Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A great hero deserves great villains

When I lived near Philly, I would listen to WXPN, a college radio station. After their pledge week, they would have a countdown of the top songs or artists or albums. However, since they were 88.5 on the FM dial, it was a countdown of the top EIGHT HUNDRED AND EIGHTY FIVE songs or artists or albums, which was glorious.

It's also kind of pointless, because the only meaningful question, as another local blogger pointed out, is "Would the top three slots be Beatles, Stones, Dylan or Beatles, Dylan, Stones?"

I was thinking about this after my post where I mentioned Batman's and Spiderman's respective rogue's galleries. They definitely occupy the top two slots. (The Flash is the bronze medalist here, in my opinion, but there's a lot less consensus about his position. You could easily put the Fantastic Four's villains here, or the X-Men's.) You can argue if Spidey's are better than Batman's or if it's the other way around, but this question of the top two is mostly settled, as much as anything can be settled in the fan-boyish world of comics discussion.

You know who is not in contention for the best rogue's gallery? Superman! 

Yeah, Brainiac is great, and so are Lex Luthor and Darkseid and General Zod. Those guys are icons! You can probably include Mxyzptlk. He's not really my cup of tea, but sure, we'll stick him in the top tier of Superman adversaries. 

And just beneath them we have Doomsday, Bizarro, the Parasite, Metallo, a bit one note, but entertaining for a change of pace.

And beneath them...

I was flipping through my copy of DC Adventures: Heroes and Villains, Volume 2, when I saw the entry for the Prankster. Then I flipped ahead, and saw the entry for the Toyman.

Jesus Christ. He's fucking SUPERMAN. Does he really need TWO non-powered toy-themed supervillains? 

They're holdovers from the early days of the franchise (they debuted about a year apart in the early 40s) and some effort has been made to differentiate them. The Prankster uses practical joke themed devices and the Toyman uses toy-themed devices. But at the end of the day, they're still fighting Superman, to whom it doesn't particularly matter if they've glued accessories on their ray gun to make it like a joy buzzer OR a jack-in-the-box. It melts under his heat vision pretty much the same. 

These are guys that the Clock King finds embarrassing. No wonder some people hate Superman. 


  1. I don't think Doom would take too kindly to being rated below The Joker, Hobgoblin, Doc. Oct., etc. And with good reason. Except for maybe Venom, Doom would beat the livin' crap out of these ass-clowns.

  2. It's a brave man who presumes to speak for Doom.