Saturday, December 22, 2012

16875--Irreconcilable Differences

Once again, finding myself pondering the crossing paths of good and evil, often manifesting themselves through the antagonists and protagonists of our entertainment.  Some are more treasured than others, the characters' relationships resonating within us in their own special ways.

A truly challenging villain whose complex character forces the hero to rise with the best of his inner strength will always be appreciated and can easily steal the show.  The best of the worst can go so far as to carry a story all their own, becoming anti-heroes in some cases.  How many of James Bond's villains make great conversational fodder outside the context of being one of James Bond's villains?

Heroes so tortured they have to overcome their personal conflicts as well as whatever dastardly fiend has dared to threaten his world will undoubtedly earn our respect.

Throwing these two into the mix together will almost guarantee the creation of a dance as memorable as it is iconic.  Usually one of these two can find the other staring back from the mirror.  Superheroes make the best subjects to study for this sort of thing because the best ones will have an array of colorful villains, each a twisted reflection of the hero in his own way.  They're easy to spot because they're the most memorable.  They make an impact on the psyche and you get an automatic set, protagonist and antagonist, in one stroke.  On the downside, many of them lose a lot of their mojo without their opposite to contest.  Reverse-Flash?  Venom?  Red Skull?  OK, Red Skull is pretty bad even without Captain America, but you get the idea.

Bizarro is a blatantly flawed attempt at copying Superman here on Earth, resulting in tragic and often dangerous consequences.  Self-made orphan Lex Luthor uses his intellect and cunning to seize all the power and glory he feels that Superman has stolen from him, but seeks the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.  Daunting as they are, as reflections of the hero, they are incomplete characters without him.

Joker embodies irrationality and madness.  Scarecrow demonstrates the negative application of fear as a weapon.  Mr. Freeze has become cold and detached after the tragic loss of a loved one.  The Penguin is a shunned socialite who falls prey to his own obsessiveness.  To prove his intellect, Riddler is pathologically driven to create puzzles.  Catwoman craves the thrills she finds while in costume.  They all reflect facets of Batman, but show a twisted path he managed to avoid.

What dark twists of the heroic soul have stood out in your mind?


  1. i really try to avoid the whole "hero" meme because i find it is a dangerous thought trap...