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  • Speed Grapher: Chōji Suitengu is a man who flaunts his extensive wealth via using expensive yen notes as cigars, believing everything "has its price", especially human life. In truth, Suitengu is dedicated to overthrowing the social order of Japan, manipulating all the upper echelons of society with his Roppongi Club that caters to a variety of fetishes. Constantly planning ahead of series hero Saiga, Suitengu also manipulates his lover, Shinzen of the powerful Tennozou Group and later disposes of her when she attempts to betray and kill him. Revealing his tragic past to his Arch-Enemy, Prime Minister Katsuji Kamiya, when the latter tries to kill Suitengu and take over the Roppongi Club, Suitengu kills him and enacts his master plan: causing a massive financial crisis to completely erase the corrupt upper class and completely break their hold on Japan forever.
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  • Despicable Me 2: Eduardo Perez is the legendary super villain El Macho, famous for being ruthless, dangerous and as the name implies very macho. Faking his death to get to evade his enemies, he returns twenty years laters where he plans to create an army to help him take over the world; he creates his army by stealing a secret laboratory from the Arctic Circle, recruits Dr. Nefario having him create the mind controlling mutagen PX-41, and kidnaps the Minions to experiment on, using the PX-41 to bring them under his control. El Macho also offers the retired super villain Felonious Gru an opportunity to rule by his side but when Gru refuses to, El Macho kidnaps Gru's Love Interest, Lucy Wilde, and holds her hostage to keep Gru from interfering before drinking the PX-11 to gain monstrous strength in his attempt to kill Gru.
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  • Spider Man Into The Spiderverse: Aaron Davis is Miles Morales's cool, charismatic uncle who masquerades as the mercenary Prowler. Working as one of The Kingpin's top agents, Prowler prides himself on the fact that he "doesn't quit" when it comes to his mission, and is able to fight Spider-Man himself in combat. Through use of his power suit and motorbike, Prowler pursues a target through the streets of New York, even picking up on said target's invisibility power through minor sounds, before letting him get away just so Prowler can track him to his base of operations. When he discovers his target was Miles the whole time, Prowler helps him evade identification by the Kingpin at the cost of his own life, using his final moments to build Miles up and apologize for not being enough of a role model to the boy, despite the fact that he has always encouraged Miles's hobbies and given him advice for everyday life.
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  • American Assassin: Stan Hurley runs Orion, a CIA assassination squad in charge of eliminating the world's most notorious terrorists with absolute discretion. Hurley has his cadets endure brutally intense training before sending them out to kill their target, while always remind them that no one will rescue them should they get caught. Through Hurley's unscrupulous methods, such as threatening to burn a nuclear physicist alive, he learns that his former pupil, Ghost, is working with the Iranian Government to develop a nuclear bomb and that an Iranian mole, has infiltrated Orion. When Ghost kidnaps Hurley and tortures him for abandoning him, Hurley calls out Ghost on his excuses justifying that Ghost's reckless behavior nearly got his unit kill, while remaining fearlessly defiant throughout the session; Hurley would exploit his torture session to uncover Ghost true plan to use the Iranian bomb to destroy the U.S Navy's Sixth Fleet, and tells his agent, Mitch Rapp, about it, allowing Mitch to kill Ghost and foil his plans.
  • Jason Bourne: Heather Lee is the ambitious, but well-meaning, head of the CIA Cyber Ops Division seeking to advance in the ranks of the agency. She first identifies and tracks rogue agent Nicky Parsons as the one who stole the black ops files from Treadstone to Iron Hand and has a small part in her death too. Heather is able to use a phone in the same room as an encrypted computer to delete the files when Jason Bourne accesses them and seeks to convince Bourne to return to the CIA as a valuable assassin rather than have him killed. When she learns of how corrupt Director Robert Dewey and the Asset are, Heather helps Bourne sneak back to America through Las Vegas and keeps him up to date on what is going on, even when she realizes they are under suspicion. She kills Dewey and takes part in helping Bourne kill the Asset and then once again tries to take power using her influence with Bourne, only for him to just barely outsmart her.
  • 6 Underground: One is the codename of a philanthropist who witnessed the massacre of a civilian hospital by Turgistan President Rochav Alimov. He fakes his death and recruits five specialists to form a vigilante squad known as The Ghosts to take down oppressive regimes, with the caveat that they'll be left to die if their mission is in jeopardy. Masterminding a scheme to overthrow President Alimov and replace him with his more sympathetic brother Murat, One recruits a sniper to replace one of their lost crewmembers before luring Alimov's generals to Las Vegas, using hookers to distract them before the team kills them. After freeing Murat from armed guard in Hong Kong and deciding to make the team more cohesive after an argument, One hacks Turgistan's network so Murat can inspire a revolt, then flushes Alimov out with a series of bombs. When the team pursues Alimov to a yacht, One uses a device to turn the entire ship into a giant magnet, killing many of Alimov's men before capturing Alimov and dumping him into the same refugee camp that was massacred, allowing the refugees to beat Alimov to death for his crimes.
  • The Tourist: Alexander Pearce is a renowned thief who stole from both criminals and authorities alike. When undercover Interpol agent Elise was sent to spy on Alexander, the thief's charms manages to get Elise to fall in love with him and the two consummate a romantic relationship. After stealing 2.3 billion dollars from British crime lord Reginald Shaw, Alexander splits from Elise sending her letters on where to find him while also instructing her to find someone similar to Alexander's height and build to deviate Shaw's men and the Interpol pool away from him. After getting Shaw and his men killed while hiring a tourist to distract Interpol, Alexander Pearce reveals himself to Elise before escaping with her, while also returning the money he stole from the authorities.
  • The Folk of the Air: The cunning, charismatic General Madoc is the high general of Elfahme who desires to expand and rule Elfahme and adopted the heroine Jude Duarte and her sister and raised them as his own after killing their parents. Allying with Prince Balekin Greenbriar, Madoc skillfully pulls a coup while making Balekin think that he'll be his easily fooled puppet. Instead, Madoc turns the tables on him and plans to use his adopted son who is secretly one of Eldred's descendants as a Puppet King allowing him to become the ruler of Elfhame instead. After being foiled by Jude, Madoc changes tactics and uses Jude's twin sister to trick Jude's lover King Cardan into freeing him from his vows to the crown so he can begin his attempted takeover. Madoc later manipulates the poisoning of the queen of the undersea to ensure her daughter will now be forced to side with him in his war against Cardan, pushing him to the edge of total victory. Madoc skillfully mixes wit with cunning intelligence while possessing many admirable traits like love for all of his children even Jude and even steps down gracefully into exile when she shows that the people of Elfhame side with her.
  • The Monster of Elendhaven, by Jennifer Giesbrecht: Florian Leickenbloom saw his entire family die due to the cruel actions of the city of Elendhaven during a plague and concocted a scheme to take his ultimate revenge. Becoming an accountant to the city's elite, Florian carefully manipulates them into bleeding the city dry all while playing as a naive and innocent victim. Florian with the help of his assistant/lover Johann helps in the creation of a new plague to destroy the city for its ills even skillfully deducing when a mage hunter is onto him and with his dying breath, Florian transfers his magic to Johann allowing his beloved to be able to live and be free.
  • Grimm: Colonel Adam Desai, from season 3's "The Good Soldier", blamed himself for being unable to achieve justice for Frankie Gonzales after she was gang-raped by four PMCs. Learning he was dying from cancer, Desai begins to hunt down and kill the four men responsible, luring one into his house by breaking his medals before stabbing him. When Portland police contact him about the rape, Desai tells them all he knows while tricking them into believing he's in the hospital while he's really in Portland. When one of the other contractors is killed along with his wife and Frankie is arrested, she calls Desai, who allows the Portland police to track his call, then confronts the last remaining rapist and reveals that he knows that he killed the contractor and his wife before engaging in a fight to the death. In the end, Desai deliberately leaves himself open for a killing blow, declaring that "You can't arrest him for what he did to Frankie, but you can for what he did to me." Colonel Desai is shown to be the cleverest Manticore depicted in the show and meets his end on his terms.
  • Person of Interest: Carl Elias, a New York City crime boss and the illegitimate son of Don Gianni Moretti, evaded his father's attempts to kill him after witnessing the latter having his mother killed and spent decades building his own power base, even using a job as a teacher to siphon off mob recruits. Evading arrest after killing his mother's assailant, Elias later assists, then double-crosses Reese, forcing him to give Elias his father's hiding place, going on to take control of much of the city's crime scene while having his right-hand man kill his hated father while Elias seemingly quietly surrenders to the police. In prison Elias expands his business, even helping Team Machine from behind bars and when nearly killed by Russian mobsters, prepares to calmly accept his fate. When rescued, Elias works with Carter to turn HR and the Russian Mafia against one-another and when faced with the challenge of yet another gang, prepares swiftly to fight them when they kill his loyal right-hand, even outwitting their leader Dominic while under torture. After surviving an assassination attempt by Samaritan, Elias goes underground with Team Machine's help and dies giving his life to protect Finch from the rogue A.I.
  • Forgotten Realms: Szass Tam is one of the chief leaders of Thay, the Zulkir of Necromancy and a powerful lich who is a consummate genius who manipulates the other Zulkirs and his enemies alike, playing off different factions in Thay against one another to maintain the power of the Red Wizards and his own. Eventually deciding to take godhood for his own and remake the world without suffering or death. Forming a secret army of the undead, Szass Tam arranges for Thayan armies to lose to their enemies, even causing a Thayan city's fall, to spread unrest and eliminate several other Zulkirs. Bargaining with the god Bane for forbidden knowledge in the ensuing war, Szass Tam even manages to reclaim the advantage when his right hand Malark betrays him, eliminating the remaining Zulkirs even as his plots for godhood are ruined. Undaunted, he simply decides to get back to work with new plans.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Ada Wong is a mysterious and morally ambiguous spy who has used her wits, skills, and charisma to always come out on top in the horrifying world of Resident Evil. First appearing in 2 posing as a civilian in Raccoon City (FBI agent in the Remake) where she manipulates Rookie cop, Leon Scott Kennedy, into helping her steal the G-Virus sample from the Umbrella Corporation before making her escape from the zombie-infested city. Sent by Albert Wesker to Spain to retrieve a dominant species Las Plagas from the Los Iluminados cult in 4, Ada betray Wesker by giving him a simple subordinate species, while giving the dominant species to her true superiors and help Leon kill the cult's leader, Osmund Saddler. Ada would later be sent to The Easter Slav Republic in Damnation disguised as a BSAA representative, where she would help Leon expose President Svetlana Belikova's tyranny while also making a deal to have her arrest warrant expunged. When Ada learns of her doppelgänger's identity in 6, Carla Radames, and Carla's plan to cause global scale destruction and frame Ada for it, Ada tells Derek Clifford Simmons of Carla's location in China pitting the two against each other, while discreetly helping the heroes to ensure the two’s downfalls, before destroying Carla's lab and taking a job soon after.
    • HUNK is a high-ranking commander of the Umbrella Security Service known by the monikers "Mr. Death" and "Grim Reaper" for always surviving and completing Umbrella's most dangerous missions. First appearing in 2 (and its Remake), HUNK leads Umbrella's Alpha Team to Raccoon City to retrieve the G-Virus from William Birkin. Despite losing his team to the mutated Birkin, HUNK remains committed to completing his mission and successfully delivers the G-Virus to Umbrella after spending days surviving the zombie-infested city. He also delivers a special container from Antartica to Rockfort Island on Alfred Ashford's request, though he does question Ashford on what's inside it. Although Umbrella collapses in 2003, HUNK's legacy would remain where he becomes a legendary mercenary whose skills are second to none.
    • Revelations: Raymond Vester and Jessica Sherawat are spies sent by TRICELL Inc. to retrieve a sample of the T-abyss virus. To divert everyone from discovering their true agendas, they would work on opposing sides; Raymond would collaborate with BSAA director Clive R. O'Brian to stage a fake kidnapping of Chris Redfield luring Jill Valentine and Parker Luciani onto the ship, Queen Zenobia, allowing them to learn the truth behind the destruction of Terragrigia, while Jessica would become The Mole for FBC commissioner Morgan Lansdale infiltrating the BSAA to destroy any evidence linking Lansdale's involvement in said destruction. Escaping the sinking ship, Jessica and Raymond would meet up where Raymond hands over the virus to Jessica before they go their separate ways.
  • World of Warcraft: These figures faced by the Adventurers are formidable foes emphasizing wit and intelligence rather than just raw strength and spell-casting prowess.
    • Illidan Stormrage is revealed as a dark Well-Intentioned Extremist in the Legion expansion who joined the Highborne during the War Of the Ancients to bring them down from within. Upon being shown by Sargeras the Legion's true might, Illidan has realized just how dire the fight truly is. After being freed in modern day, Illidan delves into dark powers and even makes himself the Legion lord Kil'jaeden's servant to undermine them from within, taking over Outland and putting together a group of demon hunters while striking at the Legion's own worlds and dealing them their worst defeats in eons. upon his revival, Illidan brings the world of Azeroth close to the Legion world of Argus to 'force the hand of fate' and helps lead a daring strike on the Legion, forming the strategies to crush them once and for all before electing to serve as the eternal jailer for Sargeras himself. A complex, fascinating figure to the end, Illidan has been one of Azeroth's greatest villains and greatest heroes, giving all he has to secure Sargeras's fall after ten thousand years.
    • Orgrim Doomhammer, the second Warchief of the Horde, overthrows Gul'dan and his Shadow Council, killing their pawn Warchief Blackhand and declares himself the new master of the orcs. Devoted to his people and honorable in ways Gul'dan never was, Orgrim takes over the war and nearly brings the entire human alliance to its knees, stopped only by Gul'dan's treachery. Orgrim shows an exceptional grasp of tactics and strategy, even managing to ambush the Alliance's greatest hero, Anduin Lothar, and defeating him in single combat before being captured at the war's end. Escaping, Orgrim later resurfaces to guide the young orc Thrall to help save their people and eventually gives his life for their freedom, naming Thrall his successor as Warchief.
    • Onyxia, the Broodmother of the Black Dragonflight, was tasked with her brother Nefarian by her father Deathwing to ensure the resurgence of the Black Dragonflight on Azeroth. After helping her brother take over Blackrock Spire, Onyxia would infiltrate the Alliance as Lady Katrana Prestor and convince Gilneas, Quel'Thalas and Strompike to abandon the Alliance of Lordaeron in the wake of Thrall's rebellion. When the Alliance stood strong despite her efforts to splinter it, she drove up Stormwind's debt through excessive military expansion, ensuring that the nobility had no way of repaying the Stonemasons for their reconstruction efforts following the First War; taking advantage of the resulting civil unrest to instigate riots by manipulating both the nobility and the Stonemasons to never compromise on their demands. Upon the death of Queen Tiffin Wyrnn as a result of the riots, Onyxia started to manipulate the depressed King Varian Wyrnn as a puppet, placing a curse on him years later to strip out his courage when he started to take more control of the government due to Anduin's positive influence. As a result of her policies, Stormwind was weakened politically and militarily, with local garrisons not even being able to deal with lowly Kobalds and Murlocs. Outliving her own brother, Onyxia would continue to drive wedges between Stormwind and the Alliance using Bolvar Fordragon and Varian's hollowed-out half as puppets. Long after her death at the hands of a restored Varian, Deathwing and the Old Gods would continue to have uses for her, with their followers undertaking efforts to resurrect her well into the Fourth War.
    • Drakuru is an ice troll who is friendly enough to talk to the PC and actually genuinely appears to like them. He came out of nowhere, was trapped in a cage as a lowbie mob, and without leaving his cage or really telling you much of anything except he had a cool idea and wants to learn some stuff, manipulates the heroes into taking down the entire Drakkari empire. By the time you get to Zul'Drak, the trolls inside are almost all dead or killing and eating their own deities in a desperate attempt to stave off the Scourge. He is very much Affably Evil as well. When he gets his "reward" from Arthas — death and resurrection as a powerful Death Knight — he offers the heroes the same "benefit" as their reward for helping him gain the position. When they turn it down, he simply acknowledges your choice, thanks you for your help, and rewards you without further incident.
    • Loken was one of the Keepers tasked by the Titans to watch over Azeroth and the imprisoned Old Gods, but over time was corrupted by Yogg-Saron and betrayed the other Keepers and their allies. After accidentally killing Sif, his brother Thorim's wife, Loken framed the ice giants which started a war between Thorim and them; he then convinced Helya to turn against her father Odyn and lock him and his army away, arranged for Mimiron's 'accidental' death, subdued and captured Freya and Hodir when they were on their own, and sent the monstrous C'thraxxi to kill or scare away the rest. For his most ambitious plot, Loken took the form of the witch Lok'lira and played on the player character's Chronic Hero Syndrome by subtly guiding them into performing seemingly altruistic actions — rescuing a slave, repairing friendships, helping Thorim get through his depression — all to make Thorim brave enough to confront Loken when in fact he was being lured into a trap. Having systematically eliminated anyone who could pose a threat to him, Loken forged the Keepers' records and crowned himself Prime Designate, both to cover his crimes and to make sure that, if he were to be killed anyway, his death would send a signal telling Algalon to wipe all life on Azeroth.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: Temple Fugate, the Clock King, starts out as an overly-punctual, high-strung businessman, but after a recommended schedule change by Hamilton Hill, Fugate's business crashed and burned, driving the man into a planned revenge scheme on Hill. Spending years concocting his plans, Fugate began a smear campaign against Mayor Hill, making his running of the city seem incompetent and useless before trying to kill Hill. When confronted by Batman, Fugate displays his exceptional fighting skills, going toe-to-toe with the Dark Knight and escaping him several times with ease. Later manipulating and assisting a scientist in the creation of a time-altering device, Fugate uses it to trap Batman and Robin in a time vortex for days, nearly succeeding in another attempt on Hill by seconds' time. In arguably his finest outing in The Batman Adventures, Fugate disguises himself so well that even Batman is fooled and rigs the Gotham mayoral elections to force Hill's expulsion from the mayoral office, getting away scot-free with it for months until only the combined ingenuity of Batman and Riddler discovers the truth.
  • Billy Joel's "The Ballad of Billy the Kid" (original version; live version): Billy the Kid himself is a boy who moves to Colorado from West Virginia. He decides to take up bank robbery, taking the teller by surprise with his youth. This begins a series of increasingly daring robberies and gunfights that grant him legendary status amomgst cowboys, including the very townspeople he robbed. After sacking banks from Utah to Oklahoma, Billy is captured and accepts his hanging with dignity, his death witnessed by lawmen and outlaws from across the West.
  • Karliene's "Anne Bonny": Anne Bonny is an Irishwoman who takes up buccaneering after falling in love with a man named Calico Jack. Initially disguising herself as a man, she manages to convince her men to buck 1700's mores and follow a woman when her ruse is discovered. While terrorizing the high seas, Anne partners with a woman named Mary Read to gain better plunder. After Jack and his men get drunk, Bonny and Read are the only ones to try and fight off a British Marine attack. Despite being captured, Anne manages to get herself pardoned due to pregnancy, and leaves Jack to his fate noting that "If [he] had fought like a man, [he] wouldn't be about to die like a dog."
  • RWBY: Doctor Arthur Watts is a wicked snarker and the Evil Genius of Salem's inner circle. After Cinder Fall ruined the attack on Haven by ignoring his warnings, Watts was sent to his home kingdom Atlas to set up Salem's arrival. Manipulating Jacques Schnee into giving him access to Atlas network so he could cause Jacques to win the election for Councilman, claiming he wanted revenge against General Ironwood for disgracing him, the true purpose of this, however, was so he could use the network to turn off the heaters in Mantle as well as use his hacking to frame Mantle's protector Penny Polendina for a massacre he orchestrated and further its distress to summon the Grimm. After being lured into Amity Tower as a trap, Watts activated the Arena not willing to go down without a fight.
  • Akan-Ashanti folklore: Anansi the spider, desiring all stories, is given a price by the sky god. Using his wits and advice from his wife Aso, Anansi captures the great python Onini by tricking him into measuring himself on a branch before tying him there. He then tricks the Mmoboro hornets into a gourd by making them think it's raining, traps the leopard Osebo in a cleverly dug pit and finally traps the spirit Mmoatia with the use of a sticky, 'disrespectful' doll and yams, offering them all up to the Sky God Nyame to claim the stories for himself.
  • Egyptian Mythology: The goddess Isis, in one story, desires the true name of Ra to gain power over him and enhance her authority. Knowing only Ra's essence can harm him, she slowly collects his sweat and mixes it with a snake she creates, arranging for it to bite Ra and nearly kill him. Isis then tries to heal Ra, tricking him into giving his true name so she may heal him entirely, allowing her to hold ultimate authority over the other gods.
  • Detective Conan: Moonlight Sonata Murder Case: Seiji Asoh, the son of Keiji Asoh, the true identity of
Doctor Narumi Asai and the culprit behind the murders on Tsukikage Island. Seeking to avenge the deaths of the Asoh family Seiji begins murdering those responsible, playing a recording of the Moonlight Sonata as a funeral piece for each of them. Seiji drowns Hideo Kawashima so the Japanese Police will have to examine the body on the mainland, leaving him as the only doctor on the island. Seiji then kills Tatsuji Kuroiwa, using the recording of the Sonata and his medical knowledge to create an alibi for himself. Seiji then murders Ken Nishimoto, making his death look like a suicide and writing a note saying that he's the real murderer. when his crimes are discovered, Seiji calmly burns himself to death along with his father's beloved piano, spending his last moments thanking Conan for his kindness.
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