I think we can all agree that without a great foil, a hero is nothing more then a man or woman with a great potential. So it is a necessity to have a great evil villain for our hero or heroes to stop. I personally feel it builds an aspect of suspense if the villain is clearly bigger, stronger or more intelligent then our hero - however not all three at once. There has to be a bit of a balancing act somewhere. You can't have two omnipresent all powerful villains be the foil of a 9 year old boy, because any way you try to tell the story, it still will not be very good or believable. So in my humble opinion you need a hero that complements the villain and vice versa.
When you mention anything to do with comics the question of, "Who's better, Marvel or DC?" is almost always near the top of the list. I am in the middle on this debate. I like characters from both sides. However for as many likes as I have I have equally as many hates. Take these two the characters for example: Deathstroke Or Deadpool. picked these two because they are both similar and both have a series of strengths and weakness. Do I go with Deathstroke, seeing as he was here first? Or do I go with Deadpool because he seems more updated and in touch. The truth is I pick neither, I find both characters kind of annoying. For me what makes a great villain is more a question of the assumed then the reality of the evil plan. Take the Joker for example. Lets just suppose He has captured Batman has has him tied to a chair in the center of a dimly lit room. The only thing in the room besides him is a gift wrapped box and a puppy. I am more unnerved by the puppy than the gift wrapped box. The joker has used the box before to hide all manner of trick and or booby-trap. The puppy however that adds a whole degree of creep factor to it because you don't see it as a threat. To me a good villain uses all things to assault his foe from the obvious to the obscure. True too much complexity is bad thing but a peaceful medium is great springboard for story telling.
|He's right. Animals are terrifying. -Ed|
Another type of villain I can't get enough of is the villain whose villainy is only a matter of perspective. Magneto, from the X Men comics, is a prime example of this archetype. From the X men's point of view he is a monster and a mad man. However from his followers point of view, he is a speaker of truth and a visionary for the entire mutant race. As a reader or watcher of this you see both sides' pain. He makes you see the horrors that the so-called right side perpetrate. This villain puts you and the heroes at a moral cross roads. You are not sure which way to turn and it forces you to feel one way or another. I personally feel that this is the most powerful type of villain. When they have a passion for something like equality, it makes it hard to quantify them as a villain. They become more human then just a soulless monster.
So there you have it, is it a bad thing to be a bad guy? In my opinion no it isn't, as a matter of fact it is a badge of honor. They are so vital to heroes existence that without them, you have nothing. As my article comes to a close I can't help but think of one of my favorite lines from the film Hook. The line is by Dustin Hoffman and goes as followed “What would the world be like without Captain Hook.” Never has a truer statement ever been uttered in the defense of villainy.