Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)


The Marvel and the DC universes don’t want for big bads; there's plenty to choose from. And some are really interesting too, with very human motivations: you know, Magneto is a bit of a mixed bag as a savior to some and monster to others. Loki has done some awful stuff but somewhere deep down in there, maybe there’s just a good little kid that wants to be loved. Sinestro seems to think, in his own deluded way, that he’s the hero who’s going to restore order to the universe.

But let’s talk about BAD guys. You know, those villains who have no redeemable qualities whatsoever. The guys who are just monsters and have no goal other than the total annhiliation and/or subjugation of our heroes, the planet, etc.

I think it’s a fair assessment that Darkseid is likely the worst of the worst as DC villians go. I mean the guy has an entire planet’s worth of sentient beings and resources at his disposal and he’s mostly managed to brainwash them all into believing that they actually WANT to be in servitude. That they essentially deserve the fate of being ruled by their dark master. There’s nothing to hope for or look forward to on Apokolips; just endless toil to fuel Darkseid’s wars of conquest. Or worst: ‘re-education’ is the grim fate of those who resist.

Even Superman and Wonder Woman can get slapped around like children by this guy. He’s inhumanely strong, has a genius-like intellect and intuition, and his Omega Beam unerringly zeroes in on a target and either obliterates it or transports an individual to the deepest recesses of Darkseid’s slave stockades. And that’s just HIM. Never mind the waves of parademons and other half-monster/half-solider monstrosities he throws at the Justice League and everyone else in his way. Growing up I sort of thought of Darkseid as a somewhat shallow, one dimensional character.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized: that’s just what makes him a great character. Plenty of villians talk about conquering the world, but Darkseid could actually do it. He COULD beat Superman into the pavement and unleash abominations across the entire planet. This guy has almost no weakness other than the things every supervillain tends to do: gloat a little too much or bank too much on people doing the wrong thing instead of the right thing, but the bottom line is he’s pure villain. It’s like there’s nothing else to Darkseid other than the unquenchable thirst to conquer everything in his path. And that’s scary when you think about it.

Of course, a lot of times I see Darkseid and Thanos get paired up and compared. I admit there’s some similarity in their appearances and even in their abilities. They’re both incredibly powerful alien beings who could wipe out most of Earth’s defenders with a flick of their wrist. Although, Thanos has evolved into a more complicated character. Sometimes Thanos seems to have an uncanny way to be in a position to do the right thing for the wrong reasons, leading some to speculate that Thanos, for all his posturing about loving only death, might not be as bad as he claims to be. Or even thinks he is.

Apocalypse might be a better counter-part to Darkseid. Literally one of the first mutants born on the planet thousands of years ago, his powers were augmented by incredibly advanced alien technology. A little less bent on servitude than Darkseid, Apocalypse seems to have an interest in shaping the future of the mutant race. Of course, his ideas about this are rooted in the survival of the fittest mentality rather than anything benevolent. War, conflict, plagues; anything that will kill off the weak and bolster the strong is something that Apocalypse loves and he actively strives to unleash these kind of things all over the planet when possible.

Other than that: he’s essentially immortal and practically omniscient (apparently conscious of every point in his own timeline simultaneously, giving him a kind of contained predestination of the future), thanks to his strange celestial upgrades. We all got a glimpse of just how ugly the world would get if mutants were ruled by this guys teachings in the Age of Apocalypse. I’ve been hearing a lot about Apocalpyse making an appearance in an upcoming X-Men film. This would be an ambitious undertaking to say the least to get this character right. But an intriguing idea.

So the age old question: Who would win in a fight? Apocalypse or Darkseid?

Well, this isn’t about power. Both of these guys are power incarnate. So I guess it comes down to personality. Philosophy. Darkseid isn’t above playing dirty. He’ll use any advantage he can to demoralize his opponent. But Apocalypse loves being challenged. He takes adversity as an opportunity to strengthen himself.

This is a real immovable object meets an irresistible force kind of situation. Anyone want to place a bet?

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