Wednesday, May 07, 2014

One Of These Villains Is Not Like The Other

So Avengers Undercover has this little quartet of villains who seem to be the ones running these tests on the kids. Baron Zemo's acting like the boss, but there's also Madame Masque, Daimon Hellstrom, and. . . the Constrictor?

I must have missed the memo where Constrictor became a big wheel in the super-villain set. I'd rate him as the 5th-most notable member of the Serpent Society*. Not among super-villains, just the snake-themed group Captain America used to handle solo back in the day. What's he doing there?

I'm sure Constrictor, having been humiliated twice by Arcade in Avengers Arena #7, would love to be in on a plan that takes Arcade's big win and kills him with it. But that doesn't explain why Zemo would let him play. I feel like if he tried, Zemo would just shoot him in the head. Or the three of them would laugh, and then Hellstrom would send Constrictor to Hell.

I thought perhaps Zemo wants lackeys, people he feels he can lead by the nose, not unlike what he thought he had in the original Thunderbolts (Dr. Karla Sofen/Moonstone/Meteorite excepted, but even her, he thought he had locked down), but Hellstrom and Masque don't strike as the idiot follower types.

But maybe this is how it goes with these villainous groups at Marvel. There's always the odd villain out. In Acts of Vengeance you had Loki (albeit in disguise), Doom, Magneto, the red Skull, the Mandarin, the Kingpin. . . and the Wingless Wizard. I guess you could argue the Kingpin, as a more "regular" mob type crook, didn't fit, but at least he qualified as someone's arch-foe (Daredevil, maybe also the Punisher, depending on whether Jigsaw was dead at the moment). Who's the Wizard? A smart guy who hates Reed Richards? Uh, we've already got Dr. Doom, and you know he's not letting anyone else kill the Four. A guy with questionable headgear taste? The Mandarin's rockin his armor look (which isn't bad, actually), and when Loki reveals himself, he's got that gold helmet with the ridiculous horns coming off it. A guy who wears magenta? Hello, Magneto's right there.

As a kid reading Amazing Spider-Man #328, I recognized the other guys instantly, but him, I had no clue. He's not on their level. And the same goes for Constrictor. Maybe it's a reward for some past service rendered. Back during the depressing Dark Reign stuff, Norman Osborn and the Hood let Taskmaster into their little Cabal, because he did a good job running the Initiative training facility. I like Taskmaster, but again, Doom was in this group, Loki was in this group, Namor and Emma Frost were in there, the Hood had enough magic stuff to be a big deal, and Osborn had the Sentry as his lap dog, which got him a seat at the table. Even Taskmaster knew he was in a different league. But I guess Constrictor could be getting ambitious, and he did some work for one of the others, and here he is. Maybe he got tired of being in groups with guys like Whiplash and Hydro-Man, getting pummeled by the New Warriors or whoever.

Of course, at times Constrictor has been in a grey area, working for not-so-bad mercenary groups like the Six Pack or Cable. The last time I saw him, he working at the Initiative, and was at least considering going straight, being an actual hero, instead of playing at it. Zemo had a long and winding road to being a good guy, which Brubaker wiped out because, I don't know, he wanted Zemo to attack Bucky or something. Hellstrom's been a Defender a few times, and Masque did help the Avengers and Thunderbolts defeat her father back in the Kurt Busiek Avengers days. There's some interesting history there, is what I'm saying. . .

* Figure Cobra is ahead of him, for leading the team for awhile, but mostly for his long partnership with Mr. Hyde, where they even fought Thor. Then you've got Diamondback, Asp, and Black Mamba, who I'm probably crediting unfairly for their appearances as a trio in Cable/Deadpool. But Diamondback was also a regular cast member in Captain America for a few years, so she definitely ought to be ahead of him. So maybe 3rd-most notable.


SallyP said...

That is a rather bizarre bunch of villains...or quasi-villains anyway. Maybe Constrictor is there because they need someone to do their laundry and go out for Subway?

CalvinPitt said...

I could see that. I mean Hellstrom seems to have given up on wearing shirts, but Masque and Zemo no doubt have extensive wardrobes.