Hi-Tech: A Villain With Some Level Of Technology

Hi-Tech, real name as yet unrevealed, is a minor Superman foe from the 90s, but in spite of having only a few minor appearances in Superman books, she somehow managed to get a starring role in an story running in some DC Anthology book. I can only assume the creators had plans for her that never came to fruition. Well, I will currently ignore those insignificant potential plans to fit her into my own, even less significant plans.

Hi-Tech, as her terribly generic name suggests, is a technology-based villain. She was apparently just a bored adrenaline junkie type who became a cyborg for the thrill of doing super-crimes. She was essentially a mercenary, doing crimes for pay, eventually winding up having her consciousness wind up in an entirely robotic body. Like all the crooks for this team I’m suggesting, she’s not too bad (she actually came to feel bad about some things she did) and she’s not a threat to Superman alone, so she’d fit into the group fairly well.

Every team of heisters needs a hacker type and the fact she can also participate in a fight means she doesn’t have to stay behind in the team’s van and watch everything on monitors or whatever. She can participate in the action.

In terms of relations with the rest of Metropolis’s criminals, I expect Toxus would have little problem getting her to sign up for capers. She’s eager for the opportunity. I also have to wonder what kind of relationship might evolve between her and the electricity-based supercriminal Livewire. Friends? Enemies? Only way to find out is if people use the character.

Toxus: The Rootin’ Tootin’ Pollutin’ Supercrook

Today I bring you Toxus. Toxus, real name Virgil Belasco, is a crook who has only appeared in one two-part Supergirl story, but I think he’d make a good addition to Superman’s recurring cast of c-list enemies. And not just because “Virgil Belasco” is an awesome name.

Toxus was your basic crook except that he came across some technology from the future that allowed him pollution powers. Among those powers were the ability to essentially fly turning himself into smog and to generate lead-filled smoke that can’t be penetrated by x-ray vision. A lot of fun could be had with the concept of pollution powers, I think. Also, Toxus has an angle that I think would be good to teach kids about pollution: it isn’t his goal to cause pollution, like some Captain Planet villain, he is just a selfish guy who doesn’t care that pollution comes from his actions. That is more realistic a depiction of pollution and kids ought to see that.

His personality? Well, we know he’s a crook but let’s extrapolate based on his pollution theme to expand on it. I say he’s the kind of guy who manipulates his fellow crooks to get what he wants and doesn’t care if it gets them in danger or causes them problems in their lives. Toxus would essentially be the crux of the little community of crooks. For example, I would absolutely have him as a cohort of Timebomb and he would definitely use the latter’s anger to manipulate him into doing things for him.

Next week, I’ll write something about another potential member.

Superman’s C-List Villain Team

I have said that I am jealous of Batman’s villains because they are “better” than Superman’s. That is true, but you know whose villains I enjoy even more than the Great Fleidermaus Detective’s? Spider-Man’s. That guy has a ton of villains who are just plain fun. And it isn’t even his a-listers I’m talking about. I barely care about Spider-Man’s big villains. What I like is his c-listers. They are so good they could and have headlined their own books while still being c-list super-crooks, not brilliant criminal masterminds or maniacal killers. That is what I want for Superman’s foes. I want him to have his own equivalent to the Sinister Syndicate. So let’s work on that, shall we? (I will do it. You can just sit there.)

I don’t know what name this team would have, if it had any. In my ideal world, I would find a name that was once used in some obscure Superman comic that would fit this team perfectly and reclaim it. At the moment, I have not found that name. I would NOT however, call this team the “Superman Revenge Squad”. I’ll probably do a post about those guys someday, but they aren’t these guys. These are the guys who mostly don’t want revenge on Superman. They just want to do crimes when Superman isn’t around. There probably wouldn’t even be a permanent roster. They’d be more casual criminal acquaintances than an actual team.

Mostly I will be plucking very obscure supervillains for this. There are some more mainstream ones who’d fit in, though. Off the top of my head, Metallo and Livewire would work. Anyway, at least, I don’t have enough to say about either of them to merit their own posts, so I’ll cover them here today.

Metallo, a cyborg thug with a heart of Kryptonite, is without a doubt the highest ranking of the villains I will propose for this group. He’s also the one most likely to be involved in plots that go beyond the parameters I just set for the team. He is the type who’d go out for revenge on Superman. He would probably be perfectly willing to work for Lex Luthor or whomever instead of doing bank jobs or whatever. But he’d do those smaller crimes too. He’s not picky. And for this group to work, they need at least one notable criminal in the batch. Metallo works.

Livewire, an electrically-powered sassmouth criminal, on the other hand would probably think she’s too cool for this crew. But being a supercriminal isn’t easy. Sometimes she’d need the money and working with a team can be better than working alone. I don’t know that she’d be especially loyal, though. She’d also probably think she’s on top of things enough to manipulate the rest of the group, but that may not always be true.

And that’s it for villains anyone has heard about. I’d also throw Timebomb into this. I think he’d fit into the group too. Next week I’ll start throwing out some of the others I think belong here.

Who Should Superman Beat Up?

I have recently been seeing bits of this new Spider-Man game that just came out, and thus my jealousy of other non-Superman superheroes is rising up again. I know I already solved the lack of a good Superman game by saying they should be making a game about Jimmy Olsen, but even I am aware how unrealistic that would be.

If a Superman game ever happens, it would star Superman. And they would probably want it to still be like these Spider-Man and Batman games where the hero fights through armies of crooks. That wouldn’t be great for Superman. It is an iconic image of the Superman mythos: he stands before a crook who empties a gun into his chest and Superman just stands there, unharmed. Just because you have a gun, doesn’t mean you win anymore. Superman is in town. To accurately make a Superman game, you would have to replicate that. He would not be a good fit for the style of gameplay that the recent Spider-Man and Batman games have. This should be solved by making combat against supervillains (Metallo, Parasite, Clawster, and so on) a special event and the rest of the time you’d be doing journalism and saving civilians.

But no. It wouldn’t happen that way. If you only get to taste combat during boss fights, you would never get to enjoy it, right? Superman needs hordes of goons that he can beat up on. Today I will provide some examples of baddie hordes one could use:

Aliens seems like the easiest way to. There is a whole army of Kryptonian criminals waiting in the Phantom Zone to fight. But if it were me making this game, I would be saving most of the aliens for the sequel, so I will focus on Earthly threats.

Robots is a good place to start. I would make it a mandatory requirement of this game that the robots from the Mechanical Monsters short show up. That is a must.

My next thought is Toyman. His army of robot toys would provide a lot of variety for baddies. You could have green army men as his main troops. Giant teddy bears as the muscle. He had flying monkeys once on Supergirl, so throw those in. Toyman offers a lot.

A non-robot source of a variety of enemies would be Funnyface. As I explained before, he can animate characters from comics, so he could bring forth any number of sci-fi or fantasy foes worth our fists. (Similarly, Mxyzptlk offers a means to fight any and every thing, of course, but I would rather save him for non-combat stuff.)

If we absolutely need Superman to be punching actual people, we can do that a couple different ways. The main way, the way which Absolutely Will be in a Superman game if they ever make one, is to give mobsters super high-tech weaponry. That’s fine, but a batch of Intergang crooks with fancy guns is not particularly interesting. It’s downright boring. It can be in there, but it has to be the least of Superman’s worries.

Luckily, Superman has a villain called Riot. He has the power to create multiple forms of himself and run amok over the city. That means there could be massive battles against dozens of enemies that are actually one guy. I am actually pretty sure he actually showed up in the Superman Returns game, so lets take that and improve on it.

Another option that occurs to me is criminals who are using Tar. In a storyline during the 90s, I can’t recall if it was in one of Superman’s books or in Steel’s, there was a drug called Tar that would turn its users into superhuman brutes. I like the idea of including them because it could be required to administer an antidote to defeat them, thus changing up the gameplay a little.

Finally, a pretty obvious one: Lex Luthor. He is an obvious opponent for the game (too obvious for me. I would not have him as the big bad.) But he would be a plausible source of robots, and of human opponents. In some stories LexCorp has a security force of guys wearing power armour (Iron Man style). That means enemies who can fly around as a precursor to the Phantom Zone criminals to be fought in the sequel. And after Superman beats them Lex can issue a press release about how those guys were disgruntled employees using stolen equipment and so on.

Well, I think I have proven that you can have a variety of goon hordes in a Superman game. I suspect that next week’s post will also be about a hypothetical Superman game.

The Bad Boy With Toys

Toyman is one of Superman’s longest serving villains. But what’s he good for?

Of course, Toyman is an archetypal supervillain. He’s the kind of criminal who has a specific theme (toys) and uses them for all manner of crimes, be it robbing banks or breaking out of prison or just straight up seeking to “show them all!” He’s ideal for appearances where he’s not the main threat, but just to add a bit of action. He’s a good cameo character. You want to start the story with a fight scene that isn’t tied to the main plot? Have Superman foiling a giant cymbal monkey sent by Toyman. Or have him capturing Toyman’s radio-controlled submarine that is smuggling stolen gold. Or have him burning up the paper stealth bombers that Toyman had sent to attack city hall. The options are endless.

But can you build actual plots about a colourful criminal while staying true to my insistence that all the characters should represent something appropriate to Superman missions? Well, obviously, if you’re starting with Truth and Justice you don’t even need to go further. Criminals are threats to Justice. But criminals aren’t just a threat to others, but to everyone else. Over the years, Toyman has been depicted as mostly-harmless old fool who can be easily reformed and live a life of goodness and as a ruthless remorseless killer who could never be reformed. I’d want that pendulum to stop somewhere in the middle. Let’s have a Toyman whose arc is about determining if criminals can and should be welcomed back into society, and if they’d want to. Worth noting: On the currently-running Supergirl show, Toyman’s son Winn is a character and has to deal with the fact his father was a crazy supervillain. That’s good. Let’s keep that up.

Also, he’s often been depicted as a friend and partner of the Prankster. Supervillain friendships are great, so let’s have more of that as well.