25. Harley Quinn
What can I say about Harley Quinn? She was created by Paul Dini for "Batman the Animated Series" and proved to be so popular, she was imported straight into the comics. She's been around for over twenty years now and it's hard to imagine the Batman mythos without her. I know she's become a sex symbol to many a geek out there, but not for this one. I find Harley fascinating in the tragedy of her character, but her voice is not sexy (even if it is perfect for the character) to anyone but the Joker, and she herself is the biggest female doormat I've ever seen in fiction. The Joker is the abuser and she is the battered wife who won't leave, and always comes back for more. I find Harley pitiable more than anything else.
24. Fire Lord Ozai
Ozai is your archetypal Big Bad Evil Overlord. For that he is great. He is a powerful fire bender -- maybe the most powerful we've ever seen, an abusive father, and a cruel dictator with delusions of grandeur that he had the power to make terrifyingly real. Mark Hamill turned in a terrific performance as Ozai, and that final battle between him and Aang was glorious to watch. The only thing keeping Ozai from placing higher on this list is because while he is awesome for what he is, ultimately he is not as interesting a character as others.
23. Sandi Griffin
And now for someone completely different. Sandi is every mean girl you've ever known in High School combined into one uber-mean girl. The Serpentor of mean girls if you will. If you thought Sally Avril in "The Spectacular Spider-Man" was mad, Sandi makes her look like Gwen Stacy in comparison. She rules her clique with a iron fist, treats her friends like shit to always remind them of their place, including completely destroying one's self esteem and reducing her to a nervous wreck. Why? Because she can.
And here we have another evil overlord, and Aku himself is evil given form. An eldritch abomination personified with the voice of the late Mako. He conquered the Earth and is in the process of conquering the universe. But he's also fun to watch for his many personality quirks. He is pure evil, but he also has a warped sense of humor. He's a quirky wannabe Cthulhu, and I always enjoyed watching him work.
In 1992, Disney released "Aladdin" to theaters and it was a monstrous hit. So much so that it began the Disney direct-to-video sequels and TV spin-offs. They also made a pretty big mistake in the process. They killed off Jafar, and replaced him with really lame villains like Abis Mal and Mechanicles. Late into the production, they must have realized this and we got Mozenrath, Aladdin's dark reflection. Had Aladdin chosen a more evil path, he would have become Mozenrath. He's powerful and clever. Iago called him "Jafar Jr." but I disagree with him, like I said before, he is Aladdin's dark reflection. The plan was to eventually reveal him as Aladdin's older brother in the third movie, but the powers that be didn't want to tie it down to the series, so they could market the three movies as a trilogy and we got "King of Thieves" instead. What might have been.
Okay, I loved "Generation One Shockwave"... in the comic books. There he was Evil Spock. A creature dictated by logic, and one day logic dictated that he would be a superior leader than Megatron, and he overthrew Megatron and took command. He spent more time leading the Decepticons in the comics than Megatron did. So, in comparison, the cartoon version who did nothing but act as a glorified janitor for Cybertron in Megatron's absence and kissed his ass did nothing for me. A loyal Shockwave held no interest for me. Until "Animated" came along, proving that concept is nothing and execution is everything. Once again, Shockwave is stationed on Cybertron. But this time on an Autobot controlled Cybertron as a spy, under the alias and identity of Longarm Prime... chief of Autobot Intelligence. Okay... if you haven't seen the show, just imagine how much damage Shockwave could do in that position. And he did. He was a key piece in a plan to invade Cybertron from within, and when that didn't work, and his cover was about to get blown, he nearly assassinated Autobot leader, Ultra Magnus, stole his hammer (which is a POWERFUL weapon), and continued to do his master's bidding, nearly bringing them to victory. Hardcore. I did enjoy that Corey Burton reprised the voice. In fact, the reason we got Shockwave at all was because they had Corey there already as Megatron and Ratchet, and he wanted to play Shockwave again.
19. Molotov Cocktease
Ah, yes... Molotov. The girl who got the better of Brock Samson and broke his heart in the process. In a series about failure, she was its most successful villain. Everything she set out to do, she accomplished. She used Brock Samson to take out her competitors in the career of assassination. She led her own private military corporation, and she died rather than allow herself and her new boyfriend, Monstroso to be captured. As Brock said, she didn't know the first thing of honor, she was a stone cold mercenary bitch. And that's why she was awesome.
The founder of the Men In Black... who went insane, decided to steal the body parts off of aliens to bring himself closer to godhood and take over the universe. He was both insane and scary. He was dismembering people alive in a kid's show. Harsh. He also wasn't too proud to learn from his mistakes. When steal flesh and blood off aliens didn't work, he decided to upgrade himself with well tuned machinery that wasn't weak and didn't tire. Alpha was the cautionary tale. He saw a bigger world and decided to be king of a much larger sandbox.
17. Dr. Mrs. The Monarch
Mighty Max was a cartoon based on a toyline that was essentially Polly Pocket for boys. How could it be any good? How could it have a decent villain? You syndicate it, put it in the hands of some cool writers, and get Tim Curry to voice your villain. A villain who openly talks about ripping limbs from bodies to suck the marrow from their bones, eating hearts, and outright torturing and murdering people. Skullmaster was hardcore. His goal was to become no less than God himself, and he succeeded. To make the Satan allegory complete, he spent the entire first season imprisoned in the Earth's volcanic core, and he harvested souls to increase his own power and give him an army of invincible, undead minions.
15. Agent Bishop
Not all villains are evil, in fact some are righteous. Agent Bishop was the definition of ends justify the means. Whatever it took to protect the people of Earth, he would do it. He was just as comfortable using the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as pawns as he was having them on his dissection table. And he could fight. In one episode, he fights all four turtles, Hun, and Karai... and manages to escape without undamaged with what he came for. The President wanted to cut his funding, so he fakes an alien attack. Bishop believed in the greater good, as did many of history's greatest monsters.
Another righteous villain, Amon believed bending was the greatest evil in the world. And by god, he was going to use his own bending powers to remove that evil. A liar and a hypocrite, he justified it all in his mind by telling himself, and the other Equalists and non-benders that it was all for the greater good. Now, "The Legend of Korra" had a lot of problems, but their villain wasn't one of them. His back story made sense to me, and his presence was chilling all throughout the series. He was smart, he was brutal, he was clever. But ultimately he was the very thing he truly hated.
I blame Negaduck for my hatred of all things cute, cuddly and wholesome. The guy is pure evil, completely psychotic, and easily Darkwing Duck's most dangerous enemy. What's his motivation? Nothing by wreaking unbridled havoc and making a profit off of it so he can acquire even more dangerous toys to wreck unbridled havoc with. All of the other supervillains in St. Canard are terrified of him, and with good reason... he keeps them completely under his thumb.
Comparing G1 Megatron to Animated Megatron is like comparing Skeletor to David Xanatos.
11. Eric Cartman
How could I write a list like this, and not include Eric Cartman? Cartman is everything wrong with white America in one, fat eight-year-old package. Racist, anti-semitic, greedy, lazy, stupid, selfish. He cares about only his own amusement, and while he is fun to watch, it is just as fun to see him get his ass kicked as he so often does. But to sum up how evil he is? A teenager once swindled him out of money, Cartman retaliationed by having said teenager's parents killed and then ground them up into chili and fed them to him. Yes.
I think my favorite thing about Thailog is that while he is a clone of Goliath, that’s the last thing that comes to mind when I think about him. He’s a fully developed character in his own right, and not simply Goliath’s evil twin. On that note, I’m happy his coloring is different, because the last thing this show needs is an entire episode where the gargoyles try to figure out which one is the real Goliath.
8. Ch'rell -- The Shredder
7. The Monarch
His story is terrific. Rather than follow the Scottish Play, the story we got was a loose adaptation of the true history of Macbeth and his reign over Scotland. Yes, we had Demona and gargoyles, and the Weird Sisters and sorcery, but we also had a history lesson unfolding, even if we didn't know it at the time. And it’s terrific. To this day, it’s my favorite tale in the entire mythos. When we first meet him, the centuries have certainly taken their toll. He is not above attacking the gargoyles, taking hostages, and committing grand theft. And yet, we never once think of him as evil, despite doing some pretty unethical and amoral things. That changes with “City of Stone” when we learn his story and feel sorry for him.
2. David Xanatos
His character arc throughout the series is brilliant. I love his rivalry with Goliath, and I love how he doesn’t hate or even dislike Goliath. He likes Goliath a lot, admires him, and regards him with what I can best call a mix of interest and benign amusement. That’s far more interesting than Megatron’s hatred for Optimus Prime. And I really love how Goliath would often use the word “evil” to describe Xanatos. Sure, Xanatos has done some evil things, but Goliath’s view of him for the longest time was very two-dimensional. It almost represents how most audiences, especially in animation, were trained to view the villain. No, Xanatos wasn’t a Dark Lord, or a diabolical evil. He was simply a trickster. A human trickster. While Xanatos and Goliath seem to have made some form of peace, that still didn’t make Xanatos one of the good guys! I love that! In a way, he’s still the enemy, and now the gargoyles are living with him, and they know it! He still has plans and schemes, and while he likes the gargoyles and helps them out, that doesn’t stop him from manipulating them to his own ends, or even working against them. And best of all, as far as Xanatos is concerned: it’s nothing personal.
I also have to give a ton of credit to the performance of Jonathan Frakes. He made Xanatos sound so sophisticated, fun, and erudite. David Xanatos, he should run a seminar on villainy. Often imitated, never duplicated.
Let’s start with the surface elements first. She’s got a terrific character design, and was so very well animated. Marina Sirtis deserves a tremendous amount of credit for the work she did bringing her to life. She embodied that character so completely that I never want to hear anyone else ever voice Demona on any animated project. No one can do it. Period. Hearing Marina Sirtis voice Demona was just as much of a revelation as hearing Mark Hamill’s Joker. And I will stand by that statement even under threat of torture. She is also just such a badass! An intimidating warrior, an immortal, a sorceress, and she transforms into a human during the day! Hell, in both forms, she's pretty hot.
Now, for the esoteric. She has a guilt complex that makes Peter Parker’s look tame by comparison, but she spreads it around to everyone else rather than internalize it. And considering how much she has to feel guilty over, this makes her arguably the most dangerous character in the series. She cannot accept her own culpability for the terrible things that happened to her, and for all intents and purposes, murdering her clan. She may not have swung the mace, but her ambition, her bigotry, and her cowardice put them in front of it.
Her favorite scapegoats are humanity as a whole, who make an easy and convenient target for her to project her guilt and self-loathing on. Now, does she have a point? Yes. Let’s face it, humans can be bastards. We’ve done terrible things as a species. But, just as you cannot blame every Muslim for the attacks on September 11th, or every German for the Holocaust, Demona is wrong to blame every human for the terrible actions of a few. And at the end of the day, she was either directly or indirectly responsible for those actions. She betrayed her clan, and caused the massacre; she created the Hunter, and betrayed Macbeth. Demona created her own pain, and she intends to wipe out every man, woman, and child on the face of the Earth just to justify every damned stupid choice she ever made. Despite all of that, she is an eternally conflicted character. She is not a one-dimensional cut-out. Deep inside, she knows she’s wrong, she knows what she did. But she cannot and will not acknowledge that. And that’s what makes her hatred for Elisa Maza so interesting. The one human she hates most is the one that has been a true friend to the gargoyles, because Elisa is living proof of just how wrong Demona really is. And the fact that Elisa and Goliath are now in love doesn’t help considering Demona’s lingering feelings of jealousy.
Of course, there is Demona’s biological daughter, Angela. She is probably the one person Demona cares about in the world. My single biggest regret about the cancelation of the comic book is that we didn’t get to see the two of them interact again. I am beyond curious to see where this goes. But one thing I am confident of, it’s not heading towards a hysterically easy redemption. Nope, if we take the plan for the “Gargoyles 2198” spin-off seriously, and I most certainly do, Demona is still plotting against humanity long after Angela has died. Is it sad? Yes. Is it tragic? Yes. Is it Demona? Absolutely.
I also love how she is a walking mess of contradictions. Her belief system is based so much on lies she tells herself, that she will rationalize anything she can to fit her world view. Why? Because the alternative is admitting she is wrong, and right now, she will not do that. Cannot do that. Sadly for both her and Angela, I see tragedy in their future. Demona’s through line is one of the main reasons I am so desperate for “Gargoyles 2198” to be produced. I want to see how her story ends, and if it’s going to end anywhere, it’s in that spinoff. This is a story I am dying to see, and if Disney never produces it, well… one way or another I intend to find out what happens to her. What her ultimate fate is going to be. We know she’ll have an epiphany of some kind. How does it happen? Why does it happen? What’s the fallout? How does her story end?
Demona is an endlessly fascinating character. We’ve never seen anything like her in the realm of western animation before her debut, and I don’t think she’s been replicated since. Why? I don’t know. But lightning has been caught in a bottle, and I am rather happy that no one has attempted to imitate this unique and perfectly conceived character but tragically flawed person.