Saturday, November 29, 2014

Comic Book (Graphic Novels) Villains : The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The new 'Avengers' movie will feature the Hyper-Villain Ultron. I recently started up a conversation about this massively powerful super creep. In the entire group I was in, no one even knew who this bad guy was.

Also, with the upcoming crossover between 'Arrow' and 'The Flash' which features Captain Boomerang, I wondered who might appreciate a heads up about this guy - although with all the mega-humans coming out of the woodwork on 'Flash', I'm thinking it might not be the same guy. In any event, I'm going to give you the low down on several of the coolest, weirdest, baddest super (and not so super) villains in both the Marvel and DC universe.

Let's begin with Ultron - First of all, Ultron is a robot, albeit one with a mind of its own (no three laws for him). Henry Pym (The Ant Man, a superhero destined to have a movie of his own in the near future) created Ultron and implanted his own brain patterns into his creation. Ultron rebelled and decided that the human race needed to be exterminated. Go Figure. Like Wolverine, Ulton - or at least a subsequent upgrade of the robot - is made of indestructible Adamantium. He is also incredibly strong (we're talking Hulk strong), almost invulnerable, can fly, and can put large numbers of folks in a trace with just a glance. And one more thing, if he is defeated, like the robot in the 'The Incredibles', he recreates himself with new enhancements. At last count, there was an Ultron 15.

Captain Boomerang - Alias George 'Digger' Harkness, the good Captain is an enemy of The Flash. First of all, he uses boomerangs like Batman uses the weapons in his utility belt or Arrow uses his specialized arrows. On top of that, he had, in a limited sense, the ability to match Flash's bursts of speed. He has tangled with the Flash on more than one occasion and of course lost.

Dormammu - Rumor has it that Marvel is planning to release a Doctor Strange movie. As a fan of the super-mystic Strange, I am looking forward to this one. Anyway, one of the most powerful adversaries - and I believe the very enemy that Strange will face in the movie - Dormammu is a bad ass. Demonlike, he appears surrounded in a corona of fire. Like Strange he is a master of the Mystic Arts. He has conquered and subjugated a butt-load of alternate dimensions but the one he has set his sights on is ours. He can travel effortlessly between these dimensions, alter his size and strength, travel in time, and is a master of telepathy. Oh yeah, he can transform others into copies of himself and equip them with his powers.

Gorilla Grodd - Recently on the TV show 'The Flash' the mysterious wheel-chaired mastermind Harrison Wells (Just who the heck is this guy anyway?) went into his secret sanctum and addressed a creature in a cage marked Gorilla Grodd. I said--out loud at the time--wait a minute, one of Flash's big time adversaries is Gorilla Grodd. This bad simian is a member of a race of super-apes who have kept their existence a secret from humanity. Grodd can control the minds of others, transfer his consciousness into others, transform matter with his will, and if all of this wasn't bad enough, he is a genius on the order of Lex Luther. What the heck is he doing in a cage in a back wing of Harrison Well's abode?

The Absorbing Man - If you're a fan of Marvel's Agents of Shield you've seen this nightmare on two different episodes. Carl 'Crusher' Creel is featured on the show as a thrall of Hydra (Hail Hydra!!!) but the original Creel was a creation of Asgard (who are also featured from time to time on Marvel's Agents of Shield). Loki, Thor's evil half-brother endowed Creel with the power to absorb and become anything he touches. This includes energy or even sometimes the powers of his adversaries, one of which was Thor the Thunder God. He had fought the Hulk to a standstill by absorbing his strength. He carries a ball and chain which he uses the way Thor uses his hammer.

The Penguin - One of my favorite shows this season is 'Gotham' and my favorite character on this excellent show is Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot. On the TV show he is a manipulative genius, a ruthless adversary, and someone who seems destined to rise up through the ranks of Gotham's underworld. In graphic novels (and one so-so movie) he is a foe of Batman. Like Moriarity of Sherlock Holmes fame, The Penguin prefers to remain behind the scenes doing nefarious deeds in secret - pulling the strings as it were. Occasionally he confronts Batman and Robin directly, usually in some plot involving birds. He has also teamed up with a few other of Batman's enemies and has come close to putting the Caped Crusader on ice.

The Riddler - Another character on 'Gotham' is a criminologist named Edward Nigma. Currently, he is just an annoying fidget who seems obsessed with puzzles and riddles. This scenario is slightly different from the one presented in the comics of my youth but the outcome appears to heading the same way. E. Nigma (get it?!) will eventually decide to go to the dark side and will become the criminal The Riddler. In this persona, he will, like The Penguin, become a foe of Batman and Robin. A genius with puzzles, Nigma can't resist leaving riddling clues which eventually lead to his downfall.

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