Iron Man 3 is out this week, and we couldn’t help noticing that the baddie he’s fighting has a spectacularly unthreatening name. Unfortunately for the supervillain community, this isn’t all that unusual.
5. The Mandarin
Let’s start with Iron Man 3’s big antagonist. On paper, this guy is a badass: A genius scientist and supreme martial artist with a sweet-ass collection of super-powered jewelry and (in the comics, at least) a brilliant tiny little bad guy beard, he’s gone toe-to-toe with Iron Man many times over the years. Which begs the question – why did he name himself after a small, delicious, squishy fruit?
4. Angar The Screamer
Angar The Screamer was a former hippie who turned villainous after gaining “hypersound” powers. Almost certainly the result of a writer’s LSD flashback (the sentence, “Angar could scream very loudly and cause people to hallucinate” sounds almost exactly like an experience we once had in a Dutch youth hostel), he’s a pretty pathetic villain in most respects, but his name especially fails to fill readers with the sense of dread required of an A-list bad guy. Quite apart from sounding like a man who’d cry the first time you punched him in the mouth, no self-respecting villain should ever have a moniker that sounds like a nickname you’d give to a sexually enthusiastic Swedish girl in a co-ed dorm.
3. Paste-Pot Pete
It’s truly a mystery how anyone could have thought this name would inspire terror. Actually, it’s a mystery how anyone could have thought anything about this guy could inspire terror, since his weapon of choice is a glue gun, but that’s an argument for another day. He’s since rebranded himself as “The Trapster”, although if he really wanted to inspire fear and loathing in the public at large, he’d do better by switching a couple letters out and just becoming “The Hipster.” That, truly, would be a villain we’d pay good money to see kicked in the face by Spider-Man.
2. Leper Queen
There are plenty of scary diseases out there that villains could name themselves after, so why this angry lady – a burnt-faced, gun-loving mutant hater in the Marvel Universe - decided to go with leprosy is anyone’s guess. True, leprosy is a nasty, nasty illness and one we wouldn’t wish on anyone (except that Trevor guy upstairs. He’s a dick), but when giving yourself an intimidating name, it’s best to choose one that doesn’t imply that your hand will fall off the first time you throw a punch.
1. Rainbow Raider
Rainbow Raider is hardly the only supervillain to sound like he stole his identity from a gay male escort – “Doctor Glitternight,” “Purple Man,” and – sigh – “Bi-Beast” are all real supervillains – but he’s got to be the most flamboyantly ridiculous (and yes, we took Crazy Quilt into consideration). Among his powers is the ability to “coat people in blue light and make them sad,” which, honestly, seems like an effect he could achieve simply by showing up.