Forensic Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Stone's Scale of Evil Rank
8) Non-psychopathic persons with smoldering rage: These people kill when their rage is ignited.
Why Mr. V has been selected for 4th Place:
- Faceless was the Martian Manhunter’s first true ongoing foe.
- Mr. V “created” Marco Xavier.
- Mr. V helped popularize the multiple identity aspect of the Manhunter from Mars.
- The Martian Manhunter officially left the Justice League of America because of Vulture.
- Mr. V was the first foe the Martian Manhunter hated.
- Vulture determined the course of Martian Manhunter’s personality forevermore.
- Vulture made the Martian Manhunter one of the first Silver Age death dealers.
- Vulture conquered The House of Mystery, and gave Zook the boot.
- Mr. V took on the Justice League of America
- Mr. V of Vulture was in the Super Powers Collection-- ish.
- Vulture was cool.
The Counter Argument:
- Mr. V was a fat ass in a stupid mask… never mind wearing slacks and a blazer over a t-shirt. Faceless’ greatest crime was against fashion.
- Faceless and Vulture never posed a legitimate threat to the Martian Manhunter. They were nothing but stupid gadgets and ridiculous schemes, no more effective than the criminal scientists who preceded them.
- The Vulture stories ruined the Martian Manhunter, forcing him through the same mud most classy heroes have been subjected to since the Bronze Age.
- A Martian super-spy type? What were they thinking? Not to mention that tool Marco Xavier and his queer David Niven mustache.
What Mr. V Represents:
Per his original premise, J’onn J’onzz came from a world that had left crime and war behind for centuries. The stories didn’t really bear that out, but what held true was that the Manhunter from Mars was a superior celestial being come to Earth to fight societal ills. Meanwhile, the only thing known about Mr. V is that he was a hostile, scheming criminal. The Martian Manhunter was allowed to fully and completely hate Mr. V because he was literally Faceless. No matter which Mr. V was unmasked, the shmuck under the hood was just another patsy. Faceless was the embodiment of crime, without any character depth or motivation beyond the desire to successfully commit crime and to put down those who would prevent crime. Anyone could become Faceless by drawing a mask down over their identifying features and perpetrating evil against their fellow man for personal gain. Once you’re Faceless, you’re not a desperate person looking for a score, nor a sick individual getting kicks. You’re no one that can be reasoned with, or reached out to. Mr. V was just another name to address a concept to which J’onn J’onzz was fervently opposed: the evil that men do, as personified by the Faceless.
- Mr. V is to the Martian Manhunter as Lex Luthor is to Superman or Dr. Cyber is to Wonder Woman
Faceless may be a mere human, but through technology and a criminal organization, he still managed to vex one of the most powerful super-heroes on Earth over a long term. Plus, Mr. V offered the only prototypical archenemy type of the Martian Manhunter's rogues gallery. Faceless would plot and curse his foe when defeated, Martian Manhunter was frustrated and hateful right back-- repeat every two months out of three. Super-villain formula at its most familiar.
- Vulture is to Martian Manhunter as Intergang is to Superman
Who isn't ranked because of Mr. V:
- The Clanetary System/Swarm: In one of the great many possible DC futures, featured in a couple of issues of Martian Manhunter, the Alien Atlas was fated to battle these guys for several boring centuries. Pull the other one.
- Director Bones: Borrowing from Chase was one of Ostrander’s better ideas, as Mr. Bones’ passive-aggressive machinations saw him reveal all of J’Onn J’Onzz’s known identities to the world, including the ones Manhunter had used to infiltrate the D.E.O. Still, Mr. V was around first, had more long-term impact, and was created for Manhunter from Mars instead of Infinity, Inc.
- Gorilla Grodd: The Super-Gorilla has replaced Dr. Light as the default villain paired against J’Onn J’Onzz in Justice League-related throwdowns. However, those instances are both sporadic and of recent vintage, plus Grodd is technically a Flash villain. Still, I love the contrast between two telepaths on opposite ends of the evolutionary spectrum.
- Vandal Savage: The immortal manipulator is a general Golden Age villain, with only Green Lantern and the Flash having strong claims for solo ownership. Again, Savage mostly fought J’Onn in the ‘90s, and usually as part of an offensive against Leagues.
- Vulkor, the Capsule Master: Sure he’s a Martian gang leader, but one ineffectual appearance doesn’t cut it.
Mr. V needs a Post-Crisis revamp. The look may be ridiculous, but the concept is sound, and there are too few relevant original Martian Manhunter villains to leave any lying fallow. Vulture was a motivating concern for several years in the Silver Age, and their presence permanently affected how readers and writers approached J’onn J’onzz. Further, DC keeps pitting the Alien Atlas against similar crime lord/nefarious types that are either created whole or taken from outside sources, when there’s already a Faceless “owned” by the franchise worthy of further development.