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Complete Monster Cleanup Thread

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions and Common Requests List before suggesting any new entries for this trope.

edited 15th Jan '13 1:45:24 PM by Fighteer

 326 32 Footsteps, Mon, 21st Nov '11 5:33:37 AM from Just north of Arkham Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
The 11th Grover
Shaoken, you're missing my argument.

My argument isn't that the Penguin is universally hated - it's that his deeds aren't that bad. He didn't do several of the deeds he's accused of, a few more are Offscreen Villainy, and the argument that he is boils down to "he tortures, therefore he qualifies." While he would have to work long and hard, I think that he could be redeemed in the series. This is as opposed to The Joker or Hugo Strange, both of whom already went past the point of no return regardless of the fact that both are dead by the end of the second game.

My point about the dark alley was that some villains, I could rely on not just doing something terrible because they could - and Penguin is one of them.
Reminder: Offscreen Villainy does not count towards Complete Monster.
 327 Shaoken, Mon, 21st Nov '11 12:57:57 PM Relationship Status: Dating Catwoman
  • facepalm*

I was the one who removed him from the list in the first place. I agree he doesn't belong anywhere near this trope. I'm not missing your arguement; I never even addressed it to begin with. I was arguing with njrxll and 323 about how they were off on anunrelated tangent.

 328 32 Footsteps, Mon, 21st Nov '11 2:26:06 PM from Just north of Arkham Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
The 11th Grover
My apologies - I'm so used to being called 32 that I thought you were referring to me and made a typo.

Still, I do wonder how someone can have played through Arkham City and think the Penguin is a Complete Monster and somehow not include Zsasz on the list (unless his lack of success outside of game over/restart sequences disqualifies him, which I would argue against).
Reminder: Offscreen Villainy does not count towards Complete Monster.
[up]"He didn't do several of the deeds he's accused of, a few more are Offscreen Villainy, and the argument that he is boils down to "he tortures, therefore he qualifies."

No. He did do those actions.

1) Those were quite clearly heat lamps. The fact that Freeze looks like he's a second away from dying after exiting the case supports this. Also, a lot of steam/vapor(?) was caused by the hot air of the case coming into contact with the cold air of the museum. Plus the case's password is "Microwave."

Finally, here's a Direct Quote from the Penguin regarding Freeze in the case: "A prize-winning cryogenic scientist pushed to the edge of sanity by a desire to help his poor, dying wife... Or an old man, captured by me and stuck on the GRILL?"

2) I find programmer's oversight no more a "grasping at straws" arguement than the idea that Penguin and Officer Denning are pranking Batman. If Denning isn't being tortured by Penguin then what do you think is going on in that scene?

"Because Arkham City is such a dark game, you do have to go pretty down far the ladder to get to this trope. I'd honestly give The Mad Hatter or The Riddler (both of whom don't quite qualify) that status before the Penguin."

Wow. We do have different interpretations on these characters. The Riddler I can see someone labeling as a monster (though he does have a marginally sympathetic Freudian Excuse), but Mad Hatter comes across as a straight Woobie Destroyerof Worlds IMO. I mean, he's a Serial Killer and implied rapist but his interview tapes show him as almost completely detached from reality. And, when Strange forces him to remember the women he's killed, Hatter reacts with utter horror and despair. Besides, I find it hard to hate a guy who, after beating the crap out of him and coming back to his lair, is revealed to be crying unconsolably over his destroyed hat. Him saying, "Why did you do it? I only wanted a friend" doesn't help in the monster department. He seems like one of the few villains genuinely insane and in serious need of psychiatric help.

"Moreover, you're simply working with the "torture automatically equals Complete Monster" mindset, when that isn't always the case - if we were talking, say, Strawberry Shortcake, yes, that would be enough for this status. But the depravity bar is pretty damn low in Batman: Arkham City, and torture alone isn't going to cut it."

It's not just his fondness for torture, and the fact that he engages in it even when there's no reason for it (though that does help). It's also how he murders people and sticks their bodies up on display as trophies, and then brags about how he killed them. It's also about how he's a Bad Boss to his mooks (I know the Joker's worse, but that doesn't mean Penguin doesn't qualify. What else would you call someone who forces new recruits to kill each other in gladiator matches?). On top of all that though, it's the sadism with which he undertakes his actions, and his unbridled pride in them. He's not insane, like Zsaz and Joker. He's someone who should've been a normal person but chose to be a monster.

"While he would have to work long and hard, I think that he could be redeemed in the series."

I can't see that. At all. Because there are three things I ask myself when pondering whether a character can be redeemed or not: How could they redeem themselves? Why would they redeem themselves? And would it be consistent with their characterization? Mr. Freeze, Harley Quinn, Two-Face, Bane, Talia, Deadshot, Mad Hatter, Poison Ivy, Ra's, they all have redeemable qualities. Whether it be remorse for their actions, tragic backstories, or sympathetic qualities/ Petthe Dog moments which prevent them from going completely over the edge, they all possess a foundation upon which redemption can be built. I see none of that in Penguin. He is greedy, cruel, power hungry, and sadistic. He has zero remorse, zero altruism, zero compassion. And if he started to show any in a third game, I can't conceive of it not being Character Derailment. So what do you see in him as redeemable? And why do you think he'd go for it?

"Still, I do wonder how someone can have played through Arkham City and think the Penguin is a Complete Monster and somehow not include Zsasz on the list (unless his lack of success outside of game over/restart sequences disqualifies him, which I would argue against)."

I forgot about Zsaz, but I agree he counts as a Complete Monster. However, according to the old rules Negative Continuity circumstances don't count as evidence for this trope. Assuming that condition still applies though, that would mean all of Zsaz's villainy is offstage. So if you still think Zsaz counts, then I have to ask, why? Why would Zsaz's Offstage Villainy count while Penguin's doesn't? What's the difference? At least Zsaz has a psychological compulsion to kill people, whereas Penguin is a sane person who just loves killing.

edited 21st Nov '11 9:50:59 PM by OccasionalExister

 330 Shaoken, Mon, 21st Nov '11 10:42:43 PM Relationship Status: Dating Catwoman
Okay, counting towards Penguin not being a CM;

I find it hard to buy the idea that the developers developed an oversight for the cop getting is hand smashed considering how many details they cram into the game. Hell thinking about it the cop shouldn't be screaming in pain if his frozen hand got smashed, because all his nerve endings wouldn't be working.

The main arguement for him not being a CM is that his actions are 90% delievered towards other evil-doers. Joker and Zsaaz gladly go after civillians, but Penguin doesn't. There is a huge leap between killing rival gang-members and a cop sent to undermine you and killing civillians for kicks. That Penguin does not target civillians shows he's not a Complete Monster. He doesn't kill just for enjoyment, he kills because he has a goal in mind.

Again, Complete Monsters are the top 1% of villians, not the top 20% or the top 50%.

As for Zsaaz, he ould count if he wasn't treated as such a joker in Arham Asylum and if he actually did something in continuity in Arkham City he might count, but really he has a on-screen body count of zero, and we only run into four corpses left by him over both games.

 331 32 Footsteps, Tue, 22nd Nov '11 7:31:32 AM from Just north of Arkham Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
The 11th Grover
Zsasz is a tricky case.

The ticks against him are that, should you succeed, he has no deaths during the events of either Arkham game. He doesn't actually do anything more than hold captives in each game (five total between the two) - evil, but not CM-worthy.

That said, the game makes no bones that he is quite willing to kill in cold blood. If you do fail (generally, take too long to deal with what he's trying to do), he will kill people. He doesn't care who; he just does it for a rush. This gives you a Nonstandard Game Over and you try again and again until you foil him. He's indiscriminately killing for his own pleasure, and it seems even The Joker doesn't like him.

So I guess the question is, particularly in a video game where they will show you the consequences of your failure, can the results of player failure be enough to have a villain count as a Complete Monster? Because Zsasz is willing to take that step - canonically, however, he never gets to in-game because of outside interference.
Reminder: Offscreen Villainy does not count towards Complete Monster.
 332 Shaoken, Tue, 22nd Nov '11 5:09:51 PM Relationship Status: Dating Catwoman
I say we keep him off just to avoid that issue all together, lest we suddenly find people trying to add villians who canonically have no evil deeds successfully completed, but if you get a gameover it's inferred they do evil deeds.

Besides, Zsaaz is already on the comic book entry page, so as far as I'm concerned he doesn't need to be on this one for implied actions. Let's keep to the "no off-screen villany unless tied into on-screen events" ruling.

@ Shaoken: "I find it hard to buy the idea that the developers developed an oversight for the cop getting is hand smashed considering how many details they cram into the game."

Why not? I mean, creators aren't infallible no matter how much The Dev Teamthinksof Everything. JK Rowling is the goddess of Continuity Porn but she still made mistakes and retcons while writing. Honestly, I wouldn't be so hung up on this if this was only implied, but the Penguin explicitly states he's freezing and destroying a cop's hand. I mean, here's the transcript of the scene:

Penguin: This piggy's still got some life in 'im. Good. Let's hear him squeal." (Fires freeze-gun and Denning screams) "What you're hearing is the sound of an undercover cop having his fingers frozen to sub-zero temperatures." (Fires gun again, Denning screams again) "Now, I wonder what would happen if I take this hammer and..." (Sound of something shattering, Denning screams again) "Well, what do you know? His whole bloody hand explodes!" (Evil Laugh)

What am I supposed to think is happening in this scene? It's either developers' oversight or the Penguin's exaggerating on the hand exploding, and even if you believe the latter he's still clearly torturing Denning with that freeze gun.

"There is a huge leap between killing rival gang-members and a cop sent to undermine you and killing civillians for kicks. That Penguin does not target civillians shows he's not a Complete Monster."

Being a criminal doesn't mean you're no longer a human being. Nobody deserves to experience what Penguin puts these people through. Also, Penguin doesn't torture these people because they're criminals and he's taking this great moral stand. He does it to establish dominance within the city. Being a Complete Monster doesn't mean a villain's automatically Stupid Evil. If the choice is to endulge in his sadism by torturing innocent political prisoners who are doing nothing to him, or endulging in it by torturing criminals actively working against him, there's no contest.

Even if you disagree with me there though, the game proves that Penguin IS willing to target civillians. An Arkham City story confirms he tortured a civilian for cheating at poker in FULL VIEW OF EVERYONE IN THE LOUNGE. That's how he got that beer bottle shoved into his head, a friend of the tortured guy retaliated.

Secondly, the first thing Penguin does onscreen is target someone (he believes to be) a civilian, BRUCE WAYNE. Penguin doesn't know he's Batman! He just thinks he's a rich guy whose family did better than Cobblepot's. That doesn't stop him from trying to beat Wayne to death and having specially made a display case to prop Bruce Wayne's body up in.

Also, why wouldn't you count the cops being killed and tortured as innocent people?

"He doesn't kill just for enjoyment, he kills because he has a goal in mind."

But he quite clearly does enjoy killing and torturing people. Pragmatic Villainy isn't the same as Even Evilhas Standards, especially when an arguement can be made that torture and putting Dead Guyon Display aren't that pragmatic.

@32 Footsteps: "So I guess the question is, particularly in a video game where they will show you the consequences of your failure, can the results of player failure be enough to have a villain count as a Complete Monster?"

I always thought that a Non-Standard Game Over could count as evidence for a Complete Monster. So long as the bad guys are still acting in-character and it's being played for drama. It's not like Family Guy where horrible actions are played for comedy. But I can see Shaoken's point too.

edited 22nd Nov '11 6:52:12 PM by OccasionalExister

 334 Shaoken, Wed, 23rd Nov '11 1:05:21 AM Relationship Status: Dating Catwoman
Well, we're pretty much going in circles with the Penguin issue. Simply put, we have a three-to-two concensus against him joining, with the arguement being that Penguin is not Complete Monster territory. We're trying to make it more exclusive, and including Penguin would mean that we'd see a lot more examples being suggested, which is the kind of attitude that got us here to begin with.

So for the time being, unless some more people come in with different opinions, I'd say we just leave it be and use Penguin as a bar to measure how evil villians can be without becoming Complete Monsters. It's appropriate too; Penguin has always been shown as believing himself more than he actually his.

 335 32 Footsteps, Wed, 23rd Nov '11 8:11:56 AM from Just north of Arkham Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
The 11th Grover
I say we keep him off just to avoid that issue all together, lest we suddenly find people trying to add villians who canonically have no evil deeds successfully completed, but if you get a gameover it's inferred they do evil deeds.

Good point. Considering that he manages to live through each game, we'll just put Zsasz on the list of nominees for when the next game comes out.

@333 Okay, first off? Stop "shouting". It doesn't improve your point; it only makes it more annoying to read your posts.

Second off, much of your arguments come from your own suppositions. You can't just say that the programmers made a continuity error - either find where they fess up to it, or admit that its your suspicion without proof. Don't just say that the Penguin was going to murder Bruce Wayne (he was quite willing to keep captives - he had both a member of the League of Assassins and Mr. Freeze captive). Much of your argument comes down to your own suppositions - this is not enough to label someone a Complete Monster.

Penguin certainly has put himself into position, yes. But unless he crosses the Moral Event Horizon in the third game, he doesn't qualify.
Reminder: Offscreen Villainy does not count towards Complete Monster.
[up]"Stop "shouting". It doesn't improve your point; it only makes it more annoying to read your posts."

You're right. Sorry, I'll quit doing that.

@ Shaoken: "So for the time being, unless some more people come in with different opinions, I'd say we just leave it be and use Penguin as a bar to measure how evil villians can be without becoming Complete Monsters."

Fair enough, I'll drop it for now.

 337 Shaoken, Sat, 26th Nov '11 3:10:51 PM Relationship Status: Dating Catwoman
Alright, so now it's time to decide what to do with pages we think are clean. I've cleaned up the Tabletop Game page, and while I would like someone else to take a look over it first, I was wondering if we were still planning on locking pages once we're satisfied to stop tropers from adding examples without taking it to the forum first.

 338 nrjxll, Sat, 26th Nov '11 3:48:34 PM Relationship Status: Not war
We should definitely do that.

 339 Shaoken, Sun, 27th Nov '11 2:27:20 PM Relationship Status: Dating Catwoman
Alright. I'm going to wait until the 10th before requesting a lock, so if in that time peroid anybody would be kind enough to go over the Tabletop Game section, I would be most greatful.

Addittionally, it seems like people are trying to add Just a Face and a Caption photos back onto the image links page. Could one more troper go over the examples that we do have, make sure that all the characters are on the Complete Monster list and that the photo has them doing something evil?

edited 27th Nov '11 2:30:54 PM by Shaoken

 340 nrjxll, Sun, 27th Nov '11 3:02:08 PM Relationship Status: Not war
For the record, that's redlinking because it's Tabletop Games, not Tabletop Game singular. I'll go over that soon.

As for the Image Links page, I say that it gets the same treatment as the subpages, honestly - lock it after purging the bad examples, make new ones go through this or another thread first.

 341 Jordan, Sun, 27th Nov '11 8:06:41 PM from Westeros
Azor Ahai
I often seem to find myself objecting to Complete Monster examples for very light and soft works, and here I am again to that end, regarding two of the muppet movies:

Here's an example that was written for It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie on the YMMV page:
  • Complete Monster: Rachel Bitterman, whose name alone should be an indicator. Unlike previous Muppet villains, she has no redeeming qualities in the film or any justification for being evil, since The Muppets were able to raise enough money in time. She also takes pleasure in seeing them suffer and laughs at Fozzie's laser injuries.

And for the YMMV for the new The Muppets:
  • Complete Monster: Whoa boy, is this a YMMV, but Tex Richman is the closest thing the Muppet movies have had to this trope since Doc Hopper. He is downright cruel with not an ounce of redeemable features in him. He will stop at nothing to stop the Muppets from saving the theater even if he has to destroy the theater himself. It definitely adds to his "Complete Monster" title that it's never explained (at least in the context of the movie) why he is so cold-hearted, he just is.

Looking at these two examples, I noticed a couple of things. Most obviously, these two characters are totally played for laughs, as you should probably gather from their names. I'm not sure if I ever saw the first movie, but the first character sounds like a Jerk Ass, and not much worse than Statler and Waldorf are toward the other Muppets. In the second instance, Tex Richman's reasoning is that there is oil under the Muppet Theatre, which is why he wants to hold onto it. It's hardly For the Evulz.

I'm also kind of wondering who they are being compared to in order to arrive at the judgment that they are the most evil villains ever in a Muppet movie.

As a side note, the Swedish Chef wants to eat his co-workers, and he's seen as a pretty ok guy...

edited 27th Nov '11 8:07:16 PM by Jordan

Hodor
 342 Shaoken, Sun, 27th Nov '11 8:57:17 PM Relationship Status: Dating Catwoman
I say delete both if you haven't already; they don't fit the criteria, and they are nowhere near detailed enough as to why the troper thought they were C Ms. That they even said it was YMMV is a great indication that it's not a good example.

So I'd say delete if they aren't already and link to this page, P Ming if they try to add the examples back in without discussing and request a lock if it happens a third time.

I'm sorry, but there is no way in hell Strange is a Well-Intentioned Extremist. He's a mass murdering psycopath who single handily turned Gotham into a hell hole, subjects his own men to horrific tortures, turns a blind eye to the blatantly obvious corruption and depravity of Arkham City, and tries to massacre every man, woman and child in the City, all so he can fulfill his juvenile fantasy of replacing Batman.
 344 32 Footsteps, Mon, 28th Nov '11 8:02:46 AM from Just north of Arkham Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
The 11th Grover
@341 I actually saw that last night, right before I went to bed. The only reason I didn't delete those (particularly from the latest movie) is because I long since learned that tired troping leads to mistakes. Those two examples (especially from The Muppets) are prime examples of the kind of trope drift we need to fight. In fact, if you haven't zapped those, I'm going to go zap them now.

EDIT: Also, I'd have to say, with some familiarity, that either Nick Holiday (from The Great Muppet Caper) or Long John Silver (memorably played by Tim Curry in Muppet Treasure Island) would be the most heinous villain in a Muppet movie. Rachel Bitterman was just a Jerkass, and Tex Richman was practically a live-action version of Dick Dastardly, right down to needlessly cheating.

edited 28th Nov '11 8:17:15 AM by 32_Footsteps

Reminder: Offscreen Villainy does not count towards Complete Monster.
 345 Jordan, Mon, 28th Nov '11 9:07:50 AM from Westeros
Azor Ahai
I wasn't sure whether or not to bring up Long John Silver because of the odd Show Within a Show thing the Muppets have, but yeah, he's definitely more villainous than either of those two characters (and, as in the original novel, presented somewhat sympathetically).

Edit- Thanks for deleting them.

edited 28th Nov '11 9:19:39 AM by Jordan

Hodor
 346 Shaoken, Mon, 28th Nov '11 2:31:43 PM Relationship Status: Dating Catwoman
@Some New Guy - His goal is to create a world free of criminals. That is by definition well-intentioned. He didn't turn Gotham City, renown for being a hell hole for decades, into a hell hole, and his master plan only affected those in Arkham City, not Gotham. Not to mention that Since it's revealed that he's working with Ra's al-Ghul, whoses willing kill more people than Strange (2 billion to be precise).

From the description of the trope; "A villain who has an overall goal which the heroes can appreciate in principle, but whose methods of pursuing said goal (such as mass murder) are the problem; despite any sympathy they may have with his cause, the heroes have no choice but to stop him. Taken to extremes, he may fully believe that Utopia Justifies the Means. Such a idealistic extremist is likely to be either a Totalitarian Utilitarian or a Principles Zealot, depending on whether he's aiming For Happiness or For Great Justice. The most well-written examples of this trope are the kind that the reader/viewer stops just short of agreeing with."

Strange's overall goal; stop all criminals for the rest of time. His goal is the same as Batman's but on a larger scale. His goal is noble, it's his methods that make him a villian and a Knight Templar. But the rules are clear; his out for having a goal that in princible is the same as Batman's.

[up]"Because Knights Templar usually have high-minded goals, many are resistant to the Complete Monster treatment, though they're not immune, especially if the acts they commit in pursuit of those goals are truly heinous and horrific."

The fine print says a Knight Templar can be a Complete Monster, and, as you admitted, Strange is a Knight Templar. And he definitely has onscreen moments which can be seen as crossing the Moral Event Horizon (Protocol 10 probably being the worst).

Pretty much every Knight Templar has a goal that is ostensibly noble, and while a world without crime is a good goal on paper, the problem is he's doing it for all the wrong reasons. He's not doing it to help the world. He's doing it for himself. He's a Glory Hound and he wants the world to idolize him. He sees Protocol 10 as a way to become immortalized through his "heroism" while it's really a monuement to his ego. Another problem with labeling him a Well-Intentioned Extremist is the fact that he's pretty clearly a sadist. Strange likes hurting people, and he has absolutely no remorse or qualms about killing innocent people to further his plans, even when it's totally unnecessary.

edited 28th Nov '11 4:37:23 PM by OccasionalExister

 348 Shaoken, Mon, 28th Nov '11 7:23:46 PM Relationship Status: Dating Catwoman
That last line I have to argue with. Strange does target innocent civillians, but never without a purpose. He targets Holly to get at Catwoman, he throws innocent people into Arkham City to stop them from interfering with his plans, he gives the Joker the doctors to learn more about the Batman. Could he have found ways around those actions? Probably, but they weren't 'totally unnessicary for his goals. Everything he did he did for a purpose.

He's a dark reflection of Batman; Both have the same goals, they just go about it in completely different ways and for different reasons. But he is not a Complete Monster; despite SNG's claim he wasn't trying to kill every last man woman and child in Gotham city (and Arkham City has no children in it), his horriffic tortures of his own men aren't anything compared to Joker's (Strange uses mind-control and servere electroshock from all we see. Joker injects his men with Body Horror inducing toxins, drops them into rooms full of Joker gas, threatens to maim and slaughter them, offers a night with Harley has a prize for killing Batman while making it clear he won't tell her before hand, etc. etc.).

Strange doesn't fit the trope, and trying to show-horn him in will make the trope decay worse.

 349 32 Footsteps, Mon, 28th Nov '11 8:57:58 PM from Just north of Arkham Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
The 11th Grover
The problem with listing Hugo Strange as an example is because too much of what could qualify him comes from inference (most strongly in his interview tapes with the Riddler). Quite simply, there are hints that his "kill all the criminals" mindset is not simply an over-obsessive view of justice and merely a mask for something else (like it frequently is in the comics), nothing is explicit enough to definitively say in the game whether or not that's the case.

One of the two big problems that this trope has is that people too often make inferences regarding various characters as to their actions. While those inferences might be plausible, there isn't enough to support them.

The other big problem, of course, is that some people think the bar for this trope is lowered for shows oriented towards less mature crowds.
Reminder: Offscreen Villainy does not count towards Complete Monster.
 350 nrjxll, Mon, 28th Nov '11 9:15:25 PM Relationship Status: Not war
his horriffic tortures of his own men aren't anything compared to Joker's (Strange uses mind-control and servere electroshock from all we see.

I'd like to note that, while this might pale in comparison, it's still a fairly monstrous act on its own. I haven't played the games and can't say whether he's an example or not (from the discussion, I'm inclined to think not) but I don't agree that someone can't be a Complete Monster just because someone else in the work is even worse.

I've also read through the Tabletop Games page - it could use a slight trim-down in the number of multi-level bullet points and there's a few bad examples, but mostly seems to be correct.

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