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  1. #1
    Fantastic Member Castiel's Avatar
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    Default Would you say that Marvel has any complex villains?

    I originally thought about posting this in Spiderman but then felt Punisher would be a more intersting character to discuss this with what do you think Frank Castle would do if he encountered a villain that originally seemed like a psychopath but was then revealed to arguably a victim of his seemingly innocent target? I then considered expanding the subject into what just about any marvel heroes reaction would be. I think it would be interesting to see a Mr. Freeze type villain in Marvel as a nice break away from the usual villains like Dr. Doom, Kingpin, and Red Skull.

    I can't help but wonder how a lot heroes would interact with someone like that especially if he/she was only trying to save someone they loved and or get well deserved pay back. This is pretty much an example of what I'm talking about.

  2. #2

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    Punisher is a complex villain

  3. #3
    Kinky Lil' Canine Snoop Dogg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Watkins View Post
    Punisher is a complex villain
    Punisher is a simple villain that unlike other characters cannot be complex because it would limit his ability to do what he does, and he has to keep doing it because he has books to sell.

  4. #4
    Kinky Lil' Canine Snoop Dogg's Avatar
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    And while most Marvel villains are really complex with the simpler ones like Red Skull, Bullseye, Carnage, Sinister, etc. being the exception, I can't think of a Mister Freeze type off the top of my head because most of the villains who have that kind of goal only have it for one story or something, like Doom with his mother.

    However, yesterday I saw Into the Spider-Verse where spoilers:
    Kingpin has a Freeze-type motivation
    end of spoilers

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member DragonsChi's Avatar
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    Magneto would be the quintessential complex villain.

    Depending on who's side you are on and how you look at it Namor would be the creator of the complex villain/anti-hero.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DragonsChi View Post
    Magneto would be the quintessential complex villain.

    Depending on who's side you are on and how you look at it Namor would be the creator of the complex villain/anti-hero.
    Agreed.

    I dont really agree with the initial post at all, I feel like Marvel has plenty of these types of villians already to various degrees.
    Sure it might be different depending on who wrote them, but the same applies to Mr. Freeze. His new 52 backstory was not nearly as complex as much as just being creepy.

  7. #7
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    Marvel's villains are, on average, less complex than DCs, because Marvel stories are about the heroes flaws. The story is about Peter Parker's struggle with his desire to make money and be famous and subtler versions of the same flaws he displayed back when he first got his powers. The story is about Tony Stark's mad scientist hubris and his addictive personality. With so much of the story about the hero's flaws, there often isn't much room for the villain to do much beside provide a few action scenes to liven up what is otherwise the character-study of a flawed protagonist.

    Generally, DC heroes are extremely pure and iconic. So often the story will be a character-study of a villain. The story will be about how Black Mask's and Penguin's parents ruined them with abuse. The story will be about Ra's Al Ghul's slow deterioration into cynicism and misanthropy and fanaticism. The story will be about Bane being raised in a prison and what that did to him. The story will be about how Two-Face came to have two personalities. The story will be about Mr Freeze's desperate attempts to save his wife. A DC story is far more likely to be about the villain, with the hero as an utterly pure force stops the villain from actually winning once the character-study is done.

    In short, both Marvel and DC use characters as Macguffins to fool us into thinking we are watching an action-story when we are really watching a character study. The difference is Marvel uses villains as the Rosebud to get us to read about their heroes. DC uses heroes as the Rosebud to get us to read their character-studies of villains.

    Now before someone comes in and points to some exception from both companies, I'll say that, yes, there are a fair number of exceptions from both companies. But the tendency is nonetheless quite strong.

  8. #8
    Astonishing Member DragonsChi's Avatar
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    Just for the sake of discussion can anyone name a Non-Bat villain that is "complex"?

    I would also throw in Kraven the Hunter, some versions of Venom, William Stryker, The Lizard, Galactus, & Thanos to some degree.
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  9. #9
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    Punisher isn't really a villain. He's an anti-hero. Anyway there's Magneto, Dr. Doom, some versions of Venom, The Lizard, Galactus, etc.

  10. #10
    Astonishing Member Killerbee911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelC View Post
    Marvel's villains are, on average, less complex than DCs,.
    When you say DC you are talking about Batman villains and maybe Lex. On the strength of Batman villains alone is that enough say DC has more complex villains? Maybe the sheer popularity Batman means people have seen his stories over and over so technically you are right. But for the sake of argument let's throw out Batman who else are we talking about? Batman is one franchise nothing being done in Batman that can't be done or hasn't been done in Daredevil series which has given us complex and character studies with villains in Kingpin, Electra, Bullseye,Typhoid Mary, Punisher and more. Also Marvel has Magneto, Dr Doom, Loki, Green Goblin, Purple Man,Thanos who all have been done good in either movie,tv show or comics.

    So you are going have to defend that point with more than just Batman villains and maybe one superman villain. Let us hear about the other amazing complex guys at DC I have a feeling that average complexity for villains goes way down without the Batman stories.

    Quote Originally Posted by Punisher007 View Post
    Punisher isn't really a villain. He's an anti-hero. .
    The Punisher is the superhero version of Dexter.
    Last edited by Killerbee911; 12-19-2018 at 01:15 AM.

  11. #11
    Ultimate Member JKtheMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelC View Post
    Marvel's villains are, on average, less complex than DCs, because Marvel stories are about the heroes flaws. The story is about Peter Parker's struggle with his desire to make money and be famous and subtler versions of the same flaws he displayed back when he first got his powers. The story is about Tony Stark's mad scientist hubris and his addictive personality. With so much of the story about the hero's flaws, there often isn't much room for the villain to do much beside provide a few action scenes to liven up what is otherwise the character-study of a flawed protagonist.

    Generally, DC heroes are extremely pure and iconic. So often the story will be a character-study of a villain. The story will be about how Black Mask's and Penguin's parents ruined them with abuse. The story will be about Ra's Al Ghul's slow deterioration into cynicism and misanthropy and fanaticism. The story will be about Bane being raised in a prison and what that did to him. The story will be about how Two-Face came to have two personalities. The story will be about Mr Freeze's desperate attempts to save his wife. A DC story is far more likely to be about the villain, with the hero as an utterly pure force stops the villain from actually winning once the character-study is done.

    In short, both Marvel and DC use characters as Macguffins to fool us into thinking we are watching an action-story when we are really watching a character study. The difference is Marvel uses villains as the Rosebud to get us to read about their heroes. DC uses heroes as the Rosebud to get us to read their character-studies of villains.

    Now before someone comes in and points to some exception from both companies, I'll say that, yes, there are a fair number of exceptions from both companies. But the tendency is nonetheless quite strong.
    This is an interesting theory and could be used as a means of analysis, but I don’t really think it is true. I agree that what you are describing is a natural consequence of the difference between the two approaches to superhero stories, but the underlying idea that all comics are ‘just character studies’ is so oversimplified to be meaningless. You could reduce every story to this idea if you took that to its ultimate conclusion.

    Yes, if your heroes are essentially iconic and rarely challenged on a fundamental level, then the only deep character exploration that can occur will be the other supporting characters. But honestly, many of these supposed developed DC villains are not really that at all, they are equally iconic. Their core ideas don’t get challenged very often either. Many of them are pretty standard foils, designed to illuminate the character of the hero. Just because a villains’s origin contains pathos and a connection to the hero doesn’t make him any different. So on that level I don’t see a lot of difference between many DC villains and their Marvel counterparts.

    The biggest difference between DC and Marvel will always be the flaws in the heroes, and that is even more evident when we read Superman in Heroes in Crisis having a moment of self reflection about how he is neither Superman nor Clark and that both are roles. That idea is indeed something he should consider very carefully before talking about it. “I don’t say these things. We can’t say these things.” Is a wonderful commentary on the underlying psychosis of DC.

  12. #12
    The King Fears NO ONE! Triniking1234's Avatar
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    Magneto, Kingpin and Doctor Doom are complex villains.

  13. #13
    Amazing Member Fearless's Avatar
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    Lots of villains are complex, it just comes down to the traits writers choose to emphasize in the story and how. We've had Doctor Doom save the Marvel Universe...but he made himself God of it in the process. Galactus' entire existence is the result of saving the universe, he simply ended up existing in an eternal state of hunger and has to sate it as a result. Apocalypse was abandoned early in life and it was prophesied to him that he would be the hero who ends the oppression of his people.

    Then, you know...there's Magneto. A holocaust survivor, the only member of his family who lived through a Nazi death camp, a victim of abuse and enslavement because of his race, who learned he's part of yet another race that is perpetually in a volatile climate within the Marvel Universe. Look into finer details of characters, even ones like Doc Ock or the Mandarin, and you'll find interesting details. The thing is, it comes down to the writer to choose what to define their version of any character they use in a comic with, and how they choose to do so.

    So the answer is, obviously Marvel has complex villains. So does DC. It doesn't necessarily mean we get as consistently complex stories around them, and I think part of that is because DC particularly gets to rely on Batman (which has essentially become his own world within their world with the cast it has at play) and the Batman book and rogues have a long established and marketable interest based around exploring their villains and presenting their layers of depth.

  14. #14
    Ultimate Member JKtheMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fearless View Post
    ... Batman book and rogues have a long established and marketable interest based around exploring their villains and presenting their layers of depth.
    Which is much more pertinent to the question presented. The way the Batman mythos has been built up from noir, crime and camp necessitates the villains inhabit the psychological playground that is Gotham. The setting and colour has more to do with the original question than some notion of 'complexity'. The same setting and colour that makes Kingpin a good Daredevil villain despite coming from Spider-Man.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Punisher007 View Post
    Punisher isn't really a villain. He's an anti-hero. Anyway there's Magneto, Dr. Doom, some versions of Venom, The Lizard, Galactus, etc.
    if Magneto didn't have mutant powers, he would be the Punisher. if Castle had mutant powers, he would become just like Magneto (proven with the recent short term addition of the War Machine armor). both think they are doing what needs to be done.

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