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Comic Book / Mr. A

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"There is black and there is white, and there is wrong and there is right, and there is nothing, NOTHING in between."
Alan Moore referring to Mr. A.

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.

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 Wallace Wood founded Underground Comics series witzend and was later collected in self-published comics Ditko distributed himself.

Alan Moore disliked this character strongly and portrayed this type of character in a rather twisted way as Watchmen's Rorschach.

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 and Randian philosophy.
  • Badass Normal: As mentioned, he is absolutely a normal human, without even the Training from Hell someone like Batman will usually have.
  • 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.
  • Calling Card: A black and white business card, representing his worldview, usually displayed before Mr. A beats up some criminals.
  • Character Filibuster: Mr. A is prone to going on rants about there being no "gray area" between black and white morals.
  • Crime After Crime: Most stories revolve around this, the Objectivist moral being that there's no such thing as toeing the line between good and evil.
  • Dirty Commies: The comic refers to America and its allies as the Free World, and the Warpac nations as the Slave World.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: The teenage criminal Angel uses his innocent good looks and young age to get people to sympathize with him and ignore his true violent nature and sociopathic personality.
  • Flat Character: Given the didactic nature of the series, there's not much room for character development.
  • Gentleman Thief: Deconstructed in the story "Count Rogue". The titular Count Rogue acted Affably Evil toward his marks (while insulting all of them in his head) as part of a complicated plan to embarrass a rival at his day job who had been promoted before him. Mr. A is the only person who doesn't buy into the mystique of the Count as a noble thief, except for a burglar who randomly breaks into the Count's home at the end of the story, and gives an oddly on-the-nose "Not So Different" Remark while trying to blackmail his way into a "partnership".
  • Good Is Not Nice: Mr. A, who is basically Rorschach, just not ugly and insane.
  • "Miss X" Pun: Mr. A sounds like a variation on "Mystery".
  • One-Letter Name: Mr. A's name consists of just the letter "A" after the "Mr."
  • Quit Your Whining: Mr. A's reaction to criminals who complain about being unfairly treated by society, and to people who complain about criminals being unfairly treated by society.
  • Refuse to Rescue the Disliked: This is Mr. A's modus operandi. He's not much for Saving the Villain.
  • Sadistic Choice: A rare heroic example. In the very first Mr. A story, the protagonist forces an excessively gullible and naive woman to choose whether he should save her or her friend the villain when both are in grave danger, in order to prove that her philosophy doesn't work. Made somewhat more reasonable by the fact that the bad guy is a complete Card-Carrying Straw Hypocrite and murderous psychopath, who had also stabbed the woman in the guts moments before, which was the reason she urgently required medical attention in the first place.
  • 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.
  • Strawman Political: Mr. A's opponents tend be of the Straw Liberal persuasion.
  • The Dreaded: Among the criminal underworld, Mr. A showing up is treated as effectively a death sentence.
  • 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 is left unrevealed.
  • White Mask of Doom: Mr. A wears a somewhat dehumanizing white mask.
  • 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.