Chillin like a Villain
We give a lot of credit to our heroes. They provide us with safety and security and we all like sleeping soundly but they wouldn't be who they are without the presence of the villains. The guys and girls who actually give them their jobs and keep them on their toes. The villains' role is quite pivotal in format and you'd be hard pressed to find a dictionary definition that didn't mention the plot, more specifically, detailing the villain as an important motive for the plot to progress. The All Blacks wouldn't be as strong if it weren't for the wallabies (or insert any other team you think deserves mentioning) to keep them honest. I'm gonna dedicate a chunk of time to talk about these feared fiends and examine a little bit of what makes a good one. Is it insanity, bloodlust, a quest for infamy or just their desire to mess with the bats that makes us tick?
I tend to favour comparisons with 'The Bats' simply because A) i'm a fan, B) the writers are geniuses and most importantly C) there is quite a tidy spectrum of villains in the series. What do I mean by this? Well we have big and strong, yet stupid bafoons like Bane (i'm talking pre-Dark Knight Rises Bane by the way) who still gives our hero trouble but in a different way as opposed to someone like The Joker who on the other end of the spectrum is a criminal genius. Then you've got all the guys in the middle: Scarecrow for example, who ventures closer to genius than brute or Two-Face whose tactics are quite brutish but not so testosterone filled as Banes' and thus not so left inclined.
What got me thinking about this is The Joker. I think it can arguably be stated that he is one of the best if not THE best villain of all-time. In matters of creativity, how he drives the story and his interactions with the protagonist. The relationship between The Joker and Batman can get pretty philosophical but I won't get into that much detail.The Joker is a cool character in my humble opinion, because he's not simply motivated by money or power. OK you could argue that his desire to beat Batman is a power thing since he wants to best his rival in order to stroke his power ego, but I would argue that it's the challenge that motivates him. He has found a plaything that keeps him occupied. I actually read an interesting fan theory about how Batman is actually the villain and The Joker is described as the hero (it's pretty interesting). We need good villains, for without them how would our stories have any depth? We'd just have these boring white knights who just pick up rubbish and play table tennis in their spare time. Batman is forced to better himself in order to meet the challenges of his villains and they keep him doing push-ups.
Tamanui-te-ra is the villain in 'The Sun Tamer' who makes his mark with pure power and strength similar to Bane. In 'The Sun Tamer' he is the sun that Maui is sent to confront. Tamanui is hearty to say the least, as you'd expect of the sun. The heat that we get in the summer is from this gas ball 150 million kms away. Imagine that same body of energy standing immediately in front of you, not to mention him intending to do you harm with a concentrated attack.The unfazed good cat Maui is undeterred. As a villain, T-nui falls into the brute category because he brings so much raw power to the table. Usually these types of villains are quite simple to battle. Notice that I didn't say easy. Taking down the sun shouldn't be considered an easy feat by any stretch of the imagination but simple in that it's quite linear, you need to overpower him, plain as day. The fight is a glorified arm wrestle.
Someone like Hine-nui-te-po is a different kettle of fish. We haven't seen much of her in the literature at this stage. Not much is public about her antics in 'The Maui Chronicles', battle-wise anyway. Based on the reading that I've done of her, she is quite a bit different compared to an opponent like Tamanui-te-ra or even someone like Tanemahuta who again displays a lot of power. She is cunning and under-handed and makes up for her lack of strength by utilising the strength of others, namely her undead breathren. She is the embodiment of guerrilla warfare as a battle philosophy. You can't just turn up to the battlefield, line up your foot soldiers and expect her to do the same. By looking at her, it is quite obvious that she can't waka benchpress even 60kgs, well she probably could, but she won't be touching Tane Mahuta's high scores on the waka bench in the next millennia. Having said that, it doesn't mean that you would prefer him over her, as an opponent without first considering many factors aside from her frail frame.
As much as they kill our buzzes, we need our villainous adversaries. They provide motivation to stay hearty and test us in ways that keep our wits sharp. Maui wouldn't have been motivated to train so hard if there were no reasons. He would not have abs and massive traps if there weren't people to protect from prominent and potential evil. In the Maui chronicles we have seen some examples of different villains and you can rest assured that the depth to the madness will only increase as time goes on.
Tell us about your favourite villains! Who are they and why are they your favourites? Chuck some more fan art our way by the way! Draw something for us and get your tamariki to do the same.