I wonder if, in superhero universes, the villains ever get contacted by those “Make a Wish Foundation” and similar people.
I mean, the heroes do, of course they do, kids who want to meet Spiderman or Superman or get to be carried by the Flash as he runs through Central City for just thirty seconds.
But surely there are also the kids, who – because they are kids and sometimes kids are just weird – decide that what they really, really want is to meet a supervillain. Because he’s scary or she’s awesome or that freeze ray is just really, really cool, you know?
Oh, man, that would absolutely be a thing. The heroes would be so weirded out by it. The villains with codes of ethics would totally band together to force the villains without one (should they be the one requested) to do their part for the cause.
But imagine the person who has to track down the villains and organise everything?
Like, the first time it happens, no one actually thinks it’s possible, but one of the newbies volunteers to at least try. They get lucky, the kid wants to meet one of the villains who is well known to have a personal code of ethics (eg one of the rogues), and it takes them weeks to track the villain down to this one bar they’ve been seen at a few times, plus a week of staking out said bar, but they finally find them.
So they approach the villain, very politely introduce themselves and explain the situation, finishing with an assurance that, should the villain agree, no law enforcement or heroes will be informed of the meeting.
The villain, assuming it’s a joke, laughs in their face.
At this point, the poor volunteer, who has giving up weeks of their time and no small amount of effort to track down this villain, all so a sweet little girl can meet the person who somehow inspired them, well, at this point the employee sees red.
They explode, yelling at this villain about the little girl who, for some unknown reason, absolutely loved them, had a hand-made stuffed toy of them and was inspired by their struggle to keeping fighting her own and wasn’t the villain supposed to have ethics? The entire bar is witness to this big bad villain getting scolded by some bookish nobody a foot shorter than them.
When the volunteer is done, the villain calmly knocks back their drink, grips the volunteers shoulder and drags them outside. The bar’s patrons assume that person will never be seen again, the volunteer included. But once they’re outside, the villain apologises for their assumption, asks for the kid’s details so they can drop by in the near future, not saying when for obvious reasons. They also give the very relieved volunteer a phone number to call if someone asks for them again.
A week later, the little girl’s room is covered in villain merchandise, several expensive and clearly stolen gifts and she is happily clutching a stack of signed polaroids of her and the villain.
The next time a kid asks to meet a villain, guess who gets that assignment?
Turns out, the first villain was quite touched by the experience of meeting their little fan, and word has gotten around. The second villain happily agrees when they realise it’s the same volunteer who asked the other guy. Unfortunately, one of the heroes sees the villain entering the kid’s hospital and obviously assumes the worst. They rush in, ready to drag the villain out, but the volunteer stands in their way. The hero spends five minutes getting scolded for trying to stop the villain from actually doing a good thing and almost ruining the kid’s wish. The volunteer gets a reputation among villains as someone who can not only be trusted with personal contact numbers but who will do everything they can to keep law enforcement away during their visits.
The volunteer has a phonebook written in cypher of all the villain’s phone numbers, with asterixes next to the ones to call if any other villains give them trouble.
Around the office, they gain the unofficial job title of The Villain Wrangler.
The heroes are genuinely flabbergasted by The Villain Wrangler. At first, some of the heroes try to reason with them.
Heroes: “Can’t you, just, give us their contact details? They’ll never even have to know it was you.”
The Villain Wrangler: “Yeah sure, <rollseyes> because all these evil geniuses could never possibly figure out that it’s me who happens to be the common thread in the sudden mass arrests. Look man, even if it wouldn’t get me killed, it would disappoint the kids. You wouldn’t want to disappoint the kids would you?”
Heroes: “… no~ but…”
The Villain Wrangler: “Exactly.”
Eventually, one of the anti-hero types gets frustrated, and decides to take a stand. They kidnap the Villain Wrangler and demand that they give up the contents of the little black book of Villains, or suffer the consequences. It’s For the Greater Good, the anti-hero insists as they tie the Villain Wrangler to a pillar.
The Villain Wrangler: “You complete idiot, put me back before someone figures out that I’m missing.”
Anti-hero: “…excuse me?”
The Villain Wrangler: “Ugh, do I have to spell this out for you? Do you actually want your secret base to be wiped off the map? With us in it? Sugarsticks, how long has it been? If they get suspicious, they check in, and then if I miss a check-in, they tend to come barging into wherever I am just to prove that they can, even if they figure out that they’re not being threatened by proxy. Suffice to say, Auntie Muriel really regretted throwing my phone into the pool when she strenuously objected to me answering it during family time. If they think for even one moment that I’ve given them up, they won’t hesitate to obliterate both of us from their potential misery. You do know some of the people in my book have like missiles and djinni and elemental forces at their disposal, right?”
Anti-hero: “Wait, what? I thought they trusted you?!”
The Villain Wrangler: “Trust is such a strong word!”
Anti-hero: “Wait, wha-” <slumps over, dart sticking out of neck>
The Villain Wrangler: “Thanks. I thought they were going to hurt me.”
Villain: “You did well. You kept them distracted, and gave us time to follow your signal.” <cuts Villain Wrangler free>
The Villain Wrangler: <rubbing circulation back into limbs> “Yeah well, you know me, I do whatever I have to. So I’ll see you Wednesday at four at St Martha’s? I’ve got an 8yo burns unit patient recovering from her latest batch of skin grafts who could really use a pep talk.”
Villain: “… of course. Yes… I… yes.”
The Villain Wrangler: “I just think you could really reach her, you know?”
Villain: <unconsciously runs fingers over mask> “I… yes, but, what should I say?”
The Villain Wrangler: “Whatever advice you think you could have used the most just after.”
Villain: <hoists Anti-hero over shoulder almost absently> “….yes.”
The Villain Wrangler wasn’t lying to the Anti-hero. They know that the more ruthless villains would not hesitate if they thought for one second that the Anti-hero would betray them.
But this is not the first time the Villain Wrangler has gone to extreme lengths to protect their identities.
Trust is a strong word. The Villain Wrangler earned it, and is terrified by what it could mean.
My first official deadpool headcanon is this. This this this.
Okay but this whole concept actually makes a lot of sense, because villains are a lot more likely to be disfigured/disabled/use adaptive devices (bc ableist tropes), so of course, say, a child amputee is going to be more interested in the villain with a robot arm who almost destroyed New York than the heroes that took him down.
Also, imagine one of the kids gets better, and a few years down the line becomes a villain themself, except their crimes are things like smuggling chemo drugs across the border for families that can’t afford treatment, or stealing from corrupt businessmen to make donations to underfunded hospitals (idk this turned into a Leverage AU or something) and every time the heroes encounter her, they’re like “oh no. she’s getting away. curses. welp, nothing we can do.” Though it isn’t that she can’t take them on; bc of course once the villain from way back when found out what she was up to, he started helping/training her.
“I thought they just hired someone to dress up and pretend to be you,” she says, amazed, when he reveals himself. “I didn’t think they actually got the real you!”
Every year the Villain Wrangler gets a very expensive gift basket from the pair.
and for the kids who don’t get better the villains are there too, they show up to every funeral, they bear too small coffins on their shoulders and the heroes stand aside
they are fierce with grieving families assuring them that their child will not be forgotten, and they don’t balk at negative emotions, they don’t tell people to be strong or “celebrate their child’s life,” because these parents have every right to their grief and anger
and the lost children are never forgotten. flowers appear on graves during birthdays and anniversaries, heroes find pictures of those kids and they carefully take them down and ensure they’re delivered to the villain’s cell, and a few villains can be seen with friendship bracelets wrapped around their wrists the cops have learned not to try and take them off
And then one day, one of the evil geniuses who happens to specialise in inducing bizarre genetic mutations meets a young fan who was born with a rare genetic disorder that is slowly killing them, and realises that they can help.
Another, who created their own exosuit, talks to a young fan and suddenly understands how much the technology that they have built for themselves could revolutionise quality of life for people with muscular dystrophy, or paraplegia, or other disorders that confine people to wheelchairs with little mobility.
A third thinks of a way that their nanobots could be used to detect and remove cancer cells when their fan, who had been in remission, writes to say that the doctors have found a new metastasizing tumour.
Then shortly after, an evil genius specialising in cloning is contacted by an old colleague asking if a suitable heart couldn’t be grown for their young fan with a congenital heart condition who needs a donor.
Suddenly, a pattern of villains offering (and marketing) their insights and resources to improve medical science starts to arise. Many who had previously been operating on society’s fringes are shocked to receive public accolades, research grants and job offers from major companies because of their work.
A grassroots movement arises advocating for imprisoned villains with appropriate qualifications and/or experience to have access to resources to conduct research for the public good. The Second Chance Rehabilitation Project launches.
(It is an open secret that only people who have been vetted by the Villain Wrangler are allowed to join, because the Villain Wrangler has by now a meticulously set up method and intelligence network to run background checks and character references through ensure that none of the children wishing to meet their role models get hurt.)
Being able to say that one is involved with the Project begins to look really good in parole hearings. The Villains involved perform their own quality checks on one another, because if one of their kids got hurt, then all of their kids could potentially lose out, and the ones that are serious about the Project are not having that. (Also, the ability to collaborate with other geniuses is the most interesting thing to happen to most of them since losing to various heroes, and most consider the intellectual stimulation to be worth putting up with the ridiculous egoes and inevitable personality clashes that arise.)
Reformed Villains come out of the woodwork to advocate about better mental healthcare, and support systems. Savvy universities and private labs quietly take their advice, setting up better mental health supports and laboratory safety standards to prevent the Brain Drain caused by losing their less stable scientists to the Costumes.
The Villain Wrangler watches all of this develop with a smile.
Their plan succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.
I’m so down for these posts that assume the best of people instead of the worst
Okay, this part caught my attention: “…the Villain Wrangler has by now a meticulously set up method and intelligence network…to ensure that none of the children…gets hurt.” Which led me to the heartbreaking realization that one DID. Get hurt, that is, by the villain they idolized.
And all I can think is that the Villain Wrangler didn’t call in the heroes. They didn’t call in another heart-of-gold villain. No. The VW rolled up their sleeves and went after this person themself. This project is their baby, after all. If they get the accolades for the successes, they must also shoulder the burden of the failures.
The VW hunts down the villain that crossed the line. Their punishment is swift and horrifying; no hero would have the stomach to mete out justice in such a way, and no villain would have the desire to get quite that much blood on their own hands.
There’s. So much… blood.
The Villain Wrangler never forgets. They increase security, increase the hours and background checks… they increase the graveside visits to the child they failed.
Just the one. But one is one too many.
Is this what Patton The Villain Wrangler was inspired by??
Either way, this is an incredible concept. I really want to write about it but with my original characters, not an AU…hmm…
DUDE HOLY SHIT
How did I never hear about this universe, it’s amazing!!!! 😀
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