I will have blood for blood!

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DEMONA


AKA:
Angel of the Night, Dominique Destine
Born: Castle Wyvern, Scotland 938
Species:
Gargoyle (Twice Cursed)
Voiced By: Marina Sirtis
Featured In: Disney’s Gargoyles (1994-1997)

Born in the ancient past when superstition and the sword ruled, it was a time of darkness, a world of fear… it was the age of gargoyles, Demona is a twice-cursed member of this unique species of creatures featured in Disney’s Gargoyles. Gargoyles, as we come to learn throughout the series, are a race of creatures that turn to stone under the light of the sun and come to life upon its fall. Features amongst gargoyles vary amongst the many clans littered across the world but if there’s one common ground amongst them is the instilled urge to protect.

Save for Demona, the one true exception to the rule and yet one its greatest shining examples in her own twisted and cruel way. When she was young and a not yet cursed gargoyle, Demona was under the tutelage of the Archmage, a magic-user whose thirst for power and conquest would eventually lead to his downfall twice over. Originally it was because Demona expressed an interest in learning magic and does indeed possess the gift for it but the only thing she truly learned from the Archmage was the ability to read human languages, a skill that she would also pass onto her then-lover at the time Goliath.

It wasn’t until the Archmage bade her to try and steal the Phoenix Gate, a magical talisman that could allow one to traverse the streams of time itself with complete impunity, that her path towards darkness began, ironically by her own future self. Seeking a means of altering the events of the present (that is to say 1994 and onwards), Demona went to the past and tried to convince her younger self to use the Phoenix Gate to try and destroy the humans and avert the massacre that was to come at Castle Wyvern, and even went so far as to show her the remains and the then frozen in stone Goliath.

The younger Demona was not only appalled by what she had seen become of her family but of her own self and vowed to never turn into her future self and even outright attacked her. However, much as she wished otherwise, the vision of the future would not leave her and she steadily grew more and more resentful of the humans and their treatment of her kind until, ultimately, the future she saw came to pass again by her own claws.

For the one thing that the future Demona did not instill upon her younger self was that it was her own plan to try and rid Castle Wyvern of the humans that would lead to the massacre of her clan and the curse of stone sleep placed upon her beloved Goliath. Her own hatred of humanity blinded her to the fact that it was her actions that lead to the deaths of her family and was sadly not limited to Castle Wyvern. For in an act of petty thievery, Demona had scarred a young boy so horribly that he would eventually grow to become the Hunter, a man who would eventually pave the way for the genocide of the gargoyle race by he and other like-minded individuals.

Demona would eventually enter into an allegiance with a young monarch by name of Macbeth and yes, the self same Macbeth of actual history. In point of fact, the only true difference between history and the animated series is the involvement of Demona and a few other odd examples of magic. For you see, it was in the year 1040 that Demona received her first curse at the hands of the Weird Sisters, triplet daughters of King Oberon and Queen Titania of the Third Race otherwise more commonly known as the Fae Folk. Having their own agenda and plans for Macbeth and Demona, made unto the two of them a pact of sorts.

Their ages reversed so that Demona was once more in her prime and Macbeth a man in his early fifties, which in itself is not that surprising as gargoyles age significantly slower than humans, but one other “boon” had been granted to the two of them for good or for ill. Both were made immortal to Time and to Death, neither capable of being killed save by the hands of the other. To put it simply, they now shared each other’s very soul and, if they were close enough to each other, would feel each other’s pain but only by directly killing one could the other die. Completely unknowing of this at the time, Demona and Macbeth entered into a true alliance with each other and a new golden age of gargoyles and humans began.

For a time…

In another tragic twist of fate, it was Demona’s own actions that would lead to the death of her newly founded clan of gargoyles and earn her the wrath and hatred of Macbeth for the centuries to come. Eavesdropping on the king in council with one of his men, Demona incorrectly believed that Macbeth intended to betray her and her kind in the face of an approaching war with the English and so abandoned him and his people when he needed her most only for her own kind to be slain in their sleep yet again.

It was rather sad as she and Macbeth were quite close, or as close as Demona allowed herself to be with a human. Heck, it was because of Macbeth that she even got the name of “Demona” in the first place as it was gargoyle tradition (for those of the Scottish lands at least) to not have names as what better name could there be beside friend or family?

In the time between then and the awakening of Goliath and the other survivors of the massacre, Demona’s actions remain a mystery though one can make a few strong guesses as to what she was doing. In the centuries that follow, Demona more than likely increased her aptitude for magic and even allowed herself to follow mankind’s advancement in technology and becoming quite proficient in it herself though nowhere near to the same degree as she had with magic despite its afflictions upon her.

It was around this time that Demona would earn her second curse by way of the faerie known simply as Puck whom she had successfully managed to not only summon through Titania’s Mirror but actually capture and thus enslave to do her bidding. Of course, being one of the fae folk, “enslaved” is a term loosely followed and obeyed as he managed to distract Demona from her original desire to not be stone during the day. Of course, her command to destroy the human Elisa Maza was followed to the letter by turning Elisa Maza into a gargoyle.

Positively elated and completely oblivious to the fact that Puck was stressing the fact that the human Elisa was no more she bade him to do the same to all the humans in Manhattan. What followed was a series of events that, frankly, was equal parts surreal. Tired of the days’ events and of Puck himself despite his own elation at the fun he had and the desire to grant unto her a boon for it, Demona bade him to leave.

That… oh, that was a mistake… Let it be known right here and now ladies and gentlemen, if an ageless being, no matter if it be god or faerie, offers you a gift, you accept it in the most humblest of ways possible. Insulted as he was, Demona was lucky that Puck still granted her desire to not be turned to stone during the day but was horrified to discover the cause as to why. For you see, rather than remain as a gargoyle under the rays of the sun, Demona was instead made to become a human herself.

“A Hell of her own making” is far too accurate a term.

As to Demona’s greatest crime, it was without a doubt when she managed to cast a spell that turned humans to stone during the night and when she callously began murdering people at her leisure. People that were literally frozen in mid-step, arm and arm with their family, their friends, and she killed them without a second’s hesitation, blasting them, smashing them, and outright tearing them apart. Though no statistics were given, it can be assumed that the numbers come close to approaching the triple digit range considering how long the curse lasted…

Overall, Demona is considered one of my all time favorite villains because she, like so many others, has been given the chance at redemption so many times and only because of a slight twist of fate does she remain a villain still. More to the point, if the likes of Darth Vader represents fury in all its obsidian glory than it is Demona who emphasizes betrayal be it by her own hands or that of another. Demona is often a traitor and is just as often betrayed in kind that if events were to truly play out as described by series creator Greg Weisman, Demona would eventually receive an epiphany that could very well break her mentally and physically in the far future in the, unfortunately unproduced, series Gargoyles 2198.

I find your lack of faith disturbing…

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DARTH VADER


Real Name:
Anakin Skywalker
Positions: Sith Lord, Supreme Commander of the Imperial Fleet
Birthplace:
Tatooine
Species:
Human
Voiced By: James Earl Jones
Featured In:

Star Wars Episodes IV, V, VI (Canon Films)
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed I & II (“Legend” Video Game)
Star Wars: Infinity (Alternate Universe Comic Books)

Now, before I get started on this review let me make one thing perfectly clear. If it weren’t already obvious by this point I am in point of fact, a nerd. However, I am more of a fantasy buff, particularly when it comes to dragons, and while I know a fair share of information in regards to Darth Vader as seen from the original trilogy as well as the hit games Star Wars: The Force Unleashed I & II but nothing more beyond that. Yes, I’ve seen the prequels and I’ve managed to catch a fair share of the animated series but those pertain strictly to Anakin Skywalker and not Darth Vader himself, who can be argued as being an entirely different person from Anakin in the long run.

Heck, I recall a particular episode of the Clone Wars wherein Anakin foresees what he’ll become and vows to never do so only to succumb to the Dark Side then and there as a means of stopping that possible future from occurring. Of course, his memory of the future and his brief fall were wiped from his mind but the fact remains that Anakin is an entirely different individual from Darth Vader as the former sought to incapacitate his master and padawan whereas Darth Vader would have seen them killed by his own hands.

I should also mention to those that might not be aware, due to the recent acquisition of the Star Wars franchise by Disney and the beginning of the next trilogy of films, there has been a massive upheaval in what is and is not considered canon at this point in time. As of this post, everything and anything that was made prior to the acquisition is no longer canon, which includes the multitude of books, comics, and even video games.

This makes some bit of sense as a good many of said materials take place in the future that the upcoming trilogy may end up retconning by accident or intentionally. However, there was one game in particularly that I not only enjoyed playing but was a huge source of backstory for the Rebel Alliance, particularly the source of their insignia, that I cannot, and will not, ignore in my review of Darth Vader. That being said, let’s get this review started properly shall we…?

Darth Vader is one, if not the absolute, greatest film villains of all time bar none. There is hardly a person alive who has not at the very least heard of the name and the infamous breathing sound accompanying his presence. His long list of crimes against life, never mind the galaxy that he calls home, is so long that it could likely cover an entire sheathes worth of paper ten times over and that’s from before the canon debacle mind you. If I were to count the major ones however…

Well, one could argue that prior to his full transformation into Darth Vader, infamous helmet and all, it would be his murdering of innocent younglings – children— of the Jedi Order because of his succumbing fully to the Dark Side of the Force and believing Emperor Palpatine could ensure that his visions of his wife Padme’s death would never come to pass. Ironically, it was this action and his attacking her himself that would lead to Padme dying from a broken heart.

Which I call complete and utter BS on considering we’re talking about a society where robotic prosthetics were all over the bloody place and one could special order an army of freaking clone soldiers. That and I’m sorry but she didn’t have the heart to live? Not even for her two children whom she had just given birth to and could only bring herself to live long enough to name them?! PLEASE!

… Sorry. That and a few other… moments… in the prequels still irk me to this day… Where was I? Ah yes…

As Darth Vader proper however, I believe that the greatest crime that Darth Vader committed was the destruction of Alderaan. True, it can be argued that he did not make the decision himself but it was well within his power to stop it seeing as he is the Emperor’s Right Hand as it were. It should also be mentioned that Alderaan, at its prime, was considered as the Heart of the Republic and, at the time of its destruction, had roughly two billion people living on it.

In a single instant, Darth Vader was responsible for the death of two billion people. No one mortal man, not one in fiction or fact, can make this claim.

Then there’s the whole affair with one Galen Marek, Darth Vader’s “secret apprentice” as he is often called despite his much more awesome call-sign of Starkiller. Having discovered the young boy when he was hunting for Jedi when who had survived Order 66, Darth Vader was surprised by the boy’s skill with the Force, as it was powerful enough to actually steal Darth Vader’s lightsaber straight from the man’s own hands, and so took him on as an apprentice. He even went so far as to kill his own people to ensure the boy’s safety and secrecy from the Emperor. A boy who would eventually grow to be so powerful that he could literally rip Star Destroyers straight out of the sky and still had a difficult time besting his master.

There’s not enough Holy Sugar Honey Iced Tea in the entire galaxy for how utterly terrifying that thought is.

Yet… there is one particular aspect to Darth Vader’s character that is almost as prominent as his evil and his power. His redemption. It was his love for his wife and fear of her death that drove Anakin to the Dark Side of the Force but it was those same emotions in regards to his children that would actually save him in the very end. Though I’m loath to say that it forgives him for all the crimes he committed willingly and at times gladly in service of the Empire.

Heck, in a particularly interesting mini-series of comics that takes place in the original trilogy of films, the ways that Darth Vader is redeemed is taken to the extreme. A word of warning before I proceed though, there will be SPOILERS AHEAD. If you’d rather not have this occur then I suggest you skip down to the absolute last paragraph for the wrap-up.

This series, called Star Wars Infinities, each consider an interesting key moment in the series occurring differently. In the case of Episode IV, what if Luke failed to destroy the Death Star? That story lead to Leia not only being captured but being turned into a Sith by Darth Vader himself but upon the revelation that he had done so to his own daughter, torturing her both physically and mentally, redeemed him at the end as he fought against the Emperor long enough for Yoda to come crashing in via the Death Star.

No joke. Seriously, look up those issues, it was amazing in so many ways.

Of course, the fun doesn’t stop there, oh no. For the following Episode V, the key moment that’s changed is Luke actually dying on Hoth and, as a result, Leia ends up becoming a Jedi herself. What makes it rather distressing is that Darth Vader, despite hearing rumors of Luke’s death on Hoth refuses to accept it being true as he senses Leia’s growing prowess with the Force and thus mistakes her familiar presence for Luke and so grows more and more determined to find Luke, going so far as to wipe out Cloud City in the process. I don’t know whether it was the art style or not but I really like Leia’s Jedi outfit and her far more sensible hairstyle as well.

Seriously, this what-if comic made me almost wish that it had been canon because, as good a Jedi as Luke is, Leia was honestly much better at it for how short a time she had being one.

As to the Episode VI the what-if changes comes two-fold. First and foremost due to Jabba’s rough handling of him, C-3PO literally loses his head and thus the confrontation with a disguised Leia goes south so unbelievably quick it’s downright scary. The second part is Han Solo becoming blind due to an errant blaster bolt striking him while he was still otherwise “on ice.” During the infamous confrontation on the Death Star II, Leia is present and the revelation of her and Luke’s relation in made clear to Vader who though he fights Luke, cannot bring himself to harm either of his children.

What makes this a particularly interesting alteration though is that due to the Death Star II coming apart at the seams via an attack by the Rebels, Palpatine makes for a secret escape and though Darth Vader lies injured and alive, it is Leia who insists on taking the time to save him not Luke. True, the boy might have said something to that affect but considering Leia, of all people, beat him to the punch… This altered Episode ends though in a spectacularly out-of-left-field way in that Darth Vader not only survives, along with the Emperor, but he actually joins with the Rebels and still retains his awesome armor now redone in a shining white.

Y’know, say what you will of that idea die-hard fans but the idea of a literal “white knight” Vader… yeah, okay, that’s a little too much all considering but dang if that wouldn’t be an awesome fight of good versus evil right there…

All in all, Darth Vader is my fourth favorite villain because… well, to be honest, because he and numbers three, two, and yes, even one, are all virtually tied with one another for one reason or another as all four are dictionary definitions of villainy at its absolute worst to varying degrees from frightening vile to horrifically cruel. Darth Vader earns his place at number four not because he falls lesser than the remaining three but because… Well, to be honest, it is a tongue-in-cheek nod towards his premiere film in the Star Wars original trilogy and nothing less than that.

 

 

My name is Legion, for we are many…

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LEGION


Height: 140 Meters
Length:
160 Meters
Weight:
600 Tons
Featured In:
Gamera 2: Advent of Legion

There have been many daikaiju –giant monsters— throughout Japan’s long history of film be they simple one-shot villains from a televised series or those who are fortunate enough to star on the silver screen. While I have not seen every film, I have seen virtually all of the Godzilla and Gamera films to date bar one or two exceptionally rare examples from both series. While it is true that Godzilla has featured many a vicious and otherwise otherworldly foe hell bent on destruction, most of those monsters are those either controlled or purposefully created as a weapon.

In the case of Gamera and his adversaries, most of his foes are monsters that are purposefully geared towards the destruction of mankind itself, the Gyaos being the most prominent example of this. However, there was one foe in particular that Gamera faced that unlike any other foe he, or even Godzilla, had faced before was not bent towards destruction of Earth and its people. Instead, this monster’s sole purpose was the continuing spread of its species throughout the entire galaxy.

Given the name of Legion by a lone soldier who noted how tightly the swarm of drones worked together to combat against Gamera despite being all of three meters tall to his eighty, the Legion are one of the most unique alien life-forms I’ve ever seen in fiction bar none. Possessing a body structure made up of silicon, the Legion’s bodies are virtually hollow and possess no muscular structure and actually move their bodies via a unique form of gaseous pressure systems. They communicate with each other through electromagnetic waves and are drawn to large cities because of this as they see electromagnetic devices, such as radios or cellphones, as an enemy hive seeking to interfere with their communications and will stop at nothing to destroy it even if it means their deaths in the process.

What make the Legion especially dangerous however are their digestive processes of eating/creating silicon that, in turn, creates massive amounts of oxygen in the air. The Legion does this because they share a symbiotic relationship with a species of plant that has the most destructive form of reproduction bar none. Though given no official name in the film, I’ve come to call these plants as Supernova because they spread their one solitary seedpod, which in turn carries a limited number of actual seedlings and an egg of a Queen Legion, into space via self-destructing.

The resulting fireball, which had been shown only once in the film via Gamera’s failure to stop the explosion but prevent the seed itself from escaping the atmosphere by blocking its path with his own body, leveled the city of Sendai, a city that according to Wikipedia has an area of about 304.28 square miles. This would mean that the resulting explosion would have to have at least 112 megatons of force.

Gamera 2 - Attack of Legion (1996) (SRT)_Mar 23, 2015, 11.17.30 AM

The Legion themselves breed incredibly quickly thanks to its solitary Queen who gives birth to over a hundred of them a day via a massive ovary chamber on her abdomen. While the smaller drones can be dealt with by small weapons fire, as one was easily dispatched via a handgun to its softer joints and thus making it lose its internal gases and die, the Queen has far more durable armor and a range of abilities that border on the obscene.

To start with, the Queen posses a nasal horn that whence combined with the smaller legs around its upper torso can create an electromagnetic field capable of withstanding Gamera’s fireballs. Fireballs that, being made of plasma, have a temperature range of around 3.6 million degrees Fahrenheit.

Just so you all know, that’s hotter than the surface of the freaking sun.

The Queen Legion’s nasal horn can also be used to create a burst of focused microwaves capable of puncturing through Gamera’s shell and give a resulting explosion capable of wiping out an entire battalion line of tanks with but a few blasts. This usage also results in the nasal horn being extremely hot, easily burning Gamera’s hands when he managed to tear the thing off the Queen Legion’s face.

Unfortunately, this made the Queen Legion not only furious, but far stronger as a result. Without the limitations of the nasal horn, the Queen Legion is able to utilize a small series of tendrils that can be superheated to such extreme temperatures that they rival that of Gamera’s own fiery breath, easily piercing and slicing through anything in their path.

Gamera 2 - Attack of Legion (1996) (SRT)_Mar 23, 2015, 11.21.12 AM

There is no argument that while the Legion drones are dumb as bricks, easily being fooled into attacking an electrical facility rather than obeying their Queen’s orders to combat Gamera, the Queen herself is extremely intelligent. With the failure of the first Supernova seed’s launch and her drones inability to destroy the interloper Gamera, the Queen personally stopped Gamera from interfering with the second one but failed to realize his own “never say die” attitude when he sacrificed himself to prevent the seed’s launch into space but not the resulting explosion. Taking matters into her own claws, the Queen personally led the charge to the next site for the seedling’s plantation, intending to guard and protect it herself until its time to launch was at hand.

Gamera 2 - Attack of Legion (1996) (SRT)_Mar 23, 2015, 11.20.50 AM

In the end, it took Gamera absorbing the mana fields, the energies of the Earth itself, to convert his own internal plasma furnace into a freaking cannon that completely obliterated the Queen Legion. Of course, whether or not Gamera would have done this prior to the breaking/loss of his connection to humanity remains unclear as the resulting loss of mana in the atmosphere of the Earth would soon result in a massive outbreak of the Gyaos across the entire planet…

There have been many alien life forms in fiction that have invaded Earth for insidious and outright villainous purposes but none to the degree of the Legion. These creatures are not seeking domination or even the destruction of other species but the continual spread of their own across the vastness of space, regardless of the destruction and death that their spread leaves on entire worlds.

Temporary Hiatus

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Greetings and salutations my dear readers. I’m sorry to say that once more I find myself in something of a deadlock when it comes to my remaining favorite villains and, with some recent research, find myself hard-pressed to even consider some of my choices. To my chagrin, a good few of the top tier consisted of villains who had either redeemed themselves at the end of their stories or were something of a Severus Snape insomuch that we presumed them to be evil only to find out that they were better than even the greatest of heroes.

Before anyone asks, no I did not consider Snape as one my favorite villains. Itachi Uchiha on the other hand… Anyway, as I’m in a bit of a conundrum at the moment, the next update to my Top Ten Villains countdown shall continue either this coming Friday at the earliest or next Monday at the latest.

Until the next update my dear dear readers.

For science…

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GLaDOS


Full Title:
Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System
Property/Overseer of:
Aperture Science Enrichment Center
Personality Derived From:
Caroline
Activated: April 23, 1998
Featured In:
Portal 1 & 2
Voiced By: Ellen McLain

It has been a longstanding belief that one of the most likely causes of mankind’s Armageddon is through a war with robotic lifeforms and/or from artificial intelligences that question both their existence and our own upon this planet. Ironic though it might be, it was a professor of biochemistry and novelist, Isaac Asimov, who coined the popular “Three Laws of Robotics” which states:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

However, there are actual laws currently in place towards robotics and even artificial intelligences as crafted by two distinctive councils hailing from Great Britain. The Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPRSC) and the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) have together published initially a set of five principles in 2011 with an additional sixth added in 2013 that states:

  1. Robots should not be designed solely or primarily to kill or harm humans.
  2. Humans, not robots, are responsible agents. Robots are tools designed to achieve human goals.
  3. Robots should be designed in ways that assure their safety and security.
  4. Robots are artifacts; they should not be designed to exploit vulnerable users by evoking an emotional response or dependency. It should always be possible to tell a robot from a human.
  5. It should always be possible to find out who is legally responsible for a robot.
  6. All robots endowed with comparable human reason and conscience should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Looking at them now… I’m so sure that Rule Two isn’t going to come back and bite us all in the behinds never mind that last one…

Anyway, on to my main point, the thing about villains of a robotic design or persuasion is that they are, oftentimes, more human than the respected heroes trying to combat against them. In the case of GLaDOS, that’s disturbingly accurate as it is quite likely that she, and several other personality cores found in both Portal games, were derived from real living people. And by derived I mean likely having their minds plugged into the hardware via disgusting examples of science at its worst.

The place that created her, Aperture Science, is a company found by one Cave Johnson with the sole purpose of creating shower curtains. Yeah, no joke, the place was originally called Aperture Fixtures before being renamed and relocated in 1947 and their focus went straight to creating scientific devices and contraptions that landed them second in the running for highest military contractor in the early 1950’s. However… due either to Cave’s eccentricities, or the severe lack of human ethics he and his scientists portrayed to test subjects, money became a huge issue and Aperture Science changed its test subjects from highly paid and highly sought after war heroes and Olympians to forcibly making the low ranked employees participate.

It didn’t help that due to the testing of moon rocks for the use of a portal device, Cave Johnson became so terminally ill that he ordered that his chief assistant, a Miss Caroline, be made in charge of the facility, including having her consciousness be placed in the Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System.

Whether she wanted to or not.

Despite GLaDOS showing clear signs of vicious and outright murderous behaviors in initial start up tests, she was fully activated and granted near complete access to the entirety of the Enrichment Center wherein she promptly killed off over 90% of the occupants inside with neurotoxin. Save for one scientist by the name of Rattman who managed to hide himself away in the back walls of the facility. It is also highly likely that GLaDOS ensured that the visiting families, including women and children, were put into stasis to be used as test subjects later on.

What makes this event particularly disheartening is the idea that GLaDOS was not only a human being prior to being activated but that she was in fact limited to what she could do by her creators and still managed to nearly wipe them all out. These limitations come in the form of various personality cores that are, in effect, literal embodiments of certain personality types ranging from anger, to morality, to obsessions over space and adventure. Without them, GLaDOS is surprisingly more human sounding in both voice and mannerisms.

Slightly mad both emotionally and mentally, and more than a little narcissistic and mean-spirited but human nonetheless.

Being the operating system behind the entirety of the Aperture Science Enrichment Center, GLaDOS doesn’t necessarily have minions so much as the both the entirety of the facility and anything created within it, primarily these wee little things aptly named as turrets. Weird little buggers that despite having legs don’t seem capable of moving or emoting some seriously odd bits of dialogue even while they’re attempting to kill you. Aside from them, GLaDOS can reshape the facility’s vast testing chambers as she sees fit and can create near impossible mazes and obstacles to hinder people from reaching her and shutting her down permanently.

GLaDOS has only one focus, one drive, towards everything she does and that’s the completion of scientific experiments, particularly those that test the ingenuity and capabilities of sentient, or near sentient, test subjects. In this case, it was one mute young woman by name of Chell who not only beat the murderous AI, but she also managed to inadvertently restore her back to life in the game’s sequel thanks in no small part to a distinctively eccentric personality core by name of Wheatley.

Though, to be fair, it is because of Wheatley that we not only discover the truth of GLaDOS’ origins but the likely source of her psychosis in the first place. Her “body,” or at least her chassis’ hardware, is geared towards testing to such a high degree that even when if she wanted to do anything else, she has to test. She has to or she will literally drive herself even further insane than she already is. Though she concluded that the easiest solution to ridding herself of Chell was to simply let her go, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a sequel is made revealing the fact that GLaDOS simply cannot survive without her.

WHERE IS YOUR MAGIC?!

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LORD TIREK


Former Resident of:
The Badlands
Prisoner of:
Tartarus
Featured In: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Voiced By:
Mark Acheson

I’ll admit it, I tried my best to stay strong against the rising tide. I stood back as my favored artists, they whose works of art are the stuff of monsters and horrors, fell to drawing fan art of the show. I even did my best to try and ignore the rising number of fan made videos, music or otherwise, that were increasingly piling up by the day on Youtube. Then, one dark and dreary day, I succumbed to temptation and watched a single episode.

And in that episode there was a villain… A villain played by none other than John de Lancie.

John de Lancie.

To those of you of the science fiction community, you are no doubt aware of precisely who that is but for those who don’t, let me paint a brief picture.

FREAKING Q FROM STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION! The character was, essentially, a cartoon version of Q right down to base attitudes and as such was later on redeemed and turned to the side of good in a later season. Yet, I thought to myself, how in the heck could they afford the likes of John de Lancie for a season two premiere villain? One that would, in all likeliness, never show up again?

The likeliest of answers was that somehow, this cartoon show specifically geared towards younger audiences, particularly of those of the female persuasion, was doing something different than others of its ilk. It was a show for kids but one that was touching the hearts and imaginations of adults, of those who remember a time when Saturday mornings were worth getting up early for, when the weekday afternoons following school were lined up with dozens of animated reprieves from the hardships of learning.

That and they had Lauren Faust as the executive producer and creative developer for the opening seasons. The same Lauren Faust who created such animated marvels like The Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and was even an animator for such films as The Iron Giant and Cats Don’t Dance.

Success was all but guaranteed by her inclusion but no one, not a single person, could have predicted the rise that it would have.

I myself am what the fandom of the series proclaims as a “casual brony.” Do I like the animated series? Yes, I do save for a few face-palming episodes and equally annoying characters. Do I enjoy the works of the fans? The occasional, surprisingly well written, fanfiction yes but I find the true gems are those few fan made animated works. Seriously, if anyone has a doubt as to how much work and imagination this series can inspire, simply check out Children of the Night and/or Fall of the Crystal Empire. These were made for fans by fans and the amount of effort involved is equal to that of the mainstream series.

Now, on to the main point of this review, one Lord Tirek… as of now, his true origins remain rather vague as the comic mini-series entitled Fiendship is Magic, will be released later this summer. That’s not to say that we don’t get a fair gleam to his character’s backstory in the show itself. Tirek and his brother Scorpan, a chimeric looking creature, arrive to the land of Equestria from a “distant country” most likely being the Badlands with Tirek seeking to conquer and devour all magic. His brother however grows to actually care for the pony denizens and warns the ruling princesses of the sun and moon, Celestia and Luna respectively, of Tirek’s plans. Thankfully, the two sisters were stronger than Tirek and managed to not only subdue him but imprison him into the heart of Tartarus.

Tartarus. The Greek equivalent of every circle of Hell itself all rolled up into one package.

I know what you’re thinking: this is a kid’s show, right?

WRONG!

Although he appears to be a centaur, if not a rather demonic looking one, Tirek is no such humble creature of honor or valor. He is a literal monster hellbent on dominion and will stop at nothing to get what he wants and what he wants more than anything else is power. For you see dear readers, Tirek has a horrific ability unlike any other creature seen before. Tirek can eat the magic out of creatures. In the case of ponies, this process not only robs them of their… ugh… cutie marks (seriously hate that term) but turns them into literal husks of themselves, incapable of doing much of anything besides laying where they fall and waiting to die.

Yeah, this is as much a kid’s show as freaking Game of Thrones is fit to be aired on public television…

To make matters worse, the more magic that Tirek devours, the more of it he can eat at a time, going from a single pony at a time to entire crowds at once. It is because of this one weakness that he was unable to defeat Celestia and Luna in the past as they, being alicorns, possessed more magic than he in his weaker form could absorb. However, thanks the rise of pony population in the time since he was imprisoned, Tirek was able to attain enough magic to take those of the princesses, including one other princess by name of Candance of the Crystal Empire, only to discover that their magic was already gone, given to the newest alicorn to join their kind, Twilight Sparkle.

A brief moment here to speak of alicorns for those who’ve never heard of such a creature before… Alicorn is actually the term referring to what the horn upon a unicorn’s head is made of but by increasing fan usage in the early seasons, it was later adopted to refer to those ponies who possess both the wings of a Pegasus and the horn of a Unicorn. These alicorns are all princesses of their respected realms and command enough power to be literal gods on earth. Celestia and Luna themselves are responsible for the movement of the sun and moon respectively.

Now, imagine their power plus one another crammed into one who has yet to fully realize her potential as an alicorn…

Yeah, there was much hilarity to be found there before comedy turned swiftly to tragedy. Having learned of Twilight’s existence and her love of her friends, Tirek had Discord, whom he had tricked into aiding him by way of making him feel as though he had been tricked into being a good guy, capture them and absorb their magic. Followed shortly by absorbing Discord’s magic as well.

Discord. The guy who is literally chaos incarnate who with but a snap of his fingers can make the sky turn green and the grass into a checkerboard field whilst ballerina dancing buffalo tiptoe by. The same person who conjures up a glass of chocolate milk only to drink the glass and toss the remaining milk aside to watch as it explodes with the same force of a stick of TNT. That’s not an exaggeration either, that’s just a few of the things he does in his premiere episodes.

With this, Tirek was more than enough to handle Twilight Sparkle’s increased magic power. In point of fact… rather than talk of how Tirek is defeated or of the fight itself… How’s about you all go and watch this video and tell me again how this is supposed to be a kid’s show.

There are also those who desired this disastrous outcome…

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GENDO IKARI


Rank: Commander of NERV
Featured In: Neon Genesis Evangelion
Voiced By:
Tristan MacAvery (Original ADV Series)

Out of the many villains that I know of, the ones that I abhor the most are those who are outright monsters to their children be they of their own flesh and blood or not. It is one of the reasons that I loathe the likes of characters like Lady Tremaine (Cinderella) and Mother Gothel (Tangled), because of cruel they are to their respected daughters but both are pale in comparison to the inhuman monster that is one Gendo Ikari.

Yet, before I can truly begin with Gendo Ikari’s crimes, I must first, however briefly, explain the mythos behind the series Neon Genesis Evangelion. Please note that this explanation is a very basic rundown of facts that can otherwise be read in further detail at EvaGeeks.org so please head there for further clarification.

To begin with, life, as we know it, did not occur naturally in the Milky Way Galaxy. A progenitor race, known simply as the First Ancestral Race (FAR), were beings of such great knowledge and power that they doomed themselves to extinction but rather than allow their race to be forgotten amongst the annals of time they created seven “Seeds of Life” to spread across the Milky Way Galaxy. These Seeds contained, in essence, a soul of a FAR within it alongside a “Fruit.” These Fruits are the Fruits of Knowledge, which led to the creation of mankind, and the Fruit of Power, the Angels. The FAR were the only species that had possessed both these Fruits and as it led to their own downfall, purposefully intended that no other race following them should have them as well.

These Seeds were spread through the galaxy within their respected “Moons,” which also contained within them a means of control/stopping a rogue Seed (The Spear of Longinus) and instructions behind their usage (the Dead Sea Scrolls). It was by pure chance that two Moons, one containing Power and the other Knowledge, landed on Earth and began the downward spiral that is Neon Genesis Evangelion.

An organization known simply as SEELE, having found and interpreted the Dead Sea Scrolls incorrectly assumed that the human race was doomed to an existence of evolutionary stagnation. That humankind would remain as we are and never progress beyond our current capabilities, and that we must create our own evolution by force if necessary.

Unfortunately, the core of SEELE, an organization the likes of which makes such secretive groups as the Illuminati look like a bunch of inexperienced rookies by comparison, control most if not the entirety of the major powers across the world, including the United Nations. Their plan, aptly entitled as the Human Instrumentality Project, basically involves all of mankind rejoining the Black Moon from whence we originated and becoming a new entity that is essentially a whole individual composed of the entirety of mankind.

Of course, in one of the video games released that is questionably canon, it goes a step further in that the core members only would become as one and inhabit the body of an Evangelion whilst the rest of mankind would simply cease to exist and thus ensure that one sole testament to the human race would forever remain throughout the annals of time.

That’s… not even a nutshell of what’s going on in Neon Genesis Evangelion but that’s the basics needed to comprehend just how utterly insane and depraved Gendo Ikari is. See, the titular Evangelions themselves are biomechanical weapons used firstly to combat the Angels, the children of Adam the “White Moon” that was originally intended to have Earth before the “Black Moon” containing Lilith crash landed, and as a means of starting Third Impact AKA Human Instrumentality. Unfortunately, there is one necessary thing for an Evangelion Unit to function…

A human soul.

For those who’ve watched the series, you are no doubt already aware of this but for those who have not, allow me a moment to explain. The first Evangelion to be truly created, though it was still technically not even ¼ finished at the time, was Unit 01, the one piloted by Gendo’s son Shinji. During its pilot/activation test, Unit 01 absorbed Gendo’s wife and Shinji’s mother, Yui Ikari, into itself and there begins the insanity that is Gendo’s motivations throughout the series.

Though it has been argued as to whether or not Gendo initially approached Yui for her connections to Seele (as supposedly she is a daughter of a prominent member of the group), it cannot be argued that Gendo loves her. Loves her so much that he was more than willing to sacrifice everything and everyone on Earth just to be reunited with her.

In chronological order of his more prominent crimes following the “death” of his wife, Yui… Gendo abandons his then slightly traumatized son, who had witnessed the accident alongside his father, to live with an assigned caretaker (a teacher or somewhat close relative depending on the source material). Gendo then creates an artificial hybrid clone: Rei Ayanami. He sees Rei strictly as a tool to craft his own Third Impact to reunite himself with Yui but because of this, her loyalty to him is paramount above all others. To make matters worse, and unbelievably awkward for Shinji, Rei is a hybrid of both Lilith and Gendo’s wife and essentially looks like an albino version of her with blue hair but that’s neither here nor there.

Gendo also begins a “relationship” with prominent scientist Naoko Akagi, a relationship that is entirely physical on his part. Naoko, knowing this and had secretly been lusting after him even when Yui was still alive (though why I still can’t figure out), willingly does but is driven insane by a young Rei informing her of the truth of Gendo’s feelings towards Naoko, calling her an “old hag” that no longer has a purpose to his agenda.

These words, and Rei’s likeness to Yui, was more than enough to drive Naoko insane and drive the woman to strangle Rei to death before committing suicide herself. Though never outright stated or confirmed, it is a fan consensus that the soul within Unit 00, Rei Ayanami’s Evangelion, is in fact Naoko Akagi and that the issues that initially arise with it were planned by Gendo as a means of strengthening Rei’s loyalty to him.

Following this, like almost the day after the funeral, Gendo begins another purely sexual relationship with Naoko’s daughter Ritsuko and she in turn becomes privy to his plans as chief scientist of Nerv, even being the driving force behind the creation of the Dummy Plug System, a means of artificially piloting the Evangelions specifically Unit 01.

Unfortunately, much like her mother, Ritsuko has similar feelings of jealousy and hatred towards Rei Ayanmi (both the II and III clones) and has even come close to killing Rei on more than one occasion. In the end, Ritsuko attempts to stop Gendo’s plans by blowing up NERV headquarters but is, sadly, stopped by the three-part computer system based on her mother’s personalities as a woman, a scientist, and a mother.

Ironically enough it was the “woman” aspect that sided with Gendo and allowed him to shoot Ritsuko dead where she stood.

There was also the fact that, in order to initiate Third Impact, Gendo had the embryonic form of Adam grafted into his freaking hand! The thing was not only alive, it is likely more intelligent and sentient than us! Do any of you have any idea how disgusting a thought that is never mind actually seeing it? It and its still functioning and moving eyeball?!

Yet… of all the many crimes that Gendo is guilty of, chief amongst them is his treatment of Shinji, specifically Gendo purposefully breaking Shinji’s confidence and using him as a means to an end. Throughout the main series, there are moments wherein Gendo purposefully strengthens Shinji’s sense of self worth only to tear the ground right out from under him, putting the boy in enough emotional and mental turmoil that I’m surprised it took as long as it did for Shinji to snap and yet still be a more dignified human being than his own father.

There was a time when he truly loved his son, and that his initial reasons for abandoning him was for fear of what he may do more harm than good caring for the boy himself, but those sentiments are all but ash and dust nearing Third Impact.

Though in the end, Gendo’s plans end up crashing down all around him as Third Impact began with the focus, the choice of where humanity would go from there, being placed in his son’s hands, we can at least assume that his dream was either realized or failed miserably. Honestly, the only thing that gives a me a greater headache than figuring out the mechanics and mythos behind Neon Genesis Evangelion is time travel and that is only a slight margin…

The era of bending is over! A new era of equality has begun!

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AMON


Real Name:
Noatak
Leader of:
The Equalists
Featured In: The Legend of Korra
Voiced By:
Steve Blum

Of the many villains throughout the series Avatar: The Last Airbender and its sequel series Legend of Korra, Amon has always been a particular favorite of mine strictly for the reason that he, above all the other “boss” villains throughout the seasons of TLK, has the most justifiable reasons for his actions, extreme though they are.

Amon, born Noatak of the Northern Water Tribe and eldest son to the former crime boss Yakone, had a firm belief in equality and fairness even as a young child especially when in defense of his younger brother, Tarrlok. When he and his brother were revealed to be waterbenders, their father took them out on “hunting trips” during the full moon to fervently train them in the darkest aspect of waterbending; bloodbending. Having his bending stripped from him by Avatar Aang, Yakkone sought vengeance on him through his two sons, particularly in Noatak who quickly demonstrated the same, and eventually greater, proficiency for an aspect of bloodbending known simple as “psychic bloodbending.”

This aspect, despite its name, refers more to the fact that a sufficiently capable bloodbender can utilize their bloodbending without any of the usual combat forms or motions. Noatak not only proved to be quite adept at this, he was even strong enough to out bloodbend his own brother during a duel enforced by their father, one that Tarrlok refused to take part in and would have been punished for had Noatak not intervened. He offered his brother the chance to escape and start a new life away from Yakone but Tarrlok declined stating his concerns for their mother. Disappointed in his brother, Noatak left and began his revolution.

As Amon, he had created a clever backstory of having been part of a poor family whose monetary issues were further troubled by the infernal leanings of a firebender. A firebender that soon murdered his family in front of him and left his face badly scarred as a result, thus forcing him to wear his infamous mask. Amon was surprisingly clever with his deception insomuch that he actually used make up to create said scarring though it, rather unfortunately, washes off quite easily in seawater.

This was actually how the truth of Amon was revealed by way of sending him into the drink where he had to save himself from drowning via waterbending. It wouldn’t have been so bad if he hadn’t ended up revealing himself to nearly all of his followers who summarily surrendered/laid down their arms as a result. Reclaiming his brother, whom he had imprisoned at the time, Amon made to escape Republic City via speedboat and proclaimed that he truly had no one left in the world but his brother. Tarrlok agreed shortly before setting off an explosion that destroyed the boat and ended the threat of Amon once and for all.

Amon’s rise to power amongst the Equalists is one the things that makes him especially dangerous as an individual. He is a strong, charismatic public speaker that was able to both awe and terrify the crowds with mere words and the slightest of actions. He was able to not only amass most, if not the entirety, of Republic City’s non-bender populace on his side but was able to train them in the arts of chi-blocking and various other martial arts geared towards paralyzing and temporarily halting bending abilities. Heck, he was even able to sway the likes of a mechanical tycoon to arm his forces with the latest of steampunk-styled weaponry, most of which he gave to his aptly named Lieutenant.

The Lieutenant was a nameless individual who was quoted as having devoted most of his life to Amon’s cause and was a master chi-blocker and heavily armed combatant wielding a pair of electrified tonfa and other such devices upon his person. Yet, when he saw for himself that Amon was in fact a waterbender, the Lieutenant realized that all of Amon’s work had been built on lies and that he had been working for the very thing he had been trying to fight all this time. Unfortunately, as well armed and experienced as the Lieutenant was, he could not stand up against Amon’s bloodbending abilities and though he was not killed, he was never seen or heard from again throughout the rest of the series.

In the grand scheme of benders shown in the Avatar universe Amon is… I’d wager amongst the top three most powerful benders. That’s of course not taking account the actual good guys who can kick most of their collective behinds but that’s besides the point. Amon is the only villain throughout the series to have attained his skills through his own merits and through rigorous if not ill-intended training. Ozai had his comet. Korra’s uncle had the Spirit of Darkness and Chaos and Zaheer… I call hax on so many levels. I don’t care how much he dedicated his life to the teachings of the airbenders, you do not get to be that level in as short a time as he had.

Being a bloodbender capable of using his skills outside the full moon is a feat in itself but Amon was able to bloodbend other benders, including Avatar Korra. In point of fact, he demonstrated a level that even Katara and her teacher didn’t demonstrate when bloodbending was first introduced in the series, the ability to levitate an individual via bloodbending. Again, Amon was capable of doing this outside the full moon, which begs the question…

Just what could he be capable of under moonlight?

The world would never know and I suppose is all the better for it…

Ohh… crazy, but it feels alright…

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HARLEY QUINN


Real Name:
Harleen Quinzel
Titles:
The Joker’s Doll
Featured In: DC Animated Universe
Eisner and Harvey Award Winning Story: Mad Love
Created By:
Paul Dini & Bruce Timm
Voiced By:
Arleen Sorkin

Oh Harley… Of all the villains I know of, Harley Quinn is easily amongst the top to have most, if not all, of my sympathy. But before I truly begin this review, allow me to briefly go over Harley’s origin story. Not her in story one but rather what led to her creation firstly in the animated series that would make her the first animated character to be incorporated into a mainstream comic book series. Not wanting to delve into the degraded cesspool that is the Joker’s soul, writers Paul Dini and Bruce Timm wanted to try and humanize the least human of Batman’s villains and thus created a character that inexplicably adores him and has something of a relationship with him.

Harley’s design and character were entirely based on her voice actress, Arleen Sorkin, a friend of Paul Dini who was inspired by a dream sequence in her soap opera series Days of Our Lives wherein she was dressed up in a jester’s outfit. He even admits that she, surprisingly, still speaks to him despite this. As to Harley’s signature pop gun, it was actually inspired by a long forgotten toy from Japan, one that was brought back to the studio and played with by some of the crew.

As to her actual in story origin, Harley, then Doctor Harleen Quinzel M.D., had started out as a… questionably high graded psychiatrist, and began her career in an internship at Arkham Asylum. The same asylum that I’m more than sure is cursed several times over and should have been condemned and torn down the first time there was a mass breakout. But I digress.

For her first true psychiatric patient, Harleen made the poor choice of the Joker not for fame or for glory as Arkham’s head psychiatrist Doctor Leland presumed but because Harleen has “an attraction to extreme personalities.” Ironically enough, she stated this whilst glancing over not at the Joker’s cell but at Poison Ivy’s but more on that later.

The Joker, knowing almost instantly that she was a novice psychologist was able to read her like a book and played her like a fiddle. In his sessions with her, he told lies of an abusive childhood by a cruel and uncaring father and his attempts at comedy that only earned him a punch in the face for it. He made her cry as often as he made her laugh and it was largely her own sympathy for him.

Scarily enough, it was the Joker himself who properly diagnosed Harleen’s attraction towards him stating that with her being a career orientated woman, she had abstained from any truly fun things. That it was only “natural” that she would become attracted to someone who could make her laugh again. It wasn’t until after the Joker had escaped for a weeklong crime/killing spree that Harleen’s sanity broke upon witnessing a severely beaten and bloodied Joker was dragged back to Arkham Asylum by Batman. Raiding a local costumes and gimmicks shop, she went and “rescued” the Joker with announcement that she was now, well and truly, Harley Quinn.

Harley’s insanity is… questionable at best… There a moments, plenty of them in fact, where she seems to be and well truly sane, particularly when the Joker is not involved, and was even once paroled by Arkham. In point of fact, in that same episode she only ended up back in Arkham because of a long series of unfortunate events that led to her being chased by Batman, the police, local gangsters, and the freaking army general via a tank.

Yet, in that same episode, Harley couldn’t quite grasp why, during her earlier romp through the city, people were freaking out at the sight of her. She actually thought it was because of her outdated clothing and didn’t even think to consider it was the fact that she was literally being pull on her rollerblades by Bud and Lou, a pair of hyenas.

When the Joker is involved however… Now, I am no psychologist and most of what I know I learned from my one psychology class in college, various crime drama shows, and errant treks through Wikipedia but… for all intents and purposes, Harley is a sufferer of domestic violence, specifically under the category of “intimate terrorism.” To quote Wikipedia, intimate terrorism occurs when one partner in a relationship uses coercive control and power over the other partner, using threats, intimidation, and isolation.

The Joker has done all this and more, particularly closer towards his “end” wherein he became so physically abusive towards Harley that she would have well and truly died if it weren’t for her one and only friend, Pamela Isley otherwise known as Poison Ivy.

Harley and Ivy’s relationship is… it’s… I have no idea actually. Many artwork that portrays these two, like the one above, strongly hint towards something more than mere friendship between these two but it has never been delved in too deeply in the show as certain lines weren’t ready to be crossed. In a cartoon series that featured actual guns, death, and extreme violence, that’s… really ironic and sad at the same time but I digress.

Harley freely admits that Ivy is her best friend and that Ivy surely must consider her the same way. Ivy though… Yeah, she considers Harley her best friend too despite how annoying Harley’s bubbly personality can be for her. It has been shown numerous times that Ivy will go out of her way to aid and even protect Harley, even going so far as to inject her with a special concoction that made Harley immune to poisons and boosted her stamina enough to withstand the Joker’s… affections.

The kind of affections that lead the Joker to punching her, beating her, and outright shoving Harley out of a window and straight down to her death.

Yet, despite this… Harley still goes back to him at the slightest signs of affection from him even the aforementioned attempt at murder being plum forgotten with a flower and card. A flower and a card. Heck, even as she lay on the ground broken and bleeding she claimed that it was her fault, that she didn’t get the joke.

I just… God, Harley, why?

Thankfully there was a bit of retribution to be had in Harley during the whole “Joker Junior” incident that led to the Joker’s poetic, and well deserved, demise. Without the Joker around, Harley actually made a life for herself and actually ended up with a family and even twin granddaughters. Twin granddaughters whom she was actually ticked off at for having not only joined the Jokerz, a gang of wannabe punks who actually emulate the nutcase, but were arrested for affiliating with a supposedly resurrected Joker. She even goes on to say that she hoped that they throw the book at ‘em following a painful smack to the behind with her cane.

I have never laughed to the point of tears until I saw that scene, no joke.

Let’s put a smile on that face…!

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THE JOKER


Real Name:
Unknown
Titles:
The Clown Prince of Crime
Featured In: DC Animated Universe
Voiced By: Mark Hamill

Where do I even begin with the Joker? He is an enigma wrapped up in a mystery buried beneath a conundrum of half-truths and whole lies. No one, not even the Joker himself, is entirely sure as to who he was prior to the accident that led to his insidious rise in the criminal underbelly of Gotham. However, one constant truth is that it is because of Batman that there even is a Joker at all. In point of fact, it has been proven throughout the kaleidoscopic reflections of the multiverse that wherever there is a Batman, there is almost always a Joker.

As far as the Joker’s actual origins are concerned, there is one common story that frequents his incarnations, particularly in the animated series. In the pursuit of some two-bit crooks, Batman inadvertently caused one such crook to take a trip in a tank of chemicals that warped him mind, body, and soul. Prior to his chemical bath, the Joker was already a madman who felt no remorse for the deaths he dealt out under the command of the crime families. It is even a popular theory amongst fans that the Joker is in fact the one to have killed Batman’s parents but this is due mostly to the first Batman film than what occurred in the comics or cartoon series.

Despite his immeasurable insanity that is quite excessive in its depravity and inhumanity, the Joker is a certifiable genius with skills that range from engineering death machines to horrific chemical cocktails. During his reign as the Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker has created a vast array of death traps and gadgets that are as comedic as they are dangerous. These devices include such things as marbles that explode on impact with one another, chattering teeth capable of tearing through steel, electrified hand buzzers, razor sharp playing cards, and acid spewing flowers.

However, the one creation of the Joker that has proven the most dangerous is his aptly named “joker venom.” It is a concoction that contorts the victim’s face into a terrifyingly massive grin as they quite literally laugh themselves to death. Depending on the strength of the joker venom, the victim would either die almost instantly or suffer through several long, agonizing minutes as they slowly choke themselves with their own laughter. The worst part of the joker venom though is how it can be administered in a variety of ways from breathable gas, to chemical injection, to even be mixed into regular products such as lotions or perfume.

As to the Joker’s minions, going from simple goons to hired help, we have his two pet hyenas Bud and Lou, both of whom are named after the famous comedians Bud Abbot and Lou Costello. To those of you who have never heard of these two gentlemen of comedy you have my sympathies. What’s rather hilarious about these two hyenas is the fact that as much as they might listen to the Joker, the one who truly holds their leashes is his chief crony whom I’ll speak about in a moment. I say this is funny because hyenas as a species are led by an alpha female and not a male, hence their obedience to the crony in question.

Following his pets are a trio that are commonly referred to as Mo, Lar, and Cur, hired goons that possess more muscles than actual brain and were likely hired due to their distinctive haircuts and names. Like the hyenas, the trio were named and designed based on the Three Stooges Moe, Larry, and Curly. To those who don’t know who these three are, there’s no excuse for you to hide under that rock any longer so go watch some classical comedy why don’t you?

Of course, the Joker does not limit himself to these particular group of thugs and has been known to attract many other individuals whose insanity, while questionable, is nowhere near his own level and whose pay cut is not worth the risk of the Joker’s ire. Heck, the one and only person known to take the Joker’s rage and live to tell the tale is one Harley Quinn, the Joker’s… girlfriend… and I use that term lightly. I would spend a moment speaking of the former psychiatrist turned villain but she deserves far more than a meager paragraph so I shall speak of her in greater detail in the next review.

Of the Joker’s crimes… Jeez, where do I even start or better yet, where do I draw the line? Though I chose the Joker of the DCAU as my personal favorite incarnation of the villain, the one in the comics has done so much more. In the comics prior to the events that led to the massive retconning in the DC Universes and the Joker going from insane to… Well, full-blown gut-wrenching psychotic (and trust me when I say you should NOT look up and see how he looks now), the Joker had done a LOT of seriously major crimes that personally affected Batman and would haunt him and others for years to come.

On such crime that the Joker had done was his beating Jason Todd, more commonly recognized as the second Robin after Dick Grayson, to death. What makes this particularly chilling as far as the Joker’s crimes are concerned is that the fate of Jason Todd was actually in the hands of the fans and the vote was a landslide in favor of his demise because his character was… well, to put it mildly, not well liked. The Joker is also the one responsible for shooting and paralyzing one Barbara Gordon, more commonly recognized as the first Batgirl, in an attempt to drive her father, Commissioner Gordon, insane.

One particular event though was when a doctor at the prison/asylum that the Joker was held in lied to the Clown Prince of Crime by telling him that he was dying from an inoperable brain tumor. The Joker, to put it mildly, went on a massive spree of chaos and destruction by way of “jokerizing” each and every super-powered criminal he could find. By “jokerizing” I mean turning any and all villains he could get his hands on into Joker-styled versions of themselves, which in itself is an incredibly terrifying thought considering how dangerous even the most tame villains are, super-powered or not.

Yet… much as it pains me to admit… it was the one in the cartoon series that probably dealt the worse blow to Batman than all others. For though the Joker was responsible for the death of Jason Todd and the paralyzing of Barbara Gordon, both were dealt with… swiftly… Yes, Jason was beaten to death but considering other methods that the Joker could have, and has indeed, employed that was something of a mercy… As for Barbara, she would overcome her paralysis and become one of the biggest supporting characters for the entirety of the superhero community in the form of Oracle, a super-hacker whose information network was unrivaled.

In the cartoon series however, the Joker was brutally reminded of his mortality in the form of Ace, a meta-human whose psychic powers drove him to an even deeper level of insane depravity than what he already had. Deciding that he wanted a “family” with Harley, he kidnapped the young Tim Drake, AKA Robin II (in the DCAU), and spent three solid weeks torturing and experimenting on the boy to turn him into a little Joker Junior.

He even had the gall to show a film reel, an actual bleeding film reel, to Batman as he delighted in revealing that he knew all of Batman’s secrets, including his real identity. This was more than enough to drive Batman to nearly break his no-killing policy but the Joker managed to get a surprisingly sneaky attack in and had the hero down on the ropes long enough that he granted the killing blow to his new “son.”

A killing blow that landed straight in the madman’s heart…

This event all but killed the humanity that Batman had inadvertently regained in his association with the likes of Superman and the Justice League. The wall he had put around his heart became as unbreakable steel and would be nigh impenetrable for over forty years until the tangled skeins of fate brought an unknown legacy back to his roots…

But that’s an entirely different story fourteen years and nine cartoon series in the making.

The Joker is one of my favorite villains because he, above all others in Batman’s rogue gallery, is the only one that can in no possible way be redeemed for any of his crimes. Most of Batman’s foes are human, super-powered or not, and many of their motives have to do with a tragedy that could have been rectified easily if people, Batman included, simply cared enough to offer them the help they so desperately needed. The Joker is no such villain. He is… Well, I believe it was said best in The Dark Knight Trilogy

Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money.

They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with.

Some men… just want to watch the world burn.

Joker-Animation-Picture-pop-culture-695301_640_480

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