I think all the best villains articulate something, stand for something. The Joker: chaos unleashed. Lex Luthor: concern for the big things means losing sight of the small. They’re often one trait of a balanced mind magnified to the point of unbalance. They’re also often children’s fantasies of lives lived without acknowledging civilisation’s limits. (It’s no coincidence that small children will often root for the villain.) They also often say something about the hero: Batman is rationality (if he isn’t, he’s lost); Superman, for all his power, cares about the small things. Because Batman represents the balanced mind, he’s faced by a whole pantheon of exaggerated visions of mental unbalance, every trait from quizzicality to mourning boosted way beyond normal. The Flash is such a nice guy even his rogues are only playing at it. Everything about Green Lantern in the last few years has been the quantifying of his opposition into symbols for emotional complexity and symbols for outright villainy. I’ve quietly tried to offer new reader introductions for a lot of the villains that show up during Lex’s run in Action Comics, because I’m thinking of it as, amongst other things, a gallery of them, a chance to show off how exciting and interesting DC villains are.

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via DC’s The Source.

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