I recently bought myself a couple of DC comic books, specifically focusing on an assortment of villains we have come to know and hate – and some I met for the first time. Generally villains’ ideals, or rather the process by which they attain their ideals, is not what we would consider “good” or “of good morals” however sometimes villains are villains because someone somewhere turned them into one. Would Edward Enigma be the Riddler if not for Batman’s intellect and ability to solve every riddle? Would the Joker not tire of his antics if not for the Batman continuously foiling his plans? Would Carnage and Venom exist in the form they do had Spiderman not existed? Would Magneto have become Magneto if not for the evil that caused him to turn?
The comics I purchased look at the history of Killer Frost, the ice cold femme fatale who becomes the heat-seeking, vengeful ice queen, the iconic anti-hero, Deadshot, and his rise (or fall) into paid villainy, protector and champion of the people with an anger to boot Black Adam, and the overly-paranoid spy who wears a symbiotic membrane like skin Shadow Thief (DC’s version of Venom?).
In the end, all of them have been affected by people we would not classify as villains even as their actions prove them to be simply because they do not wear masks nor have fancy nicknames. Yet these normal, everyday humans were the triggers that caused these individuals to become distrustful, paranoid, heartless and vengeful, losing their faith in humanity due to humanity’s depravity – rather ironic considering how they themselves become the epitome of the very thing they hate. Their justice darker than we could morally allow.
The question is, can they blame their actions on others? Have their choices become so tainted by the actions of others that there is no redemption except through their villainous ways? Are they products of their society, of the nature and nurture of the environment they have found themselves in? Imagine everyone you cared about was taken down by low life crooks who had no regard for anyone or anything. Or research lab partners who decide that to further their own agendas they would have to end your life. Would you become the trigger to end their wicked ways? The hand of justice repaying an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth? What then becomes the difference between that villain and the hero? Where is the line? As Deadshot contemplates before a kill
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned…the last thing the world needs…is someone else like me running around looking for revenge.”
If you’ve been on my blog recently, or following Tyron over at Life In Light Of Eternity, you would be aware that we are working on a RP (RolePlaying) kind of gig called the Ke!th Universe which is the story of a hero in the bright, vibrant and at times sadly dangerous city we call home, Johannesburg. Too perturbed to let crime and evil run rampant through the streets, Keith foils a robbery and gains insight as to how he will combat crime from that point forward. Unaware of the ripple effect his actions have caused, we pan over to the darker side of the world where antagonist Alan wakes up from a foiled robbery with less money than intended, a bruise over his eye and an unpaid settlement that the kingpin, named Frankenstein, is due. There we see light rise to extinguish the darkness however, as George R.R Martin so wisely states,
“The brightest flame casts the darkest shadow.”