Hello all. It's been a while but after a long hiatus the Nightwatcher has finally returned. I'm currently working, (long and hard), on an article about The Adventures of Pete & Pete but in the meantime I hope you will enjoy my list of my all time top ten favorite anti heroes, especially since one of them is from Pete & Pete. I figured I owed it to all the anti heroes out there to give them their own article especially since no one else has made one yet. What is an anti hero you ask? Well, they are not exactly a hero but not really a villain either. They play by their own rules and usually fight for personal gain. They are the bad a**es of popular culture and my kind of scum. So sit back and take a trip to the dark-(ish) side. (Note: This article is retro worthy because it lists characters from both the past and present).
Slade Wilson was made part of an experiment under the U.S. military to create an army of super soldiers called Metahumans. These experiments granted Wilson extraordinary physical powers but he was still not invincible. Slade attempted to save his youngest son Joseph from kidnappers only for Joseph to die of injuries he had sustained from them. Enraged by this, Mrs. Wilson, herself an Army instructor, attempted to kill Slade by shooting him but only managed to destroy his right eye. Deathstroke's first appearance was in Teen Titans #2 in 1980, in the book he was a villain and part time anti hero and quickly became a fan favorite. It's not so cool that Deathstroke likes to bully around a bunch of kids but you have to admit, he pulls of the crossed ninja/buckaneer look pretty well.
9. Casey Jones-from TMNT
Casey is a good guy now and is even married to April O' Neil but when he first started out he was quite the bruiser. Casey was first portrayed as somewhat psychotic and nearly killed a gang of punks for stealing stereo systems from an electronics store. This behavior was finally stopped when he had a heart to heart with Raph in Central Park after which he teamed up with the radical reptile to defeat the punks fairly and helped turn them over to the police. Casey is considered a "sports warrior" since, thanks to his love of the game, his arsenal consists of a Hockey stick, a Baseball bat and other sports implements which he carries in a convenient Golf bag. Casey is my favorite character from TMNT because he is such a big lovable bonehead. Goongala!
8. Black Widow
I thought to be fair I should include at least one girl to the list and it was a close call between Black Widow or Catwoman. The femme feline lost when I found out that she had recently become a mom. Selina has a big responsibility now so I figured I would leave her alone. That plus I also have a thing for red heads, (it's a guy thing). Natalia Romanova/Natasha Romanoff was a Soviet secret agent until she eventually defected to the U.S. shortly after which she helped The Avengers several times. These valiant efforts impressed The Avengers so much that they made Widow the official sixteenth member. She has also done freelance work for S.H.I.E.L.D. However, Widow's first appearance had her portrayed as an arch enemy of Iron Man with Hawk Eye becoming her partner after using her femanin charm to brainwash him thus her appearance in the upcoming movie Iron Man 2 (her live action appearance is seen above). That's not to say that Black Widow is necessarily a heroin or a villainess, she works with whoever she sees fit thus making her a top anti heroin in my book. Widow's arsenal includes gloves and boots equipped with suction cups so that she can climb on walls and ceilings like my man Spidey, poison dart launchers around her wrists and vast skills in martial arts. Yep, this is one hot date you don't want to piss off.
Originally attached to Peter Parker/Spider-Man the strange symbiotic alien gave Pete his, now legendary, black suit which also gave him a change of attitude. Bad attitude. Peter thought the new suit was a dream come true...until he found out that it was alive! It wasn't until Peter managed to fight off the creature in what he hoped was the final battle with it, in the bell tower of St. Patrick's Cathedral, that the creature found a new home with Peter's one time co worker turned nemisis Eddie Brock. At first Eddie, now officially known as Venom, planned to use his new "friend" to kill Peter/Spidey for ruining his life. (Brock discovered Spidey's true identity during the battle at the cathedral). However, Venom later became one of the wall crawler's most powerful allies when a new symbiot was cloned from a piece of his body and attached to serial killer Cletus Cassidy creating the all new villain called Carnage. In fact, a battle with Carnage is the only time that Venom will team up with Spider-Man, other wise Venom would love to take ol' "Web Head" apart. Venom's powers are virtually identical to Spidey's ie wall crawling and web swinging. However, for some reason Venom can also dampen Spidey's Spider Sense making it almost impossible for Spidey to know when Venom is coming to take a piece of his hyde.
6. Jenner-from the Rats Of NIMH franchise
Mrs. Frisby And The Rats Of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien (1971) is one of my all time favorite books, (you can probably find it at your local library, I just did), and it's first movie adaptation The Secret Of NIMH (1982 pictured above) was pretty good too. It was at least 80-85% accurate to the book. In both versions Jenner was formerly best friends with the rats' leader Nicodemus but didn't agree with his plan to move the colony to the Yosemity like Thorn Valley. Jenner had grown occustomed to life with electricity and running water and didn't believe the rats could survive a sudden change to life in the wilderness. He also thought that they should try to attack humanity (ie declair war on us) out of his hatred toward us for constantly trying to exterminate them (the rats). Jenner managed to scrounge up at least six followers and they left the colony under the rose bush to start their own colony elsewhere. It was believed (in the book) that Jenner was killed when we found out that "six or seven rats" were found dead at the hardware store in town. In the movie he was killed when his one and only follower turned on him and literally stabbed him in the back. And there's good news for all of us Rats Of NIMH fans. I hear the book my be getting a theatrical remake so some of us have something exciting to look forward to!
5. Invader Zim
Zim is a little green guy from the planet Irk who's leaders, the Almighty Tallest, sent him to Earth to destroy humanity and take over the world for the all powerful Irkin Armada. Well at least that's the story from Zim's P.O.V. Actually The Almighty Tallest had originally sent Zim into exile on the planet Foodcourtia after Zim failed his initial Invader test by nearly destroying half of Irk. ( Okay, so he's a moron but you can't beat that theme song). Zim decided to quit being exciled (?) when he found out about the second annual Ceremony Of Invaders in which certain young Irkens who passed their tests would be selected by the Tallest to invade and conquer planets assigned to them (by the Tallest, natch). Zim managed to make it to the ceremony and, out of frustration, the Tallest gave him his own maniacle "S.I.R." unit named G.I.R. (we don't know what the G stands for), and sent him to a planet they thought didn't exhist. They were wrong. That planet is our little Earth, probably some time in the near future judging by the design of the background settings. Here Zim meets and becomes fast enemies with Dib, a young man who is into the paranormal and vows to stop Zim and protect the world from him. Needless to say, all the other humans just think Dib is crazy including his own dad Dr. Membrain and kid sister Gaz who likes pizza and video games (like me) and just wants her brother to stay away from her, although she's also the only other human besides Dib who knows the truth about Zim. I understand that this show had (alot) more coming. For starters there was going to be a video game (Gaz would be proud). There was also going to be a movie in which Dib would finally have had a battle with the Irken Armada and the Almighty Tallest. This would have lead to a second series called Invader Dib where, I'm assuming, Dib was somehow sent into deep space after his battle with the Tallest and is trying to find a way back to Earth. Unfortunately the plug was pulled before any of that could happen.
4. Dash X-from Eerie Indiana
"Dash X", "the kid with the grey hair", "the greedy kid with the hair" or as he was once called "Tinsel Top" is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. It was explained in Dash's premiere episode "The Hole In The head Gang" that he simply appeared in Eerie seemingly out of nowhere with no memory of his original home, parents or even his own name. Since appearing in Eerie, Dash has been subjected to living on the streets and dumpster diving for food. Dash may help Marshall and Simon at times, for a small fee of course, although he has also been shown to have a heart as he has also (sometimes) helped them without the fee. In the episode "The Loyal Order Of Corn" part of Dash's origin may have been revealed. According to what we saw in the episode Dash might be an alien from another dimension. The episode also had him explain his new nick name, he named himself for the minus (-) and plus (+) symbals on the backs of his hands. Unfortunately the show was pulled before we could find out anymore about Dash. To bad really, he was the only good reason to watch the later episodes. Alas the mystery may never be solved but at least he earnes a place on my list of anti heroes.
3. "Endless" Mike Hellstrom-from The Adventures Of Pete & Pete
"Endless" Mike was the arch enemy of Older Pete, although he had some run-ins with Younger Pet too, and was possibly the greatest bully that Wellsville has ever seen. However, Mike did also have his moments, though short lived, of kindness. Despite their differences Older Pete would sometimes make the mistake of asking Mike for help. These situations would usually start out pretty good but would end in disaster. A perfect example of this is in season 2's "Time Tunnel" when Older Pete asked Mike to help him with his date with Ellen. Mike helped him alright, he almost helped Pete lose Ellen as a friend all together. Luckily, Younger Pete and his own best friend Nona were there to teach Mike a lesson. Being a bully with at least half a heart, and of course being from Pete & Pete, earns "Endless" Mike a place on my anti hero list.
2. Boba Fett
After all, what would an anti heroes article written by a Star Wars fan be without an appearance by the galaxy's greatest bounty hunter? Thanks to the prequel trilogy we now know that Boba Fett is actually a clone made from the DNA of his "father" Jango Fett who had Boba specially made without the advanced aging hormones so that he would age like a normal human being. This way Jango could raise him like a "son". Sadly though Boba was forced to watch his dad get finished off by Jedi Master Mace Windu during the battle of Geonosis. Having to see this at such a young age (Boba was about twelve at the time) he grew a hatred toward the Jedi hence becoming the arch enemy of the Solo family who supported them, (well, except for Han of course). Fett later appeared in the classic trilogy when he helped Jabba The Hutt hunt down and capture Han Solo (mostly for the large price that Jabba placed on Han's head), for taking to long getting Jabba some money that he had been promised (Han had gotten side tracked after becoming involved with the Rebel Alliance and romantically with Princess Lea). Fett was presumed killed at the battle on Jabba's sail barge on Tatooine when he fell into the Sarlacc's hungry maw. Apparently though, the creature found Fett indigestible and regurgitated him (there's an appetizing image). All of Fett's appearances there after have been in the books that followed. Believe it or not, in his latest appearance, in the final installment of The New Jedi Order, Fett actually came to the aid of Han and Lea Solo to help them battle an army of Yuuzahn Vong warriors. It would seem that Boba Fett is a pretty bad dude but is not without compassion either. Fett has an arsinal of Jedi skull busting goodies at his disposal and dons the armor of the evil Mandelorian warriors, just like his old man. Where ever Jango is now I'm sure he's proud.
And my #1 favorite anti hero is...
1. Shadow The Hedgehog
Aside from being a Star Wars fan I'm also a huge Sonic fan from way back. Goth Boy here was introduced, along with another new comer at the time Rouge The Bat, in Sonic Adventure 2 (2001) and when I saw him I became an instant Shadow fan too. In fact Shadow has become the second most popular character in the series, right behind Sonic himself (natch). Shadow's exact origin was a mystery for a while but we now know that he is in fact half alien which would explain his jet black and crimson red fur. He got his alien DNA from Black Doom, the leader of an evil alien race known only as The Black Arms. Shadow was created aboard Space Colony Ark by Prof. Gerald Robotnik, the current Dr. Eggman's grandfather, and became friends with Gerald's granddaughter Maria Robotnik. Sadly Maria was killed before Shadows eyes as she helped him escape capture from the Station Square military who had been sent to shut down "Project Shadow" and eliminate anyone involved. In her dieing breath Maria begged Shadow to "Please save the world". Shadow attempted to make the world pay for this misdeed in the events of SA2 after being reawakened over fifty years later by smashing Colony Ark into the Earth whereby causing cataclysmic destruction and whipping out half the planet's human population. However, after a heart to heart with Amy, Shadow realized the error of his actions and ended up helping Sonic to save planet by going super with him and aiding in the destruction of Gerald's other creation, the Bio Lizard and returning the Ark to it's original orbit thus fulfilling Maria's plea. Following these events, Shadow was thought to have died but returned for the events of Sonic Heroes and his very own solo game Shadow the Hedgehog in which he learned of his past and destroyed Doom and the Black Arms as he now leaves his past behind him and looks toward the future. He currently works as a secret agent for G.U.N. (Guardian Unit of Nations) which is, ironically enough, the same military group that killed Maria so many years ago. Shadow was created as the ultimate life form and is blessed with the ability to use the power of Chaos Control at will. This allows him to manipulate time in his favor (a power that Sonic is unable to boast unless he goes super). Shadow's other main power is Chaos Spear which allows him to fire a series of small, pointed projectiles from his finger tips. He can also perform the explosive and dangerous Chaos Blast but only when he's really angry. With that kind of power Shadow more than earns the spot of #1.
Well that's it for this one, I hope you enjoyed it. I also hope I didn't get to preachy, I tend to do that a lot. Hopefully my Pete & Pete article will be up next. Until then this is Nightwatcher signing off.