Super Villains, The Little Engines That Might of Comics


I love super villains. Most villains aren’t supposed to be liked, much less rooted for, but that’s what I do on some level for many of the classic type of villains. Good always triumphs. It gets boring. Sometimes, as much as I love Batman, I really just want the Joker to win. And not just the battle, I want him to win the war. I want to see a world in which the Joker has somehow set himself up as a mad dictator. Then, after the Joker has lived out his life ruling over an anarchic society and died peacefully allowing a successor to take over, then perhaps a new incarnation of Batman can come and kick the new dictator’s ass.

This will never happen, because on some level people need to believe that good will triumph over evil. It’s the same basic reason that religion exists.


Nevertheless, I enjoy a well constructed villain character and even when I’m cheering on the hero, I’m also cheering quietly for the villain. And there are some really great villains in classic comics. I’ve mentioned the Joker already, but a lot of the core Batman villains are fantastic and probably some of the most recognizable villains in existence. Even people who aren’t into comics at all have some vague idea of who the Joker, Catwoman, Poison Ivy and the Riddler are, just to name a few. Superman’s Lex Luthor is another that most people will recognize, and he doesn’t even wear a funny costume 99% of the time. And the XMen have Magneto, who I think might be the most pragmatic villain I’m familiar with and who is probably my favorite super villain.

Magneto is a great villain because if you really think about it, he isn’t necessarily evil, just militant. He provides a really good example of how good and evil are fluid concepts based on individual perception. I’ll go ahead and admit, I haven’t read all the old XMen comics; but from what I can tell from what I have read and from the cartoons and movies based on the comics, Magneto wants, or at least in the beginning wanted, the same thing the XMen want- fair treatment and equal rights for mutants. Magneto is just the Malcolm X to Professor Xavier’s Martin Luthor King Jr. And the fact that he can make people really think about the meaning of good and evil in shades of grey instead of black and white is what I like best about him. Well, that and the potential for amazing sex that I explain in the FAQ section of this blog.


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