Saturday, September 26, 2009

Other true Super Villain examples, Dr. Horrible and Ozymandias

As two comic book villains who have received a great deal of attention lately, Dr Horrible (Dr Horrible's Sing-along-Blog) and Ozymandias (Watchmen), I thought it only timely to put them to the test. Are they part of the elete class known as Super Villains or are they members of a lesser category?
Well we can start with the metaphysics. Since the worlds that both of these characters exist in seem to be aberrations of our own and for the most part the hyper realist model of existence is considered by many physicists to be the actual state of our own existences, then it is safe to assume the same for these worlds as well. Furthermore while I see no reason to believe in a dualistic reality in which we exist the same is not a necessity for Dr. Horrible, and for Ozymandias the actions of Dr. Manhattan seem to support on some level of dualism in his unique reality. Thus the requisite Super Villain metaphysics that forms the basis the special type of freewill that they enjoy, can be met.
So, onto psychology. Both stories take place in to narrow a time frame to observe any bipolar behavior though both characters seem to show signs of possible severe depressive episodes. In reference to personality disorders, we have certainly more clearly defined examples. Both characters are clearly narcissists, you don’t think that you are the only one capable of saving or ruling the world and not be a narcissist. On the subject of paranoia well Ozymandias plan requires such a level of complexity and that he feels the need to kill everyone who even had prevue to smallest part of his scheme one cannot doubt and underlying notion of paranoia, no matter how justified. Dr. Horrible well watch the movie, if the nervous tic isn’t a give away nothing is.
With psychology and metaphysics covered we come to ethics. Here is where both characters really shine. First, Dr. Horrible attributes the world’s current woes to a corrupt status quoi. But as always with Super Villains this desire to fix the world has a great deal to do with some underlying personal issue, in this case his inability to connect with the girl of his dreams. Ozymandias on the other hand is the ultimate moral reasoner he is capable of understanding not only the cause of human suffering but the sacrifice necessary to save it. Ultimately he is forced to do what a super hero never could; he feels remorse but understands the necessity of the sacrifice.
Ozymandias also truly lives the Super Villain ideal in that not only does he wish to be a god but usurps true power of a god as well. Where this is most clear is in Ozymandias’ idealization Ramasies and the pharaoh kings of Egypt, and through his plan to defeat Dr. Manhattan.
Ozymandias represents Marx's direct challenge to god, and a perception that god's power blinds him to truth. Dr. Manhattan say that Oz while the smartest man in the world is merely a man, and not of any consequence to him. But Oz understood what Manhattan could not, that Manhattan was not saving humanity but crippling it. And in the end Oz usurps the power of a god by setting in place circumstances that drive god from the very face of Earth.
Both of these characters could probably have supported their own chapter in my book, and I have been rather vague in this entry on purpose, making larger generalizations and leaving out key points that I believe could reinforce my argument. The point in all this is drive some discussion and comments.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Female Super Villains: Fact or Fiction

On the subject of female super villains, the question first is whether any exist, if yes then who, if not, why not?
So, let’s take an example of a well known female villain and run it against the model my book creates. The example that I will use is Dark Phoenix, now some people may ask why not Granny Goodness. Well the simple answer is one of metaphysics. As long as DC limits multi-verse to 52 possible realities we cannot attribute any of its characters the necessary level of free will I argue as necessary for true super villain status. Thus until this is changed all DC characters are instantly eliminated.
Now Dark Phoenix does hail from a sufficiently complex and wide multi-verse in which we can attribute to her the limited sense of free will necessary. That hurdle crossed lets look at psychology and ethics.
Well on the behavior front Dark Phoenix is as bi-polar as they come so she makes it there. She is a narcissist and paranoid. So great, and despite the movie her truly destructive outbursts seem mostly limited to her more manic moments. That’s two down and only ethics to go.
Now this is probably the most difficult with Dark Phoenix. As a character that has been primarily confined to only a few events based story lines it seems hard to determine if she has an understanding of universal good or responsibility. For the most part there is not plotting in her actions no larger picture only blind hedonistic desire that drivers her actions. In light of such a revelation we are forced to conclude Dark Phoenix is not a Super Villain.
Though I would be willing to attribute the title to Emma Frost, she hails from the right universe, the right psychology (bipolar of the depressive variety), and she has the belief that she is in some way working to make the world a better place. She lacks the anti-human sentiments of Magneto but captures the larger goals. Honesty may be a down fall of hers but I am at this time willing to confer upon Emma Frost the title of Super Villain.
The title of Super Villain is meant to represent an ideal, like Plato's world of forms most will fail some will come close but it is meant to serve as a scale by why we can measure characters and ourselves.