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  1. #1
    Incredible Member Tzigone's Avatar
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    Default Villains that shouldn't be (have been) reused

    I've seen a couple threads mention these, so I thought I'd open it up for discussion.

    I know why comic companies want to reuse popular villains - they're popular and sell books. But sometimes, a villain just isn't well-designed for long-term use. One arc, maybe two, and it's time to be done with them.

    Let me start with the biggies - Bane and Doomsday. Each was created for a specific purpose (break the hero), a specific story/event. Nothing they ever do again is going to top their first outings, IMO. They've already peaked. Both of them, but especially Doomsday, IMO, are doomed to basically rehashing their first stories or getting stories that cannot help be be underwhelming. But Bane's being used right now, so it's possible I'll turn out to be wrong.

    Trigon. Being only trapped, not killed the first time was okay. But after he died, he needed to stay dead. The tainted souls were bad enough, but then they brought him back....with sons. No. It was an epic battle, a big sacrifice, a satisfying conclusion to the Trigon storyline. It needed to stay concluded. I personally feel the same about the conclusion to the Church of Blood in NTT #31, but I'll grant that one is iffier.

    The one that made me start the thread: Victor Fries - specifically the version using the B:TAS inspired sympathetic backstory. He can be used for one story, maybe two, if you want to maintain audience sympathy. After that, it falls apart. Sure, he has a tragic backstory. We can understand he desire for revenge. But, for me at least, sympathy goes out the window when he starts hurting innocent people (though, of course, he's a bit unstable and has a skewed version of innocent). Remember, he's not acting in some capacity to save Nora when he first appears - he's getting revenge on the company that took her from him and made him this way. If he can be brought around relatively quickly, that's one thing. But if he can't, he's just another villain. If she is actually not killed by experiment interruption, it just gets messier. If you don't care about audience sympathy, he's totally reusable, though.
    Last edited by Tzigone; 07-29-2019 at 03:53 PM.

  2. #2
    Extraordinary Member SiegePerilous02's Avatar
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    Trigon's definitely the big example. After his first death, that should have been it for him and Raven should have remained cleansed of evil forever more.

    Ares is another big one. He has only ever been interesting as a villain once, in Rucka's first WW run. And even there he wasn't a traditional straight up antagonist, and the run got cut short before we got to see where it went anyway. He's perfect as a starter/origin villain, but has little use beyond that. But even that isn't set in stone. the New 52 and Rebirth did other things with him, with the latter having his sons fill in for him as antagonists, and I can't say I missed him much. With Diana's origins moving further and further away from the world wars, Ares is becoming more and more obsolete for her. Wilson brought him back and time will tell how people use him.

  3. #3
    Boisterously Confused
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tzigone View Post
    I've seen a couple threads mention these, so I thought I'd open it up for discussion.

    I know why comic companies want to reuse popular villains - they're popular and sell books. But sometimes, a villain just isn't well-designed for long-term use. One arc, maybe two, and it's time to be done with them.

    Let me start with the biggies - Bane and Doomsday. Each was created for a specific purpose (break the hero), a specific story/event. Nothing they ever do again is going to top their first outings, IMO. They've already peaked. Both of them, but especially Doomsday, IMO, are doomed to basically rehashing their first stories or getting stories that cannot help be be underwhelming. But Bane's being used right now, so it's possible I'll turn out to be wrong.

    Trigon. Being only trapped, not killed the first time was okay. But after he died, he needed to stay dead. The tainted souls were bad enough, but then they brought him back....with sons. No. It was an epic battle, a big sacrifice, a satisfying conclusion to the Trigon storyline. It needed to stay concluded. I personally feel the same about the conclusion to the Church of Blood in NTT #31, but I'll grant that one is iffier.

    The one that made me start the thread: Victor Fries - specifically the version using the B:TAS inspired sympathetic backstory. He can be used for one story, maybe two, if you want to maintain audience sympathy. After that, it falls apart. Sure, he has a tragic backstory. We can understand he desire for revenge. But, for me at least, sympathy goes out the window when he starts hurting innocent people (though, of course, he's a bit unstable and has a skewed version of innocent). Remember, he's not acting in some capacity to save Nora when he first appears - he's getting revenge on the company that took her from him and made him this way. If he can be brought around relatively quickly, that's one thing. But if he can't, he's just another villain. If she is actually not killed by experiment interruption, it just gets messier. If you don't care about audience sympathy, he's totally reusable, though.
    Bane is my #1 example as well. As you said, that's a story specific character.

    Not to pick on Batman, but KGBeast is another. Like Bane, after his Tour de Force Introduction, he had no future except as Yet One More DCU Goon.

    Cyborg-Superman/Hank Henshaw is a candidate. His reveal at the transition between "Reign of the Supermen"/"The Return of Superman" was awesome. In everything else, he was somehow less.

  4. #4
    Fantastic Member mikelmcknight72's Avatar
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    Trigon - Once Issues 1-5 of the Baxter series were done, he definitely should have been permanently retired as a present day villain. That story is pretty much not going to be topped.

    Bane - If it weren't for Gail Simone & the Secret Six, I'd agree that he should not have been reused. I will say that he should not be reused in the same capacity he was during Knightfall.

    Doomsday - I'd say two and done should have been it. Death of Superman and the mini involving Darkseid, Henshaw, and Superman.

    Universo - Everyone knows who he is and what he does, and there are apparently no safeguards in place? Seriously? A whole planet of telepaths and there's no training available to help resist mental domination from Universo?

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    Mr. Freeze definitely.

    Bane... I think the idea of him breaking Batman psychologically this time works. Just maybe with fewer issues. He definitely shouldn't be used often though. Knightfall and City of Bane, that's it, because now that he broke him physically and emotionally, where do you go from this? Let him chill in Santa Prisca with Psycho-Pirate and be happy.

    I view Ares more as an overseer since he's God of War and war is still happening. So he shouldn't be a traditional villain that can be fought superhero style but more like a force that's always there and there's nothing you really can do about it since it's the human who keeps involved in conflicts.
    So any event with Ares would be like if he's spurring something in the background and Diana beat him by beating the conflict, not Ares himself. Then once it's done Ares just go "oh well, see you next time."
    There's no reason for him to be angry or ambitious since he's immortal who can start sh*t wherever whenever.
    Did anyone watch Dreamworks Sinbad? Eris The Goddess of Discord pretty much works like that. She will start sh*t, have fun with it, but if beaten, she's only gonna be angry for that moment but immediately chill because being a goddess she can start other conflicts elsewhere.

    KG Beast, or The Beast, nowadays, is pretty much a mercenary. That's the logical place the character would go if he doesn't want to quietly retire.

  6. #6
    Boisterously Confused
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikelmcknight72 View Post
    Trigon - Once Issues 1-5 of the Baxter series were done, he definitely should have been permanently retired as a present day villain. That story is pretty much not going to be topped.

    Bane - If it weren't for Gail Simone & the Secret Six, I'd agree that he should not have been reused. I will say that he should not be reused in the same capacity he was during Knightfall.

    Doomsday - I'd say two and done should have been it. Death of Superman and the mini involving Darkseid, Henshaw, and Superman.

    Universo - Everyone knows who he is and what he does, and there are apparently no safeguards in place? Seriously? A whole planet of telepaths and there's no training available to help resist mental domination from Universo?
    Eh. Universo had an awesome reprise, where he all but succeeded. It wasn't a "Legion Thwarts The Bad Guy" story as much as it was a "Saturn Girl Bounces Back And Saves The Hopelessly Lost Day" story.

  7. #7
    Astonishing Member phantom1592's Avatar
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    Doomsday was always my big one. He can only kill Superman once, so every time after that it only weakens his impact.

    Parallax is my next one. Not Hal Jordan's version... but the alien space slug inside him. Being the yellow impurity was genius and I loved that retcon. Pulling it out of Hal and sucking it back into the battery was perfect. Reset the status quo (that we already knew about a sentient yellow impurity that was released and recaptured when the corps was destroyed just prior to Vol 3 started.) Constantly brining the entities out and making one of each color... yeah. Lamer each time they try.

  8. #8
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    Doomsday is the champion for me. His whole schtick relegates him to either "worfed" with each appearance making him look more pathetic or to becoming harder and harder to write as each solution to defeating him requires the next use to find a new way to do it. He isn't a schemer where you can say look Superman beat him this time but Doomsday managed to achieve some small victory anyhow. He's low hanging fruit just begging a writer to show his favorite character beating Doomsday for bragging rights (Byrne did it with Wonder Woman, Johns did it with Infinite Crisis, the JLU cartoon did it).

    Prometheus is another guy who should be incredibly impressive but gets watered down to let the hero of the moment beat him single handedly. He should be the anti-Amazo, with strategies and gadgetry to handle any single Leaguer and if he properly plans to handle the whole team. He should be Batman for the bad guys, countering every Bat-God move with one of his own. Instead he is someone Green Arrow defeats single-handedly.

  9. #9
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    Appart from the ones that were allready named:

    - Hush: he is also a character that kind of peaked with his first outing and doesn't have a motivation to do something much different

    - Court of Owls: these guys look cool, but are not particularity interesting, especially since they lack named characers appart from the Talons.

  10. #10
    Three Legged Member married guy's Avatar
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    Two stick out in my mind.

    Hank Henshaw - God, I got SO sick of this character back in the day. Slightly better in Sinestro Corps War, but still.... ugh. I'd be happy to never see him again.

    Doomsday - Although I enjoyed the shit out of Hunter/Prey, that's probably where it should have ended for the character. Each successive defeat lessened the impact of his arrival.
    "My name is Wally West. I'm the fastest man alive!"
    I'll try being nicer if you try being smarter.

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member mathew101281's Avatar
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    The Anti Monitor. What’s left to do once you’ve destroyed a whole multiverse.

  12. #12
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    The Metal Dark Knights should never be used again. I'm sick of DC shoving Batman in my face and claiming he's the greatest thing ever, and that lot are practically the embodiment of that mentality.

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