supervillainry revisited

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about supervillains. Too much perhaps, but I do find them intriguing. As a side note, it’s clear to me that there are no actual supervillains, as one would surely have made their presence known by this point in time, though perhaps that’s just wishful thinking on my part.

Most supervillains, in the Bond universe or one of the comic book universes, Marvel or DC, want to take control, of the planet or something larger. (Interestingly, Thanos from the MCU is an outlier from this point of view, because he had an objective other than total control, achieved that objective, and then retired to a cabin in the woods, for all the good it did him in the end.)

Why. This is the question that’s always intrigued me. Why take control. Why be the boss, for instance, of Earth. I’m reminded of the character from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, living alone, not even clearly understanding the decisions he’s making (if memory serves; it’s time for a reread of the extended trilogy). But one of the aspects of their characters that we don’t often see is why they want to be in charge of all things.

Perhaps it’s just that I’m relying on my own memory at this point and there is investigation that I need to do; a Bond marathon might hit the spot, once I’ve managed to make my way to the top of Task Mountain, as might the chronological rewatch of the MCU, movies and series combined.

But my memory is that absolute power had become its own end, and I have to say that strikes me as remarkably unsatisfying. Being in charge of a country, much less the whole planet, takes a lot of work. It’s not for the faint of heart.

Our superheroes exist in counterpoint to their super foes; they spend their time fighting to prevent their corresponding supervillains from achieving their nefarious (love that word) goals, but we don’t often see superheroes tackling the problems that some people, many people face: thirst, hunger, shelter, making the most of their time on this round rock of ours.

And so I’m pondering, as the clouds gather outside (literally in this case, as we have rain coming in our direction) and as the light of day fades, the liminal space between superheroes and supervillains, where we have combined the desire of supervillains and the morality of superheroes, and things magically become better.

And then I stop myself. Supervillains, like superheroes, are fantasies, creatures of our imaginations that have little to nothing to do with what we’ve done today or what we’ll do tomorrow. (At least for most of us. 😉 ) There is work to be done, and it won’t be done for us by the Son of Krypton. So let’s shift the wording a bit. There’s work for us to do.

~ by Jim Anderson on 4 September 2022.

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