Secondary Color Nemesis

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Nothing says "evil" like purple, orange and green.

Sometimes even the bad guys want to wear bright colors. All those deep blacks and bloody reds can get monotonous after awhile. Unfortunately, the heroes have already monopolized the primary colors so what's our poor villain to do? Why, crack out the secondary colors, of course.

Green, or green and purple together are especially popular among the Super Villain set. This is likely due to their being bright, eye-catching, and an easy contrast with the reds and blues favoured by so many early superheroes. Orange tends to be used less and is frequently an accent colour as it can be a bit harder to distinguish from red or yellow depending on lighting.

A sub-trope of Good Colors, Evil Colors.

Compare Purple Is Powerful, Purple Is the New Black, Green and Mean, Sickly Green Glow.

See also Red and Black and Evil All Over, Evil Wears Black.

Contrast its inversion, Primary-Color Champion.

Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Tien Shinhan, who usually wears a green, eastern outfit with orange highlights (in his first fight against Goku, he also wore dark purple pants). He eventually became one of the heroes.
    • Piccolo is perhaps one of the most famous examples of this in anime. He is a green-skinned alien (formerly thought to be a demon) with a predominantly purple outfit. He too became Goku's ally and one of the good guys.
    • No matter what form he takes, Frieza always has purple highlights on his body.
    • Cell is mostly green with orange highlights through his face and body in his initial and second forms. Purple is added to the mix in his "Perfect Cell" form, although the orange is gone by then.
    • Zamasu has green skin and wears purple clothing under his black coat.
  • Mazinger Z: Dr. Hell wears a light-green, tight outfit and a long violet cloak. His Dragon Baron Ashura wears a violet-and-purple robe.
  • One Piece:
    • Sir Crocodile, one of the Seven Warlords of the Sea and the Straw Hat Pirates' first major enemy in the Grand Line. His outfit is predominantly orange, with a green, furry coat which he wears draped on his shoulders.
    • Donquixote Doflamingo, another Warlord of the Sea, wears purple-tinted sunglasses and orange pants. It's all overshadowed by his large pink feather coat though.
    • Yet another Warlord of the Sea, Gekko Moriah, wears mostly black, but he also wears yellow-orange pants and has purplish hair, lipstick and accessories like a cross necklace. His Doppleman also has purple hues.
    • Inverted with the original 3 Admirals of the series, who actually represent red (Akainu, means "red dog"), yellow (Kizaru, means "yellow monkey") and blue (Aokiji, means "blue pheasant") and they all wear appropriate attires.
    • However, when you forget about the Protagonist-Centered Morality of the story and remember that the Marines are supposed to be the "good guys" of the setting, this becomes Fridge Brilliance. Of course the supposed Big Good Admirals would be given primary colors to represent. However, this is played straight in the case of the two new admirals who oppose the Straw Hats after the timeskip (as Fujitora's color is purple while Ryokugyu's color is green).
  • Naruto: Orochimaru's usual outfit is mostly of tan color, but it also contains a dark green undershirt and collar (although they're sometimes depicted as black) as well as a large purple rope belt tied around his waist.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Opium dealer Takeda Kanryu wears a green suit with a purple tie.

    Comic Books 
  • The Avengers: Kang the Conqueror, intertemporal warlord and longtime enemy of the team, wears a green-and-purple armoured suit that allowed him to fight the original team (composed of the red-and-yellow Iron Man, red-and-blue Giant Man, red-and-blue Thor, and red-white-and blue Captain America) to a draw. His past self wore a green-and-gold costume while posing as Pharaoh Rama-Tut. His future self, Immortus, also tends to favor green and purple. Scarlet Centurion (yet another of his temporal counterparts) also has purple in his outfit.
  • Batman:
    • In perhaps the most iconic comic book example, The Joker sports bright green hair and a flashy purple suit, generally with either an orange shirt, vest, or tie.
    • The Riddler sometimes wears a suit and hat, and sometimes a bodystocking, but it's always green. His outfits also tend to have purple highlights.
    • Poison Ivy combines a green leotard and green-tinted skin with bright orange hair.
    • The Mad Hatter wears a green outfit and hat, often with orange highlights.
    • Ra's Al-Ghul's costumes are subject to change, but his green and gold one is his most well-known.
    • Catwoman usually wears black today, but early in the comics wore both green and purple.
    • Depending on the Artist, the scarred side of Two-Face's visage is either green or purple; one side of his custom-made suit usually reflects this coloration.
  • In his iconic red-white-and-blue costume, Captain America is a magnet for villains like these:
    • French mercenary Batroc the Leaper favours purple and orange.
    • Both Barons Heinrich and Helmut Zemo have worn purple costumes and masks.
    • Viper (who has also gone up against the yellow-and-blue Wolverine) wears a green spandex catsuit, and sometimes dyes her hair green as well.
    • Nazi cyborg Arnim Zola utilizes a mechanical purple body that he covers with an orange robe.
  • Daredevil introduced Zebadiah Killgrave, alias the mind-controlling Purple Man.
  • Fantastic Four:
    • The Four's worst enemy, Doctor Doom, wears a long green cloak, hood, and surcoat over his armour, distinguishing him from the Four in their bright blue bodysuits.
    • Mole Man wears all green. His main monster Giganto is all green.
    • Mad Thinker also wears all green.
    • Psycho Man wears a green-and-white costume, sometimes with a golden mask.
    • The embodiment of the destruction of the Universe called Abraxas looks like a green guy wearing green.
    • Namor reappeared in the Silver Age as an antagonist to the Fantastic Four. The only thing he wore were his green swimming trunks.
    • The original Frightful Four, a team of villains modeled after the Fantastic Four and designed to oppose it, originally wore matching purple-and-blue or pink-and-purple or purple-and-purple (depending on the colorist) uniforms. Outside the team, its members wore the following: The Wizard wore pink-blue-and-purple, Paste-Pot Pete/Trapster wore purple-and-blue or purple-and-gold, Medusa (yes, she was a villain back then) wore purple, and Sandman (who was a mostly FF villain at the time) wore green-and-brown or all green.
    • The main color of Galactus' costume is purple (or pink, depending on who you ask). His original colors were green-red-and-brown.
    • Diablo wears green-and-purple. He animated and commanded a synthetic lifeform called Dragon Man who is sometimes depicted as gray with purple pants, and sometimes purple with brown pants.
    • Molecule Man also wears green-and-purple.
    • Puppet Master is often depicted with green or purple costume elements.
    • Brute, an evil alternate Reed Richards, is purple and wears green pants.
    • Annihilus is green-and-purple.
    • Impossible Man is also green-and-purple, but he's less of a villain and more of a nuisance.
  • The Flash: Both the Sam Scudder and Evan McCulloh Mirror Masters favoured green and orange outfits, in comparison to the Flash's red and yellow.
  • While not evil, The Incredible Hulk has certainly antagonised most of Marvel's superheroes at one or another, and boasts green skin and stretchy purple pants. His main enemy, The Leader, is also green, and wears an orange uniform, indicating their shared, gamma-radiation origins, but wildly different goals and personalities.
  • Iron Man:
    • Iron Man wears yellow and red, so when his archenemy, The Mandarin, was first introduced he was put in a green costume with a purple mask and cape. This outfit was eventually abandoned, but The Mandarin still prefers green whenever he dons his traditional Chinese dress.
    • Obadiah Stane's Iron Monger armor was an ugly grey, but outside of it, the man himself enjoyed lounging around in an orange leisure suit.
    • The Melter, who could reduce all forms of metal to slag, has worn both purple and green, and orange and green at various points in his career.
    • All iterations of the Titanium Man armour worn by former Soviet agent Boris "The Merciless" Bullski have been a dark green, typically with lighter green highlights. The duplicate Titanium Man armour donned by the Gremlin when he tried to take Bullski's place was also green.
  • Martian Manhunter: While J'onn himself is a Desert Dweller, or Green Martian, the few clothes he wears have always been a bold blue and red. In contrast, his Pre-Crisis nemesis, Commander Blanx, combined the orange uniform of the White Martian Pole Dwellers with a dark green cape, helmet, and boots. The Manhunter's human foe, Mister V, went even farther in the bad fashion department, boasting a purple jacket and slacks.
  • Invoked and mocked in Runaways when the kids complain that their supervillain parents had terrible taste, and that their old lairs had nothing but purple and green furniture.
  • Shazam
    • Captain Nazi's uniform is mostly green, with admittedly yellow highlights for contrast with Captain Marvel's own uniform, which is mostly red with yellow highlights, and that of Captain Marvel Jr., which is blue with yellow highlights.
    • Mister Mind, telepathic Venusian worm and enemy to the whole red-and-blue clad Marvel family, is himself colored green.
  • Spider-Man:
    • All the Green Goblins costumes have featured a green face, arms, and legs, with a purple cap, torso, boots, and gloves. The Ultimate Universe version also qualifies, being a hulking green monster wrapped in a purple cloak and hood.
    • Mysterio wears a green bodysuit and a flowing purple cape, the latter of which billows behind him to add flair to his movements.
    • The Lizard is himself green and often, not unlike the Hulk, sports purple pants.
    • The costumes of the Scorpion, the Vulture, and the Jackal are all solid green, as is the Sandman's shirt.
    • The Hobgoblin's costume sometimes features blue legs, and sometimes has a yellow face, but is always predominantly orange, while his glider and (Depending on the Artist) weapons' bag are purple. The Ultimate Hobgoblin took it further and simply was orange.
    • Early Spider-Man foe The Prowler wore a green bodystocking and a purple mask and cape, although he went on to become a hero.
    • Kraven the Hunter's furs are usually, though not always, orange.
  • Supergirl:
    • Kara's first enemy Mad Scientist Lesla-Lar wore a lime-green suit. In her second appearance she wore a violet costume and orange cloak, gloves and boots.
    • Sorceress and swordswoman Nightflame wears a tight green outfit in Demon Spawn.
    • Nazi reality-warper Blackstarr wears purple robes.
    • Wicked Toymaker and Creepy child Dollmaker wears a green shirt, purple bow tie and belt and violet overalls.
    • Belinda Zee -a. k. a. Superior Girl- wore a violet outfit.
  • Superman:
    • The Man of Steel's archnemesis, Lex Luthor, famously donned a purple and green warsuit in the eighties, and has continued to use it ever since. In All-Star Superman, Luthor dons a purple shirt and pants, and a green trenchcoat in place of the warsuit.
    • Brainiac has green skin, and usually wears a purple bodysuit. His great-grandson, Brainiac 5 subverts the trope, featuring the same green skin and purple bodysuit, but being an unabashed, if arrogant, good guy.
    • Tyrannical intergalactic despot Mongul I was himself a sickly yellow, but always wore a deep purple costume, most likely as an indicator of his royal status. His children Mongul II and Mongal also favour this look.
    • The chemicals that gave Parasite the power to feed on others also turned his skin purple. His son and daughter, who inherited his powers, were respectively flourescent green and a brighter shade of purple.
    • Mister Mxyptlk's look is subject to change, but he usually sports a purple suit and bowler hat, often with orange highlights.
    • Both the Kryptonite Man and the Kryptonite Kid have turned green under the influence of Green Kryptonite radiation, and have sometimes worn a purple costume as well.
    • Metallo's body pre-Crisis was orange and green. Post-Crisis, he was redesigned to be silver, making him look like The Terminator, but kept the green chunk of Kryptonite and usually had sickly green highlights. Some redesigns since then have added back the orange and green, most notably Secret Origin.
  • While Thanos wears blue and gold, his skin is purple.
  • Wolverine: Victor "Sabretooth" Creed has worn a few costumes over the decades, but one of his classic outfits is mostly orange, while Wolverine's classic costume is mostly yellow and blue.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Cybernetic menace Doctor Cylvia Cyber wore a purple suit and a green cape with a high collar.
    • Genocide's uniform and mask are green-and-black.
  • X-Men: Back when the original team wore matching blue-and-yellow uniforms, their main opponents were Magneto's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Its color palette contained a bit of red, but the rest of the colors were secondary: Magneto wore red-and-purple, Toad wore orange-and-grey, Mastermind wore a brown trenchcoat, Quicksilver wore green-and-green, and Scarlet Witch wore red-and-pink.
  • W.I.T.C.H. inverts and plays this straight with the titular Five Girl Band having purple and green as their colors in their Older Alter Ego forms while some of their enemies favor green (Cedric) and purple (Nerissa).

    Film 
  • In Batman, the Jack Nicholson Joker features the classic combination of green hair, purple suit, and bright orange shirt. For an added bonus, he and his goons deface the Gotham museum of art by painting everything purple and green.
  • Batman Forever has the Riddler in green with orange hair, while Two-Face has purple scarring on one side of his face, and a half-purple suit and tie.
  • The Dark Knight has the Joker sporting his traditional green hair and purple coat, along with a green Waistcoat of Style.
  • In Unbreakable, Elijah talks about the use of secondary colors to characterize villains in comic books. Within the film, the first villain David faces on his path to becoming a superhero is a murderous janitor who wears bright orange coveralls, while his diabolical arch-enemy wears purple, because it's Elijah himself. David breaks from the traditional hero scheme, though, since he has green as his signature color.
  • In Doctor Strange, Kaecilius is The Heavy and wears light orange robes. His master Dormammmu has a purple Color Motif. Finally, Karl Mordo undergoes a Face–Heel Turn and appropriately wears mostly green clothing.
  • The Princess and the Frog: Facilier is the bad guy and wears purple (though with a black-and-red hat) and he's also associated with green.
  • Ralph from Wreck-It Ralph wears primarily orange with a green undershirt. While he is the hero in the movie, his role in the video game is the antagonist.
  • Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty has pale green skin and eyes coupled with a black and purple robe. This becomes even more pronounced in her dragon form, which retains the green and purple through her eyes and underside respectively, while breathing green fire as well.
  • Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story is a primarily white toy with green and purple accents. While definitely not a bad guy, Woody considered him his Arch-Enemy due to stealing his spot as Andy's favorite toy, although they became friends during the events of the movie.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the live action TV Batman, almost all of the villains wore secondary colors rather than primaries. Third season villian "Shame" was an exception, with a tan buckskin coat and pants, and usually his shirt in some form of red and a blue neckerchief.
    • The Joker wore a magenta/Purple suit with a Green shirt and had Greenish hair.
    • The Riddler wore either a Green suit with a black shirt or a Green jumpsuit with Purple gloves, sash and mask.
    • The Penguin wore a Purple top hat and bow tie with his otherwise black and white tuxedo outfit
    • Egghead wore a white suit with an Orange or Orange-y yellow shirt (the exact shirt color varied a lot)
    • King Tut often wore an Orange cloak with a white robe. He also had a Green feathered cloak.
    • Louie The Lilac wore a Lavender (Purple) suit, shirt and hat. The hat-brim binding and hatband and his tie were darker Purple.

    Video Games 
  • In the Rocket Knight Adventures series, Sparkster wears a suit of light blue armor, while his Evil Counterpart, Axel Gear, wears a suit of dark purple armor (except in Rocket Knight (2010), where he wears a suit of red armor instead).
  • The title knight of Shovel Knight starts the game in blue armor, and the power-up armors remain in primary colors or grays. The enchantress is green and wears a purple dress.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Bowser's very first sprite is orange and green. While he sometimes has red or yellow accents in later installments, he generally keeps his orange and green themes in contrast to Mario's blue and red.
      • For that matter, the usual Koopa Troopa Mooks have green shells and yellow-orange skin, just like Bowser.
    • Inverted with Luigi, whose color scheme (originally green and purple, but now green and darker blue) distinguished him as the classic Player Two.
    • Zig-zagged with Wario, Mario's Evil Counterpart, who uses the primary color yellow, but also the secondary color purple and green shoes. Exaggerated by Waluigi, Luigi's Evil Counterpart, who dresses in purple and black, with orange shoes.
  • Pretty much every main villain in the Mario & Luigi series has been this to various degrees:
  • Vaati from The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap wears almost nothing but purple. When he takes control of Hyrule Castle, he turns it purple and complements it with green rugs and decorations. Link himself (clad in green, as usual) averts this.
  • Gruntilda from Banjo-Kazooie has green skin and dresses all in black. Her outfit is further accented with a scarf in two shades of purple.
  • Sigma from Mega Man X tends to incorporate green, orange and purple in the various bodies he uses throughout the series. His original body actually manages to incorporate all primary and secondary colors too (which is fitting considering that he was once good), but it's easy to see that the secondary ones are more prominent.
  • Modern depictions of Metroid's Ridley frequently have him as a purplish dragon with orange details such as eyes and inner wings. Interestingly, he has also been depicted in artwork as primarily green (in Zero Mission) or orange (in Super Metroid, despite his in-game sprite being purple too).
  • In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, the player can act in movies, including a superhero series that also features (former) Gym Leader Brycen, who plays the villainous Brycen-Man, wearing purple with green accents.
  • The Zerg of StarCraft have a LOT of green, purple and orange in their color scheme, in addition to brown. This is heavily in contrast to the golden yellows and blues of their nemesis, the Protoss. Played straight but then ultimately subverted with the Nerazim protoss, who utilize greens and purples in contrast to their yellow and blue Khalai brethren, as they ultimately end up as firm allies after being bitter rivals for years. Come Starcraft II the Zerg start to subvert the 'nemesis' aspect of this due to their gradual Heel–Face Turn, but still retain the color scheme.

    Western Animation 
  • DC Animated Universe:
    • Batman: The Animated Series kept most of the villains in their iconic costumes: The Joker wore a purple suit and had green hair, the Riddler sported a green suit and bowler hat (with purple gloves and mask), and Poison Ivy had a green leotard.
    • Superman: The Animated Series stayed true to comic book depictions for the most part, with Parasite having purple skin, and Brainiac's drones depicted with pale green faces and hands, and darker purple torsos and legs. Darkseid's son Kalibak also gained a green costume.
    • In Static Shock, many of the villains including Ebon, Replikon, Permafrost, Slipstream, Boom, Hyde, Onyx, Puff, Replay and Rubber-Band Man were primarily purple in contrast with Static's heroic blue and yellow. In addition, Carmen Dillo was orangish tan with purple accents. D-Struct was made of white light with a purple glowing outline. Ragtag had a purple hat and scarf with a green coat. Shiv,while he wore red, had purple hair and blades. Talon had orange feathers, green wings, and wore purple. And Leech both wore purple and had green skin. Basically, if your character design included purple, you were probably evil.
    • Justice League had Mongul I, in his trademark purple costume. After he lost his Villain with Good Publicity facade, Lex Luthor also started wearing more green and purple, complete with a suit of Powered Armor similar to his one from the comics.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series not only kept Mysterio, Scorpion, Vulture, Green Goblin, and Lizard in their usual greens and purples, but put Doctor Octopus (whose comic book outfits have been prone to change) in an orange and green uniform.
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
    • Mojo Jojo, with his green skin and purple cape, is the most recurring villain of the The Powerpuff Girls.
    • The Gangreen Gang are all green-skinned, with the color orange being present in Ace, Snake and Big Billy.
  • Roger from Doug is a green-skinned orange-haired bully. Oh, and he also has a purple cat.
  • The Hooded Claw from The Perils of Penelope Pitstop wore his dark green getup in combination with a purple Domino Mask.


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