Archive for the ‘Profiles in Villainy’ Category

Who likes bad guys? Everyone, that’s who, bitch. This is R. D. Harless’ Profiles in Villainy.

Like all women, Killer Frost is volatile, man-hungry, and will drain the life from you. While her primary archenemy is the Bechdel Test, she also clashed repeatedly with the character Firestorm. Because fire and ice. Do you get it? No, really, do you get it? This is not a character for which subtlety was ever even contemplated.

Just tell her she's pretty and this all goes away.

Just tell her she’s pretty and this all goes away.

Prior to the (of course) lab accident that created her, Killer Frost was Dr. Crystal Frost, a specialist in cryonics. Really, what the hell else could she have been? The world was much more literal back then. If your name was Frost, you were a scientist who worked with cold. If your name was Woodrue, you were a scientist who worked with plants. God help you if your last name was Shitslinger; you’d be a scatologist at S.T.A.R. Labs and get turned into a crap monster or something. To her male colleagues (stupid penis walkers), Crystal was known as “The Ice Maiden” because she was unapproachable and standoffish (read as: bitch wouldn’t put out, bro; probably a lesbo). There was one man, however, who had melted her heart. And just prior to the malfunction of her life’s work, a thermafrost chamber (because, again, ice), her affections were rejected by this fellow scientist (MEN, amirite?). This shocking ending to a relationship that only existed in her head became the catalyst that caused Dr. Frost to hate-love all men (thanks again, Science). Protip: if a fellow scientist is about to dick around with some crazy contraption they’ve invented and never successfully tested, leave that person the fuck alone. Just keep your eyes on the floor and your mouth shut. If she confesses her undying love for you, nod and suggest having coffee later to talk about it. Maybe then she doesn’t want to murder your ass when everything blows up her emotional, irrational face.

After Frost’s thermafrost refrigeration system accident in the Arctic (Seriously, do you get it yet?), her body was altered into a kind of blah blah blah, she was cold all the time and that’s all you really need to know, like your girlfriend always having to have a blanket over her on the sofa but more and also homicidal. The accident gave her the ability to create and control ice, and, oh shit, she could also mind-control with her kiss, which infected people’s bodies with her tainted ice and made them blindly loyal, which is exactly how ice and the human brain works. Her skin also went blue and she decided to wear a tiara and a low cut ball gown split almost up to her thigh gap, but how dare you think she’s a slut just because she dresses like a trampy body-painted prom queen. Frost kiss, motherfucker! And, as if all this wasn’t bad enough for a borderline shut-in, because some man had broken her with “it’s not you, it’s me” like five minutes ago, she dedicated all of this shit to taking her pain out on all men (this is how the female mind works, guys – take notes).

She's practiced this speech at least a dozen times to her cats.

She’s practiced this speech at least a dozen times to her cats.

To keep herself alive and dick-kicking, Killer Frost now had to absorb the heat from others to the point of their death. A thoroughly modern woman, though, she had no problems easily accepting this (because fucking MEN, amirite, ladies?!). Luckily, a guy who was a walking nuclear battery with his head on fire happened to be nearby, and, thus, Killer Frost entered into a lasting obsessive-, stalking-, and abuse-based relationship with the character Firestorm, who possessed the mind of an intelligent grown man and a high school jock in the same body, the simultaneous bad boy/father-nurturer dynamic that Frost and all other women crave. And because of Firestorm’s heat (his body heat), she decided to pin her entire existence on staying as close to him as physically possible at all times with the looming threat of violent, psychotic behavior if he ever tried to get away from her. And if that sent a chill down your spine, it’s because this character was created from the pure distilled fear of all men.

After a fairly short career of man-eating and overly-dramatic ice-centric wordplay, Killer Frost found out she was dying from her condition. Reacting as any woman would to news of this kind of import, she flipped the bitch switch and decided to go out the same way she’d lived: killing the world right in the phallus. During her final rampage, she died in atomic flame while kissing Firestorm, who tried to save her life by sacrificing his heat in a noble, white-knightish protective gesture and/or final middle finger to feminism (Seriously, the writer was like, “Screw subtlety, son; I’m Gerry motherfucking Conway”). During that last kiss with a nuclear man, Dr. Crystal Frost was accidentally vaporized on the George Washington Bridge, and that is not a joke even though it doesn’t sound like something a human being would ever have reason to say. But the legacy of Killer Frost lived on. After her death, her frenemy Louise Lincoln decided to repeat the accident that jacked her girl Crystal all up, thereby making herself the new Killer Frost. Her reason for doing so? Women be crazy. Never forget.


Who likes bad guys? Everyone, that’s who, bitch. This is R. D. Harless’ Profiles in Villainy.

I've obviously given up on my appearance.

I’ve obviously given up on my appearance.

Old comic book villains harken back to a simpler time when people with no real motive or aptitude decided to become “evil” for the purposes of money or some vague, illusory notion of power. You’re not going to fall into toxic waste and then take over the world, but you’d think at least one person in the history of civilization had actually done that the way these guys try. And when it comes to guys with little to no reason whatsoever to break bad, Dr. Otto Octavius is right up there near the top of the list (a list almost exclusively populated by disfigured scientists).

On paper, Doctor Octopus is the perfect villain. Arrogant, an alliterative name, has a doctorate degree, foreign accent, crazy technology, and an animal-based nickname. If he was a eugenics-advocating Nazi, he would be the whole package (then watch your ass, Red Skull). In practical terms, though, what the hell is this guy’s problem? He was widely recognized as a brilliant scientist. He had a legitimately fantastic workman’s comp lawsuit after the accident that jacked him up because why in God’s name did his supervisor let an employee conduct radiation experiments in solitude with no oversight using a potentially dangerous harness wired to his nervous system that he cobbled together himself? That’s, like, forty OSHA violations right there. Otto could have sued the shit out of Acme Labs or wherever the hell it was that allowed that kind of thing to go on and been set for life. Plus, bonus, he’s got four bad-ass arms grafted to his doughy abdomen. That’s a ticket to instant celebrity and a guaranteed pity prize from the Nobel committee.

So what’s this jackass do instead of talk to a competent injury lawyer? He goes, right off the bat, into full-tilt bullshittery. He takes the medical staff that saved his life hostage in a total dick move that isn’t really villainy so much as it’s just being an asshole. It’s weak planning, too, because what the hell is the endgame there, not to mention it’s really overreaching considering that the biggest plot Otto had hatched up to that point was probably figuring out a way to ‘accidentally’ brush up against his intern’s blouse. Naturally, in the middle of this morphine-fueled, poorly thought-out supervillain debut, Spider-Man showed on the scene to blow up Otto’s spot in lieu of letting a seasoned professional hostage negotiator do his job. But, wielding beginner’s luck and the power of the ‘all is lost’ moment, Otto proceeded to beat Spidey like a red-headed step mule with those mechanical arms that he refuses to make millions off of by patenting. Total facepalm rookie move, though, he doesn’t double-tap the sticky kid in the unitard, just tells him he’s not worth it like it’s a friggin’ After School Special and chucks him out a window. That’s some bush league stupid, and, after shitting that bed pretty hard, Otto moved on to taking over a nuclear facility instead of a hospital (because in the sixties every other building had something nuclear in it). It’s there that Spider-Man rallied back to knock him out with one punch, putting an end to Otto’s, I don’t know, scandalously non-peer-reviewed after-hours research or whatever.

Now here’s a helpful test to see if you should be a criminal. If a nerdy teenager who doesn’t have four giant, articulated metal arms grafted to his spine can lay you out cold with one desperate swing, go apologize to everybody you just took hostage, plea bargain the charges down to a couple of years, and use that time to get your life together with the prison psychiatrist. You are clearly not built for the world of crime. Sadly, no one intervened to tell Doctor Octopus this. They all just sat back and watched him shit the bed over and over. I mean, let’s look at the illustrious career of Doc Ock:

-Killed a police captain. Accidentally. With negligence and shoddy masonry. While getting punched in the face.

-Tried to become a gang leader, which . . . c’mon, man, put down the Sopranos box set. I’ll give you credit for the track suit and the terrible Eastern European thug haircut, but you’re not gangster.

-Tried to steal atomic equipment.

-Tried to steal atomic submarine.

-Tried to marry May Parker to get his hands on an island with an atomic power station that she somehow inherited (Relatable. See how Marvel heroes had problems just like yours?).

Here’s another helpful test to see if you should be a criminal. If any of the heists you plan have the word “atomic” in them, immediately quit what you’re doing. If you need three degrees to know why a thing is worth stealing then science is your clearly first love, not curb-stomping shopkeepers for protection money. And, yes, you’re right, even Albert Einstein created a doomsday weapon in a secret underground lab, so go ahead and chalk that up as a point for you if you want, but he didn’t stick up liquor stores to finance it and he didn’t use the a-bomb to ransom Long Island. Look at the way you think, man! You need to take a step back, Otto. Consider the choices you’ve made and the consequences that have resulted. Make a personal inventory. Then suck it the hell up, polish your resume (tip: gloss over prison time), and go get a job at a defense contractor or an R & D firm. And I mean someplace legitimate like Lockheed-Martin or Raytheon, man, not fucking AIM. Shit, would you just get your life together for once?

Who likes bad guys? Everyone, that’s who, bitch. This is R. D. Harless’ Profiles in Villainy.

Black Manta is the foremost master of one of the last great frontiers of crime: underwater felonies (suck it, Goldfinger). Outrun the cops with your feet and wheels, land chumps, Black Manta’s got the ocean on lockdown ( ‘Ain’t No 5-0 in the Abyss’ reads the bumper sticker on his submarine). From a humble beginning of boatjackings and robbing underwater 7-11’s, Black Manta rose to be the leader of a group of loyal henchmen dedicated to perpetrating some of the only things actually illegal in international waters (could have stuck to running gambling ships or floating brothels, but I guess you forego subtlety once you buy a manta-shaped sub). These acts of sabotage and piracy have made him the sworn enemy of Aquaman, mostly because there’s only one superhero in the whole friggin’ ocean and Manta can’t just find a spot to perpetrate somewhere in the thousands of square miles of water that isn’t adjacent to the guy’s home.

Guess how long I had to float here motionless so these fish would feel comfortable enough to approach me? Guess, Aquaman!

Guess how long I had to float here motionless so these fish would feel comfortable enough to approach me? Guess, Aquaman!

After fifteen years of damp, briney conflict with the King of Atlantis (giving him a *sick* swimmer’s body), Manta arrived way late to the Civil Rights party in 1977. As a newly-minted activist, he decided that his goal would be to take over the oceans so that they could be populated by oppressed African-Americans (no word on how the African-American community felt about this — their reaction may have surprised him). Black Manta also removed his mask for the first time ever, showing everyone that he himself was African-American, which shouldn’t have been that shocking considering his name literally starts with ‘Black Man.’ The revelation allowed him to join the racially-descriptive ranks of characters like Black Lightning, the Black Racer, Black Panther, Black Goliath, and Vykin the Black (It was a different time, kids), but, not content solely with that elite status, Black Manta also committed the baller-ass move of murdering Aquaman’s infant son right in front of him (by slow suffocationohdamn!). You can’t buy that kind of (undersea) street cred, but, arguably, it did not win him any points for his (undersea) equality crusade. In true superhero tradition, though, Aquaman was not able to exact lethal vengeance for the crime due to the King of the Seas’ staunch morality and/or Manta’s status as highly-toyetic intellectual property.

Black Manta is still around today but no longer making many waves (puns: the last refuge of the damned). He never topped infanticide (who among us does, really?), but he still harbors an unending grudge for a man who’s most notable ability is talking to fish. One would think that in this age of expanded ocean exploration, Manta could make some money taking a bunch of oil platforms on the east coast hostage or ransoming James Cameron, but he’s a simple man with simple needs: he’s killed a couple of Aquaman’s friends, tried to kill both Aquaman and his wife, and tried to kill his own son. Like I said, the man left subtlety behind a long, long time ago.

Black Manta: Hater 4 Life

Black Manta: Hater 4 Life