Serial killers are a staple of fiction. They provide frights, gore and stunning insight into the human mind. Except for the stunning insight into the human mind, because who goes around killing people? I mean, I know I’m tempted, but I’ve got this pesky little thing called a “conscience” that keeps me from doing it. I hate that guy.
Anyway, movies, television and books love serial killers, because they’re scary and interesting. That was my point. Yeah.
And speaking of serial killers, do you know who’s a couple of serial killers? Death Note’s Kira (Light Yagami) and Dexter’s Dexter! Also, they kill bad guys, so that makes for some fun times, right?
On to the bloodbath!
Physicality. A lot of people say Michael C. Hall is really attractive. Now, I’m not saying they’re wrong, just that I think they’re wrong. (So, I guess I’m saying they’re wrong.) Seriously, though, I can see how he would be some folks’s type, what with the whole “rugged” thing he’s got going on, but we all know that the only rugged guy who has a place in my heart is Adam “John Casey” Baldwin. On the other hand, Light “pronounced Raito” “Kira” Yagami is drawn like your stereotypical bishonen (that’s pretty boy, for those of you who aren’t into that genre of manga) and is portrayed as a ladykiller. Not literally. Well, sometimes literally. On the other (third, mutant) hand, he was played by this guy:
in the live-action film. Winner? The manga Light Yagami. It’s hard not to root for a guy who’s drawn that pretty.
Has a strict moral code? The weird thing about this pair of serial killers is that they both have a strict moral code. Sure, that strict moral code includes “killing certain people is OK,” but it has the proviso of “those people must be bad, evil, killer-types.” Except that they’ve both killed innocent people, so they kind of suck at following their own moral codes. However, Dexter really does try to avoid murdering the so-called “good guys,” while Light Yagami killed a bunch of FBI agents just because he thought one of them might possibly maybe be able to figure out he was Kira, perhaps. Winner? Dexter.
Willing to get his hands dirty? Metaphorically, they’re both willing to get their hands dirty. Ridding the world of murdering scum such as themselves, that sort of thing. However, physically, only Dexter has a traditional serial killing routine, with the slicing and the blood and the plastic tarp or whatever. Light Yagami just writes down people’s names in a magical notebook of death (hence the series’ name, “Death Note”) and they die of heart attacks. If worst comes to worst, he has a henchman do the dispatching. Winner? Dexter.
Killed a detective who got too close to the truth? Light Yagami murdered L. Light Yagami murdered L! Sighhhh …. OK, actually, he didn’t murder the great detective L. He just set things up so that there would be no choice otherwise for another character. (Like I said, he doesn’t like to get his hands dirty.) Similarly, Dexter was not directly responsible for the death of that one detective (I forget his name, but he was the one who said “motherfucker” a lot), but it’s not like he cried when the guy was dead. Winner? Nobody, by a stupid technicality. Otherwise, it would be Kira, because I hate him so much for killing L. *Sniff*
Has a father with a realllllly strict moral code? As a matter of fact, yes! Both these killers have daddies who are policemen. Dexter’s dad helped him come up with “the code” by which he lives, which keeps him killing baddies and mostly out of jail. Light Yagami’s father was on the task force charged with identifying Kira. How’s that for irony? It’s ironic! Kira’s his son! That’s really, really irony! Winner? A tie!
Has a better reason for turning to murder as the solution to all life’s problems? As a child, Dexter witnessed the brutal murder of his mother and was found pretty much caked in her blood. He didn’t have to turn to serial killing, but it kind of seems like really heavy drugs or a psychotic break are the only other options. Light Yagami was bored. Oh, and he wouldn’t mind making the world a better place, but mostly bored. Winner? Dexter.
Has a useless younger sister? Dexter’s sister is actually useful. She’s a cop and also keeps him from going all completely dark side on the viewers. Light Yagami’s sister is just your regular little sister, except she gets kidnapped and never is quite right after that, so that’s pretty useless, actually. Winner? Light Yagami.
Cover wife/girlfriend died a tragic death as the result of her husband/boyfriend’s propensity for serial killing? In the Death Note movie, Light Yagami totally kills his girlfriend using the Death Note, so he will look like a wronged innocent. (Don’t ask; it’s very convoluted, but it works.) In the manga, he has two cover girlfriends, one of whom dies before the series is over and one of whom (says the series creator) kills herself when it’s done. Both deaths are because of the Death Note and/or Light Yagami himself. Dexter’s wife totally got murdered by John Lithgow, the serial killer Dexter was stalking but didn’t get around to killing before it was too late. Winner? A tie again.
Hangs out with a death god? Sorry, folks, Dexter stays firmly in the realm of realistic crime show. No death gods there. Light Yagami, however, spends a lot of his time hanging with the shinigami Ryuk, who dropped the Death Note in the human world, which is what started all the killing in the first place. Winner? Light Yagami.
The tie-breaker question, then: Which serial killer is a braver soul? Dexter isn’t particularly cowardly. He’s got his things that scare him, sure, like getting caught and ruining his family’s lives, stuff like that. But he’s all about horrible, serial-killing justice, and will stop at nothing to achieve it, even if that means facing John Lithgow. (What? He’s scary!) Light Yagami is a whiny coward baby who whines. His death scene is one of the most awesome feats of whininess known to pop culture. He spends a good five minutes pleading for his life, with lots of begging and crying, and it is soooo undignified, you don’t even know. Errrr, spoiler alert. Winner? Dexter.
Overall winner: The guy from the show I don’t even watch! Congratulations, sir!
So, apparently, there’s a rumor going around the internets that Zac Efron will be cast as Light Yagami aka Kira aka that guy I hate ’cause he killed L in the Hollywood adaptation of Death Note. Yeah, because Hollywood is so good at remaking Japanese movies/anime/manga.
Anyway, that rumor is almost certainly load of hooey (seriously? Zac Efron? I mean, you know they’re going to cast Keanu Reeves as … oh, god, they’ll probably cast him as L, won’t they), but here’s some images why maybe it should be considered.
Earlier, I did a post on why I didn’t like Donnie Darko. It’s my most popular post ever, which makes me sad, because it wasn’t really all that funny. In fact, I only threw in the zombie suggestion as a last-ditch effort to be funny, and I don’t think it really succeeded.
Anyhow, to further on the popularity of that post, I actually watched another movie this weekend.
Ha, ha, I’m just kidding. I know that Donnie Darko has this huge cult following and every American but me (apparently) has given up on Death Note and Death Note-related merchandise. But I thought if I mentioned Donnie Darko a lot, some of those people might accidentally read this post too. Ha, ha, suckers, you Donnie Darko fans!
(You just quit reading, didn’t you?)
On to L: Change the World. The sequel (?) to the two Death Note movies, this little flick fills us in on the last (spoiler alert, if you haven’t read Death Note or seen the movies yet) 23 days of L’s life. Right away, I’ve got a box of tissues at the ready.
And L: Change the World had a lot of elements to make up a movie I would like. It had L. And L was played by Kenichi Matsuyama, who is really pretty for a man. Like, confusing-my-mom pretty.
And there were cute li’l tykes and explosions and a car chase in a bright pink pastry truck and a bungling FBI agent.
Oh, and there was some plot to destroy humanity with a virus by some lady with way-too-perfect hair and a bunch of hack villains, like the skinny Japanese chick who could overpower just about anybody, even though she probably only weighs 98 pounds soaking wet and I could take her in a fight. Seriously, they couldn’t have gotten a Japanese girl who at least looked like she’d studied some martial arts? Anyway, she sucked. Especially when she came at people with a knife, because who holds a knife like that? Jesus.
Oh, there was a cute bit where L and the two li’l tykes were riding bicycles, and if there’s anything cuter than L riding a bicycle with one li’l tyke in a basket on the front and the other li’l tyke riding a second bike, it probably involves little tiny dogs in bumblebee costumes.
And the ending did make me sniffle a little, when L walks off over a bridge and says something about wanting to stay in this world a little bit longer … and he’s only got one day to live, I hate you so much, stupid Light Yagami!
But that was it. The plot was lame, the acting was horrible. (Except for my boy Kenichi-dono, who is just the best L ever and I love him!) There wasn’t even a decent soundtrack, like the way the Death Note flicks got the Red Hot Chili Peppers to give them some music.
So don’t be fooled by Kenichi Matsuyama’s overwhelming prettiness. It’s just not worth it. Unless you’re a completist, I guess, and then it’s still not really worth it.
Errrr, this post wasn’t that funny either. Shit.
Yeah, I know Frank Miller’s already done it, and with much cooler art too, but I thought it was about time I had a matchup between comic book characters that other people have actually heard of.
By the way, you should really have read Planetary and Death Note by now, and I fervently hope that you do. Especially Planetary. What a great series. Sighhhh … Oh, Elijah Snow, you are the best comic book character ever.
Erm, except for Superman and Batman, of course, who will now battle it out for bestest ever (est).
Physicality. Whooo boy, this is a tough one. You’ve got plenty of different artists’ perspectives on these two gents, but they tend to agree on this: these boys are smokin’ hot. I mean, Bruce Wayne (that’s Batman, for the non-comic book … you know what? Everyone knows that, even my mom. If you didn’t know it, get off the internets now!) doesn’t have a playboy persona just because he’s fabulously wealthy, which he totally is, but also because he’s one fine specimen of human male (that works out constantly). Superman’s got the blue-eyed, dark-haired (errr, Supes does have blue eyes, right? I always assumed he had blue eyes) thing going on, plus that spit-curl. The winner? Batman, because fabulous wealth always makes a man more attractive.
Ass-kicking ability. The sad thing here is both men are burdened by a silly moral code that prevents them from kicking ass unto death, so we have to be satisfied with some half-assed ass-kickings. (Yes, I am trying to use the word “ass” as often as possible, why do you ass …k?) Batman is trained in, like, 200 different martial arts and I think he does some gymnastics too (Editor’s note: why aren’t you googling these facts, Lokifire?), and Superman is an alien with superhuman abilities. On a scale of 1 to “Beating your face in,” these two vigilantes are both on the “And I did it with my pinky finger” end of the scale. However, superhuman abilities tend to beat the pinnacle of human abilities, so, no matter how much Bats can bench-press, Superman is our winner.
Ability to commit. What’s this category doing in a superhero matchup, you ask? Hey, it’s my blog. I can make up whatever categories I want and you can’t stop me. I could even have a category where I compare their toenail cutting ability (winner? Batman, ’cause you know he gets his butler to do it for him). This category, however, is just a gimme for our boy Superman, who has a thing for lovely ladies (whose initials are also L.L., just like lovely ladies, and Mr. Cool J), but has remained faithful to Lois Lane for lo these many years. Batman is a commitment-phobe, and that’s all there is to it.
Errrr, let’s call this one a tie.
Detective skills? Look, I’ve got nothing against Superman, but he’s not really the brightest bulb in the aliens who fell to earth pack and, boy, that simile kind of went to hell on me, didn’t it? Batman, on the other hand, we might as well match up against Sherlock Holmes and call it a day. Although he’s no Elijah Snow, who was trained by Sherlock Holmes, and read Planetary already. Winner? Bats.
Best costume? Look, Bats, the whole goth thing is so over, you know? Real 1990s, maybe the oughts. Emo’s the thing now. On the other hand, Superman is wearing his underwear on the outside of his pants and they are bright red. Winner? Batman.
Most tragic origin? Both Superman and Batman are orphans. That’s just really, really sad. Terribly, tremendously sad. Sad, sad, sad. On the other hand, Superman was just a baby when his parents bit the big one, and Batman witnessed his parents getting murdered to death (like there’s another way to get murdered, right?) in front of his eyes. On yet another hand, however, Superman’s entire planet blew up. Then again, he was adopted by really nice farm folk who taught him to help people and other good old American values (God Bless the USA!!) and Batman dedicated his life to revenge. Winner? Batman again.
Coolest villain? Superman’s got Lex Luthor, who was voted president at some point in the DC Universe’s sketchy history. The Batman’s got the Joker, who is completely sociopathic. They’re both evil, but the Joker is awfully iconic. What’ve you got going for you, Lex? You’re bald? Lots of men are bald, Lex. Winner? Batman again again.
Most likely to break that silly moral code and kill your ass dead? Hee, hee, I said “kill your ass dead.” Um, I mean, Batman! Superman is the opposite of conflicted. He’s proflicted. Winner? Batman, ’cause, in the right (or wrong, I guess) circumstances, he would twist your damned head off.
I could keep going. But Batman’s just going to win some more.
In conclusion, Batman wins. He is the Dark Knight, after all, and Superman is just a glorified Boy Scout.
Disney’s destroyed a lot of things. Countless reels of their early racist cartoons. Small nations. My will to live.
Not least among those things is what makes certain badasses truly badass.
A list follows.
Pre-Disney: Tinkerbell, as we all know, was Peter Pan’s pet fairy. As you may not know, people don’t actually keep fairies as pets and Tink was only hanging out with the lad because of a strange sense of fondness. Later, when Peter brought the young girl Wendy to Neverland, Tink convinced the Lost Boys to shoot arrows at the strange “Wendy-Bird.” That’s right, she was bad-assedly trying to off her competition for Peter’s affections.
Post-Disney: Look, I don’t remember watching Peter Pan any more than the rest of you, but I’m pretty sure that everything Tinkerbell now is aimed towards 5-year-old girls.
2. Captain Hook.
Pre-Disney: He was “Blackbeard’s boatswain, and that he was the only man Long John Silver ever feared.” Also, he was actively trying to murder a prepubescent boy.
Post-Disney: Do the words “bumbling fool” mean anything to you? If they don’t, perhaps you are in need of a dictionary. Disney had to ruin everything good about Peter Pan.
Pre-Disney: A little mermaid wondered what it would be like to have a soul. A little mermaid discovered that the only way to get a soul was to have a human fall in love with her. Note: it says nothing about falling in love with the human in return. A little mermaid, near her fated death, can ward it off if she kills the human man. Does she? No. She lets him live, marry his true love and turns into sea foam (actually, she turns into an air spirit, but she thought she was going to turn into sea foam, so it counts). That last thing is what makes her truly badass. Well, that and the way she danced for the prince even though each step felt like she was walking on knives. Bad! Ass!
Post-Disney: Ariel falls in love with a human man. Who needs a soul when you can have steaming hot human sex, am I right? Offered the same choice as the original little mermaid, she also staunchly refuses to stab the guy to death, but in the end, she ends up married, not sea foam and presumably the proud possessor of a soul. Nicely tying a neat little bow in everything and kind of defeating the whole Christian theme Hans Christian (hey!!) Anderson had going.
Pre-Disney: Zeus’s oft-cuckolded wife (can women be cuckolded? Hell, I don’t know), she took her revenge not on her scoundrel of a husband who couldn’t keep it in his pants and was sticking it to everything that moved, but on his lovers. She turned Io into a cow. She detained Leto’s childbirth so that her labor with the twins Apollo and Artemis lasted for a couple of weeks, which is very goddamn evil, if you have ever experienced the horror that is childbirth. If she couldn’t get to the lover, she went after her husband’s progeny, even if said progeny had been named Heracles as an attempt to appease her. She even went so far as to strike Heracles with a madness that led him to murder his wife and children. Pretty badass, huh?
Post-Disney: Hera and Zeus are the loving parents of Hercules and … what the hell? Really? You’re serious? Frak you, Disney. Just: frak you.
Pre-Disney: Look, there’s really no point in doing two separate entries on these two. They’re both basically weak women who sit around doing chores and hoping that wonderful things will happen to them and then wonderful things do, hurrah! Hurrah! But what made both ladies truly badass was the punishments that they let be inflicted on their tormentors. Cinderella’s stepsisters had their eyes poked out by doves that were sitting on the new princess’s shoulders. Snow White’s stepmother was made to dance in iron-hot shoes until she was dead. It takes a pretty spectacular badass to let those things come to be.
Post-Disney: Read the first part again, up until “punishments that they let be inflicted on their tormentors,” and you’ve got a pretty good idea of the general wussiness of these ladies. Also, they sing a lot. *shudder*
Pre-Disney: Look, I don’t know if your parents ever told you this, but these are words to raise your children by: Don’t piss off the fair folk. If someone sneezes, bless ’em before the fairies steal their soul. If you’re caught in a fairy ring, well, just expect to die. And for the love of God, don’t forget to invite a fairy to your princess daughter’s Christening because that is poor form, sir, very poor form indeed. In fact, it’s such poor form that the highly pissed-off fairy is likely to curse your child unto her death, although that curse may be tempered by another fairy whom you actually remembered to invite.
Post-Disney: Actually, Maleficient, which is a name invented by the folks at Disney and is kind of awesome, remains pretty badass and turns into a dragon and somesuch. However, she was just evil from the get-go, which, while badass, seems less badass than teaching people proper manners by killing their kids.
7. Shere Khan.
Pre-Disney: The Jungle Book’s man-eating tiger was a man-eater for one reason and one reason alone (coincidentally, it’s the same reason tigers become man-eaters today!): people can’t run very fast. Shere Khan was born with a lame leg, which would be a hindrance in the whole hunting and killing existence, except for the miracle of slow, slow villagers.
Post-Disney: Why does Shere Khan eat people? There’s no reason given? That’s pretty badass then … wait, what do you mean he doesn’t eat anything in the whole movie? What’d they kill him for then?
Pre-Disney: Not Wall-E specifically, but all robots were things to be feared and obeyed, Isaac Asimov’s rules of robotics notwithstanding.
Post-Disney: Awwww! They’re so cute and helpful! Cute and helpful!
9. Aladdin’s genie.
Pre-Disney: Folks, there is a reason that most djinn are found stuffed into bottles and it’s not because they like it in there. It’s because that’s where they could be safely stored because, holy Allah, are they powerful and generally selfish beings. It’s best if you use your third wish to wish your genie back into its lamp, if you don’t want to end up disembowled on top of your riches and half-naked harem.
10. Johnny Depp.
Pre-Disney: Depp was a hotel-room thrashing, method-acting, crazy hot guy. He had a “Wino Forever” tattoo (ha ha, take that, Winona Ryder)!
Post-Disney: Disney turned Depp into an eyeliner-wearing pirate. Now, you might think that pirates would be pretty badass, and you would be right, except in the cases where they were eyeliner. The only movie character ever who is still a badass despite the wearing of eyeliner is L from Death Note, and that’s only because Japan used up all their CGI funds on the shinigami effects in the movie (I’m assuming Japan is both a country and a film studio).
Pre-Disney: In the Bard’s epic tragedy, everybody dies because Hamlet can’t make up his goddamned mind.
Post-Disney: I’m not saying I like Simba and his stupid yet catchy songs, but at least the lion cub was a little bit proactive, you know?
Anyone who knows me knows I have a weakness for the two best detectives of their respective generations. What do you mean you haven’t heard of L? Pick up a copy of Death Note already (or all 12, actually, ’cause if you get just one, it might not make much sense)!! The Red Hot Chili Peppers liked it! Are you better than the Red Hot Chili Peppers? Are you?
In any case (heh, I used “case” because, you know, detectives), L and Sherlock Holmes are crime-solving geniuses. Genii? But which was the crime-solvingist, geniusist of the two?
The battle begins … now:
Number of cases completed in a satisfactory manner? This one could be a toss-up. There’s only one Holmes story in the lexicon that I’m aware of where the bad guy got away, and it wasn’t a bad guy, per se, it was a lady and she wasn’t all that bad, and Holmes really admired her. L also had an impeccable track record, solving all sorts of “unsolveable” cases before his tragic and untimely (spoiler alert!) death. However, I’m going to give this to Holmes because we have an exact figure to use, and it is the number of Holmes stories that are out there.
Physicality? Well, if we go by movies, this is another tossup. Well, if you find thin young Japanese men attractive, that is, which I do, because they are, so shut up. Holmes has been consistently portrayed by some lookers, and the newest is Robert Downey Jr., who, while I feel he’s not right for the role, is downright dashing. HOWEVER (and I made the word “however” all caps because it is the biggest, fattest “however” you could possibly imagine), the creators of both characters were really going for less rather than more in looks. Holmes, according to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was downright ugly, and L slouched a lot and had tremendous eye bags. However (a smaller however), and this is the deciding factor, Battlestar Galactica’s Alessandro Juliani voiced L in the Death Note anime English adaptation, and he’s quite good-looking, so: L.
Personal habits? Sherlock had the cocaine addiction and general misanthropy, but he was a master of the fisticuffs and quite strong. L has a sweet tooth of epic proportions, plus he probably has Asperger’s Syndrome, but he was really funny and nice to people, so it’s kind of a tossup there again. (Good Lord, are these two evenly matched or what?) On the other hand, Holmes quit using the cocaine when his good friend Watson (possibly the first documented bromance ever? That wasn’t Greek?) said it was unhealthy, so … Holmes.
Personal style? Look, Holmes never wore that deerstalker cap. That was all the illustrator, not Doyle. However, L never wore shoes, so Holmes wins. The late 1800s were a classy time!
Could kick a bad guy’s ass (because I felt required to use the word “ass” at some point)? Already mentioned Holmes and the fisticuffs, and who can forget that story where he straightened out the fire poker? But L was a master of the South American martial art Capoeira, which is just weird enough to be badass. Winner? L.
Ultimate fate? Both characters were killed in battles against their arch-nemeses, what with Holmes plunging to his doom after a battle against the crime boss Professor Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls and L succumbing to a heart attack (serial killer Kira’s preferred method of murder). Another however in both cases! Holmes was resurrected by fans and plodded on for several more stories. L was killed by a shinigami, or death god, which is totally using supernatural means and thus, cheating. Winner? Sherlock. However the means, he came back from the dead and L never did beat Kira (except in the live-action movies, which I like best for that specific reason).
Overall winner? Looks like the original-flavor best detective ever wins this match. However, there’s no chibi-Sherlock and there is totally a chibi-L, so … I still love them both equally.