Sunday, April 12, 2015
Top 10 Villains (Revised)
Over a year ago now (dang, son), I created a Top 10 Villains list, which you can read here, that counted down some of the biggest bads I'd seen, or read, in my life. Looking back, though, I noticed that there were a few people I didn't put on the list, for one reason or another, and having gone through another year, I've realized that there are several bad-guys that deserve to either added, moved up, or dropped from the list.
In the time since then, I've grown a lot as a person who understands a good hero and a good villain. But since this month we're focusing on one of the greatest villains of all time, I figured now would be an excellent opportunity to take a look at this revised list. There are some notable changes to last year's, but there are still a few candidates that have stayed where they are.
Before I get into the list itself, starting with Honorable Mentions, I'll make a point about a few characters who are not here. Darth Vader is no longer on the list because while he is cool and he is great, I feel that the people I have here are more threatening than others. I always knew that Darth Vader was the big boss, but, just knowing that he isn't the final boss kind of turns me off to it. Venom is no longer on the list because for a long time now in the comics he has actually served as a hero for the Guardians of the Galaxy, and he already had several anti-hero moments. So while he is still a great villain, he may find himself better suited for an anti-hero list.
I also took off all the Disney villains I had on the list because my hatred for them has lessened significantly, at least, compared to the ones that replaced them. Each Disney villain had their share of jaw-dropping moments but I feel that every character in the list itself had jaw-to-the-floor moments of "oh...no." Hans would be the closest to staying on the list. Screw that guy.
Anyway, let's get started with the Honorable Mentions. Since many of them are repeats from last time, I won't spell out why they are on the list. I'll only give explanations to those that are new. Also, they are in no specific order. And a second also, FULL SPOILER WARNING for all media these characters are involved in.
H1--Lord Frieza, Dragon Ball Z
H2--The Major, Hellsing Ultimate
H3--Galbatorix, "Inheritance Cycle"
H4--Fire Lord/ Phoenix King Ozai, Avatar: The Last Airbender
H5--Cletus Kassidy/ Carnage, "Spider-Man" lore
If a name were ever meant to be indicative of something, I think Carnage has that done pretty well. This guy is nothing short of a complete psycho, and the worst part is how powerful he is. As a child, I once had an argument with someone (in Target, don't ask why) about who was better, Venom or Carnage. Back then, I rooted for Venom, because he was on a lot of episodes of the Spider-Man animated series on back then. Now that I've grown up, I can definitely agree that Carnage is the superior villain. He isn't as major as the Green Goblin to threaten the Avengers, but the havoc and potential he does cause is enough to warrant a spot as an Honorable Mention. Every time I see Carnage I get excited, even when it's an ironic cameo in the new Nova run. That was funny.
H6--Kirei Kotomine, Fate/Zero
Kirei is the villain I expected to become the villain since F/Z didn't have a straight-forward villain until the war really got heated and we lost Lancer (nooooooo!). Kirei's emergence as a villain was actually done in the similar style to something out of The Godfather. It was a major moment for the character and the show and really cemented him as a total jerk-face. Not as bad as his Servant, but, he was definitely the most menacing of the Masters. He was the only character whose goals were never defined, the one character whose motivations and expressions were practically impossible to read. For those mysterious reasons, Kirei is on the list.
10. Joffrey Lannister--Game of Thrones
For reasons that are full of glee and triumph, Joffrey has dropped on the list. Do I hate him? Oh, absolutely. I do miss hating him on the show, though, as it feels like a key element is gone. Joffrey was nothing short of the spawn of Satan. I mean, Cersei was his mom...
He was everything that is wrong with a king, and even children sometimes. Spoiled. Too much power. Falsely adored by everyone. Giving all those things to someone who is, what, a teenager, is always a bad idea. And when war threatens from both sides and your ruler is more worried about torturing people than pleasing them, you're probably in for a bad time. He's just not a fun person to be around, and is one of the most despised of the series. You will not be missed.
9. Darth Maul--"Star Wars" lore
I say "lore" because he just had a solo comic released in which he was the protagonist. A good guy? No, of course not. Just because someone is a protagonist doesn't make them good.
If you notice, too, Darth Maul hasn't budged on the list. I didn't feel that there was enough to move him up, but he's also just way too cool for me to bring down at all. Darth Maul will always be my favorite "Star Wars" villain simply out of principle. He was the first one I ever saw, the first one I ever hated (he killed Qui-Gon, I mean come one), and his appearance was the first "whoa" moment I ever had watching the movies. He has left an impact on me.
But now that he's gone through the series, a book, and a comic mini-series, my appreciation for Maul has grown. He's a Momma's Boy, sure, but that doesn't really take away from his character. He's extremely powerful, enough to best Count Dooku in battle without the use of his standard weapon. Oh, and that's another thing: the dude can fight in multiple styles! That's awesome!
The main reason he's still on the list is because he's probably one of the coolest fighters on the list, and is easily my favorite fighter in the spacey stuff regarding sci-fi. You just don't top the double-sided saber.
8. HAL 9000--2001: A Space Odyssey
I'll freely admit that I hadn't seen 2001 all the way through until a few months ago. I knew about HAL, but every time I thought of him I thought of Gladus from the "Portal" games. Now? Oh...wow.
I felt bad for HAL as we first met him. I knew he was going to eventually go mad (how do you not know by now?) but it was the build up to it that almost made it a tragedy. I think the reason I felt for HAL was because of the way Dave and Frank address HAL: by giving HAL the pronouns of "he" and "him." The flat voicework done by HAL almost seemed to carry some emotion because of that.
But really, HAL 9000 terrified me. It's the most basic design of all, and yet, it's so chilling. Because he's everywhere. All the time, it's that silver rectangle, black sphere, glowing red aura in the middle, and a yellow dot just staring out at the crew. And yet, HAL has all the power of the ship. He massacres the mission all on his own, all because he grows paranoid and goes haywire. You know that HAL isn't capable of hating or anything, since it's a human emotion, but, there is one simple fact: HAL is evil. HAL becomes the villain in a single stroke. You can tell, too, that it's coming.
The scene where Dave and Frank are talking in the pod is probably the most unsettling to me. It's the two of them, yeah, but in the background, always there, is HAL. It's just creepy. HAL is one of the better known Sci-Fi villains and for good purpose.
7. Archer aka Gilgamesh--Fate/Zero
There are certain characters that I'm sure you know of that if you met them in real life, you would not hesitate a single second to punch them in the face. But, you can't, because they're kind of inside a TV and you don't wanna break your TV. But I get that feeling with Gilgamesh.
Every time he speaks, every time he gives one of those snide looks, I just wanna punch something. He is so evil, he is so bad, so cocky, so full of himself, that I can barely contain my rage toward him. The King of Heroes, the King of Kings. BULL. CRAP. This guy is the King of Jerks. There is not a single shred of goodness in this character. Nothing he does is to benefit anyone but himself because he sees the Grail War as a game. He respects nobody because he is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and buddy, let me tell you: YOU ARE NOT SLICED BREAD.
You know how Eowyn in The Two Towers told Wormtongue his words were poison? Well, that definitely counts for this guy. He just has to one-up everyone and prove how cool he is by just lounging around and never doing anything. Yeah, he never even does anything but have two main characters killed, and pretty much brainwashes another character into becoming like him. In the current Fate/Stay Night unlimited blades works anime, he hasn't done much, but given how he was given to a weak-minded Master, I expect him to make big moves, and I really was not hoping he wouldn't show up to that show. I wanted to enjoy it, not hate him again.
Gilgamesh is just the USC Trojans of anime for me. There is not a thing about them that I like, respect, or want to think about. Just. No.
6. Lord Voldemort--"Harry Potter" lore
Yeah, he got pegged down quite a bit, too. Perhaps its because I haven't read/ watched any of the HP stuff in a while so I can't remember much about him, but, looking back, there isn't really anything special about Voldemort that I haven't seen in recently. He's an upset dude who wants to kill some prophecized hero.
What makes Voldemort interesting is his quest for, essentially, perfection. The perfect formula of evil, specifically. If Dumbledore and Harry are meant to be all that is good in wizardry, Voldemort has set out to be the opposite, making for a complex past that seems he broke on purpose.
There's also just an aura of bad around Voldemort. His name is a swear word. His mere existence topples the Ministry of Magic. Heck, he invades people's minds just because he can. That's pretty darn cool if you ask me.
Voldemort, unlike Vader, is indeed the big "final boss" of them all. You clear the other misfit villains from the books to get to this guy. While, looking back, the final showdown is a lot of talk and just build up to a couple spell-casts and then a "boom," it was still a fitting end for the character to have built up so much and done so much work only to see it crumble because of a slight oversight, a juncture in the rules if you will. It's fitting because, in the pursuit of perfection, it's the tiniest things that can ruin everything.
Just ask someone looking to 100% Sync a videogame!
5. Ultron--Various Marvel comics
You knew he was going to be on the list. You knew. This is the guy. This is the one who has taken over Earth, screwed with time, and has even taken over a whole moon that is home to one of, if not the, strongest villain in Marvel's lore, Thanos.
Ultron is the bad guy, for me. Sure, there's Kang and Thanos and Galactus, but no. Thanos has never conquered the Avengers in such a way that the only way to defeat him is to send people back to muck up the time-line. Ultron is very much HAL 9000, but HAL 9000 who couldn't just flip the off-switch on the Avengers, and instead did what any sensible villain would do: create their own body.
Ultron, I have no idea how, is one of the first Marvel villains I heard of. I saw him in Marvel Ultimate Alliance and thought, "wow, what an Iron Man-type villain." Then I read up on him and thought "wow, what a freaking awesome villain."
I'll put into perspective how cool Ultron is, just for those who don't really read comics and only follow the movies: Marvel has been setting up Thanos big time. They're end-game is all this galactic stuff and blah blah blah. But Ultron is a big enough villain to basically say, "Um, no, no no no. We're doing a movie about me and my awesomeness before we get to the Mad Titan, okay? Okay. Make me awesome." And he will be. Have you SEEN those trailers?! The best moment of the first trailer, hands down, is at the end, when we see all the fallen Avengers, Ultron says "There are..." and we cut to him towering over whoever, glaring down at them with his humanoid face, and finishes with, "no strings on me." BAM, BUM BUM.
If you didn't poop your pants (metaphorically speaking...maybe), you either don't get it, don't like these kinds of movies, or are corrupted by Ultron already.
Oh, yeah, did I fail to mention that he can do pretty much anything and that his armor is made of the most invincible metal in the Marvel universe? Yeah, by the way...
4. The Joker--Various DC Comics
The Clown Prince of Crime himself, Mark Hamill, I mean the Joker, indeed.
Last year, he was a mere Honorable Mention. Last year, I also thought Aquaman was lame. My how things have changed in a year.
Most of this is in part to two things: Alan Moore's The Killing Joke, and the New 52's "Death of the Family." Both are haunting (very stressed on that word, italics does it no credit) and makes me feel like bad for myself that I read those stories. They are twisted, evil, horrendous tales about one thing, and one thing only:
A joke. Not even kidding. In both stories, the end comes with a joke. In The Killing Joke, I actually found myself laughing at the final joke as well, and when the comic ended, I felt odd. I was smiling after reading that? And in "Death of the Family," the Joker does everything for Batman out of some twisted sense of love. I'm not even kidding!
What I love about these stories, as well as the recent Batman: Assault on Arkham film, is that they show how smart the Joker is. He's not quite as smart as Batman, or even the Riddler maybe, but he is very clever in what he does. He's an expert at his craft, and his craft is chaos.
My favorite joker is any one that Mark Hamill voices, because I think he captures the Joker the best. He shines in the 90s animated series, as well as the Batman Beyond film starring ol' Joe. The Joker does have some serious moments of evil where his tone becomes harsh, but, other than that, it's all just what it is. When he's throwing a funeral for Batman, he's legitimately sad. When he wants to be smart, he will let you know that he is being clever. This is also conveyed in The Dark Knight during the interrogation scene where the Joker is fiddling with Batman's emotions and giving him false information. Under normal circumstances, Batman would have known the Joker swapped them up, since it's part of his routine. But in a very clever method, the Joker worked Batman up to the breaking point in order to cloud his judgment and work everything in his favor.
None of this is sacrificed for the crazy, though. It's all captured in that laugh. Everything the Joker is can be summed up in just that laugh. It's full of glee, it's full of evil. But most of all, and most terrifying of all, it's full of a man having a good time while everything burns around him.
3. Komodo--"Green Arrow" lore
Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino needed something big to bring Green Arrow back to promise. They needed a villain, perhaps Merlyn, to somehow legitimize him after the failings of Ann Nocenti that cast Green Arrow down to near failure. And this was the result.
Komodo. Given how amazing the first two arcs of their run were, it's no surprise to see a big part of that was the villain, Komodo. It always seems that GA is sort of stumped early on, with nowhere to run when a villain first appears. But with Komodo, that wasn't the case. Oliver was clearly beaten. Komodo was the better archer, the better tactician. He thought out everything when attacking Seattle to take down Oliver, including killing two of his allies and helping to bring down his company.
Komodo, as it would turn out, was something of an underling for the whole of the Outsider's cause, but he was nonetheless a driving force in their masses. He had a mission of his own and he wasn't going to let anyone get in his way. The villain's intricate past with Green Arrow and his father was another thing that added to the character that really put him over all other Green Arrow characters.
Given how GA is my favorite super-hero, I found myself not at all shocked at how much I was liking the inclusion of Komodo as basically his foil. Where Oliver was reckless and just did stuff, Komodo was calculated and anticipated every move. The fights against Komodo were often very close in result, too. Their couple of battles on the rooftop are some of the most iconic images, for me, of Green Arrow in the New 52. That and telling Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne to get outta town, that was pretty fun times, too.
He was always a threat, too. Every panel he was in, there was a motive. He was always strategizing, always trying to figure out how to get things to his advantage. He strove to be the better person, and by all accounts, I do think that Komodo was (sadly, was...RIP, my man) the better archer, but was not deserving of the green arrow totem (yeah, that was totally a thing, get it?) because of how less of a hero he was compared to Robert and Oliver.
But as far as warriors go, Komodo was far superior. Until he took an arrow to the eye, then one to the chest. That slows you down a bit.
And yes, I did love his inclusion on Arrow this season, but I don't like how he was just some mercenary in Starling City to get a few dudes. He was an apt fighter and a skilled archer, but you can't just throw in one of Green Arrow's latest best villains and hope for it to stick. Then again, that did happen for Count Vertigo.
Hopefully, with the inclusion of Katana, we can see something similar to the Outsider's War involving Komodo, and hopefully we can get a full, proper rendition of the dude.
2. Amon--The Legend of Korra
Now is where things get a little more...repetitive. You can probably already guess who the number one villain is, so I'll keep their explanations brief. And if you want the full ones, check out the link above.
Amon is probably one of the most mysterious villains on here (barring the Joker who has no confirmed back-story) simply because of the way that he fights. He isn't a Bender, but he can manipulate Benders in such a way to make them lose their abilities.
Plus, it's something about the mask and how much of an impact he made behind the shadows that makes him so great. We do see Amon quite a bit, and when he is seen, something big is going down that forces his hand. It shows his competence as a leader to not be one to always just prowl around in the shadows and then pounce every now and then. No. As the leader of the Equalists, if he wants his movement to get somewhere he knows he is going to have to force it to go to those places.
As a straight-up fighter, I did find myself enjoy watching Amon do battle. There was just a supreme grace to all of his movements. Nothing was ever stressed, nothing was ever forced. Given what we learn about him, it makes sense to reflect on him and think how his movements flow like water givne how smooth they are.
That was the reason that I straight-up was afraid of Amon. His army was powerful--powerful enough to take down Republic City's greatest warriors--and so, if he had their respect, this guy had to be even more powerful than them (and was he!). If you haven't watched Korra yet, I think you'll find yourself so happy to know that it starts off with such an amazing villain. He was smart, spooky, and a great leader, and I can't see him dropping on the list any time soon.
1. Cell--Dragon Ball Z
Come on. Did you really think this was going to change? Cell has been my all-time favorite villain for over a decade now. Like Amon, or other villains from the previous list, I won't spend too much time on this guy, instead allow you to read the much longer explanation from last time.
When push comes to shove, I will acknowledge that Cell and Gilgamesh are both pretty much the same type of person. But with Cell, he just has so much fun doing all these bad things that you can't help but feel sheer horror at what he's doing.
And, my goodness, he can be so over-the-top at some times. "Forget Earth, with this power I can blow up the entire Solar System!" Ooookay, Cell m'boy.
Not to mention he has the best villain song in the entire show. That gives you a lot props, too.
So, that's my list! As you noticed, hopefully, a few things changed, but I just couldn't change the top two around. They're too (get it?) awesome for that!
If you liked what you read here and wanna read more, like other Top 10s or something, go ahead and check out the Blog Archive over to the left! And if you wanna stay up to date on when I post, be sure to follow me on Twitter @seaonvan13 and on Instagram @seanovan10. Thanks for reading!