“…and Magneto Was His Name-o!”

21 Comic Book Characters Who Can Help Us Answer a Burning Question: Are Names That End With the Letter ‘O’ Inherently Lame?

1. Mysterio
A lot of people like to knock Mysterio around, and for good reason: he doesn’t have any inherent powers, he sports an outlandish costume, he picked a fight with Spider-Man just to score a bit of fame, etc. But here’s the thing: he’s a born showman. The costume, the fishbowl helmet, the elaborate schemes to convince his enemies they’re only six inches tall — it’s all part of the show, folks. Plus, he’s a master illusionist, hypnotist, chemist and robotics expert, so let’s show him a little respect… wait a minute. All that talent and he once thought running a crooked nursing home was his ticket to bad-ass villainy? Never mind. LAME 1, NOT LAME 0

2. Magneto
Tough one. On the one hand, he wears a bucket on his head, he’s a bit on the pompous side and he’s kind of a jerk about the whole “mutants taking their rightful place as our overlords” thing. And he once had a secret base on an asteroid he called “Asteroid M,” which is just silly no matter how you slice it. On the other, he’s the undisputed master of magnetism, and you know that ain’t too shabby (though probably hell on his hard drive). Plus, the world domination thing starts to make sense when you remember how he started out: as a Holocaust survivor who vowed to protect his mutant brothers and sisters from another genocide, whatever the cost. Heavy, man. LAME 1, NOT LAME 1

3. Dr. Matto Magneto
This mook, on the other hand… Okay, look, let’s say you’re a scientist with a “sleep-deprived Einstein” look and some radical theories about magnetism. And let’s say your wild theories about how anything (“wood, paper, anything!“) can be magnetized get you nothing but professional ridicule (those scientists can be such bitches sometimes) and shoot down your chances of getting elected to the Science Hall of Fame. Further, let’s say you actually invent a magnet-gun that proves your theories  correct and could make you a tidy little fortune in the always-profitable moving-stuff-around industry. Would your first thought be to make everyone in the world pay by sending statues hurtling off the Empire State Building? No, because you aren’t a completely pathetic villain stuck in a 1960s Spider-Man cartoon. Also, you don’t suck. LAME 2, NOT LAME 1

4. Rhino
So you’re a big guy looking for an edge in the competitive mob muscle industry, and someone offers you a suit that can turn you into an unstoppable human battering ram. The only catch is you can never, ever take it off and you’ll end up looking like a walking rhinoceros for the rest of your days. Would you accept it? Of course not, because you’re not a complete moron. This guy, on the other hand…. LAME 3, NOT LAME 1

5. Zarrko the Tomorrow Man
He’s a guy from the future with all the future’s knowledge and gadgets at his disposal, and he still got his ass handed to him — repeatedly — by Odin’s second-brightest son. It would be like if you went back to the Battle of Hastings armed with flamethrowers, AK-47s, an M1 Abrams tank and everything Wikipedia has on William the Conqueror and you still couldn’t turn that battle around. Not good, Zarky. Not good. LAME 4, NOT LAME 1

6. Amazo
A classic Justice League villain, Amazo was an android created by the eee-vil Professor Ivo (another member of the O-Town group, note) to replicate all the powers of the Justice League members. In theory, that should make him invincible and even mildly interesting, and his animated incarnation certainly lived up to that expectation in the Justice League Unlimited series. However, the lameness of the comic-book version was all too evident that one time he was on the verge of singlehandedly defeating the entire team… until the team’s chairman used his authority to formally disband the Justice League within earshot of the rampaging android. Big deal, you think to yourself, but you’re not an android whose programming compels him to imitate the powers of the Justice League, and if there’s no longer any Justice League in existence to imitate, well… let’s just say he’s the only super-villain who has ever been defeated by a strict adherence to Robert’s Rules of Order. And let’s not even talk about his striped green vest/red skullcap/Capital A belt buckle ensemble. LAME 5, NOT LAME 1

7. Starro
The Borg meets Patrick from Spongebob Squarepants. It’s a badass alien conqueror and supreme mind controller who enslaved entire galaxies before meeting its defeat on Earth at the hands of the Justice League — and only barely at that. Not Starro’s fault it came along in the ’60s, when everything was “Starro” this and “daddy-o” that. LAME 5, NOT LAME 2

8. Despero
I know the idea here is we’re supposed to hear this Justice League baddie’s name and think “despot,” but I always hear it and think “desperate” or that “Desperadoes” song by the Eagles. Neither is presumably the image an intergalactic tyrant wants to project. LAME 6, NOT LAME 2

9. Electro
Oh, Electro. If only all the pains in Peter Parker’s ass could be as easily dealt with as you. Aw heck, let’s throw a bucket of water on Aunt May, too. God knows she could use the moisturizing. LAME 7, NOT LAME 2

10. Mesmero
Not just a super-hypnotist, but a MUTANT super-hypnotist. With a green and purple costume. Cowering yet?  LAME 8, NOT LAME 2

11. Chemistro
As mentioned in a previous list, Chemistro was a chemistry genius (betcha didn’t see that coming) who created an actual working Philosopher’s Stone, but somehow couldn’t foresee his employer getting all “it’s ours because you created it on company time” on him. But instead of going to court, he decided a life of striped leggings and alchemy-fueled crime was the way to go. Oh, and he once accidentally turned his own foot into iron. Next! LAME 9, NOT LAME 2

12. Metamorpho
More proof that every comic-book archaeologist and relic hunter might as well start wearing Spandex in grad school, Rex Mason earned his O-name by finding the Orb of Ra (doesn’t exist; stop looking on Google) and picking up some very funky transmutation powers that allowed him to turn into any element on the periodic table. Educational! Not much of a looker, true, but he’s your guy if you ever need a pair of iron fists or a helium fix in a hurry. And damn near impossible to kill, to boot. LAME 9, NOT LAME 3

13. Chemo
No, you shut up. Chemo rocks! Chemo started out as a humanoid-shaped plastic mold that was owned by a scientist. He filled it with his many failed chemical experiments, reasoning the sight of his “Chemo” would motivate him to do better. In retrospect, he probably should gone with the Hang in There Kitty poster — the chemical slurry somehow gave life to Chemo, and it began its mindless path of destruction by killing its creator with its toxic vomit. From DC’s Who’s Who: “Chemo possesses no skills whatsoever as a hand to hand combatant, nor does he really need them.” DAMN SKIPPY HE DOESN’T. LAME 9, NOT LAME 4

14. Universo
He’s a master hypnotist who put the Legion of Super-Heroes on the ropes a couple of times with his world-conquering schemes. He also sports Spock ears, a goatee and a monocle, just in case you needed a hint about whether his switch was set to “evil” or not. You wouldn’t think a bald dude with a talent most often associated with nightclubs and smoking cessation infomercials could pose much of a threat to a club full of kids that could fry, freeze, shred, outthink, outbounce or eat him in a heartbeat, but that’s the 30th century for you: things just… happen. I’m tempted to declare him “not lame” based solely on the brass it must take to go against the entire Legion and come back for seconds… but then I think, who wears a monocle in the 30th century? LAME 10, NOT LAME 4

15. Metallo
When you think of Superman’s film outings and the villains they’ve given him to tussle with on the big screen, it’s a little depressing to recall all the classic Superman villains — Darkseid, Brainiac, Parasite, Toyman — they passed by in favor of Richard Pryor’s wacky hi-jinks. Hell, even the Prankster would’ve made for a better film than the Nuclear Man’s manicure of death. Anyway, Malcolm McDowell nailed Metallo in the Superman: TAS series: a remorseless, unstoppable Terminator knockoff with enough Kryptonite in his chest cavity to make Superman oh so very dead. Dumb name? Sure. But you tell him that. LAME 10, NOT LAME 5

16. Mojo
Here’s a picture of Mojo. Do I even need to mention he’s intimately involved with Longshot’s back story and directly responsible for the existence of X-Babies? No, I didn’t think so. LAME 11, NOT LAME 5

17. Mentallo
His real name is Marvin Flumm, he’s a natural-born telepath who chose super-villainy over a lucrative career as a poker player or hostage negotiator, he thought “Mentallo” sounded badass, and his super-villain costume consists of goggles and an orange jumpsuit. I think we both know where this is heading. LAME 12, NOT LAME 5

18. Eclipso
He’s the pointy-eared, Smurf-cap-sporting spirit of vengeance so vicious and vile he can only be stopped by a fancy flashlight. Sure. LAME 13, NOT LAME 5

19. Bizarro
It’s a given in the comic-book universe that every superhero eventually gets an arch-enemy that’s a twisted funhouse version of himself. Flash gets Reverse-Flash, Spider-Man gets Venom, Batman gets… well, half of Gotham City, when you get right down to it. And Superman gets Bizarro. How can anyone not love Bizarro? He am do everything backward! When he says “up,” he means “down.” When he says “Me hate you,” he totally loves you! When he says “Me want to make sweet tender love to you,” you run for the hills! Seriously, if you can’t bring yourself to enjoy a story with Bizarro in it, you simply have no soul. LAME 13, NOT LAME 6 

20. Evillo
Yes, that really was his name, but it’s not as if his parents didn’t have a good reason. As rulers of a planet where crime and treachery were the norm, they felt they had a duty to prepare their son for leadership, and a badass first name seemed like a logical first step. Sure enough, Evillo (who may have pronounced it “EE-villo” or “ee-VILL-oh,” I’m not sure and I don’t care) lived up to his moniker by torturing and plundering to his heart’s content, dealing with dissidents and enemies by consigning them to a hellish dimension. That worked just fine until he banished a Legionnaire, who found a way to come back to our reality along with all of Evillo’s slightly annoyed adversaries — including his 11 terrifying ex-wives. And somewhere in the cosmos, the ghost of Henry VIII is shaking his head and muttering, “Loser.” LAME 14, NOT LAME 6

21. Sinestro
Eagle-eyed reader Change_Leopardon saw this list and asked simply: “Where’s Sinestro?” To which I can only respond: D’oh! The thing about Green Lantern’s arch-nemesis is it took a really, really long time for anyone to take him seriously: for most of his existence, he was essentially a purple, giant-headed version of Green Lantern in footie pajamas and a clown collar. Then at some point in the 2000s, DC decided they want to amp up the Green Lantern Corps’ presence in the DC universe, and Sinestro was recast as the Lucifer figure. Or to put it another way, Sinestro was the Corps’ Hal Jordan before there was a Hal Jordan: a cocky, headstrong fellow who often defies his superiors’ orders to do what he sees as the right thing. His attitude towards authority is Jordan’s taken to the nth degree, and he forces us to reconsider just who are the real bad guys in the Guardians’ perception of a clockwork universe. Call me crazy, but that sounds like a character with potential.  LAME 14, NOT LAME 7

3 responses to ““…and Magneto Was His Name-o!”

  1. Can’t argue with any of these but Universo, and even that may have more to do with my status as a longtime (30+ years) LSH fan. That said, you lost count toward the end. You jumped from 10 to 12 on Mojo, then went back to 11 with Mentallo and continued upward from there. So the final count should be 14 Lame, 6 Not Lame.

  2. What the — people actually read my stuff? Cool.

    Much thanks for the eagle eye, John – it’s been fixed. I’ll steer clear of the posts requiring complex counting skills from now on. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Random Comics Character Add-Ons: One-Word Names, Minion Types « Bride of Bigfoot Random Generators

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