So I am, instead, going with a suggestion provided by my lovely significant other, inspired by a brilliant panel featuring several brilliant authors:
Who are your seven favourite villains?
Well, alright then. Hold onto your britches. In no particular order.
YOU KNEW IT WAS COMING.
Okay so Carter Burke, right? If you haven't seen the 1986 action science fiction horror movie Aliens, you haven't lived - especially the special edition, look for the sentry guns and the scenes in the colony before the marines show up. It is my literal favourite movie ever made, if the last blog didn't clue you in on that fact. If you haven't read it, it's about Bishop, go read it. Now. Yeah, now. Then come back here.
You back? Good. Okay.
Carter Burke. The man who made the xenomorph look reasonably honourable. The greasiest rat-fuck son of a bitch to ever become dogmeat. When he bites the dust, you feel the most deep sense of "yeah fuck you" satisfaction, because you hate him. You hate his slick smarmy attitude, you hate his duplicity, you hate his lying fucking face, you hate the way he makes these empty hand gestures and gapes like a dying fish. You hate him. You hate him so thoroughly and so completely.
And then he gets his head fucking eaten.
You see, Blade Runner is a noir flick; this means that the morality is all higgledy-piggledy. So you need to look deeper than the surface when you look for who is right and who is wrong, and in a previous blog, I talked all about why Roy Batty wasn't wrong.
So we have Rick Deckard. He used to be a Blade Runner - he still is one - and a Blade Runner is a person who, in this setting at least, hunts down Replicants and retires them. Given that Replicants need a very specific test to even tell them apart from humans, what that basically means is that Deckard hunts down people and kills them. The only crime those people commit is to not do what the company that makes them tells them to, such as wanting to live for more than four years.
Rachel doesn't know she's a Replicant. Roy does, and wants to live. Deckard wonders at one point if he might be. (He isn't, by the way. I will die on that hill.) Both the original and 2049 really serve to erase the difference between Replicants and people. So - yeah, Deckard's a professional murderer cleaning up corporate messes, who would retire himself if they told him to. He forces himself on vulnerable girl, and gets piss drunk because he can't deal with his job but keeps doing it anyway.
Sure, the greater villains of the piece are Tyrell and Bryant - the corporate overlord and the demanding police chief - but Deckard, being presented as the protagonist while actually being an assassin for hire, surely takes the cake there.
"I would have waited an eternity for this. It's over, Prime."
Sure, there are a great many different Megatrons in different Transformers timelines - but all of them are awesome, let's face it.
I am particularly fond of the gladiatorial pit-fighter of Kaon presented in Transformers Prime. He just oozes hostility and nastiness. When presented with perhaps certain death, at the mercy of a human controlling an industrial drill, Megatron tells him simply:
"Kill me now, boy. Or you will never get another chance."
Jack doesn't, obviously.
In another episode he has to fight a super-powered Insecticon bare-handed, does so, wins, then turns on the Autobots and dares them to have a crack at him too.
He then falls the fuck over, because he's near death himself.
The Tessier-Ashpool Family
You know what Cyberpunk is - I already talked about Blade Runner - now meet the real villains of the novel that pretty much started it all, Neuromancer.
The Neuromancer in the title is an AI. As is Wintermute, who gave their name to my Starfinder character. They are both created as a way for an insanely wealthy family to keep maintaining their fortune and their legacy, a family that hated the earth enough to build a literal space arcology - the Villa Straylight - and that hated being in space so much that they just stayed there, in their baroque nightmare, being frothing mad and wealthy beyond understanding.
We encounter this place in the third act of the novel, a novel which begins in the murky underworld of Chiba City in Japan. Chiba is a place profoundly ruled by poverty and crime. Case - the main character - rents a plastic gun early on, just in case something bad happens. He rents a plastic gun. That's just a thing he does. Imagine the kind of world that creates that demand. Now imagine the kind of people who have more money than ACTUAL sense, like literally, who hang in orbit up above that world.
If you need more evidence as to their literal evil, one of them - the patriarch - has sex with and consequently murders a clone of his own daughter.
So fuck these people and everything they stand for.
In terms of Marvel villains, there's few I like more than Carnage.
I mean... he's pretty great, isn't he? When you think about it. Like Venom is cool, but Carnage is like cool but injected with maniac juice. Venom is a dangerous foe to Spider-Man, who defeats his spider-sense and can catch him totally unaware. Carnage is all that, plus, if he wants to, he can turn his hand into an axe and eviscerate you with it. Something he is very willing to do, because he loves eviscerating people.
There's just something so much more dangerous about the Carnage symbiote than most other bad guys in the Marvel universe. He sits between the huge deific threats (Apocalypse, Galactus, Thanos) and the powerful-but -mortal bad guys (Omega Red, Doctor Octopus, The Mandarin). It took one of the literal most powerful heroes in the Marvel universe to actually put him down, via flying him up into orbit and ripping him in half.
He's scary. He's violent. He's hard to defeat in a way that is morally sound. You can slap around a mugger, you can web up a thug, but Carnage? Carnage demands that you run, or fight. Just to survive, let alone to win.
And when you consider that the symbiote can infect other people... like, say, Wolverine... or Juggernaut...
...or Multiple Man...
Yeah, just thinking about that makes me sweaty.
I'm gonna have to explain this one...but also I kind of don't want to.
See, the entire trick to the movie Donnie Darko involves watching it, understanding it, and then interpreting it properly. If you do all these things, then I daresay you will agree with me insofar as that, in terms of the bad guy - Donnie is that guy.
Sure, there are worse people.
I mean, Kitty. Kitty is the most horrible, awful individual I can imagine. She's like that pink flowery shithole woman from Harry Potter but actually real. We all know someone like Kitty.
And Patrick Swayze... like, (SPOILERS) when you find out some wealthy pseudo-Christian self-help guru has a bunch of child porn stashed in his closet, you're probably not surprised. He's still an asshole, and he still needs punishing.
I am not going to go into the core of the plot. What I am going to do is tell you to go and watch this movie, and then understand this:
Donnie looked at what Donnie had done, and decided that what Donnie had done was the wrong thing to do.
Villains often think they are heroes of their own story. It's rare that they can witness evidence to the contrary and realise the fact.
The last villain is one that may surprise you, and herein I will present all the choices I went through before settling on one:
No, really. Yourself. From Enter The Gungeon.
So to clarify.
Enter The Gungeon is a super-fun twin-stick bullet hell game with an amazing soundtrack, superb pacing, graphics to die for, replayability out the ass - it's just great, I can't recommend it enough. If you don't believe me, go watch a review or LP. Try Dunkey, his one is pretty much on point.
You see those crosshairs?
You, as the player, are entering the Gungeon in order to take - from its depths - a gun that shoots into the past, to kill your own mistakes. That is your end goal, the reason why you decide to enter this mad labyrinth filled with bullets that shoot you with smaller bullets, and enemies that are puns on firearm terms. This is why you bullet hell. This is why you have to live.
And when you lose all your health, where in most games you would be killed by the thing that killed you - in Enter The Gungeon, you get shot by the time gun.
You are literally shooting yourself from the future.
The thing is, THAT is what kills you. That is the thing that stops you. Not the bullet that the cute little shotgun shell just shot at you. It's the bullet YOU shoot.
One of our greatest enemies is ourselves. Our doubt, our internalised hatreds and fears, our damage, our dissonance. Of course, we have a lot more enemies than that - systems that are rigged against us, people that hate us for being us, people that casually harvest their fortunes while damning the rest of us to a forever up-hill climb. One of the things we can definitely work on changing is ourselves.
And a thing we should definitely stop doing is shooting ourselves before we have a chance to fail.
Well done, John.
So yeah. There you go. My seven favourite villains.
Normal service resumes on Sunday.