I honestly feel like I should have built up the return of this particular column to the website. Frankly, I didn’t know it would be coming back. I was looking back through some of the most recent posts though, and I realized how few of them are actually me writing MY opinions. I figure if I can’t get a podcast out in a timely manner, (well…the Big Honkin Show seems to come out weekly) then the least I can do is drop a little science concerning a little list I started a little over a year ago.
I’m sure some of you are scratching your heads right now. Once again, you are calling my geekdom into question. You went back to the archives and saw guys like Bizarro, Absorbing Man, The Leader, and then you saw THE JOKER floating nowhere near the top five. You see someone like Mysterio in the title and you think, “That Big Honkin’ Steve…ha ha ha… he sure is funny…isn’t he?” It’s hard to imagine after what’s been done to this character on a couple of the Spider-Man video games, and because of the fact that he has a FISHBOWL on his head that he could be in anyone’s top ten. Of course, I’m the guy that put people like Doc Ock, Darkseid, and The Green Goblin in my honorable mentions list.
I have always been fascinated with the character of Mysterio. I know that his story has gotten a little convoluted because a writer thought it would be cool to kill him off a few years back in the pages of a hero with whom he was not known to often run up against no less. Then he came back…then he was someone else…then he was dying…then he wasn’t…a lot of things happened to the character of Mysterio (especially Quentin Beck) that caused him to be cheapened, confusing, and it seems as of late forgotten.
Primarily a Spider-Man villain, I was first introduced to Mysterio in reruns of the old sixties Spider-Man cartoon that used to come on TV when I was just a little kid. I was always fascinated by him, and he’s probably my favorite Spider-Man villain of all time. His origins and abilities are unique, his look is memorable, and he is one of those characters with so much potential to be bigger than he’s ever really been.
What’s not to like about the character of Mysterio? A special effects genius that uses his talents for a life of crime. He appears in a fog that dissolves Spider-Man’s webbing and dulls his Spider-sense. He uses illusions, robots, animatronics, holograms, and lights to throw any who may oppose him off balance. One cool scene I remember comes out of the Amazing Spider-Man storyline “The Return of the Sinister Six.” In it, Mysterio uses an Earthquake machine coupled with his sense bending fog and a little projector to make the drivers of an armored car think a bridge has been shaken into collapsing. He was then going to rob said armored truck had Doctor Octopus not interfered and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Whether solo, or fighting with the Sinister Six against the wall-crawler, Mysterio has often given Spider-Man a run for his money. I honestly think the character could be easily adapted to the big screen and I would even try to see if his look couldn’t be replicated from the comics as closely as possible. I know, I know…the guy is tights, a cape, and a fishbowl. Put them together correctly, though and you have yourself a faceless, classic looking supervillain. Mysterio’s look was the first thing that attracted me to the character. He’s so different than anything else out there. On one hand his look is typical comic fodder what with the tights and cape, but it’s the dome (often completely bubble-shaped) cover over his entire head that sets it all off. What’s behind that mask? Is it alien? Is his face scarred? Disfigured? In the end, the answer is “no,” but the look is still captivating and causes the imagination to work while reading a Mysterio story.
Mysterio suffered a defeat at the hands of the Power Pack and, I guess to a lot of writers in the Marvel bullpen lost some credibility. (Even though Franklin Richard, often cited as the most powerful mutant in the world, is part of said Pack of Power.) After that, in the pages of Daredevil he crafted a scheme and went after Daredevil with some really messed up stuff. Daredevil won. Mysterio killed himself. He was dying anyway, having been diagnosed with a brain tumor and cancer after exposure to all the gasses and stuff he used over the years. (Don’t even get me started at how ticked I get about comics trying to be “too real.”)
I honestly think the reason Mysterio was killed off was because there are a lot of people who don’t see his potential. I, on the other hand, think Mysterio is one of the greatest concepts for a villain anywhere. Here’s a guy who has a mastery of practical effects and illusions, it’s not a stretch to say he began to develop hologram tech and couple that with today’s CGI tech. Suddenly, you have a guy that, along with his hallucinatory gas, and hypnotic suggestions, can make anyone believe anything he wants. HOW DO YOU BEAT THAT?
His unique look coupled with formidable abilities are what has always made Mysterio one of my favorite Super Villains. While I know I’m most likely alone in how high he is on my list of favorites, Mysterio will always be one of those characters that I enjoy reading.