Any character from any medium: literature, drama, film, television, comics. No rules. Just tell who, why they come to mind, and what you’d change.
Wow. That was so brief I can’t believe I’m the one who wrote it.
I’ll start things off with Lex Luthor.
Why: Because my coworker one cube over, for reasons opaque to me, is watching endless Smallvilleclips on YouTube right now. Well, actually the same clip, over and over again, loud enough so that I can hear the clip even though he has the headphones plugged in. Obviously I’m going to have to drop him in the mutant caterpillar pit later, but in the meantime he’s got me thinking about ole Baldie.
What I’d change about Lex:
I don’t like Lex being pure evil, or, in fact, even thinking of himself as evil. He shouldn’t be any sort of ordinary super-criminal; he’s no more ally himself with the Joker or Dr. Light than that guy from Krypton would. So I’d take him back to his Byrne-era corporate bigwig days, but with a few changes.
First, I like Luthor being from Smallville and having been friends with Clark. Said friendship should have been as sincere on Lex’s side as it was on Clark’s; as teenagers, each considered the other his brother by another mother. Moreover, he should NOT have been dark and villainous as a teenager and not have been distrusted by the Kents and Lana Lang; even as an adult, he still has a soft spot in his left ventricle for them. He’s the world’s richest man, and entirely self-made.
Lex’s motivations for villainy should be akin to Arion’s in the Busiek run. He thinks metahumans and super-powered aliens, whether “heroes” or “villains,” are bad for mankind’s development; by allowing itself to become dependent on the Justice League and its ilk, society harms itself in subtle but inevitably devastating ways. He sees super-heroes as well-meaning but misguided; he thinks the JLA is someday going to get Earth into an interstellar war that they won’t be ready for, or, even worse, that people will become complacent and unambitious because of being constantly outshined by demigods in tights. So his problem is with the superhuman community in general, of which his boyhood friend is the greatest symbol. In this framework, he’s by far the most competent villain around; he prefers to work in subtle ways, to discredit Supes & the rest, rather than anything overt. He’d rather not kill any hero he doesn’t have to, but if he has to he’s not going to cry about it. Even so, if the Joker came in his office looking for an alliance, Lex would shoot him until he looked like a piece of Swiss cheese.
Oh, and Lex is perfectly aware of Superman’s secret identity, and Supes knows he knows. But he can’t bring himself to capitalize on it, any more than he can bring himself to outright kill Supes, because he still loves the Kents, and Lana, and, in a small way, Clark himself; and in turn, Clark still loves him a little and feels the pain of their estrangement very strongly. The only time Lex would ever don a battle-suit would be if some villain were attacking Smallville, and if he and Clark ran into each thereabouts, neither of them would do a thing to the other, because they’re not enemies in that little speck of Kansas.