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Author Topic: To Rescue from Obscurity  (Read 164 times)

Offline BentonGrey

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To Rescue from Obscurity
« on: July 17, 2017, 04:24:55 AM »
Howdy guys!  As is the case for a disproportionately large portion of my life, I was recently thinking about obscure and forgotten DC villains, and I read a fun set of articles from the comic blog, The Absorbascon, about a rather neat idea involving such character cast-offs.   I thought the subject might interest folks here and make for a cool activity.  The concept was about linking unloved villains with existing groups or characters to give them a second lease on fictional life.  Scipio of the Absorbascon had the idea of creating gangs of lesser villains to serve the Penguin and the Joker, with fun results:

http://absorbascon.blogspot.com/2005/09/penguins-fine-feathered-finks.html

http://absorbascon.blogspot.com/2005/09/full-house-for-joker.html

For example, he suggested adding third tier Batman villains to the Penguin as part of a criminal organization, with Killer Moth acting as the head of a protection racket and Firefly running an arson ring.  It's a neat way to give these losers some purpose, and it started me thinking about how I would reinvent some C-listers.  I've already done this some in the DCUG, but this gave me a new angle to consider. 

Of course, my mind went to Aquaman, and I thought of some of his underdeveloped rogues, of which he has more than his fair share.

For me, the best place to begin is with the equally underdeveloped evil group called O.G.R.E., which was given a spiritual return relatively recently in Aquaman comics under the new acronym, N.E.M.O. :

These guys grew out of the 60s Spy explosion, some of the various derivatives of Bond's S.P.E.C.T.R.E. and TV's T.H.R.U.S.H.  Just about every Silver Age DC hero had their own unique criminal organization, but most of them didn't last.  I always thought O.G.R.E. had tons of potential.  A good, massive corporate-type conspiracy to control the world's oceans would make a good antagonist for Aquaman and provide tons of potential for storylines.  It just needs a little development and personality, a culture to make it feel more like a secret society and less like a generic, ad-hoc bunch of gangsters.  Dan Abnett has achieved that to a limited degree with the acronymed successor, N.E.M.O., but there's room for a lot more.  Going the O.G.R.E. route, I could see a hierarchy built on mythology, play into the concept of the monstrous ogre namesake.  Such a group is a great background threat for other storylines, but, most significantly for this conversation, they provide instant motivation and background for an unmoored villain in need of direction.

Take some of the many one-shot characters Aquaman faced, link them with this nefarious organization, and suddenly they gain recurring potential without the need to bend over backwards to find motivations and story hooks for them.  This works for all sorts of Aqua-foes, but the ones that seem best suited to me are:

  • Seaquake: This (maybe) robot with seismic abilities, a cool name, and a reasonably neat look, for some reason never really did anything beyond his first brief appearance.  Make him a weapon or an armored operative of O.G.R.E., and you've got a high powered foe to throw at the Sea King or his allies whenever you want.  I see him creating underwater quakes to destroy facilities, trigger tidal waves, and wreck all kinds of havoc.
  • Human Flying Fish: A ridiculous early enemy of the Monarch of the Oceans, this guy still has potential, as Tad William's began to realize at the end of the Sword of Atlantis run when he brought him guy back.  Shorten his name to 'Flying Fish,' make him a teched-up merc in the employ of O.G.R.E., and you've got something workable.  For added fun, you could have him be a professional aquatic criminal who had a run in with Aquaman and joined the organization specifically so he would have the resources to deal with him, somewhat paralleling his classic career.
  • The Awesome Threesome: These three mechanical men (at least two of them were for sure) made interesting opponents to Aquaman in their single appearance, but no one has ever brought them back, despite the fact that they've got tons of potential.  Give the two supporting members of the trio a sleeker redesign (Torpedo actually has a pretty nice design, though he could probably use more color), and you've got a great hit squad for the evil organization that could give the entire Aqua-Family a fight.

All of these guys together would give O.G.R.E. a relatively deep bench of meta-operatives in addition to their rank and file and provide a lot of potential of skirmishes with the Sea King.

There are other possible avenues of reinvigoration as well.  In the recent Aquaman series, The Scavenger has been slightly reworked into an aquatic arms dealer, stealing technology and weapons from Atlantis and selling them to surface nations, which gives him an organization that could benefit from some more muscle and some lieutenants, making him more of a threat.  Piscator is a perfect choice for such a role.  This fashion victim is in need of a new name and a better look (maybe, Zugan, which is a corruption of the ancient Greek for hammerhead shark, fitting both his Atlantian origin and his bloodthirsty theme), but his concept is sound.  He's an Atlantean renegade, a mercenary warrior, and his connection to Atlantis makes him a good contact for Scavenger, while his betrayal of his culture provides a nice extra layer of drama to their conflicts with Aquaman.

I feel like there is also a lot of potential in the newest Marine Marauder, who had a cool design and one pretty good set of stories in the Sub Diego run, but never really got any development at all (in Aquaman books, at least).  He seems like he would definitely have a gang, though perhaps he'd work better as an operative of O.G.R.E.  It doesn't hurt to have multiple villain groups in action, though, as that can be a further source of conflict and story potential.  He's got the potential to be a good head of an underwater gang and could employ some aquatic operatives of his own.

There are three more characters that I think are worth giving a second lease on life in some fashion, but I'm not quite sure what should be done with them:
  • Dagon: Named after a sea demon, this guy has an interesting look and promising powerset, and it is indicative of the missed potential of Aquaman's Silver Age stories that he was never even given a real appearance.
  • Sea Wolf: He's an underwater werewolf.  What is there not to like?

I also came across two fairly awesome names attached to fairly uninspiring Aquaman foes.  I think these names are worth recovering and reusing: Oceanus and Devilfish.  The first sounds pretty grandiose, but the second would have to be some type of monstrous foe.

So, what characters can y'all think of to give a similar treatment?  What C-listers could be rescued from obscurity by hitching their star to a higher-profile villain?  How would you reinvent a forgotten villain to make them more interesting? 

I can't wait to see what folks say.  For my own part, I think I'll look at some Hawkman and Atom villains soon.


God Bless
"If God came down upon me and gave me a wish again, I'd wish to be like Aquaman, 'cause Aquaman can take the pain..." -Ballad of Aquaman
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Offline daglob

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Re: To Rescue from Obscurity
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2017, 05:03:03 AM »
Don't we have a swimming werewolf mesh someplace?

Offline SickAlice

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Re: To Rescue from Obscurity
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2017, 06:44:50 AM »
These characters are so mismatched. I immediately thought of Younger Bear from Little Big Man when reading their synopsis.

Offline President Raygun

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Re: To Rescue from Obscurity
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2017, 07:49:24 AM »
Don't we have a swimming werewolf mesh someplace?

Well there's a skin by Unkoman for the Young All-Stars villain Sea Wolf, if that's  what you're thinking of, but he's on 3DMaster's wolf mesh, but I don't know if it's got swimming kf's since I haven't had a chance to install it (such is the life of this content horder, always downloading but never installing, but a least i can say all my content is mint cause I never take it out of the box  ;))

Offline BentonGrey

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Re: To Rescue from Obscurity
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2017, 01:16:53 PM »
DG, as PR says, we do have a Sea Wolf skope/skin, and he does come in swimming flavor.  He's actually in the DCUG!

PR, haha, you've got the heart of a collector!

These characters are so mismatched. I immediately thought of Younger Bear from Little Big Man when reading their synopsis.

Heh, I'm not entirely sure what you mean, SA.
God Bless
"If God came down upon me and gave me a wish again, I'd wish to be like Aquaman, 'cause Aquaman can take the pain..." -Ballad of Aquaman
Check out my DC voicepacks at my yahoo group.
http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/bentongrey/
http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/bentongrey2

Offline Deaths Jester

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Re: To Rescue from Obscurity
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2017, 08:15:50 PM »
Benton would go for Aqua-farts horrid villain stable... :doh:
Avatar picture originally a Brom painting entitled Marionette.

Offline BentonGrey

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Re: To Rescue from Obscurity
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2017, 08:37:23 PM »
Haha, 'it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.'  ;)
God Bless
"If God came down upon me and gave me a wish again, I'd wish to be like Aquaman, 'cause Aquaman can take the pain..." -Ballad of Aquaman
Check out my DC voicepacks at my yahoo group.
http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/bentongrey/
http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/bentongrey2

Offline BentonGrey

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Re: To Rescue from Obscurity
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2017, 12:52:07 AM »
And speaking of which, come one guys, which 3rd stringers would y'all like to see reimagined and reinvigorated?  Can the Ten-Eyed Man be saved?  Can Signal Man?  What about The Cavalier?
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 01:30:02 AM by BentonGrey »
God Bless
"If God came down upon me and gave me a wish again, I'd wish to be like Aquaman, 'cause Aquaman can take the pain..." -Ballad of Aquaman
Check out my DC voicepacks at my yahoo group.
http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/bentongrey/
http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/bentongrey2

Offline daglob

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Re: To Rescue from Obscurity
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2017, 03:19:04 AM »
Lucky Star, Paul Gregorian, Mr. Camera? Glop, Paperman, and Mouseman? The Tattooed Man, The Puppet Master, and Hilar? Mr. Doll, Hijacker, and Protector?

Actually, Mouseman is kind of interesting, as are Hijacker and Protector. I have a certain fondness for Glop, as well as the living volcano WW fought once.

Offline Deaths Jester

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Re: To Rescue from Obscurity
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2017, 03:41:20 AM »
The Ten-Eyed Man, Hijacker, and the Puppet Master have already been reworked in the comics...

As for Mr Doll...I prefer to leave him dead but the creator of the original Marvel versions of the Brothers Grimm.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 03:43:27 AM by Deaths Jester »
Avatar picture originally a Brom painting entitled Marionette.