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"The whole point of this exercise was to bring a little choice into that sad, pathetic thing you used to call your life."

Meet Wesley Gibson. Wesley's father abandoned him when he was eighteen weeks old, and things have gone steadily downhill since. He works for a disgusting boss at a job he hates before going home to a girlfriend who's sleeping with his best friend. But suddenly, Wesley is tapped to join The Fraternity, a shadowy cabal of comic book-style villains who claim they're behind all organized crime on Earth, and that further, Wesley's father was one of them.

And that's when Wesley's life gets much more interesting.

Wanted is a comic series by Mark Millar and JG Jones that operates on one simple principle: superheroes really do exist in our world. Well, at least they did until 1986, when all the supervillains in the world teamed up for the express purpose of defeating every superhero in the world. However, getting rid of the superheroes and divvying the world up into sections to make money unencumbered by spandex-clad do-gooders wasn't enough for the supervillains. Did we mention they are supervillains? They used magic and technology to alter reality and people's memories, removing the superheroes from all recorded history and recall.



You see, this still wasn't enough (supervillains, remember). So they took the heroes who had survived and gave them meaningless lives, then left most of the heroes exploits around... in comic books.

The series has its origins in Millar's childhood, when his older brother convinced the young Mark that Superman and all other superheroes had existed before Mark was born, but had all been killed by the supervillains. And then Mark grew up and became a comic writer. Was originally a proposed reboot for the Secret Society of Super-Villains, but when rejected, Mark decided to go Darker and Edgier.


Wanted (the series) provides examples of:

  • Adorable Evil Minions: The Doll-Master uses robot dolls to commit crimes.
  • Adrenaline Makeover: Wesley trades in his jeans/t-shirts/windbreaker style for tailored three-piece suits.
  • Advert-Overloaded Future: The Fraternity occasionally makes raids on a futuristic universe called Parallel-2 where people can be paid to have advertisements put on their teeth.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Professor Solomon Seltzer seems like a fairly nice, easy to get along with guy. Then you remember that he was the person who engineered the heroic genocide...
    • The Doll-Master is as evil as the rest of the Fraternity but he loves his family and won't swear in front of children.
  • All There in the Manual: Several character backstories that were not made apparent in the actual story were included in the Wanted Dossier:
    • Sucker is explained to be a parasitic alien lifeform that lives through attaching itself to various unwitting hosts, thus making him an Expy of Venom.
    • Imp is considered an infant in the dimension he hails from. He's also having an affair with Rictus mook Deadly Nightshade.
  • Ax-Crazy: Mr. Rictus in a nutshell.
  • Badass Army: Composed of supervillains. Who use A Ks for some reason.
  • Badass Bookworm: Professor Seltzer.
  • Badass Decay: invokedTurns out that this universe once had a Batman expy, who Mr. Rictus described as essentially being the "scariest man in the world" (and considering what Mr. Rictus is like, that says a lot). After the villains effectively retconned the existence of superheroes, that same guy is now an expy of Adam West, and is an actor who portrays a superhero in a campy TV show.
    • The result of the superheroes whom have survived the event that wiped out the rest of the heroes due to brainwashing and reality warping manipulations by The Fraternity.
  • Badass Longcoat: Mr. Rictus and The Future both wear these quite nicely
  • The Bad Guy Wins: It already happened. Why do you think it's such a Crapsack World? The main plot itself ends with power in the world changing from one mass-murdering supervillain to another mass-murdering supervillain.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Inverted; Mr. Rictus makes love to goats. Plural. As he is part of a group of supervillains, nobody is overly bothered by this.
  • Better Living Through Evil: Rather than being recruited by assassins to become a badass hero, Wesley's trained to become a supervillain. The Fraternity of the graphic novel make no pretense of heroism or righteousness — they Kick the Dog on a regular basis because it's fun, and encourage Wesley to do the same. In fact, at the end, in a fabulous deconstruction of the Comes Great Responsibility Aesop, Wesley pretends to have a moral epiphany, tells his sidekick/fuck buddy that he was just kidding, then mocks the reader for having a moral compass. And then he rapes you.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: After Mr. Rictus gloatingly informs him that his wife and daughters have been raped and murdered, The Doll-Master orders all of his dolls to kill Rictus' gang. It doesn't work, but give him points for trying.
  • Beware the Superman: To be more accurate, Beware The Supervillains. Regular citizens, law enforcement, celebrities, and high officials can literally be maimed, raped, or murdered at a moment's notice by members of the Fraternity and most aren't aware or too afraid to do anything about it. The people live on the whim of murderers.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Mr. Rictus and The Future, the supervillain leaders of respectively the Australian and European Fraternity chapters, team up to take over the Fraternity together.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: One of the defining traits of the series.
    • You can argue that its Black and Black Morality. The differences are negligible at best. The only differences in morality seems to literally be shooting babies in their cribs and maybe cannibalism.
  • Blasphemous Boast: At the yearly conference of Fraternity heads, Adam One doesn't see the point in Mr. Rictus advocating for the Fraternity to step out of the shadows, since they're "already sitting here with more money than God".
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The entire series is Wesley telling you, the reader, all of this after it's happened and giving you a "The Reason You Suck" Speech for thinking it's just a comic book. That world without superheroes, miracles, or hope? It's our world.
  • Brotherhood of Evil: The Fraternity, a group uniting the world's supervillains. After killing all the superheroes, they have divided up the world between their ruling Council Of Five, with each members getting control over organized crime on a continent. They're now so powerful they've gained complete impunity, with displaying Fraternity pins or license plates being enough to get away with any crime (including killing cops. However, they still hide from the general public for the group's convenience.
  • Bullet Time: This is shown to be part of the reason Wesley is so good at killing people.
  • Canon Welding: Some bits of dialogue in both titles indicates that Millar's Chosen takes place in the same Universe.
  • Cape Punk: An example of the genre which goes to illustrate, no, the villains are not cool and you should be ashamed for liking them.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Pretty much every member of The Fraternity; they're evil and darn proud of it.
  • Cast of Expies: Inverted in-universe. In a twist, the comic book heroes and villains Wanted's are based on are implied to be expies of Wanted's "real life" versions, while the comic book versions are all that remain of humanity's knowledge of them after reality was edited. The book apparently started as a pitch for an Alternate Universe take on DC's Secret Society of Super-Villains, so all the characters can be traced back to The DCU villains in some respects. Some of the background villains towards the end also resemble Marvel villains. You can see recolored versions of the Green Goblin, Hate-Monger, and Kang the Conqueror in Wesley's assault on Rictus's compound.
    • The Killer (especially the first one), considering he started off with the "Batman enemies" group and has the power of infallible aim, was inspired by Deadshot. Millar confirms it here.
    • The Fox is blatantly Catwoman.
    • Professor Seltzer is pretty much a Golden Age Lex Luthor, especially due to being a mad scientist with an alliterative name.
    • Superman's counterpart is not named, but he is explicitly shown as a paraplegic, like Christopher Reeve, the actor who played Superman in the Richard Donner films.
    • Batman is alluded to several times — as the Detective — before his post-1986 persona who was basically Adam West, along with Dick Grayson who had turned into Burt Ward, are placed in a death trap by Mr. Rictus and fed to an octopus. It's a bit tragic when Mr. Rictus points out that the fat, pleading slob with the hood over his head was once the scariest man in the world.
    • The Emperor is Fu Manchu. Given the DC origins of the pitch, he's also Ra's Al Ghul.
    • Adam-One is Vandal Savage, being a caveman who has become immortal.
    • Shithead is very similar to Clayface in that he's a shape-shifter who resembles a brown being made of mud in his default form.
    • Deadly Nightshade is a villainess with power over plants like Poison Ivy.
    • Imp is a pastiche of Superman's reality-warping enemy Mister Mxyzptlk.
    • Fuckwit is a lot like Bizarro due to being a dim-witted clone of the aforementioned Superman pastiche.
    • The Doll-Master is Toyman, albeit with a slightly different personality.
    • Johnny Two-Dicks is Two-Face combined with Scarface.
    • Brain Box is a pastiche of Brainiac in that he is a superintelligent android.
    • Sucker is based on Parasite in that he can drain energy from people and copy the powers of superhuman victims, with a bit of Venom's nature as a parasitic alien life form that thrives by bonding to host bodies for good measure.
    • The Frightener is a representation of Scarecrow. He also looks vaguely like a green version of Carnage.
    • The Puzzler is an equivalent of The Riddler in that he's a puzzle-themed villain.
    • The Future is similar to Per Degaton, another fascist time-traveling villain, but with the inversion that he's from the future like Kang the Conqueror at Marvel or the Lord of Time at DC.
    • With his fitting Slasher Smile, psychopathic tendencies, and Black Comedy, series antagonist Mr Rictus is an obvious send-up of the Clown Prince of Crime.

  • Catch and Return: Done with a bullet. Using a knife.
  • Caught in the Ripple: At some point every supervillain banded together to rewrite reality so that not only did the world forget superheroes were real, the superheroes forgot as well (the supervillains, for their part, operate in secrecy). One villain killed his nemeses (Batman & Robin expies) by dunking them in a vat of acid, they kept screaming that they weren't superheroes, they'd just played them on TV.
  • Cessation of Existence: Mr Rictus was originally an extremely religious man who did only good but after briefly dying on the operating table and realizing there was no afterlife, he became one of the world's worst supervilains after realizing there was no consequences for being bad.
    • Weirdly Mark Millar's other comic Chosen is implied to be set in the same universe and it's about the second coming of Jesus.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar: The Fox subverts it. She seems like one at first glance, but stick around and you'll find her to be crass, vulgar, and ultraviolent.
  • Cleanup Crew: Cover exists to stop the Fraternity's antics from reaching the media. They even managed to stop us learning about the second coming of Jesus Christ.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Like most of Mark Millar's adult oriented story's, the entire book is filed to the brim with some of the saltiest and most vulgar profanity to ever make its way into a mainstream comic.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Eminem as Wesley, Halle Berry as Fox and Tommy Lee Jones as The Killer. Toy-Master resembles Mark Hamill (who is a noted toy collector in Real Life).
  • Coming in Hot: Wesley flying through the portal being chased by most of the superheroes from Parallel-2.
  • Conqueror from the Future: The Future. With Nazism.
  • Contemporary Caveman: Fraternity leader Adam-One, a millenia-old immortal from the dawn of humankind.
  • Contract on the Hitman: When Wesley and The Fox escape him, Mr. Rictus goes about finding them by the simple expedient of revoking their Fraternity protection and letting their faces and names be plastered all across the news.
  • Cop Killer: The members of the Fraternity are entirely above the law. At one point Wesley Gibson goes on a shooting spree in a police station like some unstoppable Terminator-supervillain because he was bored.
  • Corrupt Politician: In a world run by super-villains, a number of world leaders have to be on the take.
  • Crapsack World: Ever wonder why the world seems like it sucks? Because it does, thanks to the villains erasing superheroes.
  • Create Your Own Hero: Invoked by Mr. Rictus, a Card-Carrying Villain who routinely murders a kid's parents in front of him to see if this will happen.
  • Creepy Doll: The Doll-Master's weapons of choice. Able to fly and loaded with Professor Seltzer-designed weapons.
  • Crossover: Millar was reluctant to do any crossovers but agreed to do one with the Savage Dragon since he and Larsen are pals and had worked together in the past.
  • Deconstruction:
    • Not just of comic books and super-villains (see below), but to a larger extent, society's glorification of violence. It's a widely established fact that becoming an action hero and "manning up" is a power fantasy frequently entertained by adolescents (mainly males). Here, Millar suggests that such dreams are not only unrealistic, but just downright dysfunctional and reprehensible. For example, Wesley mentions several times about how his transition to cold-blooded killer changed his life for the better, but isn't portrayed sympathetically at all. In fact, at this point readers are most likely disgusted by his actions, with his callous murder of innocents, like the moment where, on a whim, he decides to walk into a police station and kill every male officer and nearly rape the sole female survivor, all because he was bored. In fact, towards the end of the comic, as he enacts his Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Mr. Rictus, he confidently states "I am John Wayne, Bruce Lee, Clint Eastwood", among other action heroes. At this point, would you really cheer for him, even if he plays on your power fantasies like a video game?
    • Wanted explores the entire Hero's Journey archetype of storytelling by stuffing it in a blender with Protagonist Journey to Villain and hitting frappe. Wesley starts out as an average loser before having the Call to Adventure forced on him; before the second issue is over, he's a horrible, horrible person, and every person he comes across seems tailor-made to cheer him on in his horribleness and mould him into a more competent horrible person, offering moral support and justifying his actions for him, so that even when he has moments of introspection the answer is always "you're right, and you deserve all the power". Compare the journey of Wesley Gibson with the journey of a character like Harry Potter. Lots of conveniently inherited guardians, assistants, resources, and lucky powers that save the day with bizarre ease. When changed to this context, the insidiousness of the archetype kind of comes to the fore.
  • Defector from Decadence: Wesley's mother was a former supervillain who left the life of villainy after becoming a mother, coddling Wesley to the disgust of his father, who wanted his son to follow his legacy.
  • Deliver Us from Evil: Wesley's mother was once a supervillain like his father. However, after he was born she grew disillusioned with the criminal lifestyle, forbidding his father any contact with them and trying to steer him away from turning out like him.
  • Depraved Bisexual: The original Killer mostly has sex with women, but each year gets some male prostitutes when he's bored, to renew his taste for them.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The main character gains the resources to do whatever he wanted. As an example, he deals with the frustration of a neighbor being too cheery with... a bullet to the face.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Despite having a vast array of firearms used against him, Wesley never actually ends up getting shot, most likely due to this trope. His father is explicitly shown dodging bullets, and since Wesley got his powers from his dad, it makes sense that he would be capable of the same feat.
  • Don't Think, Feel: Wesley's first test is to shoot the wings off some flies. He's unable to even try until The Fox is literally about a second from blowing his brains out.
  • Driven to Suicide: In a way; Wesley's dad can't stand the thought of not being the best killer in the world or of someone less talented than he is taking him out, so he gets Wesley to do it.
  • Electrified Bathtub: Wesley's Training Montage shows him tossing an electric heater into a victim's bathtub.
  • Emasculated Cuckold: This was the initial fate of the protagonist, with his girlfriend cheating on him with his best friend, which is what prompts him to become a misanthrope and turn to a life of crime. When he becomes a supervillain, he cuts up his friend into little pieces before telling his girlfriend that he knows everything and walks off.
  • End of an Age: The universe's heroic age didn't end when the heroes were killed, but when the villains literally rewrote reality to erase them from existence. However, Wesley's father admits that they had to sacrifice a lot. Not only did they lose many comrades, but the world just doesn't quite feel the same to them. The transition is even shown visually as the bright colored hero era is converted into the dark and drab modern era.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In spades. Wesley Gibson: Mass murderer and remorseless rapist? Oh yeah, absolutely. But at least he has a tiny sense of decency when he displays his appreciation of family. Mr. Rictus, on the other hand, commits such heinous atrocities that disgust even Wesley and most of the other villains. Fox mentions this as the reason she moved from Rictus's gang to Seltzer's. Sure, she kills people, but Rictus was shooting babies in cribs for the hell of it. In fact, Mr. Rictus's evil is pretty much the only reason you would cheer for Wesley when he goes on his killing spree against Rictus: the latter is only slightly better than the former when it comes to morality. Just barely.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Wesley, Wesley's father, and Doll-Master all have families and sincerely care about them. Fox had a genuine love affair with Wesley's father in the past and with Wesley himself in the present. The immortal African dictator Adam-One is shown at his oldest son's death bed and hates it when he's interrupted because he wants to be with him in his last moments.
  • Evil Duo: Wesley and The Fox, who by the end of the series are the new leaders of the North American branch of The Fraternity.
  • Evil Mentor: The entire Fraternity serve as this to Wesley, but Solomon Seltzer and the Fox in particular. Their goal is to make him a powerful and feared supervillain like his father, but in a subversion they do have his best interests at heart. Wesley's father is a more distant version, as he doesn't reveal himself until the end to complete his son's training.
  • Evil Only Has to Win Once: The premise of the setting is that the supervillains of the world finally decided to all team up and thus overwhelm the superheroes by sheer numbers. After their victory, the villains used one of their Reality Warpers to retroactively change reality so that the heroes became normal people (with ironic twists to their lives), and they themselves were set up as the secret rulers of the world. The only hint that anything was ever different is the existence of superhero comic books, which represent the ultimate victory of the supervillains — although the comics depict actual events from the previous reality, nobody would ever take them seriously.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: It seems like The Killer wanted his son Wesley to stay out of the criminal life and therefore never contacted him. Subverted at the end when it turns out that he very much wants him to become a mass-murdering supervillain and set up all the events of the comic book to get Wesley to follow him in his footsteps.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The finale, with Wesley and The Fox facing off against Mr. Rictus and his crew.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Doll-Master is calm and accepting of his impending death when Mr. Rictus and his men come for him during their elimination of the American Fraternity chapter. All he asks of them is that they leave his face intact for when his wife and children find him. When they reveal that they already killed his family beforehand, Doll-Master unleashes his dolls in retaliation.
  • The Faceless: The Superman Substitute that Wesley fights in Parallel-2.
  • Facial Horror: Mr. Rictus was severely burned in an industrial accident that (briefly) killed him. This has left him with his teeth gruesomely exposed in what seems like a permanent grin, hence his name.
  • Faking the Dead: Wesley's father faked his own death so he could set his son on the path to succeeding him and becoming one of the most powerful supervillains in the world.
  • Fan Disservice: Issue #2 includes a panel of a nude woman with her breasts clearly visible. Unfortunately, she's cowering in terror as Wesley tosses an electric heater into her bathtub.
  • Fiction as Cover-Up: The Fraternity altering reality turned the superheroes into actors who played them in movies and TV shows. Superhero comics and movies are still being made because some people subconsciously remember the heroes.
  • For the Evulz: Doing evil deeds just because is specifically stated to be Mr. Rictus's entire philosophy. At least he's up front about it.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • Wesley Gibson at the start of the series is a harmless nebbishy doormat. The moment he finds out about his heritage, however, he turns into a completely unrepentant monster who is implied to have the power of killing anything he wants, as long as he has a weapon.
    • Mr. Rictus was a kind and giving (though unremarkable) man who had a near-death experience and found out there was no heaven or hell. Upon realizing that all his good deeds had been ultimately useless, he pretty much said screw it all and decided to spend the rest of his life doing whatever the hell he wanted.
  • Gambit Roulette: Everything is masterminded by Wesley's father since he's hated how his mother raised him to be a "pussy" while The Killer still wanted to be a supervillain, so he made Wesley "man up" in his mind to take his place since age is catching up to him. It's even possible that Villains on both sides dying until Wesley gets North and South America was part of the plan. Consider that Wesley's father appears not a moment after Wesley kills Rictus. Shit, there's wanting the best for your son, and then there's turning him into the ruler of two continents.
  • Genre Deconstruction: Of the Roaring Rampage of Revenge trope. Normally the person committing the act is usually someone with sympathetic qualities that inspires the audience to root for the protagonist. In this comic Wesley not only lacks any sympathetic qualities but the comic itself flat out states that he's not the kind of character we should be rooting for. Especially since he's just as morally repugnant as the people he's after.
  • "Get out of Jail Free" Card: All Fraternity members wear pins bearing the Fraternity symbol, or drive cars with it on the licence plate. This allows them to commit any crime, in full view of police and dozens of witnessess and just walk away.
  • Godwin's Law: Invoked in how Rictus is allies with super-nazi "The Future". Without that one character it would be much harder to see Rictus as worse than the other villains.
  • Gollum Made Me Do It: Johnny Two Dicks is Composite Character of Two-Face and Scarface who is a meek bystander who is controlled by his evil side... who talks through Johnny's penis. Yes, really.
  • Great Gazoo: Imp, who is another explicit Expy of Mr. Mxyzptlk. However, most of his powers are only alluded to off-panel, with the appendix mentioning that he once accidentally turned the entire world into cotton candy. On-page, he gets murdered by the Parasite-expy fairly quickly.
  • Groin Attack: The Fox incapacitates Johnny Two-Dicks by castrating him.
  • Guns Akimbo: Both Wesley and The Fox are fond of this one.
  • Gun Fu: Wesley and his dad are the undisputed kings of this in the series.
  • Gun Kata: Wesley's powers allow him to know just where and when to shoot.
  • The Hedonist: Nearly everyone in The Fraternity only cares about satisfying their base pleasures and desires. Which is bad for the universe at large since the thing that makes supervillains feel good is petty evil on a good day and vicious genocide on a bad one.
  • Heaven Seeker: The backstory for the supervillain Mr. Rictus is that he dedicated his life to religion in the hopes of being rewarded with Heaven. However, after an accident that caused him to be clinically dead for a minute, he realized that there was no afterlife. Then he became a Straw Nihilist who indulges every sadistic whim he has.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Wesley's costume, a black leather full bodysuit with several guns and knives attached.
  • Here There Were Dragons: The whole point of the story is that superheroes used to be real until all the villains killed them and erased all record of their existence.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Mr. Rictus, who turned evil because he found out there was no afterlife, and decided to just do whatever the hell he wanted for the rest of his life. It turns out he wants to do some evil, evil shit.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Mr. Rictus is seen eating someone. The looks on Adam-One and The Emperor's faces suggest it may have been Seltzer. Considering who killed him, and how, one hopes that corpse was thoroughly cleaned. It probably wasn't. And he probably doesn't care.
  • Immortal Procreation Clause: African supervillain Adam One is an immortal man who can procreate, but his offspring don't inherit his immortality, given that he's shown attending the deathbed of one of his sons.
  • Important Haircut: Wesley goes from hippie dreadlocks to an Eminem-style crewcut to show how he goes From Nobody to Nightmare.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: In case you missed it earlier, Wesley shoots the wings off a couple of quarter-inch long houseflies. And walks through a police station and shoots every cop in the place squarely between the eyes...even when he isn't looking.
  • Insult Backfire: The two worst Fraternity heads seem to like being insulted.
    • During the meeting of the Fraternity heads, African overlord Adam One retaliates to a racist comment by Nazi overlord the Future by decrying him as a fascist. The Future responds "You say fascist like it's an insult. People love fascists, man. You ever meet a woman who fantasized about being tied up and raped by a liberal?"
    • At the end of the same meeting, Wesley insults the Joker-esque Mr. Rictus (whom he believes is secretly responsible for his father's death) with "Happy goat-fucking, Mr. Rictus" as the latter is leaving. Rictus responds thus: "I don't fuck goats, Mr. Gibson, I make love to them."
  • Insult Misfire: Wesley calls Shit-Head "Fuckface", but Shit-Head thinks that Wesley is getting him mixed up with Fuckwit.
    Wesley: I'm trying to be insulting, asshole!
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Considering that Seltzer engineered the Superhuman genocide, condemned his arch foe to a miserable existence as a cripple and that it's very heavily implied he's a pedophile, one could easily interpret Shithead and Rictus's murder of Seltzer as a ruthless killing of someone who had it coming anyway.
  • Lamarck Was Right: Wesley inherited his father's Improbable Aiming Skills. It's not clear if this was an actual sniper or he was a Badass Normal who trained for years.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: The superheroes are unnamed and implied to actually be the ones from The DCU.
  • Legion of Doom: Every single supervillain in existence teamed up in the backstory to defeat every superhero alive, and then rewrote reality to make their victory absolute. Afterwards, they organized themselves into The Fraternity, and now control the entire world in secret.
  • Level Ate: The Dossier mentions that Imp once turned America into a marshmallow land for 12 hours.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Wesley and his allies are ever so slightly better than their opponents, which makes it possible to root for them. Invoked by the author, as the story's structure (a corruption of The Hero's Journey) is specifically modelled to make you root for the Villain Protagonist even though he murders, rapes and tortures his way through the issues and is a petty, smug sadist who obviously gets off on the evil acts he commits. In the end the only thing differentiating Wesley from the Big Bad Mr. Rictus is that Wesley is evil 6 days a week, whereas Rictus strives to fill all 7 of them with bonafide supervillainy. By the end Wesley has to Break The Fourth Wall to remind the reader that, yes, he's still a villain and proud of it.
  • Love Father, Love Son: The Fox used to be the lover of Wesley Gibson's father before his death. She subsequently becomes Wesley's new lover.
  • Madden Into Misanthropy: Part of Fox's plan is to systematically madden and train Wesley into a "badass" who has zero regard for playing by the rules that made his pre-fraternity life miserable. For example, he handles the breakup with his girlfriend by casually breezing in and out of their apartment, much to her anger and confusion. Whilst telling her that he knows about the affair she's been having with his best friend, and has had him killed.
  • Mad Scientist: Professor Seltzer is a diabolical genius who's created a lot of dangerous weapons. He even admits that he's probably certifiably nuts.
  • Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex: The Dossier says that Seltzer forbids Imp's affair with Deadly Nightshade in case he accidentally unmakes reality during the throes of passion. This being a case of Man Of Steel Universe Of Kleenex.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Mr. Rictus tries to pull off the whole "nice suit" deal, but it's kind of ruined by the fact that his face and hands look like rotting hamburger.
  • The Masquerade: Ostensibly this is to keep superheroes from across the multiverse from coming to this universe and saving the world. It has the added effect of making everyone completely ignorant of how things actually work.
  • The Mole: Sucker is secretly an operative for Mr. Rictus infiltrating Seltzer's group.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The Fox, a hot, nymphomaniacal chick who wears leather and a pair of fox ears.
  • The Multiverse: To satisfy their supervillainous leanings, The Fraternity often raids other universes for treasure, as well as some trivial things.
  • Naked People Are Funny: The Fox recounts to Wesley that the first supervillains, at least in the sense that they were criminals with a gimmick, were a gang who committed robberies naked so that their victims would be too distracted by their nudity to identify them. It is also stated that not even superheroes were able to stop them because of how inherently uncomfortable it is to fight a bunch of naked men. When Wesley asks how these crooks were eventually stopped, the Fox answers that their undoing was caused by closed-circuit television, to which Wesley quips explains everything.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Adam-One bears a striking resemblance to President Mobutu.
    • Earth's greatest superhero was turned into a wheelchair-bound actor as a nod to Christopher Reeve.
    • Rictus later kills two ex-superheroes who are clearly based on Adam West and Burt Ward.
  • Not in the Face!: Doll-Master asks Mr. Rictus that he leaves his face intact while killing him. He already knows that he's gonna die — he just wants to make sure his family finds a relatively peaceful body. Mr. Rictus then reveals that he already killed them.
  • Not My Driver: Professor Solomon Seltzer is killed off when his driver Fuckwit is impersonated by the shapeshifting right-hand man of a rival Fraternity, Shithead.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Professor Seltzer doesn't look that threatening, does he? Now look at him again, while remembering that he personally killed this universe's Superman. Worse: During the rewrite of reality, he made him into a quadriplegic — that is to say, Christopher Reeve, the actor who played the titular character of the first Superman movies.
  • Number of the Beast: Shit-Head is made up of the collected feces of the 666 most evil human beings in history.
  • Offing the Annoyance: Wesley (once he's found out about his new powers) kills (among others) his neighbor, who annoyed him by always repeating the same mindlessly optimistic message every morning. His first step to becoming a supervillain is to go down the list of everyone who annoyed him in some way during his life and murder, rape, or torture all of them.
  • Order vs. Chaos: The conflict between Seltzer's regime and Rictus's regime is that Seltzer wants to continue ruling the planet and making boatloads of money from the shadows while Rictus wants to set the world on fire.
  • Patricide: At the very end, Wesley learns that his father, the original Killer, faked his death and ensured that Wesley would take up his mantle. He convinces Wesley to kill him because he's getting old and considers his own flesh and blood to be the only man worthy of the deed.
  • Plot Armor: Either that, or the Killer and the Fox are the only ones capable of actually hitting the target they are shooting at. The Sucker and Shitface, however, are two egregius examples: the former wastes no time talking when he has to use his powers against the Imp, but when it's Wesley and the Fox's turn, he instead takes just enough time gloating to have him reach his limit; the latter doesn't take any action against the two and even lets itself be held at gunpoint (despite bragging about being bulletproof after the Fox shot it, but Wesley had the bleach ready by then), as before, he had a more pragmatic attitude when he killed the Professor.
  • Plot-Inciting Infidelity: Subverted. Wesley Gibson is cuckolded by his girlfriend and best friend, but he's too much of a push-over to confront either of them about it. It takes a Call to Adventure from the Fraternity before he jumps into action, and Wesley's revenge on them (a "The Reason You Suck" Speech for the former and off-screen dismemberment for the latter) is treated as an afterthought.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Wesley's boss finds extreme sadistic glee in tormenting him daily.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain:
    • The Future, who is actually a Nazi Conqueror from the Future and now rules over Europe. Not even the amoral Mr. Rictus is that petty. He even claims he's going to start a second Holocaust near the end.
    • Wesley is shown frequently to have signs of being racist, misogynist, and homophobic.
  • Powerful, but Incompetent: Fuckwit has all the powers of your typical Flying Brick, but also has the intelligence of a very slow child. When Sucker steals his powers, he initially expects to get super-strength and durability, and maybe flight. He is astounded to discover that Fuckwit also had various enhanced senses, which ends up being his downfall; he spends so much time enjoying Fuckwit's powers that he forgets that his own powers only last for 24 hours per victim, causing him to fall to his death in mid-flight.
  • Power Parasite: This is Sucker's primary superpower (he's a Parasite expy), but it's limited to a 24-hour timeframe. After he defects to Mr. Rictus's camp and betrays the protagonists he absorbs the Bizarro expy's Flying Brick abilities, and boasts of his new powers. He's defeated when he forgets the time limit, and falls to his death just as the clock runs out.
  • Practically Joker: Mr. Rictus visually looks like a mix between Judge Doom and the Red Skull, but his characterization, fondness for Black Comedy and Slasher Smile is reminiscent of the Joker.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: The stated purpose of The Fraternity is to only do evil deeds that are practical. They've already conquered the world, and all they want is their pleasures. Widespread chaos threatens that. Solomon Seltzer just wants to party and practice Mad Science. The Emperor just wants to party and run his empire. Adam-One just wants to party and enjoy his eternal life. However, the heroic genocide required more firepower than the three of them had, so they had to make alliances and therefore share power with less pragmatic types. The Future just wants to party and slaughter the inferior races. And Mister Rictus just wants to party While Rome Burns. There's also the legitimate concern on the pro-secrecy side that being openly evil may attract the attention of heroes from the greater multiverse, of which they have no chance against. Rictus, however, doesn't care and actually welcomes the challenge.
  • Pre-Insanity Reveal: Mr. Rictus was a highly moral and religious man until a Near-Death Experience showed him that there was no afterlife, so he became an Omnicidal Maniac.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Averted; the scenes of people getting shot in the head are neither pretty nor little.
  • Precision F-Strike: Delivered by the Doll Master after Mr. Rictus gloats about how he and his gang just murdered and raped his wife and children. It's notable as he usually never swears.
    Doll Master: Boys I want these motherfuckers dead
  • Professional Killer: The Killer, who is Wesley's father and has offed man for a living.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Deconstructed in a rather interesting way. The protagonist Wesley Gibson starts out as an almost comically gutless, whiny loser before he is introduced into the world of supervillains. As part of his Took a Level in Badass act, he instead becomes a sadistic, depraved mass-murdering monster through an inversion of The Hero's Journey-type of story arc, while the reader is forced to side with him due to the Villain Protagonist perspective and Evil Versus Evil morality. In reality Wesley's enemies are barely worse than him, and the comic ends with Wesley becoming one of the five supervillain overlords of the planet, his journey to power, wealth and evil completed. Any readers who at this point were still rooting for the guy as an Anti-Hero badass despite his depravities are soon reminded how bad he is when he turns to the reader, calls them out on supporting him, and then rapes you. Don't forget, he's the villain.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Wesley seems to believe this, talking up how "macho" he becomes after becoming a villain.
  • Reality Warper:
    • At times it is subtly hinted that The Killer's powers make mundane objects like lead bullets and steel blades deadly to entities who would otherwise be immune.
    • Imp is explicitly this, at least according to the appendix. For instance, he once turned the entire US into a marshmallow land for 12 hours before he reversed the effect.
  • Reality Warping Is Not a Toy: Imp is having a secret affair with Deadly Nightshade. Seltzer doesn't want him doing this in case he accidentally undoes reality while in the throes of passion.
  • The Reveal: There are several things explained as the story goes on, though perhaps the most jarring is Wesley's dad being alive, having faked his death in order to jumpstart Wesley's down the path of the supervillain.
  • Rewriting Reality: The Fraternity wasn't satisfied with simply murdering their enemies, so they also altered reality so that it was as if the superheroes never existed.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Wesley narrates a very detailed montage of him killing every single person in his life that gave him grief. And later, Wesley and The Fox go on one of these after Mr. Rictus tries to kill them.
  • Rule of Cool: They fly a jet through the portal back to their dimension in the second book. The portal inside of an office building. And all of this is part of a heist to steal a radioactive condom.
  • Shiny New Australia: One of Mr. Rictus's grievances is that, when the villains divvied up the continents, he got stuck with Australia.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Wanted references other comic books very frequently, as the series is based on the idea that the supervillains of a comic book continuity won utterly and completely. For starters, the year they defeated the heroes was 1986 — the same year that The DCU was doing its Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover which involved pretty much every hero and villain in the setting duking it out.
    • Wesley Gibson name drops plenty of action movies and other pop culture throughout the comic as well. More subtly, the living room in Wesley's and Fox's apartment is modelled after Bill's living room from Kill Bill.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Mr. Rictus ensemble includes a pair of red, shiny glasses.
  • Sliding Scale of Villain Threat: Mr. Rictus' idea of running roughshod over the world instead of staying in the shadows is repeatedly shot down by the other Fraternity heads, because if they did so, heroes from other realities would most likely show up to stop them and The Fraternity would lose everything. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Rictus doesn't care.
  • The Sociopath: Mr. Rictus enjoys killing people and doesn't care at all about how his actions may harm others.
  • Soul-Crushing Desk Job: Wesley's life was a crappy one with this crappy job and a boss who was a total bitch, and whose best friend is cheating with his girlfriend. That was before his life was turned upside down when he joins an international conspiracy of comic book supervillains.
  • Straw Nihilist: Mr. Rictus was a devout Christian before he briefly died and encountered no reward or afterlife. He then decided that life itself is meaningless and abandoned all his morals so he could satisfy every sadistic whim he ever had and just commit murder and other atrocities on a daily basis.
  • Stupid Evil: Rictus is proud to commit reckless and shortsighted atrocities. When he takes over control of the Fraternity to blow the Fraternity's cover and start a new campaign of unremitted slaughter, the rest of the organization's heads warn him that it will bring the weight of every superhero in the multiverse to bear down on them. Rictus is delighted at this, for even if they lose he will have enjoyed the carnage.
  • Superman Substitute: Earth's first superhero. He's implied to actually be Superman until Mark Millar retconned him into being the Utopian from Jupiter's Legacy.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: The immortal African supervillain Adam One (who looks about middle-aged) is briefly seen spending time at his oldest son's deathbed along with his other non-immortal descendants.
  • Talking Poo: Shithead, a Clayface Expy creature made of the feces of the 666 most evil people in the world, including Adolf Hitler and Jeffrey Dahmer.
  • Take That, Audience!: Wesley constantly insults the reader, especially at the end.
  • This Loser Is You: Taken to truly sadistic levels. Wesley is a weak, cowardly, petty, jealous, racist, sexist, homophobic jerk who thinks it's a tragedy that he isn't rich and powerful. The world of supervillains seems purpose-built to glorify him and confirm all of his petty delusions of entitlement, and he uses his newfound powers to start raping and murdering to his jealous heart's content.
  • Thrill Seeker: Deadly Nightshade is said to be sleeping with Imp for this reason. Every sexual encounter the two has has the chance to unmake reality.
  • Toilet Humor: Wesley and Fox take out Shithead, a supervillain made out of poo, with cleaning products. The result is illustrated by a panel showing a toilet bowl with shit smeared all over it and the caption noting "this is what happened to the last guy who fucked with us".
  • Took a Level in Badass: Wesley starts out as a wimp, but eventually gains the nerve to become a badass killer.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Wesley's growing of a backbone also comes with him becoming a lot more vicious than he's acted in the past.
  • Training from Hell: Part of Wesley's physical training is being tied to a chair while a Brute beats the shit out of him. Every day. Until, as part of Wesley's graduation, the ropes are left loose, allowing him to shove a broken chair leg through the guy's throat and into his brain.
  • Training Montage: Wesley gets used to the training (which uses innocent civilians as targets, eventually) with glee.
  • Turn Out Like His Father: Wesley's dad was watching him as a kid once and saw Wesley getting beat up by some other kids. Upon seeing Wesley not fight back and get rescued by his mom, who praised him for his actions, he realized that she knew, at least on a subconscious level, that if Wesley resorted to violence there'd be no turning back. And she was right.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Wesley ends up finding that taking out members of the Fraternity was all according to his father's plan.
  • Villain Antagonist: Mr. Rictus and The Future are part of an enemy alliance of supervillains and serve as opposition for Wesley.
  • Villain Protagonist: Wesley, who upon going evil shaves his head into an Eminem-style crewcut and freely commits murders and rapes just because he can. Not to mention being a misanthropist...
  • Villains Never Lie: Oddly enough, Mr. Rictus doesn't outright lie to Wesley until their final confrontation, and even then it's subtly hinted that he wasn't. He said that Lee Harvey Oswald killed Wesley's father, and the Killer later mentions that he's "killed Presidents from Grassy Knolls."
  • Villainous Breakdown: Wesley seems to go off the deep end while talking with The Fox near the end of the series; then he admits he was just messing with her.
  • Villain World: What the Fraternity did to the world after defeating their world's heroes. The only reason most people don't know this is they rule it as a conspiracy.
  • Visionary Villain: Professor Seltzer convinced all the other supervillains in the world to team up in one massive attack that the superheroes wouldn't be able to stop. And it worked.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Shit-Head. He assumes Fuckwit's form so he can kill Professor Seltzer.
  • Weaponized Landmark: The Empire State Building is actually the machine that The Fraternity used to warp reality.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Wesley's rampage after he joins The Fraternity partly consists of getting even with everyone who's ever fucked with him.
  • Wicked Toymaker: The Doll-Master, who is a Captain Ersatz of Toyman (with maybe a bit of the Tinkerer of Marvel Comics thrown in). He's a family man who will kill innocents, but won't swear in front of children.
  • Written by the Winners: Literally. After they killed or brainwashed all the heroes, the Fraternity used their magic and mad science to rewrite history, making everyone believe they were never real to begin with.
  • Yellow Peril: The Emperor, who is an expy of Fu Manchu and other similar Asian villains.
  • You Bastard!: At the end of the series, Wesley gives a speech to the audience about how they suck compared to him. Of course, the fact that Wesley is nothing more then a comic book character makes shutting him up as easy as closing the book.


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