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The PlaneteersThe Planeteers are five teenagers from five different continents, assembled by Gaia, the Spirit of the Earth to defend the world from pollution, criminals, and natural disasters. When the situation is too much for them to handle they let their powers combine to summon the environmental superhero, Captain Planet. They have a monkey on their team too.
- Ambiguously Brown: Justified. As the spirit of Earth, she combines traits of four most common ethnicities: dark skin (not as dark as Kwame's, though), long, wavy dark hair most common among Latin Americans, high cheekbones common in Asians, and blue eyes most prevalent in Caucasians.
- Beware the Nice Ones: She's generally calm and collected, but in the episode "No Place Like Home", seeing a wolf family suffer because of human thoughtlessness makes her furious enough to leave Hope Island in a red flame (with an ominous tune to match her mood). Too bad Dr. Blight later exploits the situation to change Gaia into a mortal.
- Also, see the Mama Bear example below.
- Big Good: She's the benevolent mentor figure who recruited the Planeteers and directs them on their missions.
- Fisher Queen: Her health is directly linked to the health of both Hope Island specifically and the Earth in general. If the Earth gets "sick", she suffers and gets weakened, too. It's also implied her mood can cause certain natural occurrences to happen. For example, in "A Twist of Fate", when she's having a serious discussion with the Planeteers, and Wheeler fails to fully grasp what she's trying to tell them, there's a small earthquake.Wheeler: You don't have to get mad!
Gaia: When I do get mad, you'll know it, but that wasn't me.
- Green Aesop: As the spirit of the Earth and the mentor for the "good guys", Gaia is certainly this.
- Goddess Of Good: While referred to as the spirit of the Earth, rather than goddess in the show, she is the mentor of the Planeteers and the protector of the planet and its biodiversity.
- Good Is Not Soft: She's usually gentle, soft-spoken and motherly... and didn't have a second thought about getting violent with her Evil Counterpart when he messed with her Planeteers too much.
- Hot Goddess: She is the Spirit of the Earth (or goddess in Greek mythology) and certainly beautiful.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Since season 4. Prior to that, they looked more light violet.
- Mama Bear: Heavens help you if you mess with her Planeteers enough to get her attention. While she rarely directly intervenes unless she has to, she's been known to jump to the kids' defense if they've really gotten in danger over their heads, even if that means a full-on power battle against Zarm.
- Master of Illusion: A rare good example. She appears as a semi-transparent apparition to the Planeteers when they need her advice/guidance when out on missions, as she's unable to appear physically anywhere outside of Hope Island. She uses her powers against the bad guys to protect the Planeteers and/or Earth on a few occasions when the kids really are overpowered and unable to defend themselves, call Captain Planet, or stop a disaster from happening. She can also cause illusions to appear, showing the likely effect of an impending eco-disaster and its long-term consequences if left unchecked.
- Mortality Ensues: If Gaia or the Earth itself is ever severely harmed or weakened, she loses her powers and becomes mortal.
- Mother Nature: Literally.
- Noodle Incident: So... what exactly happened that resulted in Zarm hating her?
- Our Spirits Are Different
- Parental Substitute: To the Planeteers.
- Physical Goddess: Her powers are part of her and as the literal spirit of the Earth, she has all the powers of nature at her disposal.
- Purple Is Powerful: She wears a purple dress, and is a Physical Goddess.
- Really 700 Years Old: Actually, it's far more. See Time Abyss below.
- Sadly Mythtaken: How the powerful titaness of the earth from the Greek Mythology became an entity that relies on others to do her work. Maybe she's just lazy? In the myths, Gaia was lazy and created monsters to do the work. Also in the myths, she couldn't care less if the humans polluted or destroyed the planet.
Gaia (seeing Greedly's drilling platform): It's those poor, silly humans again. They're gonna destroy my planet if they keep going on like this. What's a mother to do?
- Possibly she's trying to avoid Holding Out for a Hero syndrome, and the whole "the power is yours" message wouldn't work if she swooped in to magically fix the consequences of humanity's destructive behavior all the time. Rather than that, she opts for the method the real-life parents use to teach responsibility to their kids. She IS the Mother Nature, after all.
- Plus, even Gaia can't be everywhere. In fact, she must return to Hope Island before dawn if she doesn't want to put the planet in jeopardy.
- Sexy Mentor
- Silk Hiding Steel: Wise, respectable and generally above lying, one time she twisted Dr. Blight's "Freaky Friday" Flip to make MAL do her bidding even after she switched back. On a daily basis, she'd have to be steel willed to put up with the pollution of the villains.
- Synchronization: Gaia's health is linked to Hope Island and the health of the Earth in general; severe damage done to either can cause her equally severe physical pain and/or weaken and make her ill. Likewise, Earth itself has been hinted to be in danger whenever Gaia has been seriously harmed and her life threatened and on the occasions, she has been changed into a mortal.
- Team Mom: The archetypal and literal "Mother Earth", she does take on the role of surrogate parent to the Planeteers at times, especially towards Ma-Ti. Parental Favoritism, anyone?
- Guess this is why, when Gaia's life is in danger (courtesy of Zarm or other Eco-villains), the Planeteers won't give up until they've saved her.
- Time Abyss: If Zarm's words from "Summit to Save Earth, Part 2" can be relied on, Gaia is about the Earth's age... or older.Linka: What have you done to Gaia?!
Zarm: Gaia is simply starting to show her true age. (mockingly:) What is it, Gaia? Five, six billion years old?
- Given that in the first episode, she calls her century-long sleep "a little nap", he might have told the truth.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The unnatural, light hue was introduced in season 4. Prior to that, Gaia's hair was black – or at least very dark bluenote .
Voiced by: LeVar BurtonA 16-year-old conservationist from Africa, Kwame is the group's level-headed voice of reason and de facto leader. Kwame's ring was of the element earth, used to create small, localized earthquakes; move rocks in the earth; cause holes or furrows in the earth for planting; create tiny islands by raising rocks from the shallows of the ocean; and turn mud into solid ground.
- Black and Nerdy: Par for the course when you're played by LeVar Burton.
- Brainy Brunette
- Dishing Out Dirt: His power element is Earth.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic and The Guardian.
- Friend to All Living Things: Especially elephants.
- Green Aesop
- Invocation: "(Then) Let our powers combine!"
- Jumped at the Call: Along with Gi and Ma-Ti, he was certainly the most eager of the five to take on the role of Planeteer.
- The Leader: None of the Planeteers officially leads the others, but Kwame being the most rational, calm, and level-headed of the group usually falls into this role.
- Mandatory Line: In later seasons. There are some episodes where he would only say the Invocation and then "Earth!"
- Nature Lover: He especially loves to plant trees, and goes into the forest for solace when he is upset, or simply when he needs to think.
- Nice Guy: Patient, kind, calm, and cares about others and the environment.
- Only Sane Man: Generally the calmest and most level headed on the team, much like Gi, only without the Beware the Nice Ones factor.
- Selective Magnetism
- Standardized Leader: Only, in a startling subversion, black and African in a role that almost always seems to go to a white guy.
- Team Dad: The most mature mentally and emotionally he often acts as the voice of reason, and looks out for the others.
Voiced by: Joey DedioA 17-year-old street-wise smart alec from North America, Wheeler probably knows the least about pertaining to the environment but his heart is always in the right place and he definitely has the most street smarts. While he has been known to flirt with other women, he developed feelings for Linka. Wheeler's ring was the element of fire, used to create tiny bolts of lightning or create and direct small fires.
- Abusive Parents: Wheeler's alcoholic father is the whole reason he left home.
- Audience Surrogate
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: He's the Jerk with a Heart of Gold, Linka's the Tsundere.
- Brooklyn Rage
- Butt Monkey
- Chick Magnet
- Chivalrous Pervert: He may flirt with Linka and ogle her all the time, but he truly respects her and cares about her. In one episode, Linka and him are shrunk down, and Linka has to change her clothes. Wheeler considers peeking in on her, but changes his mind at the last moment.
- Commander Contrarian
- The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Technically, at the beginning of the episodes "Wheeler's Ark" and "Bug Off", he said things that Gaia later repeated using different words. The former was about letting wild animals live in the wild, the latter - advising Linka to stay on Hope Island when she had a cold, instead of spreading the bug around. Yet, the others never gave him any credit for it, even though they should have.
- Inverted in "Hollywaste", where he turned out to be Right for the Wrong Reasons, with the others (most notably Linka) being totally wrong.
- Conflict Ball
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Easily gets jealous and suspicious of any other male character who shows an interest in Linka (or she shows an interest in).
- Deadpan Snarker: "What's next? Endangered rocks?"
- Distressed Dude
- The Drag-Along
- Eaglelander: Has elements of both Type 1 and Type 2.
- Elemental Powers
- Fiery Redhead: Wheeler has red hair and the temper to match.
- Forgot the Call: The episode "A Twist of Fate".
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric and The Artisan.
- Green Aesop: ... yes, really.
- Hot-Blooded: He has the most easily triggered temper out of all the Planeteers.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In "Heat Wave", upon returning to Hope Island, the Planeteers find Gaia very sick and weak. The one to cradle her caringly is none other than Wheeler.
- Jumped at the Call: Although less so than the other Planeteers.
- Knight in Sour Armor: He (usually) does what is right and rushes with the others to stop the eco-villains and rescue endangered wildlife/threatened habitat/his friends, is brave, and certainly has heroic moments despite generally being the Butt Monkey. Still, that doesn't mean he doesn't complain or grumble about it at times, and even though he's usually outwardly cheerful and flippant, he's also one of the more cynical Planeteers, and is revealed to have come from an abusive background.
- The Lancer: Lancer and counterbalance to the more down-to-earth and thoughtful Kwame.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Typical of fire elementalists.
- Manly Tears: At the end of "Summit to Save Earth, Part 1", he visibly sobs over Gaia having been turned mortal and very old.
- Pungeon Master "Looks like that project was DOMED to failure".note
- Red Is Heroic: He has red hair and is one of the good guys.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Manly Man to Ma-Ti's Sensitive Guy.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: His relationship with Linka is this most of the time.
- This Loser Is You: "Loser" is actually the wrong word, but as the only white, American character on the team and a frequent victim of the need for a holder of the Strawman Ball, it's hard not to see him as a stand-in for the sorts of first-world behaviors the show was built to try to change.
Voiced by: Kath SoucieA 16-year-old ornithology expert from Eastern Europe, Linka is the team's no-nonsense strategist and computer expert. Linka likes to think logically, and use common sense when on missions, but has developed feelings for the impulsive Wheeler. Linka's ring was the element of wind, used to command it to swirl or gust, or create small tornadoes.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: She's the Tsundere, Wheeler's the Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- The Big Girl: A rare class 5 example.
- Blow You Away
- Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Sometimes.
- Captive Date: Becomes this to Hoggish Greedly Junior in one episode.
- Clingy Jealous Girl
- Chummy Commies
- Damsel in Distress
- Defrosting Ice Queen
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Mostly sanguine who is also the Rational. Can be the melancholic from time to time, especially to contrast Gi's Rousseau Was Right philosophy.
- Friend to All Living Things: Especially birds, naturally.
- Genius Bruiser: In line with being The Big Guy.
- The Great Politics Mess-Up: Created during the brief rapprochement between Russia and the United States, Linka is one of the precious few unambiguously heroic Russian characters in American media. The evidence suggests she's not actually Russian, or at least her family isn't; she was a Soviet citizen, though. Before the Soviet Union fell, the opening would say "Linka from the Soviet Union", and then after it fell the writers changed it to say "Eastern Europe". The episodes before then weren't changed, and the first episode has her saying to Wheeler, when he mentions that he loves her accent and asks her if she's Russian, she replies "SO-VI-YET!" as close to his face as possible to make it clear. "Please... go avay".
- Although Word of God, Barbara Pyle, mentioned that she was indeed, Russian.
- Green Aesop
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold
- He Is Not My Boyfriend: To Wheeler. Though it's clear she likes him.
- Jumped at the Call
- Malaproper: Linka's grasp on English isn't that good.
- Mistaken NationalityWheeler: Love your accent, babe. You Russian?
- Can be a case of Shown Their Work. In the Soviet time, many USSR citizens, regardless of their ethnicity, identified as "Soviets".
- Plucky Girl
- Sensual Slavs
- She Cleans Up Nicely
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: With Wheeler.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Girly girl to Gi's Tomboy, even though she is still an Action Girl.
- Tsundere: Type B. Linka is a pretty cool gal, but her "not boyfriend" sets her off.
- Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: To Wheeler.
Voiced by: Janice KawayeA college student of marine biology from Southeast Asia, Gi is skilled in high-tech equipment and, like Linka, is a computer expert. She is very passionate and protective of both ocean life and her friends and family. Gi's ring was the element of water, used to control any water source, creating small squirts to waves and water spouts depending on the size of the source.
- Achilles' Heel: She can't make water with her ring, so if there is no water nearby, her power is useless.
- Asian and Nerdy: Though her perfect, unaccented English lessens the impact.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Gi occasionally uses bits of Japanese (in which Janice Kawaye is fluent), has no discernible accent, and has a name that is actually Vietnamese (and a boy's at that).
- Word of God says she is based off of a Malaysian environmental lawyer.
- Berserk Button: Crosses over with Does Not Like Guns. Threatening her friends is a surefire way to make her Unstoppable Rage come out.
- Beware the Nice Ones: She almost drowned a gangster for shooting her friend.
- Boyish Short Hair: Though it does go to her shoulders in Season 6.
- Brainy Brunette
- The Chick
- Cool Big Sis
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: the phlegmatic Idealist.
- Friend to All Living Things: Especially dolphins.
- Green Aesop
- If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: The reason why she didn't drown the gangster.
- Jumped at the Call
- Making a Splash
- Plucky Girl
- Rousseau Was Right: Her philosophy of life.
- She Cleans Up Nicely
- The Smart Girl
- Team Mom: When Gaia's not around.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Tomboy to Linka's girly girl.
- Tomboyish Name: Gi is actually a boy's name in Vietnamese.
- Unstoppable Rage: When she snaps, she goes directly into this.
- Wrench Wench: Can be seen fixing the Eco Vehicles now and again.
Voiced by: Scott MenvilleA member of the Kayapo Indian tribe in South America, Ma-Ti is the youngest Planeteer at 12. Ma-Ti's ring was the element of heart, which enables him to communicate telepathically with animals, the other Planeteers, and Gaia.
- Achilles in His Tent: Once he refuses to go into a mission because he's too pissed off at his friends and insecure about his own self-worth.
- All-Loving Hero
- Beware the Nice Ones: When he got to meet the guy who was apparently to blame for the deaths of his parents.
- Crippling Overspecialization: There's been quite a bit of cultural commentary for and against power of "heart," and other powers of the nature of little apparent use. That said, while Ma-Ti doesn't have tremendous power over the physical world like his teammates, he's king when dealing in his own element.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Suchi.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Shown to be in the middle of the Four Temperaments, but is an Idealist, like Gi.
- Friend to All Living Things: Even before getting his ring.
- Gotta Get Your Head Together
- Green Aesop
- The Heart
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Trope Namer and Codifier.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation
- Jumped at the Call
- Just a Kid: They're all kids, but he's just 12 and feels like he hinders the team sometimes because of it.
- Kid-Appeal Character: Ma-Ti technically justified this.
- Kid Hero: Again, he's a good bit younger than the other Planeteers.
- The Load: Self-admitted at some point.
- Malaproper: Though not nearly as bad as Linka.
- My Significance Sense Is Tingling
- Nice Guy
- Noble Savage: Taken Up to Eleven whenever they visit the Amazon.
- Raised by Grandparents: While parents are pretty rare in the series, he's specifically mentioned to be an orphan raised by his grandfather.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Sensitive Guy to Wheeler's Manly Man.
- Spider-Sense: His ring/power often acts as a sixth sense, warning him of danger.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: At least his power allows him to communicate with them telepathically.
- Tagalong Kid: He's younger than the others.
- Took a Level in Badass: "Captain Planet And The Planeteers issue #3", made famous by Atop the Fourth Wall, though there are other examples.
- Tender Tears
- Undying Loyalty: Towards Gaia. He's the only Planeteer to never have betrayed her (even unwittingly).
Voiced by: Frank WelkerMa-Ti's troublesome pet monkey, whom he had rescued before he became a Planeteer.
Voiced by: David CoburnCaptain Planet is the result of the Planeteers powers being combined and magnified. He is summoned by the Planeteers as a last resort to save the day. He can use all the Planeteers powers and blend them to make more. His weaknesses are various forms of pollution and hate (mental pollution).
- The Ace: "He's our powers magnified".
- All Your Colors Combined
- All Your Powers Combined: Trope Namernote .
- Allergic to Evil: Adolf Hitler's hate was so strong being near it weakened him.
- Boisterous Bruiser
- Catchphrase: "The Power is Yours."
- Chrome Champion
- Elemental Powers
- Eternal Hero
- Flying Brick
- The Good Captain
- Good Hair, Evil Hair: His green mullet, which surprisingly, he pulls off.
- Green Aesop
- Heart Is an Awesome Power
- Hurricane of Puns: Something had to be very wrong when he wasn't dishing out lame puns...
- Incoming Ham
- Invincible Hero: He can be hurt by pollution, but in most episodes, he literally just appears and fixes everything in two minutes, tops.
- Large Ham
- Nice Guy
- Nigh-Invulnerability: One of his most displayed powers. In fact, even pollution isn't a surefire way to kill him because he can be washed off and charged up with solar energy.
- Our Spirits Are Different
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The only times that the captain gets serious, is when the stakes are amazingly high or when he's facing someone who is... a bit dark or doing something that's... bit too much even when compared to the other villains who actively trying to instigate environmental disaster.
- Papa Wolf: If you're a villain, messing with his Planeteers (especially when he sees you doing it) is a huge mistake.
- Parental Substitute: To the Planeteers.
- Pungeon Master
- Really 700 Years Old: "The Conqueror" implies Cap was around back when Zarm was getting banished – ages ago.
- Save the Villain: Many times, occasionally Lampshaded and according to Dr. Blight: "It's in (his) hero's manual!"
- Selective Magnetism
- Super Strength: He can give Patrick Star, The Crimson Chin, and Ed some hefty competition.
- This Is Unforgivable!: The captain was not happy when Verminous Skumm turned innocent kids into mindless, drug addled zombies that would obey Skumm's every command if it meant they could keep poisoning themselves with bliss. Captain Planet was not only uncharacteristically angry he only cracked two jokes and even they were used without irony.
- Transformation Name Announcement: "By your powers combined, I am Captain Planet!"
- Up, Up and Away!
- Weaksauce Weakness: Pollution, including (famously) the hate behind Hitler's Death Glare. The same things that fuel Captain Pollution (see his own entry).
- You Gotta Have Green Hair: His mullet of hair.
Eco VillainsThe Eco Villains are a small group of villains and their subordinates who wreak havoc on the Earth with pollution, wildlife endangerment or shady business dealings. Many of them do this out of short-sighted Greed, but for others it's never explained besides the fact that they can.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: All of the human ones of them have disgusting, villainous-sounding names, which also double as Punny Names or Meaningful Names as well.
- Hoggish Greedly; References his Animal Motifs and his greed, in a Punny Name sort of way.
- Looten Plunder; Sounds like "Loot and Plunder" (read: steal stuff), fitting his motif as a Corrupt Corporate Executive.
- Sly Sludge; References his criminal motif, slyly disposing of garbage and sludge in ways that ultimately hurts the environment to make a quick profit.
- Duke Nukem; Combines obvious Aristocrats Are Evil connotations with "nuke 'em", referencing his status as a Nuclear Nasty.
- Verminous Skumm; References both his Rat Man nature (making him a vermin, or literally verminous), his status as The Pig Pen, and his status as the show's Knight of Cerebus until Zarm arrived (making him a real scumbag).
- Dr. Blight; References her criminal motif, using science to blight and befoul the world around her, just because she can.
- Psycho Rangers: Dr Blight, Duke Nukem, Looten Plunder, Sly Sludge and Verminous Skumm temporarily became this trope during the Mission to Save Earth two-parter. They managed to create evil counterparts to the Planeteers' rings, which were even able to summon Captain Pollution, an evil counterpart to Captain Planet.
Voiced by: Edward AsnerA man resembling a pig who represents the environmental damage caused by the exploitation of natural resources and over-consumption.
- Acrofatic: His obesity doesn't get in the way of his running speed or endurance, even being able to outrun Ma-Ti in a race.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: In one episode, he and Verminous Skumm team up to gather turtle eggs. He trips whilst carrying some eggs poisoned by Skumm, and grows into a gargantuan monster version of himself.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive
- Corrupt Hick: Although a big businessman, he has a really "hickish" attitude and vocabulary.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He really does care about his son Junior. When his own actions put Junior in harms way, he works with the Planeteers to fix what he did for his son's sake.
- Evil Redhead: Sports a distinct red mohawk.
- Fat Bastard: As part of his Animal Motifs and pollution symbolism. He's not morbidly obese, but he's definitely a hefty man, and less than healthy as a result.
- Heel–Face Turn: He was forced to quit crime after failing a Secret Test of Character from his eco-concious grandfather, who also convinced Rigger to go green as well.
- Morality Pet: He has a son who is like him but not quite evil, and when said son was in danger due to the air pollution Greedly caused, Greedly chose to work with the Planeteers rather than let him die.
- Pig Man: Not literally, but his pointed ears, weight problem and upturned nose, as well as the snorting laugh he makes, does give him a subtle motif. In the episode where he and Verminous Skumm team up, the gigantic Greedly does look a bit more like a pig-man as a result.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!
- Strawman Political: His episodes often revolved around the negative parts of fossil fuel use.
- Villainous Glutton: He eats and litters constantly.
- The Bad Guy Wins: He got away with cutting down a forest where endangered species live, making him the only villain to defeat the Planeteers.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: The most prominent example in the show.
- Evil Counterpart: To Kwame, as one of the Captain Pollution ring bearers.
- Evil Poacher: He's often involved in illegally killing animals, either for profit or for his own pleasure.
- Evil Redhead: He's the only Eco Villain with red hair.
- Informed Ability: In the episode where the Eco Villains create evil duplicate of the Planeteers' rings, Looten Plunder get fire's counterpart, deforestation. He's never seen using it despite being close to an island full of trees. The only time he used the ring is for summoning Captain Pollution.
- Large Ham
- N.G.O. Superpower: Not only is he an international arms dealer with access to the latest, fanciest weaponry, in certain episodes he has also boasted his own armed forces ... including his own supercarrier.
- Nothing Can Stop Us Now!: In his very first appearance, poaching ivory in Africa, he boasts that no one can stop him. Of course, the Planeteers soon show up and summon a certain someone to prove him wrong.
- Pet the Dog: Arguably, he's not that bad in "Bitter Waters" until he realizes what irrigating the desert meant in terms of ecological damage. He does give a poor reservation money and jobs by irrigating the desert, but does so the wrong way. Later on, when they develop a cleaner source of energy and income, admits they can make just as much using what they have as they can what he gave them.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: However, that doesn't help if you commit a crime on an Indian Reservation.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Implied in "Bitter Waters". Doesn't help if you commit a crime on an Indian reservation.
- Smug Snake: But once or twice he was close to become a Magnificent Bastard.
- Strawman Political: An extreme case.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: In "Bitter Waters". He approaches a poor Indian reservation and offers them jobs and money by irrigating the area. A noble goal, but he does so the wrong way.
- Anti-Villain: He's certainly not malicious. Just very, very careless about where he dumps garbage. Which he ultimately abandons.
- Bald of Evil: Almost, in that he's not entirely bald. And he does eventually clean up his act and quit being an Eco Villain.
- Butt Monkey: Let's face it – if anything could happen to Sly Sludge, it would. Every episode he's in, he's either comically injured or just plain humiliated.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: More than once, he's come up with relatively ingenious ways of handling waste disposal, just not recycling, and is good friends with Dr. Blight, who can create just about anything technological. He never thinks to use any of his resources beyond quick waste dumping scams.
- Evil Counterpart: To Linka, as one of the Captain Pollution ring bearers, his being Smog.
- Fat Bastard: But not as fat nor as mean as Hoggish Greedly.
- Fat Idiot: Most of his plans backfire because he doesn't think about the long-term consequences or the processes involved.
- Heel–Face Turn: In his final appearance, he FINALLY wises up and realizes he can make a fortune by running an honest recycling facility rather than being a villain.
- Lazy Bum: Many of his waste dumping scams harm the environment because of how short-sighted and hasty they are. As noted above, if he weren't so lazy and short-sighted, he'd probably be able to get rich and help the public good, with the added benefit of not attracting the Captain's attention.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Not as rich as some of the other Villains, but he does use his wealth and connections, when he has them, to get away with stuff.
- Artistic License – Nuclear Physics: ...It was a different time. Paranoia at this new-fangled nuclear power business was the prime motive in his creation. Also, the fact that everyone he ever interacts with on the show DOESN'T have super-cancer is part of the license.
- Depending on the Writer: Frankly, Duke Nukem's portrayal, abilities and goals ping-pong all over the place during the show, with different episodes giving him different traits and rationale.
- Dumb Muscle: In the later episodes, he becomes less articulate and guileful, and his plans for gaining radiation became even more simplistic and bare. If you're feeling charitable, you can chalk it up to his progressing mutation robbing him of his higher brain functions.
- Evil Counterpart: To Wheeler, as one of the Captain Pollution ring bearers.
- For the Evulz: ...Kinda? Some episodes, he needs nuclear materials to eat, some episodes he could just eat human food but chooses to devour nuclear radiation to grow more powerful, and sometimes he wants to take over the world and turn everyone into a mutant like him.
- Horror Hunger: Depending on the Writer. In some episodes, he's portrayed as actively needing nuclear radiation to survive.
- I Love Nuclear Power: He requires it to feed... maybe. Maybe he just wants more to fuel his desire to remake humanity in his likeness and transform the world into a wasteland of nuclear power. Depends on the episode, really.
- Mad Scientist: Supposedly, Duke Nukem became the way he is due to a nuclear experiment, and he was once referred to Kwame as "Dr. Duke Nukem."
- Obviously Evil: Look at the man. Do you really need any more of a hint that he's evil?
- Plague Master: Radiation sickness and fallout rather than plague, but close enough.
- Playing with Fire: Poison fire, baby.
- Radiation-Immune Mutants: Of the "actively absorbs it and is nourished by it" variety.
- Super Strength: He's stronger than an average human as part of his mutation, which is another reason not to let him get too close.
- Sympathy for the Devil: Depending on your interpretation of him, Duke Nukem can become a guy who just wants the things any normal human wants; food, a good living environment, and companionship. Only thing is he's a walking dirty reactor, so getting those things would require polluting the world with radioactive fallout and transforming humanity into mutants like himself.
- Villain Song: He can once be heard singing in the shower whilst bathing in the radioactive coolant of a nuclear power plant. "My name is Duke Nukem/I'm a nuclear shark/I'm hotter than Elvis/and I glow in the dark!"
- Walking Wasteland: Depending on the Writer. Sometimes he's portrayed as leaving a heavy trail of fallout in his wake, making it a very bad idea to go near him without protective equipment. Other times he can interact with people harmlessly. It may depend on how recently he's fed.
- X-Ray Vision: Hey, it's radiation too!
- Baleful Polymorph: In one episode he has a toxic chemical compound that can mutate humans into rat-people like himself.
- Big "NO!": Let's out a terrifying one at the end of "Mind Pollution" when he accidentally eats one of his own Bliss pills, in affect polluting himself.
- Card-Carrying Villain
- Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster : He's the leader of the chaotic youth gangs in Utopia and Talkin' Trash, using this trope in full effect to trick them into trashing their own communities.
- Evil Counterpart: To Gi, as one of the Captain Pollution ring bearers.
- Expy: He's very similar to The Rat King.
- For the Evulz: Eventually his only reason for doing anything is apparently to destroy the environment or (more often) ruin people's lives for laughs, and he only occasionally mentions ruling the wreckage he intends to leave behind. An entire episode focuses on his efforts to stir up prejudice against an HIV-positive kid just for the hell of it.
- Gag Nose: It evokes a rat-like snout without actually making him a Petting Zoo Person.
- In the Hood: Always wears a hood to cover up his hideous, rodent-like facial features.
- Knight of Cerebus: The episodes with him as the main villain are normally Darker and Edgier. For example, a couple of kids have actually died as a direct result of his actions, and one of them was even a relative of a main character. He's usually focused on hurting people rather than the environment. In his first episode, he creates a cloud of acid rain, not to destroy a forest or something but to destroy a city.
- Laser-Guided Karma: He gets a taste of his own medicine at the end of "Mind Pollution".
- Little Bit Beastly: He has rodent-like facial features, verminous claws for hands/feet and a lashing rat's tail.
- Obviously Evil: Oh, gee, the giant man with a rat's tail and rat-like facial features running around in dirty, smelly clothes in the sewers and garbage dumps and calling himself Verminous Skumm is evil. However would you have guessed?
- Plague Master: He tends to rely on toxic chemical compounds, like his "Skummy Brew" (which turns people into Rat Men) and Bliss (a highly addictive drug), but the effects are ultimately the same.
- Rodent of Unusual Size: Specifically, he's part of an entire race of Rat Men, and his ultimate goal is often stated as being to destroy humanity so they can take over the ruins.
- You Dirty Rat: His rat-like traits are used for the symbolism of pollution, decay and death.
Dr. Barbara "Babs" BlightMad Scientist who represents the dangers of uncontrolled technology (specifically dealing with the military-industrial complex) and unethical scientific experimentation.
- Affectionate Nickname: "MAL-Baby" for her computer assistant MAL.
- Beauty Is Bad: She's pretty attractive (except for what's under her hair), but she's also a total bitch.
- Cain and Abel: Has a twin sister named Bambi, who's her complete opposite, which also carries onto her daughter.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Though not always.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Many of her experiments seemed to have money in mind, and her business ventures revolved around profitable animal-related tests (Draize testing for cosmetics companies, running a puppy mill).
- Cruella to Animals: The episode "101 Mutations" proves this in spades.
- The Dark Chick
- Evil Counterpart: To Ma-Ti, as one of the Captain Pollution ring bearers.
- Evil Genius: She's the smartest of the main villains, being a Mad Scientist.
- Eye Scream: Her hair covers up the burn on her face that also destroyed her eye.
- Family-Friendly Firearms: Her machines are guaranteed to fight with laser weaponry.
- The Fashionista: Shows quite a vain streak for a scientist.
- For Science!: Why she wrecks the environment; she cares more about doing science than thinking about the potential consequences of her experiments on the world around her.
- Handicapped Badass: Considering she takes on Captain Planet and the Planeteers after losing her eye.
- Hot Scientist: Until you see what's underneath her Peek-a-Bangs.
- Laser-Guided Karma: In "Frog Day Afternoon".
- Mad Scientist: She takes this Up to Eleven - at least according to Gi in Two Futures, Part I.Gi: Dr. Blight again? Even mad scientists call her crazy!
- Male Gaze: Provides it in "Tree of Life."
- Ms. Fanservice
- Mugged for Disguise: Does this to her sister Bambi in one episode.
- Nerds Are Sexy
- Peek-a-Bangs: Wears her hair like this. Turns out it's to hide the fact she's Two-Faced.
- Pink Means Feminine
- Red Right Hand: Her haircut covers up the fact that the entire left side of her face is horrifically burned.
- Refuge in Audacity: A rarely rerun episode has her build a time machine, steal some plutonium with her future self, then go back in time to sell a nuke to Hitler. If it weren't for YouTube, most people wouldn't even believe the episode exists.
- Rich Bitch: Generally she's shown as extremely wealthy. Her brand of science may be destructive and evil, but the profit margins are clearly extreme.
- Science Is Bad: When she does it.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!
- She's Got Legs: She is shown to have fine legs in "Hollywaste" and "Who's Running the Show."
- Skunk Stripe
- Too Many Belts: Downplayed. She wears two belts.
- Two-Faced: The left side of her face is badly scarred.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Sometimes Dr. Blight thinks her actions actually make the environment a nicer place, like when she planned to turn the Sahara into a big garden.
- Who Wears Short Shorts?: Wears a pair of these in "Hollywaste".
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Of war and hatred.
- While not touched on in depth, Zarm was most likely representative of nature as uncaring and driven by competition. It's not a stretch to imagine how a nature spirit that once simply represented survival of the fittest could become a spirit of conquest and subjugation. It makes even more sense if both Gaia and he were affected by the emergence of sentient creatures (humans) and also became more sentient and aware (what with them being a representation of nature and humans being a part of nature). Gaia most likely took on human traits that she had the most affinity with (compassion, understanding, love) while Zarm had a greater affinity with mankind's more negative aspects (callousness, ambition, and hate).
- Apocalypse How: Class 6. Zarm drove the last planet he visited to fight a global nuclear war. As a result it became, as Gaia says, "a lifeless husk".
- Big Bad: Immortal? Check. Equal in power to Gaia? Check. Claims to have been behind almost every dictator in history? Check. Managed to force all the other villains to cooperate under his command? Check. Corrupted four of the Planeteers enough that they stopped listening to Ma-Ti? Check. Did it upon their first encounter? Check.
- Card-Carrying Villain
- Compelling Voice
- The Corrupter: He managed to corrupt four of the Planeteers with Iron Fists. If it weren't for Ma-Ti resisting the temptation and alerting Gaia, the others would have started a nuclear war.
- Divide and Conquer
- Evil Brit: Evident especially in the episodes where Sting voices him.
- Evil Counterpart: To Gaia.
- Eviler Than Thou: In "Summit to Save Earth, Part 1", he unites the other Eco-villains under his command... and manages to get away with flat-out insulting them.Zarm: You, miserable worms, develop a plan? HA! You'll never figure out a way to stop Captain Planet. And he will show up; and wipe you off the face of the Earth! That's why you bumbling incompetents will be working for me.
- Faux Affably Evil: He's good at feigning kindness. He managed to: fool the Planeteers in "The Conqueror", turn a naive boy's wishes against his village in "The Dreammaker", and escalate the conflict between parents of two kids in "In Zarm's Way".
- In "The Conqueror", he's also noted to have manipulated an entire planet planet's population to destroy itself by helping it develop nuclear weapons.
- For the Evulz: Despite the stereotype, the other villains generally had some kind of motive for whatever harm they were doing to the planet. Zarm, on the other hand, was out to foment conflict and destruction (up to and including nuclear wars) just because he hated humans, Earth and Gaia.
- Icy Blue Eyes: Depending on the episode, he has either these or gray, or even greenish irises. All these colors ultimately mean the same, though: he's cold, cruel and definitely not the type of guy you should trust.
- Jackass Genie: Did this in one episode, twisting a naive and oblivious kid's wishes and letting the people of his village do it too until the entire village almost became a wasteland and a warzone.
- Kick the Dog: In "Summit to Save Earth, Part 2", making Gaia a very old mortal, turning Earth into a Crapsack World, and letting the Planeteers out 10 years into the future to "enjoy" their dying planet is not enough for him. Thus, just when the Planeteers are about to leave, and can't stop him, he accelerates Gaia's aging significantly. Then, there are a few times in the episode when he's shown mocking her mercilessly. And finally, he makes her Planeteers play a sick game before her very eyes.
- Knight of Cerebus: He's by far the most deadly and dangerous villain, capable of laying waste to entire planets. Much like Skumm, he primarily targets people rather than the environment. In his very first appearance he comes close to manipulating the Planeteers into starting a nuclear war.
- Large Ham: Quite surprisingly, yes; especially in "Summit to Save Earth, Part 1".Zarm: At last! The Earth is finally polluted enough for me! [Plunder walks in and hits him with the door]: No-one sneaks up on me!
- Let's You and Him Fight: One of the ways he operates is to get people to fight each other until they are all dead, like the aliens from the Twilight Zone episode "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street".
- Light Is Not Good: In his first appearance, and occasionally thereafter in disguise, he posed as a benevolent spirit of the same kind as Gaia.
- Master of Illusion
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: He almost won in "The Conqueror"... and then, he just had to try to kill Gaia before the eyes of the Planeteers, four of whom were convinced he was a good guy. Cue his "conquerors" abandoning him.
- Noodle Incident: Gaia says in "The Conqueror" that Zarm once was the Spirit of Earth, like herself, but "left in search of other worlds". So... what exactly did happen that resulted in him leaving the Earth and seeking revenge on Gaia?
- Our Spirits Are Different
- Physical God
- Power Of Hate
- Really 700 Years Old: He's been exiled ages ago.
- Satanic Archetype: He's not only plain evil, with no redeeming qualities, but also dangerously intelligent and cunning.
- Significant Anagram: Might be a stretch, but "Mars" was the Roman god of war.
- Social Darwinist
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: As shown in the "Summit to Save Earth, Part 1" episode, he can pull this off easily and perfectly, to the point of getting the voice just right. He even manages to coax out the rings from the Planeteers by impersonating Gaia. The fact that he earlier has stolen the Heart ring, thus making Ma-Ti unable to see through the ruse and alert the others until it was too late, certainly helped his case, though.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Played straight in Seasons 1 and 2, later changed to black.
Voiced by: David CoburnAn evil counterpart to Captain Planet that is a result of the combination and magnification of the powers of rings of destruction created by Dr. Blight. He has the powers of super radiation, deforestation, smog, toxics, and hate and consuming and bathing in more pollution makes him bigger and stronger. He is defeated twice by Captain Planet; the latter may have been for good.
- Back from the Dead: After his first appearance.
- Card-Carrying Villain
- Evil Twin: Was created from the opposites of Captain Planet's elements. As such, he and Planet are both pretty much each others Kryptonite Factor, though Pollution is far more willing to use deadly force than Planet is.
- Faux Affably Evil
- Flying Brick
- Killed Off for Real: After his second defeat, which makes him the first and only Captain Planet villain to actually die in the series.
- Lava Pit: Meets his end when Captain Planet drops him into one. He's last seen sinking in and apparently dies.
- One-Winged Angel: After coming back to life, he absorbs a great deal of pollution and gets much larger and more monster-like.
- Our Spirits Are Different
- Plague Master
- Walking Wasteland
- Weaksauce Weakness: Earth, fire, wind, and water. The same things that power up Captain Planet.
The SlaughtersA family of poachers led by Mame Slaughter and her son and second-in-command, Stalker Slaughter, represents the dangers of poaching and hunting endangered animals.
HenchmenThe various henchmen for the Eco Villains that include Rigger, Greedly's Yes-Man (well "yep" man); Argos Bleak, a mercenary soldier, and leader of Plunder's private army; Oakey and Dokey, Plunder's two unintelligent lumberjack employees; Ooze, Sludge's whiner sidekick; Tank Flusher III, Sludge's strongman garbage collector; Leadsuit, Nukem's cowardly errand boy; the Rat Pack, Skumm's part man, part rat thugs who eventually dwindle in size into just one rather competent nameless henchman; and MAL, Dr. Blight's evil high-intellectual supercomputer.
- A Day in the Limelight: Bleak, when he went solo in the episode The Predator to hunt Basking Sharks, and was a very competent and effective villain.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Argos Bleak, Author, Lecturer, Ruthless Terrorist.
- The Dragon: Argos Bleak is the most physically intimidating henchman character in the show, and the only one that got his own episode as the villain.
- Dumb Muscle: Rigger, Tank Flusher III and the Pinehead Brothers are the most prone to slapstick bumbling and angering their bosses through being idiots.
- Fat Bastard / Fat Idiot: Ooze is even slimier than Sly — and just as dumb.
- Harmless Villain: Leadsuit and Ooze are never a threat to the Planeteers, if they even encounter them at all, and seem to exist just so their bosses can have somebody to talk to.
- Heel–Face Turn: Rigger, Ooze and Tank Flusher III.
- The Igor: MAL and Leadsuit, who both work for scientist-type villains. Leadsuit himself became a reference to the original Igor in "The Energy Vampire", after an injury gave him a hunched back.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Dr. Blight's computer assistant is named MAL which is French for "Evil".
- Rodents of Unusual Size: The Rat Pack.
- Sycophantic Servant: Rigger, Ooze and Leadsuit. Though Rigger is shown to be as technologically proficient as his boss, Ooze and Leadsuit exist only so that Sly Sludge and Duke Nukem don't end up talking to themselves.
- Yes Men: Rigger, Ooze and Leadsuit.