The Vile Menagerie

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vile ('vîl) 1:morally despicable 2:physically repulsive 3:degrading, ignominious

menagerie (me-'na-je-ré) : a collection of wild animals esp. for exhibition

Featured Attractions of Pure Menace [Full Profiles:]
B'enn B'urnzz
Bel Juz
Commander Blanx
The Conjurer
Wiley Dalbert
Doctor Trap
The Hyperclan
The Marshal (Soldiers of the Red Brotherhood)
Master Gardener & the Lizard Men
Monty Moran: The Getaway King / Getaway Mastermind
The Osprey
Professor Arnold Hugo
The Prophet
The Pyre
Vandal Savage
Vulkor, the Capsule Master

Limited Engagements [Tagged Synopsis of Future Profile Recipients:]
Human Flame
N’orr Cott & R’es Eda
VULTURE & Mr.V/Faceless

Second Ring (One-Hit) Wonders [Story Synopsis:]
The Devil Men of Pluto
Alex Dunster, Cunning Scientific Mind
The Magician-Thief Who Had Super Powers
The Mercurian
The Mirror of Malador

Alley of Mug Shots [More Story Synopsis of Random Criminals:]
The Devon Mob w/Trigger Tom Taylor ('Tec #226)
Duffy, Serial Cop Killer (Showcase '96 #9)
Farrow Gang ('Tec #230)
Monte Fisk, Murderer ('Tec #227)
Andy Fletcher, Jewel Thief ('Tec #232)
Drexel Mansfield, the Millionaire ('Tec #229)

Emissions from the Idol-Head of Diabolu:
The Beings in the Color Rings
The Doom Shadow
The Giant Genie of Gensu
The Weird World of Gilgana
Iwangis--Creature King
The Man-Thing That Unearthed Secrets
The Orchestra of Doom
The Supernatural Masterpieces
The Venomee

You know those big binders of photos police stations keep to help identify criminals and suspects? They're called a "rogues gallery." I'm not sure who popularized the term in comic books, but I'm sure it's usage goes back to the days of Dick Tracy, at least. However, in comics, a rogues gallery typically refers to a collection of foes who regularly face down a specific super-hero. They usually do so individually at first, then start forming teams after failing so often to defeat a hero that they no longer pose a compelling threat to hold a reader's attention.

The term is most often used to represent foes of the Flash, and really the Barry Allen version's, but you'll often hear tell of Batman's rogues gallery, and so on. Some of these collectives even manage to become proper teams, like the Frightful Four, Masters of Evil, or the Sinister Six. Others just get tagged with a variation on the term "rogues gallery," like the "Deadly Foes of Spider-Man."

Now, the fact is very few fans know or acknowledge that, while they rarely act in concert, Martian Manhunter has accumulated his own very impressive rogues gallery. This is partly due to that same majority of fans not caring much about J'Onn or his history to begin with, but then that's the reason this blog exists.

To that end, back on the old "Rock" site, I decided I would not only spotlight the Martian Manhunter's "rogues," but even give them a collective name. Obviously, "rogues gallery" was my starting point, but I wanted something that implied a greater sense of scale and menace, preferably earning points on my vocabulary by coming up with an uncommon term. For whatever reason, I was drawn to the sophistication and mystique that went with the title of the Tennessee Williams play "The Glass Menagerie." Probably like Williams, I also figured "menagerie" was enough of a mouthful not to overburden it with a similarly challenging descriptive. One syllable. Four letters. Tight.

The Vile Menagerie.

Martian Manhunter villains have strange things in common... like eyes. They all have eyes. Sure, most super villains have eyes, but three like Despero? One-eyed jacks like Vandal Savage aren't uncommon, but what about the dozens of peepers covering Azmodel. Jeepers, Star Conqueror's creeper is bigger than Yugoslavia, and his minions plant a single eye across a person's face. How about Darkseid and Malefic's crimson orbs firing lethal energy at you? Plus, most are either aliens or immortals. Makes me miss Professor Hugo. Weird cats, I gotta tell you. Hell, I'll really tell you! I'll try to post a villain profile once every month or so from now until I run out...

Current as of 12/23/08