

I think mostly what appeals to me about a villain is how much the resonate with an idea that is genuinely scary. Johnny Sorrow for example is scary for me because of his obsession and divorce from reality. The man waited decades to get revenge on the child that killed him and that revenge is more important than even summoning the elder god that is his master. He's scary because he dramatizes everything to the point where it's like he's the star of a really creepy horror movie (like say Freaks) and his motto is ultimately the show must go on. It's surreal and unreal and just...scary.

Dementor is another favorite villain for me. In his case, he's more viscerally disgusting. He looks horrific, his comments are vomit-inducing. There's something very disturbingly childish about the concept though. So simplistically evil, he's like a child's concept of the boogeyman, the monster under the bed, the weird noises coming from the parents' room at night all rolled up in one. That is not the sort of monster an adult invents. Adult monsters are human, recognizeable and familiar, if warped. Dementor is definitely, definitely not.

Roulette has a different sort of resonance for me. She's dispassionate rather than passionately obsessive or monstrous. She's the roman commander watching the Christians get torn apart by the lions. Everything's about entertainment and profit with human emotion and human life never really resonating on her radar at all. Roulette is cold, rational and in her own way far more inhuman than either Sorrow or Dementor. She's like the embodiment of a normal human's real potential for evil, when the average joe becomes so lost in greed or hedonism that they use, abuse and destroy other people in the process without feeling anything. And while you or I will probably never become a Sorrow or a Dementor, we all have a capacity for complete self-centeredness deep inside us, which, if we gave into it, could cost us our souls. We wouldn't be human anymore.

I find her interesting. And I'm particularly drawn to her interactions with Michael Holt. It's the only time, aside from speaking to her grandfather's portrait, that actual emotion ever enters into her portrayal at all. It adds an element of chaos into the mix.

7 Comments:

  • At March 14, 2007 10:38 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    Whatever would we do without good villains? How else would our favorite heroes shine?

    When I was a little kid, my favorite villainess was Malifecent from "Sleeping Beauty". Frankly, I thought she stole the show.

    Roulette is rather fun, because as nasty as she is, she does play by the rules, which is highly unnusual for a villain. And yes, Dementor is just disgusting...and I wish they'd bring him back, 'cause he's just so completely awful.

    I'm also rather intrigued by the concept of Star Sapphire, at least her original appearances. The whole "I want to dominate you...no I want to be dominated" dichotomy was pretty radical for the times. And she has the whole boot-kissing thing down so well.

     
  • At March 14, 2007 11:12 AM, Blogger Filby said…

    Roulette is a pretty interesting character and I wish they'd delve more into her relation to Mister Terrific's legacy. For instance, in the time travel story arc from just before Countdown to Infinite Crisis, we learn that she isn't Terry Sloane's granddaughter at all -- she's his loser brother Ned's. I wish they'd do something interesting with that.

    Incidentially, my favorite female villain is Tigress, 'cause she's totally rocking the double legacy thing.

    She's like the embodiment of a normal human's real potential for evil, when the average joe becomes so lost in greed or hedonism that they use, abuse and destroy other people in the process without feeling anything. And while you or I will probably never become a Sorrow or a Dementor, we all have a capacity for complete self-centeredness deep inside us, which, if we gave into it, could cost us our souls. We wouldn't be human anymore.

    I love the Jokers and the Mister Hydes -- the unthinking, pure evil villains who are there to frighten us, not to evoke our sympathy or make us look inwards -- but ultimately the villains that chill me the most are the ones that any of us could become. That's why I think the greatest villain isn't Hannibal Lector, nor Sauron, nor even Lucifer, but Bob Ewell from To Kill a Mockingbird. He represents the potential of every "normal" human to commit evil. That scares the bejeezus out of me.

     
  • At March 14, 2007 10:05 PM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    Best villianess? Bomb Queen of course, 'cause she flashes the boobies. No kidding. Don't hit!

    Cersei Lannister (Song of Ice & Fire), despite the fact that she's really BAD at being an evil mastermind, even though she thinks otherwise...

    Atia (Rome) who IS really good at the whole behind the scenes manipulation stuff. Plus seeing how much she was in love with Marc Antony was she heartbreaking...

    The Ice Queen (Fables) if only because I really want to see how she went from somewhat innocent woman taken advantage of by Jack to the supremely confidant officer to the Advesary...

    Ma Gnucci (Punisher) who didn't even let a bear mauling keep her from attempting to take out the Punisher...

    There are probably more I'm forgetting right now...

     
  • At March 15, 2007 3:11 AM, Anonymous Prodigal said…

    I just want to know when Captain Nazi is going to go after Roulette, given the whole "EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!" thing he's got going on right now with the bloodlines of the original JSA.

    I second the mention of Atia. She's a perfect product of her society, which is not a good thing.

     
  • At March 15, 2007 3:30 PM, Anonymous Matthew said…

    Who the heck is Dementor?

     
  • At March 15, 2007 3:32 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Dementor is from Beau Smith's Warrior. He's the first Vuldarian hybrid and things went a little...screwy.

    He's *fun*.

     
  • At March 16, 2007 10:58 AM, Anonymous green with wheelpower said…

    Selina Kyle and Lady Shiva because they are both more human in the actions they take, you never know whose side their on, both have also been heroic and are honorable, both are able to kick Batman's ass spectacularly, and best of all both put Bruce on uneasy ground for him: emotional which is always fun:)

    Helen Ty (RIP) Talk about somebody you love to hate!:) And we all know in RL. Bonus: she's part of the reason the Coronel's in the Eye-patch club.

    Kalinara: Plus he made Guy a women!;)

     

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