Greetings from the Odinson,
An Antihero is a character that does not necessarily possess the attributes and moral fiber of a hero. Whether it is their motivations or methods in which they execute their actions, the antihero may walk a grey area frowned upon by the stalwart and law-abiding. Some classic examples of the antihero are Deadpool, Walter White, Spike, and Captain Jack Sparrow.
Antiheroes aren’t what you’d necessarily call a bad guy, but they are certainly not what you’d call a good guy. Whether they work outside of the law or for a common goal with our heroes, their actions don’t always lead to positive outcomes and in many instances, they can be considered the villain of the piece.
The Savage Sub-Mariner, Magneto, Vegeta, Black Adam, Punisher, all at one point or another have been the villain, the hero, and most certainly the antihero of their story. So, the Odinson started thinking, if there is such a thing as an antihero, is there also such a thing as an Antivillain?
If the definition of an antihero is a central character in a story who lacks conventional heroic attributes, then couldn’t it be said that an antivillain is the same, just reversed? What if a truly vile and despicable despot hated and feared by all suddenly found his desires and motivations in line with the hero of the story? What if the hero and the villain stopped trying to kill each other long enough to meet the same goal? In that moment, would that villain not be an Antivillain?
I say thee yea!
The Odinson’s Top 5 Anti-Villain Moments
5 – Hannibal Lecter – It is safe to say that anyone called Hannibal the Cannibal will not be mistaken for a good guy. Hannibal Lecter was once a forensics psychiatrist who helped the FBI hunt down and apprehend dangerous killers. He is an absolute genius and sophisticated man, charismatic and cultured, there’s just one problem, Hannibal is a serial killer that eats his victims. Hence, the colorful moniker.
In the classic thriller, Silence of the Lambs, FBI cadet Clarice Starling was charged with hunting down the serial killer known as Buffalo Bill, and the clock was ticking before Bill’s next victim would be claimed. She sought council with the imprisoned Lecter. Starling needed Hannibal’s expertise and Hannibal needed a favor from Starling, relocation from his current cell to one with a view. Thus, their motivations crossed over and through their cooperation Buffalo Bill was defeated.
Hannibal Lecter is a villain, there is no doubt about that, but for that moment, his actions helped the good guys defeat another bad guy, even if it all served his own greater desires.
4 – Dark Schneider – He is an immensely powerful wizard whose sole purpose for being is to crush his enemies, conquer the world, and enslave all the women he desires to his will. He is destined to lead the armies of hell in a war against heaven itself! They don’t call him the Bastard! for nothing.
Whether it’s battling the armies of the undead, a super ninja assassin, a former ally turned vampire, or defeating a frigging fire elemental with a fire spell, Dark Schneider constantly finds his goals aligning with those of the white hats, whether he likes it or not. The truly scary thought is that when all other evil in the world is defeated, who will be left to defeat the ultimate evil of all?
Who can possibly stop Dark Schneider?
3 – Lex Luthor – Is the most brilliant, selfish, richest, conceded, conniving, deceitful, and cutthroat man alive. Sitting high above in his LexCorp Tower, Luthor holds the world in the palm of his hand. There is nothing he cannot accomplish. Nothing except one thing. He cannot destroy Superman.
He has used super science, corrupt politicians, mechanical monsters, armies of super villains, and even little green rocks from outer space, but nothing has ever worked. Luthor hates the Man of Steel with every fiber of his being and depending on which continuity you prefer, whether it is because he blames Superman for the loss of his hair or its just his own xenophobia, Luthor wants nothing more in this world than to destroy the Last Son of Krypton.
But Lex Luthor is a denizen of our planet too, and on the day the hordes of Apokolips invaded the Earth, Lex Luthor did the unthinkable. In the final episode of the classic animated series Justice League Unlimited, Luthor and his Secret Society of Super Villains stood united alongside the World’s Greatest Super Heroes against the common threat of Apokolips. For one moment in time, Lex Luthor stood side-by-side with Superman and Batman and faced the mighty Darkseid with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.
I’d say that is an antivillain thing to do. And speaking of the Dark Lord of Apokolips…
2 – Darkseid – He is the lord of a race of dark gods. His power knows very few rivals. He exists only to conquer, to rule. His sole purpose for immortality is to seek out and master the Anti-Life Equation, a primordial, cosmic solution to freewill. This is not a good bloke. Darkseid is!
However, even the vilest creature in the universe can find himself on the right side of history from time to time. During Crisis on Infinite Earths, the cosmic titan known as the Anti-Monitor was on the verge of wiping out the entire multiverse. The combined efforts of every hero, villain, antihero, and monster of several worlds were exhausted and on the verge of collapse. Even the Man of Steel was on his last leg and on the verge of defeat.
In one mind-blowing moment, Darkseid acted and gave Superman the time to recover and deliver the triumphant, victorious blow and save all of creation.
In that moment, even though he wants to conquer the universe, Darkseid knew his aspirations were hollow if there is no universe left to conquer, thus his actions saved the day.
1 – Doctor Doom – He is a genius. A powerful sorcerer. A king. He is the most feared man alive! When his name is uttered, the brave tread carefully. He has mastered science, magic, time, and space. His will is ironclad. His determination unyielding. He has only two desires – conquer the world and destroy Reed Richards. The former he has accomplished on several occasions (see Doom Triumphant and Emperor Doom). The latter is a dish best served cold.
However, there have been several times when the goals of DOOM and those of the white hats have intersected, and it always seems to happen on the biggest stage of all.
In Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars, it wasn’t the Avengers, Fantastic Four, nor the X-Men that defeated the Beyonder. It wasn’t even Galactus. No, it was Victor Von Doom who faced the nigh-omnipotent One from Beyond in a battle to the death and came out victorious!
In Secret Wars, it wasn’t the Avengers, Fantastic Four, nor the X-Men that stopped the incursions and the utter destruction of the entire Marvel multiverse. And it sure wasn’t even the ill-conceived Illuminati. No, it was Victor Von Doom that came forward and saved the multiverse.
If Doctor Doom wasn’t such a despicable, vile, evil despot he just might be the greatest hero of All-Time.
Isaac Newton said for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. If there is evil, there must be good. If there are heroes, there must be villains. And if there are Antiheroes, then everyone is lucky that sometimes, even if only for a moment, there are also Antivillains.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
NOTE: For past entries of the So Sayeth the Odinson blog, over a decade’s worth of comic book and pop culture articles and reviews, click HERE. Also, be sure to check out my novels The Survivors and Autumn Dawn, which were inspired by 1980s horror – HERE and HERE