From time to time Outright Geekery brings you a slanted and biased opinion on some trivially specific topic of geekery. We call it Outright Geekery’s Top o’ the Lot.
Power, esteem, respect, a cushy office and power! There’s nothing quite like a government job for security, authority and maybe doing some good in the world. Perks? Those aren’t perks; those are the tools of the trade, just like manipulation, charisma and outright dictatorship! Elected, appointed, stolen. It doesn’t really matter. The agenda? Usually it’s purely for personal gain, dressed in the guise of freedom, equality and safety. Either way, these are the Kings and Knights on the Chess Board of life who just love making the Pawns do their bidding. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and we absolutely power our way through a Top o’ the Lot featuring a who’s-who of bureaucratic blatherskites blustering blatantly buggy banter. We tell you one and one makes three because I’m. The. Cult. Of. Per. Son. Al. Ity. in Outright Geekery’s Top o’ the Lot: Comic Book Bureaucrats.
Honorable Mention: Dr. Doom
I wasn’t sure if iron-fisted dictatorship qualifies as bureaucracy, but I don’t care. Latveria is a Utopia under Doom’s benevolent rule…benevolent, that is, as long as you agree with whatever Doom says. Now that’s streamlined efficiency any bureaucrat could appreciate. There are no lines at the Doomstadt DMVs. Hey, just sayin’. Doom squeezes in just because he IS the red tape, and the epitome of what every other bureaucrat in the Lot believes themselves to be. Well, all but one.
5: Mitchell Hundred
Ex Machina wasn’t your typical comic book offering, and the most appealing parts of the title weren’t the super-heroics (although they were quite fun!), it was the political intrigue. Mayor Hundred wanted to do some real good for his city without hiding behind a mask, and the political ploys and tricks he used made for a great piece of graphic literature. Mayor Mitchell Hundred is a hell of a politician, which is the only thing that gets him into the Lot at all, but, deep down, he’s a really good man, which makes me like him way too much to call him out as a stereotypical bureaucrat. There’s other NYC mayors for that.
4: J. Jonah Jameson
Like Peter Parker didn’t have it bad enough time working at his paying gig snapping pics for Triple J, things elevated to a whole new level when Spidey’s biggest critic became New York City’s top dog. The Anti-Spider Squad was soon created and everyone’s favorite friendly neighborhood web-slinger had one more pain in the ass to add to the monthly butt-kickings. The tides may be turning a bit as Spidey’s Superior counterpart has been putting Mayor Jameson in his place, but there’s no telling what Ultimate end Jonah will have to his political career (pun intended), because two Spidey’s swinging around NYC may be more than one mayor can handle.
3: Tony Stark, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
For a few brief months, between the events of Marvel’s Civil War and their Secret Invasion, Tony Stark was put in charge of the world’s most advanced and intrusive international espionage and action organization. And, man, was he a dick about the whole thing! It was Ironman’s way or the highway as Tony established teams of Avengers in all 50 States in the failed Initiative, opened a school to train young heroes that still exists to supply fodder for Avenger’s Arena’s Murder World, and transferred government funds to his own corporation in the form of no-bid contracts. But I’m sure a solid gold Heli-Carrier was a necessary expenditure. Proof that a good businessman doesn’t always make for a good politician (are you listening, Trump?), Stark did such a terrible job that he was replaced by…wait for it…Norman Osbourne! Tony may have been a mislead ideologue in his own right, but he’s got nothing on the next red-taper in the Lot. A good bureaucrat knows how to rile up a crowd and gain support, and nothing riles up the base like some good old-fashioned fear.
2: Senator Robert Kelly
“I stand in the shadow of a man who said a house divided against itself cannot stand. I stand in the shadow of a man for whom the preservation of the union — and the ideals and hopes and freedoms for which it stands — was worth any price, even his own life. Now, as then, this land we love faces a clear and present danger, to its liberty and its future. For Abraham Lincoln, the challenge was slavery. For us, on this cusp of the 21st century, it is mutants!”
Yeah, Kelly said that! He turned the inherently racial issue of slavery into a call to action for injustice against a different race! It wasn’t only a brilliant piece of storytelling thanks to legends Chris Claremont and John Byrne, but it stands as an identifying example of real-world social conflict. Looking back it seems a bit cheap taking the stereotypical fear-mongering political bureaucrat to a factor of asshole, but Senator Kelly worked as both the villain and the hapless patsy; just like a good bureaucrat. I wouldn’t mind seeing a return of this sort of political story in the current X-Titles, but Senator Kelly’s way with words back in the day give him the second spot in the Top o’ this Lot. While Kelly ran for the job of top U.S. bureaucrat, the character in the Top spot o’ the Lot made the Oval Office his bitch!
1: President Lex Luthor
First he all but destroys Gotham City, and then runs on a platform that decries the current administration’s handling of Gotham City’s destruction! If that’s not the work of the most brilliant bureaucrat I have more. Luthor pulls a Kryptonite asteroid toward the Earth, blames Superman for it, and most of the planet believes him, including a team of heroes that he sends to kill Batman and Superman! He allowed alien invasions to occur just to sell more LexCorp weapons. He only served three years, but, oh, they were a grand few, and if it wasn’t for those pesky Tights and Capes who knows how great America could have been? Anyone currently reading DC’s Forever Evil cannot argue that Lex was right!
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