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Thursday, 24 September 2015

Editorial: The 5 Worst Marvel Villains.

Editorial: The 5 Worst Marvel Villains.

We looked at the worst Marvel heroes last week, but it's important to remember that while Reed Richards is concretely worse than any of the villains on this list, he's technically counted as a 'hero' for reasons that are surely a mystery to us all.

But Marvel has its fair share of terrible villains too, and it's only fair to give them a fair shake, so here's the five worst Marvel villains.

5. Turner D. Century.

Turner D. Century is a man with an extremely punny name who wears a business suit, rides around on a flying bicycle, and wants to kill everyone under sixty-five because he's angry that the world is changing - so he was basically a baby boomer before it became mainstream, which must be nice for him.

His primary weapon is a magical horn that will kill any young'uns (or middle aged'uns) that hear its terrible sound - except it doesn't work, and it's not clear whether it ever worked or if this is just an elaborate delusion on Century's part. I mean, his magical flying bike works, it'd be a little bit weird if he had an actual magical flying bike, but an entirely regular, non-magical horn that he'd just fooled himself into thinking was magical.

For some bizarre reason, Turner D. Century was a recurring villain for a while, showing up in several Marvel titles and - not so much battling as cycling sinisterly past Daredevil and Captain America and Spider-Woman.

He'd come higher on this list, but the flying bicycle is actually quite creepy, in a reverse Mary Poppins sort of way, especially since in some of his appearances he is accompanied by a faceless woman.

4. Fin Fang Foom.

Fin Fang Foom is a recurring foe of Iron Man's and also an alien dragon who wears jean shorts, and if that last sentence doesn't make it entirely clear why you'll never see him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, then you've probably never encountered someone wearing jean shorts.

It's odd, in a way, that despite being a space dragon and ergo not a racist caricature of any particular place (unlike about half of Iron Man's rogues gallery), Fin Fang Foom really does sound like one, enough to actually be quite uncomfortable.

After years of serious usage, he was eventually shrunk down to human size, became Reed Richard's personal Chinese chef (are we absolutely sure this guy isn't a racist caricature?), and has in recent years been used solely as a giant mind-controlled monster for when other villains have wanted to wreak havoc.

3. Kraven the Hunter.

You know, I've read comics with Kraven the Hunter in, and played video games with him in, and vaguely noticed his absence in the endless parade of Spiderman adaptations, but I'm still not actually sure who he is.

It doesn't seem like anyone else is certain, either. He's apparently a Russian big game hunter, but instead of using guns, snares, a bow and arrow, or any of the other tools that big game hunters use, he prefers to - take a potion made of various jungle herbs and beat his prey to death with his bare hands? And instead of hunting big game, he hunts a costumed teenager?

So what I'm getting at here is that he's a big game hunter who doesn't hunt big game and doesn't use any of the tools or skills associated with hunting. Oh, and he was originally introduced as the brother of another member of Spidey's rogue gallery, the Chameleon, whose superpower is 'being a really good make-up artist', so that's - that's something. I guess.

Like most of Marvel's worst villains, Kraven has been reinvented a lot, and is currently a telepathic zombie, because why wouldn't he be.

2. Professor Monster.

He counts, okay?

Professor Monster is the main villain of Toei's Spider-Man television show, which recently got dredged up into the light again during the massive Spiderman crossover series that brought every disparate version of Spiderman together (Toei Spider-Man's role is small and mainly consists of arriving suddenly with a giant robot), an immortal scientist of some variety who leads the evil Iron Cross Army and who's become immortal by drinking the blood of other species.

As is always the case with villains with 'professor' in their name, I am distracted from any of his evil deeds by wondering who on earth gave the lad tenure, and what kind of peer scrutiny his academic works (which in Professor Monster's case are probably broadly to do with technology for growing huge, like an angry reverse Hank Pym) have come under.

Which might be for the best, as he was eventually defeated in a couple of seconds of stock footage, which might make him one of the more realistic depictions of a scientist in the last fifty years.

1. Hate-Monger.

The original Hate-Monger is a clone of Hitler - or possibly just Hitler himself, nobody can seem to decide - wearing a purple Ku Klux Klan costume and wielding a gun that causes people to hate other people. Other media outlets have described this gun as a 'racism gun', and while that it is indeed probably its intended purpose, in practice it tends to be used to cause the Fantastic Four or the Avengers to disband for a few issues because they can't stand the sight of each other.

He's one of the few characters in the Marvel universe to die and stay dead, after he attempted to turn Captain America, Namor, and Nick Fury (who aren't exactly keen on each other on the best of days) upon each other, and instead blew himself up when his own weapon exploded.

Marvel's tried to reinvent him as a darker, edgier, more relevant character by having various right-wing nutjobs take on the identity to go on killing rampages of immigrants, which given that actual white Americans in actual real life keep actually going on actual killing rampages against actual immigrants is some pretty on-the-nose social commentary.

That said, those reinventions are very short lived, with one version getting murdered to death by the Punisher, and with another getting beaten by Black Panther and never seen again.

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