Having rested now with other pursuits, we return to ... the Rungs of Villainy!
You've survived so far. Instead of being part of someone else's gang or some villainous co-op, you're operating solo or have a gang of your own (composed of Faceless Fodder, Nameless Underlings, and maybe even Denominated Henchmen or a Forgettable Moll). You have your own nom du crime, an M.O. or "theme", or maybe even a power or two.
Congratulations! You are now
A Solo Villain.
Let's meet one of your colleagues now, from the Motherlode of Villainy, the Evil Factory itself...
Yes, glorious Gotham City, with its Decogothic architecture, giant props, terrible weather, and bizarre camera angles is the perfect breeding ground for villainy. Because it's intrinsically evil? Because its juxtaposition of wealth and poverty create a stormfront of crime? Because the sun can shine there only on alternate Thursdays or when Batman's away on a JLA mission?
Because Gotham makes being a villain FUN!!! Why, just take a look here at your colleague "Blaze".
This long-lost cousin of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers is positively overwhelmed by the delirium of his own villainy. With his Joker grin and Manga eyes, coiled with a barely containable Gorshinesque glee, the Blaze is nearly aflame with passion for his own villainy. We should all be so lucky as to enjoy our jobs even HALF as much as Blaze.
Do heroes ever look that happy? No.
The best they ever manage is a forced grin while punning during fight scenes (which you can tell embarrasses them, but it's in their contract) or a chuckle of relief at the end of the story when they joke about how funny Blaze looked tumbling down a flight of stairs and into a convenient vat of chemical waste:
"It's terrible to see such a great mind ... go to waste, eh, Robin?"
"And how, Batman!"
But you and Blaze, you're Solo Villains. You couldn't care less what the hero, society, or Wizard Magazine thinks of you. Whether you're tearing the tags off mattresses or tossing parapalegics into a giant red ore-crusher named "Roger", you've done what others barely dare to dream -- you've given yourself utterly over to obsession and you are having the time of your life!
Who cares whether Wizard Magazine lists you as one of the "Ten Lamest Villains Ever, Except for Any From Marvel?" You are going to be in an Archive Volume some day; Wizard won't.
Maybe you'll become one of the great ones, defeatable only by the Comics Code or Hostess Fruit Pies ("Mmm! Real fruit filling!"). Maybe you'll discover the hero's secret identity and be immediately struck by a freak bolt of lightning while laughing triumphantly. Maybe you'll never be heard from again, and wind up the answer to an HCRealms trivia question or one of those hideous little MicroHeroes on an Angelfire site. Even worse, you might end up a Green Arrow foe.
No matter. Even if, like your colleague above, you're merely a fleeting "blaze" of glory ...
you'll have had fun.
Gotham city really is a villain in its own right, like FedEx was in Cast Away.
I know FedEx is evil!
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