Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Top 10 Reformed Villains - #6 & #2

Well, since I somehow managed to skip over #6 last time, here is the rather unorthodox pairing of #6 and #2 in our Top 10!

6. Skurge the Executioner - I really thought about ranking Skurge at #2, but since his reformation was very brief I can't justify putting him higher up on the list.  However, Skurge's last stand remains to this day one of the very best deaths of any character in comics.  Walt Simonson did such an amazing job that I tend to think of Scourge as the new Bucky, back when the term "Bucky Dead" meant something.  Skurge is a pretty tragic character when you get to the core of the character, acting as the bootlick to the Enchantress because he loves her so much even though she always has eyes for Thor.  His anger and jealousy puts him at odds with Thor far more than any true malice in his heart.  And really, next to that line about great power and responsibility, is any line in comics as cool as "He stood alone at Gjallerbru, and that answer is enough"?  Didn't think so.

2. Ares - Ares used to be kind of a lame villain, or at least his look was, who was used as a challenge for Thor and Hercules.  As much as I absolutely hated Ares being an Avenger at first, some really great stuff was done with the character, and I'm man enough to admit that part of that credit goes to Bendis.  However, it was two Ares mini-series (not written by Bendis) that really drew me to the character.

Michael Oeming wrote the first Ares mini-series, and while the character had yet to get the pretty cool visual look he would adopt with the Avengers, the story was absolutely phenomenal.  There are times when a creator reinvents a lesser known character without needing a cross-company crossover or deals with the devil, and this is a perfect example done exceedingly well.  I don't want to spoil it if you hadn't read it, just do yourself a favour and check it out.

The second mini-series was written by Kieron Gillen, who has a true knack for writing mythological characters.  Again I don't want to spoil anything if you hadn't read it, but it really explores the God of War's true character.  The best part about both of these mini-series' is they are collected in the same trade paperback, and I believe that it is the same price or cheaper than buying the first one buy itself!  So now you have no excuse to check them out!

Unsurprisingly, Ares also played a role in The Incredible Hercules, particularly in the first story arc or two.  The story takes place during the Civil War, where Ares is a fully deputized agent of the law, while his brother Hercules is a wanted fugitive.  Holy role reversal Batman!  In one of the funniest fight scenes I've ever seen, the still-pretty-morally-ambiguous Ares cannot resist using his newfound authority to kill his hated brother.

Ares met his end in the Siege mini-series, but he really showcased a sense of honor that I'm a sucker for in these warrior type character, and it was then that I could really, truly accept him as a hero and not a villain.  He certainly started out as a villain, but he quickly revealed that he is far from being a black-and-white character.

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