This morning AlterNet have posted a very interesting article entitled “Why Is Evil So Sexy?” This rather get me to thinking, just who are the ten sexiest villains of super-herodom?
Of course, I need to define sexy here. I’m not going to explore the physical attributes of the characters, lest purely Batman villainesses populate my list. I’m more thinking in terms of attitude, competence,sheer fear factor and who contribute to an overall compelling story.
10. Darth Vader
Not directly belonging to comics, the arch-villain redeemed when coupled with an examination of his drives contributes to an engaging read. Darth Vader has to be the very embodiment of this.
9. The Green Goblin
I had always considered him a lame villain, but then I am hardly the Spider-Man expert. Yet his rise to power from Secret Invasion to the Dark Reign has risen him in my eyes, as he balanced (for a while) the order of his focus on grasping power with the chaos of his insanity.
The Count remains the archetype of the duality of a suave villain in the majority of his portrayals. A true honourable gentleman on one hand, but a savage beast when unfettered on the other.
7. Mister Sinister
Coming out from under the shadow of Apocalypse, Sinister was forced to be the most manipulative of villains, one who often leaves the reader with the question if he really lost? Or did the entire episode simply serve his purposes in a hidden direction?
6. The Phalanx / The Borg / Starro
And numerous others all-consuming entities. I suppose I could add the traditional zombie plague here as well. When the evil that the characters face forces them only into a battle of attrition, slowly turning their allies in to enemies, despite that victory is nearly always achieved by some form of Deus Ex Machina, one often has the potential for an epic storyline. However, played wrong, this plot device can lead to a very two-dimensional story.
Strange choice, huh? Still, this is a guy who always wins, no matter what, especially if you accept the interpretation of the excellent Earth X / Universe X / Paradise X trilogy.
Thanos has developed from a two-dimensional all-powerful conqueror to quite the enigma. I’m no longer sure how he feels about Death currently, in the Thanos Imperative, he seemed as devoted as ever, yet recognising how impractical his love for such a force was. I look forward to his return, especially if written by Dan Abnett.
3. Doctor Doom
You have to have sympathy for this man, despite his arrogance, he is honourable in his own fashion, and teases us with alternate glimpses of trustworthiness and duplicity.
2. Lex Luthor
His all-consuming obsession with dominance, and proving the strength of a mere mortal, makes this guy one of the most compelling adversaries, when the writer plays to his strengths. Too often however, especially in the Eighties and Nineties, he became a pastiche of his potential. If you haven’t looked at his recent run in Action Comics as the lead character, it’s worth a look.
Aside from the highly enjoyable travesty that was the three Super-Powers mini-series, Darkseid is everything Mephisto should be, if he was written to his strengths.