"There is black and there is white, and there is wrong and there is right, and there is nothing, NOTHING in between."Born in 1967 of Steve Ditko's fascination with Objectivism, Mr. A is a "superhero" without observable powers aside from his steel gloves and mask, similar to the first incarnations of The Question. Alan Moore disliked this character strongly and portrayed this type of character in a rather twisted way as Watchmen's Rorschach. In Street Fighter 3, a character named Q also appears to be based on him.Philosophical elements aside, Mr. A marked Ditko's shift from working on contract for mainstream publishers like Marvel and DC to more creator-owned projects; Mr. A was first published in the Underground Comics series witzend and was later collected in self-published comics Ditko distributed himself.
—Alan Moore referring to Mr. A.
Mr. A provides examples of the following tropes:
- Author Tract: There are times when the action comes to a sudden stop in order for Mr. A to put on Wall of Text after Wall of Text regarding Black and White Morality.
- Badass Normal: As mentioned, he is absolutely a normal human, even without Training from Hell.
- Black and White Morality: The driving force behind the comic. Mr. A's entire outfit is portrayed as pure white because of this, and his "calling card" is half-black, half-white, and he constantly goes on filibusters about how there is no "gray area".
- Character Filibuster: Oh, big time.
- Moral Dissonance: The author sometimes had him violate his ethical code for the sake of making him more palatable to the audience, thereby completely undermining the point of a morally absolutist hero. This is most prominent when he gets a crime boss sent to prison for 15 years and then meets him after his term is over and tells him that his slate is now clean and he can start over. It doesn't cross Mr. A's mind that he himself had killed people or left them to suffer and bleed out for lesser crimes than the crime boss ever committed.
- One-Letter Name
- Save the Villain: Completely and utterly defied and averted.
- Secret Identity: One that's every bit as much a champion of objectivism, journalist Rex Graine.
- Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: How a journalist could get all of the gadgets and an iron mask without getting any funny looks?
- Would Hit a Girl: He judges people solely on the basis of Black and White Morality, with no distinction for gender; he did not hesitate to put a bullet in the head of a female kidnapper.