Greetings from the Odinson,
The debate to determine whose heroes have the most dangerous adversaries - Marvel or DC – continues! Last week the immortal adversaries of the Mighty Thor made short work of the foes of Wonder Woman.
This puts the tally at: Marvel 2 / DC 1
Now on to the next bout…
Rogue War Part 4: Flash’s Rogues vs. Captain America’s Rogues
The Rogues of Central City and Keystone City are the Blue Collar villains of the DCU. Because they are so organized, they are extremely dangerous. Plus, the Rogues can say something that not many other Rogues Galleries can - they’ve actually killed their nemesis (see Flash: Fastest Man Alive TPB Vol. 1-2). Sam Scudder is the master of illusion known as Mirror Master. He is probably the most elusive of the Flash’s enemies. He possesses the ability to travel through any reflective surface, and his reflection in the mirror can affect the material world. Mirror Master is a mercenary through-and-through whose services are available to the highest bidder. However, through their common hatred of the Flash, Mirror Master and most of the Rogues on this list have formed a powerful friendship. This bond is what makes the Flash’s Rogues more dangerous than most.
The Pied Piper is a tricky adversary. Just like his namesake, the Pied Piper uses a magical flute to entice and persuade people to do his bidding. Though a strong willed individual may resist, what makes him even more villainous is the fact that he can distract the Scarlet Speedster by putting so many other innocent bystanders in jeopardy. The Weather Wizard uses stolen super-science that enables him to control the weather. He can create thunder storms, flash floods, tidal waves, tornadoes, and all manner of chaos to keep the Crimson Comet busy while he pulls off his heists. Captain Cold is easily one of the most complex villains in comics. He has been the bitter enemy of the Silver Age Flash, Barry Allen. He has both tried to kill and he’s saved the life of the Post-Crisis Flash, Wally West. He is the de facto leader of the Rogues of Keystone City. Captain Cold can be ruthless and understanding, forgiving and murderous. He uses guns that that can freeze objects solid. Captain Cold was also an undoubted standout in the classic 1970s cartoon Challenge of the Super Friends.
Then there’s George “Digger” Harkness, a.k.a. Captain Boomerang. He developed an uncanny ability to use boomerangs as weapons. Coupled with the fact that he uses an arsenal of tricked up boomerangs that range from explosives to razors, Digger became one of the Flash’s deadliest and most enduring Rogues. Even when he was imprisoned, the Captain’s distinct talents were put to use by the government sponsored undercover super-villain team, the Suicide Squad. Digger is ruthless, cunning, and without conscience. Because he is known as a back-stabber, Captain Boomerang’s teammates in the Squad always cast a wary eye his way.
Vandal Savage has walked the earth since the dawn of mankind. Much like Dracula, Vandal Savage is a most dangerous adversary because he has centuries of experience on his side. Through the ages he has seen countless heroes come and go and he is still here. Savage possesses a genius level intelligence, he is stronger and faster than an ordinary man, and his fighting prowess has been perfected over centuries of training. But his most dangerous asset is his immortality. Long after the JLA, JSA, Teen Titans, and even the Legion of Super-Heroes are gone, Vandal Savage will still be around to cause trouble.
Take the power of Professor X, add to it the savagery of a beast and the cunning of a villain, and you’d get Gorilla Grodd. He hails from a secret civilization of highly advanced gorillas. But while the rest of his kind is peaceful, Grodd is bent on world domination. He is a visually wonderful creation. One of my all time favorite Grodd moments is the 2-page spread from Flash #178 that reveals the destruction and devastation he has left in his wake. Grodd is physically and mentally one of the most dangerous super villains in the DCU.
But no villain has plagued the Scarlet Speedster or had more of an effect on the Flash’s life than the Reverse Flash. There have been three incarnations of this Rogue. The first Reverse Flash, the Rival (see Flash Comics #104), battled the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick, and has since returned to plague the heroes of today. The second Reverse Flash, Eobard Thawne, was a criminal from the future who as Professor Zoom fought the Silver Age Flash, Barry Allen. With powers on par with the Flash’s own, Eobard battled Allen for years until the Flash accidentally killed him, an act that ended Allen’s career as a hero (see The Trial of the Flash). The current Reverse Flash is simply known as Zoom. Hunter Zolomon actually started out as Wally West’s friend, but a terrible accident took his ability to walk. When the Flash refused to travel back in time to prevent the accident, Zolomon set out to do it himself. Another accident involving the cosmic treadmill (a device used by Flash to travel the timestream) damaged Zolomon’s sanity and granted him time-shifting powers that allow him to rival the Flash’s super speed. Zoom has made it his personal mission to make the Flash a better hero through the use of pain and suffering.
Flash’s Rogues Gallery rounds out with: The Trickster, Heat Wave, Doctor Alchemy, Abra Kadabra, Murmur, Peekaboo, Inertia, Kilg%or, Speed Demon, Blue Trinity, the Golden Glider, Kobra, Shade, and the Black Flash.
Now over in the 616, my boy Captain America faces different kinds of foes. Long before Cobra there was Hydra. Hydra is an underground criminal organization bent on world domination. Their origins date back to World War II. Their members are completely loyal to the cause. It is not known how many people belong to Hydra but their numbers are enormous. Like the mythical beast from which they take their name, Hydra has the uncanny ability to regroup after every defeat and come back stronger than before. They have agents in every corner of the world, every sector of life, including domestic and political, and their identities are a secret. Notable members are Baron Wolfgang Strucker, Mentello, the Fixer, Viper (Madame Hydra), the Silver Samaria, the Red Skull, Gorgon, and Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew).
AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics) is a criminal organization made up of scientists bent on world domination through the use of science and technology. AIM was originally an offshoot of the earliest incarnation of Hydra. In the decades since World War II, AIM has established itself as a force whose deeds and aspirations rival that of Hydra’s own. AIM is responsible for the creation of the Super-Adaptoid, the Cosmic Cube, and MODOK (Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing). MODOK is a genetically altered human with a diminutive body and an abnormally large head. Able to support his head through the use of cyborg implants, MODOK possesses vast super-human intelligence and psionic powers of the mind. In recent years AIM has developed the MODOK Squad, a group of zombie-like soldiers powered by powerful cyborg implants designed to combat super humans.
The Serpent Society is a secret society of super-villains whose costumes and powers are based on snakes. Founder Seth Voelker, a.k.a. Sidewinder, was inspired by the previous snake-themed group, the Serpent Squad, and set out to form an organization to help him seize power and amass great wealth. The members of this group are as eclectic as they are deadly. Cap’s dealings with them have been harrowing, and the Sentinel of Liberty is always put to task when dealing with this enemy. For a time, a member of the Society, Diamondback, inspired by Cap, actually turned good and was Captain America’s erstwhile partner and love interest. Much like Hydra or AIM, it is not known when or where the Serpent Society will strike, but one thing is for sure...they will, and it will be on a grand scale. Notable members are Sidewinder, Anaconda, Asp & Black Mamba, Bushmaster, Cobra, Cottonmouth, Death Adder, Rattler, Puff Adder, and Rock Python.
One of the Odinson’s personal favorites is Batroc the Leaper. Georges Batroc is a former member of the French Foreign Legion. He is a master in the martial art known as savate, a combination of western boxing and karate. He is a costumed mercenary with a reputation for getting the job done. For some heists Batroc employs extra muscle, the assassin Zaran and the South American cutthroat known as Machete. Whether alone, or with his Batroc’s Brigade, Batroc the Leaper has plagued the Sentinel of Liberty on many occasions. He has even managed to get the upper hand on the good Captain a few times. Batroc is not an evil man. He is the quintessential professional and does not take life needlessly. Batroc is an “honorable bad guy.” Honorable, but dangerous, and Cap has learned that Batroc is definitely not an adversary to be taken lightly.
Not much is known about the mysterious merc known as Crossbones. What is known is that he is a hulking soldier whose strength and fighting prowess rivals even Captain America. He is a master hand-to-hand combatant and adept in the use of knives, explosives, and firearms. He is the perfect weapon, and it should come as no surprise that he is the bodyguard and number one henchman of Captain America’s greatest enemy – the Red Skull. He is a cold-blooded killer, but Crossbones’s loyalty to the Red Skull is unwavering. He follows the Skull’s every order with unflinching efficiency. Crossbones is courting his employer’s daughter, Sin. They have become the Marvel U’s version of Bonnie and Clyde, or rather Mickey and Mallory from Natural Born Killers.
Baron Zemo is a name that has haunted Captain America’s dreams since the days of World War II. There have been two men to bear the name. First, Baron Heinrich Zemo plagued Cap in WWII. He was a Nazi sympathizer and ally to the Red Skull; he orchestrated Captain America’s greatest defeat. It was while trying to foil Baron Zemo’s attempt to destroy the American Capitol that Bucky, Cap’s teenaged partner, was killed (though that has been proven false in recent years) and Cap was lost to the arctic depths of the ocean not to be heard from again for many years. Heinrich met his demise in a final showdown with the Sentinel of Liberty years later when his Masters of Evil battled the Avengers. Heinrich’s son, Helmut Zemo, took up the mantle and the quest for vengeance against his father’s hated enemy. At first Helmut called himself the Phoenix and attempted to drown the good Captain in a vat of Adhesive X, the very substance that scarred his father. He would have succeeded, too, if it had not been for the Falcon. Later, as Baron Zemo, Helmut orchestrated Captain America’s second greatest defeat. Helmut assembled a small army of super-villains, raided and took control of Avengers Mansion, and forced a captured Captain America to watch as the brute Mr. Hyde beat and torture the Avengers’ butler, Jarvis (see Under Siege). In recent years Helmut assembled the super-team, the Thunderbolts. The Thunderbolts, originally former members of Helmut’s Masters of Evil, planned to use their identities as heroes to take over the world.
If there was an ultimate embodiment of evil, then the Red Skull would be it. During World War II the Red Skull was Adolf Hitler’s ultimate enforcer and deadliest fighter. This villain became even more dangerous when he was reborn into a cloned body of Steve Rogers himself. The Skull’s clashes with Captain America are legendary. If not for the stalwart Sentinel of Liberty, the Red Skull would have conquered the world time and time again. Once when the Skull obtained the ultimate power of the Cosmic Cube, Cap was barely able to overcome the madman’s plot for world domination. On a few other occasions the Skull has obtained ultimate power and actually conquered the world. He once high-jacked the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier and got hold of the launch codes to the US nuclear arsenal. In Red Zone, this arch villain once released a deadly chemical agent over Mount Rushmore and even the Mighty Avengers were barely able to contain the devastation. The number of lives this monster has destroyed is too high to count. The Red Skull did the one thing that not even Doctor Doom, Lex Luthor, or Loki have ever accomplished. He orchestrated the demise of his greatest enemy (see Death of Captain America).
Cap’s Rogues Gallery rounds out with: Mr. Hyde, Count Nefaria, Scourge, the Hate-Monger, Flag-Smasher, Armadillo, Machinesmith, Yellow Claw, Baron Blood, Blue Streak, Porcupine, Doctor Faustus, the Watchdogs, Red Guardian, Master Man and Warrior Woman, the Serpent Squad, the Tumbler, and Protocide.
WINNER: Flash’s Rogues
Of all the match-ups, this was by far the hardest for me to decide. Guys like the Red Skull and Baron Zemo are so arch in their schemes and master plans that they always seem to be three steps ahead of everyone else. But in the end, the Flash’s Rogues are just too organized and there just really isn’t anything Hydra, AIM or the Serpent Society can throw at Captain Cold and his gang that they can’t handle. Vandal Savage is every bit as diabolical as the Red Skull and in the end Cap’s foes just don’t have anything that can handle a beast like Grodd or an abnormal foe like the Reverse Flash. As the number one Cap fan, this one hurt, but it’s how I see it.
Rogue War Total: Marvel 2 / DC 2
The competition is all tied up! The Heavyweight Champion of Villainy will be presented next week when the brotherhood of evildoers that plague DC Comics’ next generation of heroes square off against the mutant foes of the Children of the Atom.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell