YMMV / Anarky

  • Anvilicious: While the premise of an idealistic, ethical, but extremist anti-villain that challenges the reader's political and philosophical preconceptions may be very interesting, Grant had a bit of trouble understanding how to be subtle about it. One might imagine that it would be impossible, but some creative writing can provide a reasonable case for Grant's perspectives within a narrative. Instead, Anarky stories by Grant tended to rely heavily on the character's dialogue or inner monologues to stress the author's perspective. Occasionally he would place literary references throughout the stories, ostensibly to remind the reader that Anarky is bookish, but also to act as indirect recommended reading list for the audience. Plots were rarely used to show a political point. There was little direct portrayal of corrupt governments, heavy-handed police, or exploitative economic forces. Anarky's monologues just told you what to think.
    • One early Anarky story, "The Tyrant" (Batman: Shadow of the Bat Annual #2) gives greater emphasis on the dangers of centralized power by presenting an alternate universe were Batman dispenses with being a vigilante and instead becomes an overlord in control of a police state to stop crime. Here, Anarky pauses mid-way into an action scene to provide a multi-panel Character Filibuster, while the rest of the comic provides a bullet-point list for tyranny, complete with public surveillance, mind-control, harsh interrogation, and a cult of personality surrounding the dear leader.
    • More interesting political narratives were made during Grant's early 1980s work on Judge Dredd, which inversely follows an anti-heroic officer of a police state.
  • Complete Monster: While not typically (in fact, he is generally depicted as an Anti-Villain), there are a few versions that have Adaptational Villainy:
    • Arrow: Lonnie "Anarky" Machin from season 4 was once a mob enforcer, fired because his methods were too extreme. He is introduced to the audience as trying to ingratiate himself into H.I.V.E. by forcing Jessica Danforth to drop her candidancy for mayor. When his first attempt fails, he kills several policemen and kidnaps her daughter, to whom he gives a false sense of security before sadistically breaking her finger and promising to do much worse to her, before being intercepted by Team Arrow. During the ensuing confrontation, his face gets burned by Thea, which causes him to develope a creepy obsession towards her. After escaping imprisonment, Machin attempts to settle old scores, first killing his foster parents and then targeting H.I.V.E., in particular Damien Darhk, for not letting him join them. To get his revenge, he seizes Darhk's wife and daughter, again being stopped by Oliver and his friends narrowly before committing Cold-Blooded Torture. Finally, shortly before H.I.V.E.'s plan of global nuclear devastation comes to fruition, Machin invades Tevat Noah, where H.I.V.E. harbours several hundred people to survive the crisis, and promptly plans on destroying it. After getting confronted by Thea yet again, Machin kills her boyfriend Alex Davis right in front of her, dismissing him as a hindrance. Kidnapping Darhk's family a second time, Machin continues with his plan, causing Ruvé Darhk to try to appeal to him that he is essentially destroying the last safe place on earth, which just causes him to sarcastically ask her if he strikes her as a rational person and later murder her. Anarky has no greater goal or vision, he just kills because it amuses him and gives him a sick sense of satisfaction.
    • Beware the Batman: Anarky is Batman's Arch-Enemy and the most recurring villain in the series. An utter madman who views himself and Batman as two kings on a chess board, one representing order and peace, the other chaos and destruction, Anarky commits all of his crimes out of a pathological love for attention and a sheer enjoyment for being evil. In his first appearance, Anarky grants two petty crooks high-tech weaponry before sending them on a rampage through Gotham, after which he rigs two gondolas filled with people to explode unless Batman can stop them in time. Later, Anarky pits Batman and the League of Assassins against each other as part of a plan to unleash a lethal plague onto all of Gotham, and attempts to bomb a populated park filled with police officers while trying to frame Batman. At the end of the series, Anarky makes corrupting District Attorney Harvey Dent into evil his personal pet project, and successfully drives Dent to institute martial law in Gotham while threatening the lives of all those who stand in his way. In the sequel tie-in comic, Anarky unlocks every door in Gotham City for a single night, then tries to spur all of the citizens into a panic-induced riot that he hopes will tear Gotham apart in the ultimate display of chaos. Though soft-spoken and eerily polite, Anarky is the most wicked foe Batman faced in the series, having no empathy, no mercy, and no motive at all except his basic whims.
  • Designated Villain: Various authors like Alan Grant, Kevin Dooley, Fabian Nicieza, and James Peatty have attempted to make it clear that he's not a bad guy. He's just misunderstood. The reader is encouraged to think that the only reason why the traditional heroes fight him is because they disagree with him on a political level or misperceive a threat in his methods. This may not be enough to sway some readers, who may disagree with him on a fundamentally philosophical or political level.
  • Dork Age:
    • The Anarky limited and ongoing series represented a shift from Grants original political sentiments, but also an attitude change towards the character. While some can respect some of the political thoughts Grant was trying to address, the over-powering of the character and shift in philosophy wasn't appreciated. Throw in some strange editorial moves, and the whole series is looked down upon. Did Anarky really need a teleporter, a secret base built under the Washington Monument, or an artificially intelligent computer he built himself— all off-screen? Did Anarky need to be "cemented" as part of the Bat-family by borrowing from soap-opera themes to make him the son of a prominent villain? Why include so many guest appearances if the guest characters wouldn't do anything that important or interesting? Why isn't Anarky fun? He's too serious. Every word of dialogue and narration out of him sounds like a manifesto.
    • Lonnie Machin as "Money Spider" in Red Robin. When Fabian Nicieza returned Anarky to publication after years of obscurity, he liked the idea of portraying Tim Drake as a cold, calculating strategist. To get a good "Joker" foil, he decided he needed an epitome of chaos. He wanted "Anarky", but only in name, since he knew Lonnie wasn't evil. So he Nerfed Lonnie off-screen, leaving him comatose, hooked up by his brain to the internet, and captive to another villain. Lonnie now became the "Money Spider", an elite hacker for Tim Drake, and continued in this capacity until the Red Robin series was cancelled. Original fans of Anarky weren't happy, but since the character had been obscure for years by that point, the outcry wasn't that huge.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The Anarky ongoing series begins with the search for Lonnie's missing parents, but immediately shifts gears at the end of the first comic with the revelation that Lonnie was adopted. The new subplot becomes a question of who his parents were, but no further thought is given to the original search for his beloved adoptive parents.