In Need of an Ongoing: The Masters of Evil
Y'ever have a favorite comic book character that you feel is always getting overlooked, no matter how awesome they are? So does Steven Romano! And he thinks the especially rad ones deserve their own ongoing series. Each week, Steven will profile a different underrated character and attempt to prove why they are In Need of an Ongoing!
Unless you don’t watch TV, surf the web, or simply isolate yourself from media in all its forms, then you should know Avengers mania is sweeping the nation, and everyone from the diehard comic book fan to the nerdy neophyte is swept up in the hype over Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! In keeping with the spirit of the movie, it only seemed appropriate to put the “In Need of an Ongoing” spotlight on a character—or rather group of characters—straight from the Avenger’s rogues gallery; the very antithesis to their preservation of peace and order: the Masters of Evil!
Who Are the Masters of Evil?
When you assemble a team of some of the world’s greatest super heroes you’re pretty much lending yourself to facing threats that are on an epic scale, and the Masters of Evil certainly qualify. The Masters of Evil made their first infamous appearance way back in The Avengers #6 (Vol.1) during the heyday of the Silver Age of Comics and were led by Captain America’s nemesis during World War II, Baron Heinrich Zemo. Marshaling together a small group of villains consisting of the Black Knight, Radioactive Man and the Melter, Zemo hoped to bring New York City and the Avengers to their knees, only to be easily defeated by the team of heroes. Over time the Masters of Evil would try time and again to crush the Avengers, but they practically glutted on defeat due to poor leadership and the lack of a well-organized plan.
That all changed, however, during the highly acclaimed “Under Siege” story arc that took place within the pages of The Avengers from 1986-1987. Now spearheaded by Baron Helmut Zemo (the son of the original), this iteration was a veritable army of villains that used a lethal and systematic combination of physical and psychological tortures that nearly brought an end to Earth’s Mightiest. Even though the Avengers eventually came through, it wasn’t without trauma and a heavy heart. Years later, some members of the Masters of Evil would go on to form the Thunderbolts and masquerade as heroes for their own sinister machinations (with some even embracing heroism), while any subsequent formations of the Masters were nothing more than meager shadows of what it once was.
Why They Deserve an Ongoing
It’s simple comic book economics: Villains. Sell. Yeah, it’s easy to root for the hero, but there comes a time when you want to indulge that dastardly side in all of us, and the Masters of Evil would fit the bill! We’ve seen it before both at Marvel and DC. In Marvel’s case, the limited series Villains for Hire met with many glowing reviews and proved that the dark underbelly of the Marvel Universe is every bit as interesting and multi-faceted as the world of the heroes! As for DC, many fans enjoyed the evil and incredibly fun exploits seen in Villains United and Secret Six. Positive fan reception doesn’t lie.
What’s great about the Masters of Evil is that they really are an evil mirror image of the Avengers since, more often than not, the team is composed of villains straight from the respective heroes’ rogues galleries. So you’d basically be seeing some of Iron Man’s foes hobnobbing with those from the baddies lists of, say, Thor and Captain America. And while they’re in it for world domination, you can bet they’re also bringing along some deep-seated vendettas against individual members of the team. And that, Masterminds, makes for some great storytelling.
Plus, it would be interesting to see what a villain does after a day of razing the town or being released from prison; a look into the drama of their lives, if you will. Do they have an apartment? Are they on parole? Do they hang out with each other and talk trash about the heroes? We’ll leave those questions for the writer, but if there’s one guarantee, readers would be seeing a heck of a lot more of the villain community’s local watering hole: the Bar with No Name (and who wouldn’t want that?)! For now we may have The Thunderbolts to scratch this itch, but, sadly, the team has devolved into nothing more than government attack dogs on a leash with amnesty as their reward. When will we have some true, honest-to-goodness villainy in our comics?
Would you read a Masters of Evil ongoing?
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