Making Sweden 5% nerdier than it has to be.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The gaming experience (GoW3): The disappointing and the awesome!

Stupid minotaurs. If you haven't played the game yet but will, when you get to the part where you're on a giant cube fighting minotaurs I recommend that you try to knock them off the cube rather than just killing in the normal fashion. It takes some getting learning but it can totally be done and is actually more satisfying and effecient.

Once I got past that annoyance I met another one. Hermes. It's kind of funny. He acts youthful and the way he taunts you makes him sound like a punk. But if you ask me he looks a bit too old to be doing that. It was rather annoying. So I was pleased that he was the easiest boss fight yet and I got to kill him on the first try. But even then his death was disappointing and less spectacular than his fellow gods. Though no less ominous when one considers what it was probably inspired by. Still, felt a little like a waste of a boss fight.

The next famous person from the myths however wasn't a disappointment at all. In fact, she's stolen the show as the most entertaining character in the game. God of War Hera is freaking awesome. She's like this old actress that used to be really famous but now she's a has-been who looks down on the world because it doesn't recognise her greatness anymore. And she's just a little drunk. And she hates her husband, with good reason. Yeah, she's freaking awesome.

Then there's the guy that she gets to fight you since she's too drunk, lazy or smart to do it herself. Hercules is a mixed bag. He's probably one of the characters I wished most for when it came to boss fights for this game. Don't know why the felt that he needed shoulder guards or a helmet when the rest of his body was pretty much unprotected, especially when said items made him look a bit lame. And dude, you're Hercules. Why do you need undead legionairs to fight Kratos? Also, he's a bit whiney.

But on the other hand, he's voice by Kevin Sorbo. For those that don't know, Kevin Sorbo played Hercules on the live action show that took place in the same universe as Xena: Warrior Princess. That's some great casting, especially since I didn't recognise it until I looked it up on wikipedia. Also, while the first part on the fight is annoying due to the troops he uses, though it would be way easier without them there, the final part is awesome. It's basically a boxing match of superhuman porportions that leaves both Hercules and Kratos bloodsoaked as all hell before it's all finished off very brutally. Loved that part.

And hey, the weapon you steal from him is probably the most fun the game so far.

Short comments now before I leave for easter holidays.

Kratos is still an ass and I don't really sympathise with him yet.

Aphrodite is a mean person. To Hepheastus that is. To the player she's just the game's sex-mini-game that can spark very lovely debate about how chauvinistic this series actually is.

I don't want to hurt Hepheastus. Stupid meany game.

And on we go into the pits of tartarus, the real hell of greek mythology.

Monday, March 29, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW: Alice in Wonderland

Tim Burton is a brilliant director.

Johnny Depp is a fantastic actor.

Johnny Depp acting in a Tim Burton directed movie equals AWESOME movie.

At least that's usually the case. The combo of Burton and Depp have given us some great movies, my personal favourite being Corpse Bride. But in recent years the magic that seemed to appear whenever these two worked together appears to have faded away. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was pretty dull and pointless and the most positive aspect was the visuals. Alice in Wonderland is better than that, but is still below par.

The plot is basically that for some reason Alice has forgotten all about Underland, why she's forgotten the place and everything about it is never explained, and on the day she is proposed to by some dull person she is lured into the rabbit hole once again because she is the chosen saviour of Underland. In short, it's basically Narnia dressed in Alice in Wonderland clothing. You can pretty much figure out the plot and everything about it from that.

It's not a bad plot really. It's just far from being as imaginative and original as the stuff Burton usually gives us. It's just sort of bland, but still entertaining enough.

There are some nice scenes here and there. Like when a giant-sized Alice meets the Red Queen for the first time or when the Jabberwocky is revealed. But yeah, nothing much stands out.

Acting is solid throughout the entire movie with Alan Rickman, Christopher Lee and Stephen Fry delivering the most entertaining performances. Depp does a nice mad Mad Hatter but the role doesn't have even half the charm of his more famous roles nor does he make any lasting impressions. Mia Wasikowska as Alice though is very enjoyable and she's not your usual adventure heroine, until the end where she basically becomes Jean d'Ark. But even that's actually a cool moment.

And... that's basically it really. It's a movie that entertains but doesn't stand out as anything special.

I'm thinking that mr. Burton and mr. Depp should go their seperate ways for a while before their next collaboration. Just so that they can make something really special instead of just giving us these so-and-so movies. It might do them good.

Until next time, peace out.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The gaming experience (GoW3): I'm having a ball

Ok, so after turning the setting down to normal I can finally play the game the way I want to. There's still a challenge to be had here but generally I can kick much mythological ass. So today I figured that I would comment on a few parts of the game. Beware of spoilers in this post.

First of all, I really enjoyed how the gods leapt into battle against the titans in the opening cinema. It sort of felt like they were some sort of comic book superteam dashing off to kick some ass. Also, they generally looked very cool while doing so.

The titans on the other hand look sort of wimpy despite their skyscraper+ sized bodies towering over the gods. So far the gods have been smacking the titans down without much difficulty. No wonder these behemoths need help from a teeny tiny, from their perspectives at least, demi-god. Losers.

Seriously, without Kratos/my helping them out the titans would be totally screwed. While they were getting their asses kicked I managed to kill three gods in the gratuitously brutal fashion that is the hallmark of the God of War series. However, bad things seem to happen (in the game's world) whenever I commit deicide. And by bad I mean "seems-to-be-moving-towards-the-apocalypse-step-by-step-bad".

I read somewhere that they wanted to make Kratos a bit more sympathetic instead of just being a revenge-obssessed killer. Considering that he seems to be dooming the world just to get his revenge fix I don't think that they've done a very good job so far. But hey, there might be a twist later on.

What else? What else? Oh right, Hades!

I finally got to kill that ugly SOB. Now, while he doesn't look the way I imagine Hades to look he was actually rather entertaining as he taunted Kratos from the shadows before having a big show-down with him. You could really hear that he wanted Kratos to suffer painfully. As God of War players know Kratos has escaped from the underworld like 3-4 times in his existence. So you sort of assume that's why Hades hates him so. But a great scene right before their big fight reveals that Hades has a valid grudge against Kratos. So he had my sympathy but I still laughed while kicking his ass.

Nobody makes references to God of War games I haven't played and live to tell the tale while I'm still kicking.

A few more things.

Hephastus and his daughter are the most sympathetic characters in this game. Not hard to do really.

I totally don't trust Kratos' new guide. There's something suspicious about this person.

If the character I think is Hercules is Hercules I'm a bit disappointed in his appearance.

They still can't do a good Kerberos design for these games.

All in all. I'm having a freaking ball.

Until next time, peace out.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The gaming experience (GoW3): I'm either a pansy or honest with myself

Finally!

Last week I bought my most coveted game of the year, God of War 3, and I've been hyped to play it all week. Today I got behind my PS3 controller and started slaughtering my favorite characters from greek mythology.

The reason I haven't played it until now is simply because I felt that I needed to focus on an essay for my current course. Simple as that. I had enough fortitude to avoid the game and stay focused on the essay and today I got my reward of playing the game.

I made two misstakes that sort of lowered my enjoyment of it.

The game itself is absolutely fucking brilliant. Even the most grotesque and imaginative creatures have a strange realism to them. The scenes (both in gameplay and in-game cinemas) are nothing short of epic. The fighting system tight and responsive. Go to any professional game critic and they can tell you the same thing with better words, I'm personally looking forward to Yahtzee's review of the game.

The misstakes I made are completely my own.

Misstake #1: My tv is sort of small, a bit too small almost for a game this epic. It's nothing serious enough that the right distance between me and the tv can't fix. Unfortuantely I tried to take it easy and lounge in my bed while playing. It created certain perspective problem and probably led to me taking more hits than if I had been seated at a more strategic position. Easily fixed.

Misstake #2: Here's the real problem that might be a bit embarrassing in gaming circuits.

See, in the review on gametrailers.com they thought that normal was a little too easy and recommended that veterans of the franchise begin playing on hard. I felt cocky and took that advice. I should probably have known better considering that I've only played the previous game once and that was like 3-4 years ago.

Before I had gotten half-way through today's challenges I had died 47 times.

Yeah.

Tomorrow I'm lowering the difficulty to normal. Even if that means replaying the parts I had gotten through today.

It not because I can't ever get through the game on hard difficulty. I would probably be able to do it. Eventually. It's because it's really frustrating me and I don't want to be frustrated when playing this game. I mainly want to enjoy it and kick some ass while doing it.

If I was a gamer I might be inclinded to feel some shame about it. Luckily enough I'm sort of a crappy gamer and I'm not out for bragging rights. I'm mainly after the interactive story the game is telling.

So that's my confession about my gaming patience and skills. Expect more updates about my battle against GoW3 in the coming days. It'll be an interesting experiment for me.

Now, to prepare myself for the possible mockery from my country friends.

Until next time, peace out.

Friday, March 19, 2010

COMIC REVIEW #1

As I am a big fan of comic books and I've recently gotten a new batch of them I figured that I'd try to review them all. Now this may be kind of late for all of them but I live in Sweden and I get everything kind of late. But that's the way it is. So here we go.

SIEGE #2

By Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Olivier Copiel (Penciler), Mark Morales (Inker), Laura Martin (Colorist) and Chris Eliopoulos (Letterer)

Review: For me this issue was an improvement over the previous one which felt a bit too short and the writing didn't engage me. Issue #2 of this limited series delivers a better comic with more memorable moments. A few personal favorites are Maria Hill saving Thor by blasting Norman Osborn with a rocket launcher, Thor sending Daken with a lightning bolt and the last page actually made me laugh.

That said, the issue as a whole still felt sort of hollow to me writing wise. Nothing really surprising happen, except for a pointless death which I'll get to soon. There's fighting, Captain America makes a grand speech to the heroes he's gathered to beat up on Norman's forces (kind of pointless speech since the heroes would love to that even without a rousing speech) and more of the same. Heroes are heroes and villains are villains. Standard stuff.

There is a nice plot-thread concerning Norman's declining sanity, and the Sentry seems to be less whiney and talkative as well. So, hopefully those'll make the last two issues stand out more.

As for the pointless death. It's a pointless death with a gore rating that doesn't fit in with the rest of the story. It's either a part of an already planned story that will make it even more pointless or it's actually intended to shock me. Instead I role my eyes at it and get bored.

For all the ups and down that the writing has the art is solid throughout the entire thing. Copiel is a brilliant superhero comic artist. Everything looks dynamic and epic. The gorey death is however rather awkward, but that's not Copiel's fault. He did his best with what he was told to draw.

Overall, an entertaining issue. The writing is a bit uneven but still pretty good and the art is just great.

Overall Score: 6/10.

AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #33

By Christos Gage (Writer), Jorge Molina (Penciler), Victor Olazaba (Inker) and Edgar Delgado (Letterer)

Review: This issue, which was a tie-in comic to the Siege issue reviewed above, felt rather disjointed. It jumped back and forth between the large battle from Siege, only here from two other perspectives, and the Avengers Resistance attacking Camp Hammer.

Both of the stories get roughly the same amount of pages dedicated to each other and have little to no impact on one another so it feels a little like reading two different stories that are only half-finished. They're still tied together because of the events they're tied into. But nothing more.

What's here IS good. In fact, it's VERY good. Christos Gage excells at writing the type of character introspective stories that we get here while adding exciting action scenes to it all. The look into Taskmaster's, one of my favourite Marvel villains, mind as he's trying to decide whether or not aiming for life as a big time supervillain is worth it and Diamondback analysing her relationship with Constrictor gives us some great insight to both characters. I do love Taskmaster being a voice of reason, commenting on all the insane shit going on around him.

The assult on Camp Hammond is the weaker of the two storylines. At least to me as there are few characters here that I care that much about. It also feels like things are being set up for a big finale despite it being in the middle of big ass fight. Like I said, the action is welldone but I just wish that more time would be spent on Taskmaster and Diamondback.

The art is good. Molina is great at drawing large and crowded fight scenes with a surprising amount of detail. So yeah, it's good.

So the story felt disjointed but what we got was great stuff and the art was good. A solid issue in most regards, but not perfect.

Overall Score: 7/10.

THUNDERBOLTS #141

By Jeff Parker (Writer), Miguel Sepulveda (Artist), Frank Martin (Colorist) and Comicraft's Albert Deschesne (Letterer)

Review: Another tie-in comic to Siege. Only this one stays away from the main action of the large battle and focuses more on Norman's specially chosen taskforce the Thunderbolts, as one could guess from the title. This allows the comic to tell it's own story and only being marginally dependent of the events in Siege. So this one reads better as a stand alone comic.

The interaction between the Thunderbolts is the main plus if you ask me. These people are not heroes, some of them are in fact asshole supervillains, and they don't like each other at all. So naturally the interaction between them should be somewhat... tense. Jeff Parker manages very well with portraying the team as such. There's some seriously fun, yet dark, dialogue here as the team make their way into the Asgardian armory. Even Norman's reccorded hologram gives us a memorable moment that shows how little he actually cares about the team.

Even though I think that he's a horrible monster Mr. X gets the best moment in the issue when he reaches a new career highlight in killing a god. A nameless mook god mind you, but still a god.

The issues ends with a cliff-hanger as the Mighty Avengers, or what's left of them, show up for a good old-fashioned throw down. If the M. A. had been at full force the Thunderbolts would've lost pretty quickly. With the depleted ranks of the M. A. however things are a bit more evened out and I look forward to the next issue.

Overall Score: 7,5/10.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #23

By Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (Writers), Wes Craig Penciller, Serge Lapointe (Inker), Nathan Fairbairn (Colorist) and VC's Joe Caramagna (Letterer)

Review: A comic that has NOTHING to do with Siege. Hooray! Instead this comic tells the story of how the half of the team readers thought had died during the devastating battle against the powerful madman Magus actually survived. The problem is that Magus is the one behind this little miracle and he's planning on turning them over to his side.

The main focus of this issue lies on Phyla-Vell, a lady with way too many legacies on her shoulder. I appreciate that very much as I feel that she hasn't been explored enough during the series' run. Here we finally get some insight into her feelings for her fellow teammates and her reasons for becoming death's avatar, though it was fairly obvious it was still nice to read her thoughts on the matter.

But fleshing Phyla out isn't the only thing that the comic does. It also gives us lots of Magus being deliciously evil, in the special kind of madman/tyrant despot way that is always fun to read. He's just a delight to read while still being menacing and cringe worthy in his saddism. A great villain for a great book.

In a sub-plot the Guardians that aren't captured are on security duty for what could be seen as a galatic U.N. meeting. Abett and Lanning (DnA) uses this to gives us a few guest cameos, which includes an almost show stealing appearance from Blastaar. This interlude gives a nice, but brief, update about how things are progressing in the larger part of space. It also gives us some nice foreshadowing as Moondragon freaks out right before a strange attacked is launched.

The issue ends with a good cliffhanger that has me pumped for the next issue.

Then there's the art. Which is a difficult case. Wes Craig is a talented artists, if somewhat stylised, but there are questions whether he fits for this series or not. Personally I think he needs another colourist. The one from issues #12-13 worked out perfectly in my opinion. As it stands the art is good but might not really fit the series due to the way it is coloured.

I do love this series so much. The writing is always top-notch and while the art may not be perfect it still does it job good enough. Why more people aren't buying this series is beyond me and makes me want to slam my face against a wall.

Overall Score: 9/10

Saturday, March 13, 2010

It's probably for the experience

I'm not sure why I do it.

It's always cold and hard and the reactions I, and everybody else get, vary from being looked down on to almost threatened.

Three times I've done and only twice was it worth it, mostly because the third time was just a favor but still.

It's at this time that I dramatically reveal what I'm talking about. The subject of this post is... queuing.

I'm talking about the kind of queuing where you stand/sleep on the street for days while waiting for the chance to get to buy something that you've been waiting for for a long time. I'd imagine that the phenomenon is mostly associated with forming long lines for concert tickets. But in all honesty that's been ruined by everybody buying them online the second they come out. But there's loads of other stuff that you can que for. The three times I've mentioned are as follows.

#1: Waiting in a line for days on end to buy tickets to Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.
Conditions: Me and my friend Hassanbot had to be in that line for like 2 - 3 days. We where under a bridge where the sound of cars and motorbikes going under it echoed loudly every day. We where also very close to a nightclub whose regular visitors very often mocked us (we were even called whores by on of them). And top it all off some of the guys in the que had found sort of hidden stairwell and started using that as a place to pee. It did not smell nice to walk by it. At least I had a friend with me and the people I met where all very nice.
Results: Actually worth it since the expereince of buying the tickets while a dude dressed as Darth Vader directed a small orchestra was pretty awesome. And the experience of watching the thing on opening night with so many hardcore fans totally overshadowed the fact that the movie wasn't all that good.

#2: Sat down in line for when they would sell Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows.
Conditions: I came alone with a fold-out chair and sat there for about a day. I knew some of the other people in the line so it wasn't very lonely. There also weren't any loud or stinking annoyances and the people walking by where a lot more friendly towards us. It did get cold at some point abut luckily my sister came over with my jacket at that point. There was also a festive mood and it felt safe enough for me to leave my stuff a few times and go buy fastfood to eat.
Results: Totally worth it! This experinece was much more enjoyable and the book kicked so much ass. The only downside was that the shop didn't handle the release with the same amount of spectacle as in the previous example. But still, a fun experience.

#3: Held a place in line for Hassanbot so that he could get to Halo 3 quickly.
Conditions: Nothing special really. Me and Sharkazzz stood there along with lots of other guys just holding a place for Hassanbot who showed up eventually. It was sort of cold.
Results: Not worth it. In the end the que was relatively short and as far as I could tell it didn't matter when you came. Pretty much everybody got a copy of the game as long as they had their pre-order slip with them. And if there was any spectacle there I missed it.

Why do I bring this up you may ask. Well, I'm gonna go for my fourth que this Tuesday when God of War 3 gets released. I'm well aware that I can just come in one day later with my pre-order slip and buy the game then so I won't have to stand there and sort of freeze in these cold post-winter but pre-spring days. But I'm gonna do it anyway. It's an experience and I'll rest slightly easier knowing that I'll get my hands on the game fast enough.

Though I wonder if the most stupid thing that seems to befall all ques will show up this time as well. In all three example I mentioned above some random dude would at one point run past and shout how the main character Anakin Skywalker/Harry Potter/Master Chief would die. That's just so stupid and pointless that I'm not gonna talk about it anymore.

Wish me luck on Tuesday.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Don't be afraid to suck.

Most people are afraid of sucking. That's ok, it's just normal for everybody without annoying/inspiring confidence. And really, for those of us without that confidence the fear of suckings gets us through life because we try our hardest to avoid it all together.

There are however instances when I think that people should just put that fear on the shelf and embrace that possibility that they might suck.

Really, it could be a minor detail in an otherwise enjoyable time. The only things required is a good sense of humor and some good company. Allow me to use two examples with myself as the main player.

Story 1: I was visiting some friends in Great Britain and one day they had some kind of church meeting at their home. Beliving that it would be best for me to miss the meeting they set it up so that one of their friends, a guy that I just met days earlier, took me to play some billiard at some local place.

Since badminton is the only sport that I'm able to play skillfully I assumed that I would just suck at billiard. I was right, I wasn't able to put a single ball into the pockets/holes/whatever they're called. But it was alright because I just accepted that it was bound to happen and snickered every time I missed a shot. It was made all the more easier to accept that I just wasn't playing well because the guy I was playing with was very genial during the whole thing. He encouraged me, didn't mock beyond some good-natured ribbing and was just nice to hang out with.

So what could've been a very embarrasing experience turned out to be a enjoyable afternoon simply because I was able to laugh at my inability to play the game properly and my companions friendly nature.

Story 2: This is more of a common occurence for me really than just one incident. But I can specify with an example that happened this very afternoon.

I have these two really good friends whom have asked to be called by their XBOX-live names, Hassanbot and Sharkazzz (that last one was totally cribbed from me BTW, but I'm not petty). When we hang out one of the main things we like to do is to play video games, and one of the video games we like to play the most is basically anything from the Halo franchise. A video game series that I am woefully unskilled at.

Usually when we play I get my ass kicked utterly and completely unless I'm having a good day or we're playing with somebody who sucks at the game even more than me. But most of the time that's ok because the mood is seldom serious. This is just us playing around with a really advanced toy and the mood shows this. We scream leet-speak, the little that we know, abrassively mock each other (both for our gameplay and our general mannerisms and some other stupid non-sensical ramblings) and just a good time.

Both of them still kick my ass and between the three of us there's a general totem-pole when it comes to our Halo skills. At the bottom is me and then there's Sharkazzz and at the top is Hassanbot. Hassanbot is so superior to us other two that Sharkazzz really wanted me to tell y'all that if we were to combine mine and Sharkazzz Halo playing prowess Hassanbot would still be four times better than that.

I am well aware of this and have long since accepted my role in ur matches. I annoy the crap out of the other two, kill-steal and just provide an obstacle for the two of them. If I'm having a good enough day I can do more than that. Either way I don't let it bother me and just enjoy our guy evenings greatly.

In conclusion: I understand how terrifying it is to perform badly at something. But I suggest that everybody take it easier and don't bother with it so much during at least some activities. Suggestively some lighter and less serious activity. Just make sure that you're with good company and have a good sense of humor about you sucking. Then you can have an enjoyable time of performing badly at something.

That said, I will never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever play Sing-Star again. EVER!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

LIST: Top Ten Villains

Villains fascinate me. They're the dark side of the conflict that we're supposed to hope loses at the end of the story. But that doesn't mean that they have be any less enjoyable than the heroes. In fact, they can be just as interesting, entertaining and/or cool as the hero. Hell, that applies to most good villains. But they also have the edge of darkness that we're not supposed to like and that makes them all the more enticing as characters.

In this post I am going to celebrate villains everywhere by listing my top ten villains in all of fiction. To make this list the villain has to be, like I said above, interesting, entertaining and/or cool. But not just that. They also have freaking villains that do villainous stuff. So all those dark anti-heroes can just take a hike. And of course, this list is based on my personal preferences. So nobody bite my head off.

Let's get started.


10. The Daleks from Doctor Who
Who are they?: An alien race of mutated creatures incased in a distinct, mechanical armour. The Daleks are hellbent on conquering the universe and killing all non-Dalek life. When created they had all pity, remorse and compassion removed. Certain descriptions say that the only emotion that remains within the Daleks is hate. Unrelenting and extremely powerful, they are the foremost enemy of the renegade timelord know as the Doctor. Their plans have been foiled many times but often at great costs. They always survive, adapt and build new world-threatening technology. No matter what they will not rest until all life has been exterminated.
Why they're #10: An entire race of what is basically highly advanced miniture tanks controlled by creatures that only know hate. That's both a terrifying thought as well as a brilliant idea for a group of bad guys. The Daleks are so iconic that small children are more likely to recognise them before learning proper geography.
When the Daleks shows up the scale of any conflict immediately goes up and you know that shit is going to go down. They may not be elegant (they've admitted that they don't even have a concept of elegance) and they're about as subtle as a rockslide. But that's how they work. Almost every thing that they do is either an act of war against the rest of the universe. This bluntness is accompanied by a level of power that would've allowed to destroy earth long ago if it wasn't for the Doctor.
Besides that, the engineering that makes them only feel hate makes way for some very interesting instances when a Dalek or two is suddenly exposed to other, more human, emotions. It doesn't necessarily make you pity them or anything like that. But it does reveal some hidden depths to these otherwise inhuman monsters. That little bit of depth along with their iconic stature and the level of scale they bring to any story is what gives them the number ten spot.
Villainous Highlight: Waging a war against the timelords that eventually forced the Doctor to compeltely destroy both races. Sure that was only indirectly the Daleks' fault. But it was still a reaction something they did and it scarred the Doctor for a long time to come.
9. Light Yagami from Death Note
Who is he?: Light Yagami was a prodigious high school student that was bored and disgusted with the state the world was. If he continued a normal life he would probably have ended up becoming a criminal investigator to put criminals to justice. Unfortunately that's not what happened. One day Light found a notebook called a death note. He soon discovered that it gave him the power to control peoples deaths simply by writing their name and the circumstances of the death in the notebook. At first Light started targeting criminals all over the world, acting as a invisible judge, jury and executioner. But when the authorities began searching for the source of these deaths Light begins to kill those that he sees as a threat to him as well. The longer the hunt goes the darker Light's personality becomes. What was once a questionable but well-intentioned quest for justice has turned into a plot to rule the world with a lethal brand of justice, and Light will not let anything or anyone stand in his way.
Why he's #9: As far as villainous protagonists go Light has been a favorite of mine ever since I first started reading the Death Note manga. He's a great example of the corrupting influence that power can have on people. The possible path he might've taken isn't just me guessing stuff. The author of the manga has stated that that is the future Light would've had without the death note. With the death note in his possession however Light steadily grows into a self-righteous murder with delusions of grandeur, going so far as calling himself a god. It's a fascinating process to follow.
Then there's the way he engages those that try to stop him. Instead of sluggin it out with them, Light will use his intelligence to outwit them and the death note to spread fear amongst their ranks. At the time of reading the manga I found it very refreshing approach, and still do to this day. Few villains can out-think their opponents the way Light does.
There are certain fans that would argue that Light isn't really all that evil and that he's trying to do a good thing in an extreme way. That may be true, at first. But they obviously seem to have missed that he not only kills good people simply because they're in his way, he takes great pleasure in conquering and eliminating his enemies. In some instances he even reveals himself to his victims just as they are dying so that they will know exactly who it is that killed them. Also, the whole situation is nothing but a game to him that he intends to win so that he can impose his personal justice on the entire world. To me that just screams villain and lands him the number 9 spot.
Villainous Highlight: At around the half-way point of the series, after a series of mind-boggling stunts that has concealed his identity, Light actually manages to kill not only one but a grand total of three of the greatest threats to his crusade. The most important one being L, a young detective that has been Light's equal and has long suspected that Light might be the culprit. With some impressive manipulation Light manages to get L killed without knowing his real name and while there are several people in the same room as the two. As L dies Light pretends to be distraught while secretly smirking down on his fallen opponent.


8. Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender
Who is she?: The daughterof the tyrant ruler of the Fire Nation. Azula was a cruel person even as a child. Pushing down those that were better than her, scaring her older brother and showing little remorse when her cousin had died and her mother disappeared under mysterious circumstances. As a young adult she's only gotten worse and now takes great pleasure in helping the war effort to conquer the rest of the world. She's a brilliant manipulator, skilled tactitian and one of the best fighters in the world. Always striving for nothing less than perfection Azula will strike down her opponents in every concieveable way before they really know how outmatched they are.
Why she's #8: Azula's the whole package. She can kick your ass, torment you with words, out think your every move or do all three at the same time. All the while she will just smirk at you as if you were just barely worth the effort.
But while that's nice and all the thing that I think makes Azula stand out the most is that she doesn't do a lot of the often silly misstakes that other villains do. Her vengeful brother challenges her to a duel in the middle of a hostile takeover. Instead of accepting and delaying herself Azula has her elite henchmen surprise him and take him out. When everybody is convinced that the main protagonist is dead Azula correctly figures that he's actually alive and plans for his inevitable return. And she does it all with this incredibly cool and professional aura that makes you pay attention to her as you subconsciously straighten your back.
Azula wasn't the main antagonist of the show. That was her father. But he never really became more than a fairly generic tyrant ruler in the eyes of the fans, despite the always awesome Mark Hamill voicing him. Azula on the other hand was her own character and villain. In a show that had an overall brilliant cast of characters Azula managed to stand out with her impressive brand of villainy.
Villainous Highlight: At the end of the series second season a big battle is taking place under the castle of the earth kingdom. The heroes are outnumbered and in need of a saving card. So the main hero goes into a medative state to bring out his ultimate power. As he's floating in the air and shining of a divine light his enemies can't to anything but stare in awe. All except Azula that is. Instead of gawking like an idiot she sneaks up behind him and hits him in the back with a lightning bolt, taking him down and winning the day. The heroes do manage to escape but it was clearly Azula's victory.



7. Hans Landa from Inglourious Basterds


Who is he?: The main antagonist of the 2009 hit movie. Hans Landa is a Nazi colonel tasked with locating jews throughout France. He is VERY good at his job as he uses he high intelligence to find even the most well hidden jew before ruthlessly ordering their execution. He's also a polyglot, a person who is fluent in multiple languages, which gives him a sharp advantage that he uses to its full potential. While he is a nazi officer, he doesn't really believe in their ideology and is doing what suits him best at the time. Once something better comes along Hans will rather quickly jump ship at his own convience, and he did. But during his time with the nazis Hans Landa was a frightening force to be reckoned with, even if you were just going to talk to him.
Why he's #7: I've got to admit that the first time I saw this movie this dude scared the shit out of me. Actually that's not really a good description. What he did was that he made any scene that he was in about ten times more intense. The opening of the movie made it very clear that this guy could sniff out anybody that was trying to hide within seconds if he actually tried. In a movie where the good guys are all pretty much pretending to be somebody else that's a very threatening skill that just evoked a sort of primal "Crap, its HIM!" sense within me the first time I saw the movie. Few villains do that, especially while being so insidiously calm.
Then there's the little fact that pretty much wins in the end. Sure he gets marked on the forehead, but there's surgery for that. Besides that he'll get out of WW2 without being persecuted for his crimes and with a nice little house somewhere in America, I forget where. All that despite the horrible crimes that he committed. In my book that's a pretty freaking big win for such a monster as Hans Landa.
Villainous Highlight: Already mentioned it, but that he manages to get out of the war like that tops everything else. And he did it all simply because he found a napkin in a destroyed tavern. From that he put several things together, cut off all the loose ends and if he had been in a different mood the whole movie could've ended rather differently.



6. Hannibal Lecter from Red Dragon/Silence of the Lambs/Hannibal

Who is he?: A serial killer with canibalistic tendencies. Hannibal Lecter was for a long time a respected psychiatrist and member of the upper class that would kill people he found annoying and, often, serve them as dinner to his friends. He was eventually caught but scarred the FBI agent that figured out was Lecter was doing rather severely, mentally and physically. Regardless of whether he's behind bars or on the run from the law Hannibal makes sure to enjoy the finer details of life. If that includes frying and eating another man's flesh then so be it.
Why he's #6: I think that Hannibal was the first fictional character that I metaphorically encountered that combined a monstrous way of life with a sophisticated personality and high intelligence. At the time he was like no other villain I had read about or seen on film. It was fascinating. I could very easily realise that he was one scary s.o.b. and that I would never like to meet him. But at the same time the way he acted was so well-mannered and almost charming that I couldn't help but enjoy the character.
Like many great villains he's the kind that doesn't see himself as evil and more or less believes that his actions are fully justified. Since the novels featuring the character lets us take a fairly deep look into his mind. It was a scary and dark yet interesting ride that few other villains can offer up while still maintaing the level of fame that Hannibal has.
To round out the package there's the fact that although he prefers to focus on taking out his opponents mentally and making them weep themselves to sleep at night, or swallowing their own tongue, he's a very physically strong man with a good knowledge of anatomy. You don't want to get into a fight with him. Trust me.
A monster, but a sophistcated one. Hannibal will keep enticing people for a long time.
Villainous Highlight: Brought out of maximum security and put in a cell that is much more vulnerable Hannibal makes a vicious escape that includes beating two guards to death, cutting off the face from one of them to use as a mask and the using that body as a decoy by switching out their clothes. It's a scene that masterfully displays Hannibal's skills and monstrous callousness with human life.



5. Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty

Who is she?: An evil witch/fairie with powerful magic abilities who calls herself the mistress of all evil. She acts as the main antagonist in the 1959 Disney movie Sleeping Beauty. While some may role their eyes at the idea of a villain from Disney they probably haven't experienced Maleficent. She's extremely sinister, vengeful and will go as far as to summon the power of hell to destroy her enemies. She's not goofy (doesn't even sing) and has a dark sense of humor. When the Disney villains team up in various crossovers she will often act as the leader cementing her place as one of the most powerful and sinister of Disney's villains.
Why she's #5: First of all, she's just looks cool. Rather than the haggerd old woman that evil witches are usually portrayed as Maleficent is sleek and elegant. Her clothes are black and dark purple to contrast against her green skin. And to top it off she has a pair of large devil horns on her dress and manages to pull the look off. In short, I love her design.
Then there's the way she presents herself. She can act courteously and speak with a fairly pleasant tone that still has that tiny level of darkness to it, barely even raising it to when surrounded by spear-weilding guards. But when you piss her off, she gets scary and will blast you to smithereens, she still acts fairly composed during those segments though.
So she's sophisticated, at least she can act like she is. But unlike the two previous villains on this list Maleficent also weilds potent magical power that allows her to control the weather, cast terrible curses and turn into a gigantic freaking dragon at will. Pretty badass if you ask me.
She's really the star of the movie what with the prince and princess being terrinly boring and bland and the good fairies aren't even half as entertaining as Maleficent. She's a lady of darkness that truly has it all.
Villainous Highlight: In a scene after she's captured the dashing prince Maleficent goes down into the dungeon to taunt him. She does this by showing him images of how he will rescue the girl of his dreams from her eternal slumber... after Maleficent has kept him locked up for 100 years so that he's an old man while Aurora, the sleeping beauty, will still be young and probably want a husband that won't die within the next few minutes. What really makes the scene great is Maleficent's taunting. She speaks as though she narrating a classical fairy tale of love and that's just freaking cruel.

4. Ulquiorra Cifer from Bleach

Who is he?: A spirit being with aspects of both the humanish shinigami and the ferocious hollow. Ulquiorra is the fourth strongest member of the Sosuke Aizen's primary fighting force, the espada. He is fiercely loyal to his master, or maybe not, and meets almost everything with a borderline infuriating level of calm and stoicness. Throughout the series Ulquiorra develops an interest in humanity and what it is that makes the heroes, particularly Kurosaki Ichigo and Inoue Orihime, struggle when they should know that it is hopeless. He is only the fourth espada and he can still decimate entire cities. What chance does mere humans have against him?
Why he's #4: Ulquiorra is... different. Mainly in motivation. He's not driven to do the things that he does out of hate, spite or a need to dominate the world. With him it's more about curiosity. He feels as though he doesn't understand human, which must be rather infuriating as he is in fact very intelligent and highly perceptive. So he pushes the heroes' buttons, at least Ichigo's and Orihime's, in order to test them. He wants to figure out what it is that makes them tick and do what they do. To do this he does rather cruel things like kidnapp Orihime and then stoically torments her about how her friends are dying while trying to save her. Oh and he more or less kills Ichigo... twice. He got better. All to understand them.
At least, that's the way I interpret the character. You see, he's a very secretive person. We don't get much insight into the way he thinks until his death scene and even then it's not that much to go by. Instead we have to read his subtle actions. A glance of his eye, a subtle shift in his face. He's a very difficult person to read. We can even question Ulquiorra's loyalty to Aizen as he later on reveals a hidden power that might've made him the first espada instead of the fourth.
In short, Ulquiorra is a mystery and it works. He basically embodies the idea that less is more. That, along with his hideous power and unwavering stoicness, make his position on this list the same as his position in the espada ranks, something that I did not plan.



Villainous Highlight: When faced with Kurosaki Ichigo in battle for the first time Ulquiorra allows himself to get struck down by an attack that's empowered by Ichigo's rage over the fact that Ulquiorra has kidnapped Orihime. The attack is the most powerful one Ichigo has pulled off at that point and covers an entire room and it only messes up Ulquiorra's clothes somewhat. Ulquiorra then proceeds to beat the shit out of Ichigo. Even then the hero boldly tries to fight, believeing that Ulquiorra is the most powerful espada, reasoning that if Ulquiorra is defeated then the war might as well be over. It is at this point that Ulquiorra calmly reveals that he is actually the fourth. With Ichigo stunned by this fact Ulquiorra proceeds to stab him through the chest and leaves him to die while telling him how pointless it is for him to fight anymore.

3. Doctor Doom from Marvel Comics

Who is he?: Coming from the European country of Latveria, Victor von Doom is the son of a gypsy witch. He would grow into a brilliant scientist and headstrong individual that attracted the attention of the dean of Empire State University. Doom was offered the chance to study in America and readily took it. It was at the university where Doom's face was disfigured in a flawed experiment of his. Doom was warned by his fellow student Reed Richards about the experiment's instability but he did not heed the warning and in fact swore revenge on Reed, claiming that he sabotaged Doom's experiment. After that Doom disappeared for a long time. When he resurfaced he had taken control of his home country and mastered basically every science known to man as well as sorcery. With these resources Doctor Doom is without a doubt one of the most dangerous villains in the entire Marvel Universe.
Why he's #3: There are other villains that I prefer in the Marvel Universe. But there is no
denying it. Doctor Doom is the greatest villain in all of Marvel comics. Not only is he the Batman of villains in that he has mastered an extremely large amount of skills and abilities in a relatively short amount of time. He's also one of the most iconic villains that has been around for 40 years. People just like the guy and he's here to stay.
At first glance Doom could be considered to be a sort of clich├ęd type of villain. More specifically the meglomaniacal world-conquering type. He's more than that. Among other things, he's got a sense of honour that has led to him saving the world or given up a fight. He's even aided in the birth of Reed Richards daughter when nobody else was available, he then named the kid as an insult to Reed.
That revenge stuff is also a big part of what makes Doom the person he is. He is so determined to prove that the accident that disfigured him wasn't his fault that he will go to hell and back, litterally at least once, in order to punish Reed for it. Because Doom believes himself to be above all others, but the mere existence of Reed proves that wrong, and Doom just can't have that. So he tries to defeat Reed and rule the world over and over again, simply to prove his superiority. While he's gotten a few victories in the former he hasn't actually made that much progress. Conquering the world on the other hand. He's done that like twice through advanced mind control. He gave it up at the first sign of a resistence because it was boring without anyone to challenge him. So he has the need of wanting people to witness his greatness rather than just steam-rolling over them. Another layer of complexity
With his determination, complex character and an incredible list of abilities it's no wonder why Doctor Doom is considered such a great villain.
Villainous Highlight: Where to begin. There's the time he defeated a nigh-omnipotent being and stole its powers through sheer force of will. How about the time he kidnapped another villain, amped up his mind-controlling abilities and used them to take over the world? There's also the time he launched his arch-enemies' entire home into space and blew it up. He's also used demonic hell powers to torture the lot of them. Doom has a long list of accomplishments for a comic book supervillain.



2. Medusa from Soul Eater

Who is she?: Medusa is a witch that serves as one of the primary antagonists in the manga/anime Soul Eater. She intends to use a substance know as black blood to seize control over the power entity know as kishin in order to use its power to reshape the world. To do this she will stop at nothing and considers everybody and everything a potential sacrifice to further her own goal. Even if it means that she has to go through her own family.
Why she's #2: That thing I said above about Medusa going through her family. It might seem like I'm implying that the heroes that she fights are her own family members. That's not the case at all. I'm actually refering to the fact that Medusa has at this time stolen her sister's, who's also a major villain, body after her own was weakened and... people with faint hearts may not want to read the next paragraph.
There's a gender-ambiguous child called Crona in Soul Eater. Medusa replaced this child's blood with the black blood and forced the kid to kill small animals so that she could study the child's growing insanity, because kishin is a being of insanity. She generally torments the kid, locks it up alone in a room and because Crona doesn't actually have any desire to become a powerful kishin Medusa often refers to Crona as unneeded and similar things. Crona is finally saved from Medusa, makes friends with the heroes and begins to live with them. But Medusa still has a hold on the kid and turns her into a spy, eventually takes him back and has now made it so that Crona has actually forgotten all her friends. The kicker here is that Crona is Medusa's own offspring. That is to say, her child.
You have to be pretty freaking sick and evil to pull something like that. But Medusa isn't just sick and evil. She's also a brilliant magnificent basterd that has outwitted a majority of the other characters at one point or another. Hell, in the two major confrontations that she takes a part in Medusa manages to accomplish almost all her goals. The only things she doesn't get away with is to kill of the major protagonists and the reason for those are often cricumstancial. Now, not only is a she a great planner and manipulator, Medusa isn't afraid to stand on the frontlines and can duke it out with some of the best fighters in the series.
Cunning, dangerous and downright evil. Those are the reasons why Medusa is as high on the list as she is.
Villainous Highlight: While weakened and possessing only the body of a little girl Medusa manages to play the heroes and her sister's organisation against each other. She even gets the heroes to let her lead a small group of their fighters straight into her sister's castle. At the end of it all it is revealed that Medusa played them all just so that once her sister died she could get control of her body. She does just that and then escapes, right underneeth the heroes' noses.


1. Xykon from Order of the Stick


Who is he?: Once there was a boy born a sorcerer, a person that possess natural magical abilities. Once he became a young man he was approached and offered guidance to control these abilities. Not really feeling for it the boy lashed out and decided to become a villain. Over the years the young man would grow more powerful and cruel towards the world. Never once regretting the evil deeds he was doing. When he was an old man he made a deal with a group of goblins that would make them rulers of the world. But as I said, he was getting old and probably didn't have much longer to go. One of the goblins had a suggestion that would not only get rid of the age problem but also make him more powerful than ever before. It would however come at the cost of the old sorcerer's humanity as he would become an undead being known as a lich. The old sorcerer accepted the offer without thinking twice, he did however joke about it. Now the old man is a lich sorcerer with an army of hobgoblins backing him up on his quest to take over the world. The name that this individual was given by his parents hasn't been revealed. It is long lost, along with his humanity. For the longest time he has been known as the lich sorcerer Xykon.

Why he's #1: There are really two things that make Xykon the greatest villain in my eyes. They can be summed up like with these words. Power and evil.

Xykon is powerful, very powerful. But he isn't very smart. Unlike most of the other villains on this list Xykon prefers to just smash through the wall and blast the holy hell out of everybody that might just happen to be in the vicinity. It's not that he's stupid, because he has shown himself to be a very adept at manipulation and he knows how people work. It's that he's lazy, easily bored and prefers to power his way through life rather than bothering with well-planned strategies. That's where his power comes in. Xykon is a firm believer that there's a level of power that no amount of intelligence or strategic thinking can match up against. So he has oodles upon oodles of power and uses that to crush his foes. More than that, Xykon truly understands what true power is. It's not just the ability to throw around high level magic. He could run out of power and then he be in a big mess unless he had any back-up power. There's more to it than that, but believe me. Xykon understands power.

Then there's the evil. More than any other villain on this list, Xykon is evil. And it's not out of hatered against the world or the need for revenge or because his mommy didn't love him when he was a kid. Xykon is evil because he just likes being evil. I mentioned before that many great villains don't agree that they're evil. Xykon is the opposite of that. He will very freely admit that he is evil. He revels in it and then goes of to do the most horrible things you can imagine. Because not only is Xykon evil, he's pretty much a jerk as well. The things this guy does are simply horrible and people will cheer when he goes down. But also groan a little because such a great villain has been lost to the world.

Villainous Highlight: The end of the graphic novel Start of darkness which depicts Xykon's origin story along with the other villains of the Order of the Stick series. That's all I'm saying because it's a freaking doozy and I don't want to spoil it.

And that's that. Wow, that took way too long for me. Now you might wonder why I didn't include great villains like Darth Vader, Heath Ledger's Joker, Sephiroth, Voldemort and many many others. I did consider all of them, except for Sephiroth (he's really freaking overrated), but at the end of the day this is the list of villains that felt right for me.

Until next time. Peace out.