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Look, Monstrox, it would be one thing if you just used Jestro by feeding him false promises, but did you have to try and possess his body? Especially after he's helped you (partially) restore your powers?

Monstrox: I am Monstrox, the arch-necromancer! I can take many forms.

Jestro: Except human, apparently.


That is, if Monstrox ever were human in the first place.

Well, I never thought this day would come, but here it is: my first ever Pure Evil proposal for a character I never thought could qualify. Meet Monstrox, the arch-necromancer, the main antagonist of LEGO’s 2016 toys and TV series, Nexo Knights.

What’s the work?

Nexo Knights is another one of LEGO’s toy themes based on knights, however, this one takes more of a “swordpunk” approach than the good old “dungeons and dragons”. The show promoting it ran for four seasons, 10 episodes each, and was cancelled due to lack of budget or something. It takes place in the very medieval but completely futuristic kingdom of Knighton. The main heroes are five knights: Clay the responsible one, Macy the princess…ful one, Lance the vain one, Aaron the funny one and Axl the ever hungry one, who can enchant their weapons via wi-fi and use them to fight the evil jester Jestro (who’s really just Monstrox’s pawn) and his monsters. It also references Monty Python and the Holy Grail in about every episode (so the jokes have aged like yoghurt). There’s also supplementary material written from Monstrox’s POV, the Books of Monsters and Monstrox, but I’m unsure if they’re canon considering non-canon characters are mentioned in both and they were never confirmed to be canon by creators, I’ll reference them just in case. So, let me tell you why I think the show’s main antagonist qualifies as Pure Evil.

Who is Monstrox? What has he done?

Before the series, Monstrox was a mighty necromancer and a member of Knighton’s Wizards’ Council alongside a wizard Merlok and his sister, the witch Wanda. The council was cataloguing different sorts of magic all across the kingdom, Monstrox himself discovered Forbidden Powers, very destructive spells. For reasons unknown, he used these powers to wreak havoc across the kingdom, and Merlok claims they turned him insane. The council sent Merlok to stop the necromancer and his army of Stone Monsters. Monstrox was defeated and jailed, but escaped and apparently came back with an army of Lava Monsters. Merlok defeated him again and turned him into a book where his monsters ended up trapped, hence his “Book of Monsters” appearance. He was stuck in the royal castle’s library for many years, during which Wanda, corrupted by Monstrox’s presence (unclear if it was intentional on his side or not), succumbed to evil inside her, became Ruina Stoneheart, fought her brother and was petrified by him.

Here comes...

Season 1

During the Nexo Knights’ graduation ceremony, Jestro, the royal jester, performs and gets laughed at, nothing new for him. But one of his tricks causes a blackout across the capital, leaving him even more distraught. He walks past the library and hears Monstrox, who’s already seen him in the past and has plans for him, talking. The book claims that he can help Jestro become the greatest villain of all time so that people would stop laughing at him. He orders the jester to release the monsters inside him, Clay passes by and sees it, Merlok sacrifices himself to stop them (he gets better), they get launched out of the castle but recover and continue plotting, with Monstrox needing to collect all books containing his monsters for some master plan. First, they discover the Book of Evil, touching which corrupts Jestro, and Monstrox eats it. Then they summon some monsters and lead an assault on Knightonia, which fails due to Nexo Knights and the resurrected Merlok repelling the attack with Nexo Powers. Jestro and Monstrox escape.

A while later they attack Waterton, the kingdom’s main water source, although it’s Jestro’s idea. But the knights have Nexo Powers, so this plan is doomed and the villains have to escape again.

Later Jestro and Monstrox retrieve the Book of Chaos, which allows them to summon the Beast Master. He builds them a mobile headquarters, and they use it to try and capture the royal couple while they are giving investors a tour, and their monsters attack the town they arrived in without waiting for commands, but the royals are saved by the knights, and the villains retreat, arguing on their way.

The villains find the Book of Fear and release Whiparella so that she would torment Nexo Knights with their worst fears, which she initially succeeds in, but the knights overcome their fears thanks to Aaron whom Whiparella was unable to scare. Whiparella accidentally hits Jestro, making him hallucinate his own worst fear, so Monstrox’s forces have to retreat.

At some point after Episode 5 but before Episode 7 (it was an app-exclusive, but canon, episode), they find the Book of Anger, and Monstrox eats it. Of course there was also a fight with the knights, which the villains lost.

While the knights were filming the “Golden Castle” film Lance starred in, Monstrox grew interested in eating the script for it to release more powerful monsters. Still, even though he manages to do it, the monsters resulting from it are no match for the knights.

A while later, Jestro and Monstrox search a maze for the Book of Deception, however, Nexo Knights were also searching for it. The villains attack the town of Diggington as a distraction and manage to trick the heroes by creating a decoy book and get away with the real one. With it, the book turns his monsters into Nexo Knights to frame them for racketeering among other offenses, which doesn’t go as planned due to Robin taking matters in his own hands and fighting the “knights” as the Black Knight. Even after his mech is destroyed, the real Nexo Knights come to the rescue, forcing Monstrox to retreat once again.

Jestro eventually manages to divide and neutralize the knights for the time being, letting him and Monstrox attack Knightonia in an attempt to kill King Halbert. Jestro has second thoughts on this one, since the king was always nice to him, but Monstrox uses the Book of Vengeance he got in secret to corrupt the jester further, and he abandons such thoughts. Just when it seems that the kingdom will fall, the two get defeated when Merlok uploads his most powerful spell into Clay’s weapons, literally blowing them away…for the time being.

Monstrox returns in...

Season 2

...and attacks the Knights Academy in search of his shrunken castle (long story), which the monsters find and which becomes their new headquarters.

After getting the Book of Greed, the villains send their monsters to pillage Auremville, and they take Lance’s parents by accident as well, but eventually have to return both them and the stolen riches after keeping them became unbearable.

Later, Monstrox and Jestro infiltrate the Knight-a-Con to eat the original Ned Knightly comic book and create new monsters from it. Monstrox pretends to be a kid in a costume so that the knights let him see the comic, and they actually believe him, but before the villain can eat the comic, his general Magmar ruins everything by attacking the exhibition. Monstrox gets lost in chaos and taken home by a girl he’s terrified of. Jestro saves him somehow and they attack the knights during a tournament in Knightonia to get the Book of Envy. They get it and retreat after the knights…oh, why am I even repeating this…

When a chili cooking contest takes place in Pepperton, Monstrox sends two of his monsters to infiltrate it and win the hottest chili recipe to make…the hottest…monsters…When Axl leaves to get more ingredients, the villains try to ambush him, but fail, and he wins the recipe while the villains flee yet again.

Later, they search for the Book of Cruelty, which turns out to be in possession of the hotel Clay was staying in, and they eventually steal it and capture the knight and the hotel stuff to torment them. While Clay is imprisoned by the monsters, Monstrox accuses the knight of never standing up to Jestro unlike him. If only Jestro knew…Of course, everyone gets saved eventually.

Before a battle in Snottingham, Monstrox makes himself and the monsters sick to infect Nexo Knights and put them out of commission, in which he succeeds for a while…a while.

As their master plan is only one book short from culminating, Monstrox and Jestro arrive in Laughington and…don’t attack it. They act as stand-up comedians instead. Why, you may ask? While Jestro seems to have finally discovered a way to make people laugh with him, not at him, and comes close to redeeming himself, Monstrox only does it to sway the citizens’ attention and recruit them into his army. After the act, Monstrox gets booknapped by a washed-up comedian, Jokes Knightly, who’s been corrupted by the Book of Betrayal. Jestro asks the knights to save him, but the monsters end up doing the job for them, and Monstrox demands they continue on with his their master plan, but Jestro, likely due to a combination of the knights’ recent support, his success as a comedian and the Book of Betrayal’s power, has a meltdown, runs off, and hands the book to the person who reveals themselves to be Clay. Monstrox considers this an act of treason and sends his monsters to capture the jester. When they have him and Clay cornered, Jestro sacrifices himself so that the monsters can only capture him and not the Book of Betrayal or the knight.

Monstrox reveals to the “joke boy” that everything he did was never about him and that his plan was to possess Jestro’s body with the power of the evil books they’ve collected and become all-powerful again. As he is rehearsing the possession ritual, Clay comes and offers the last book he needs for it in exchange for Jestro. The book lets Jestro go, but chooses to possess the knight instead. Luckily, Clay’s friends come to the rescue, and Monstrox is seemingly destroyed by Merlok’s magic without gaining a new body…well, key word “body”.

Season 3

...reveals that the necromancer’s essence reformed into the Cloud of Monstrox, and hoo boy does he get badder...

A few months after his defeat, he reveals himself to Jestro and zaps the ex-jester-now-reporter with his lightning to turn him evil again. They attack the amusement park in search of Monstrox’s old staff, find the first Forbidden Power of Relentless Rust and use it to terrorize Armorville. During the fight with the knights, he zaps a statue and Clay, who was touching it at the moment, which causes him to slowly turn into stone until he is completely petrified in Episode 29. While it may be an accident, as Monstrox shot lightning at the same time Jestro sent Clay flying into it (in fact, in The Book of Monstrox the villain says he didn’t notice Clay “hiding” behind it), if you rewatch this moment you can see that after zapping the statue, Monstrox looks in Clay’s direction as he falls down and smiles wickedly, meaning that he likely knew something bad was going to happen to the knight (which, again, is true according to the same book).

Later, he and Jestro recruit an outcast sculptor, Roberto Arnoldi, to create Rock Monsters for them, and attack another town.

Even later, the two use the power of Ravaging Rot to make the Knightonians’ food unedible, but fail to destroy the knights with it.

In Rockwood Forest, Monstrox brainwashes Robot Hoodlum, a noble robber, by zapping him to make him steal the knights’ Nexo Shields, which the heroes eventually get back.

A while after, the villains enslave the citizens of Diggington, including Axl’s parents, to mine out three of Monstrox’s petrified minions. When the entrance to the cave is blocked by the knights’ mobile fortress, he tries to find another way in, but loses all of his moisture in the process, becomes tiny and has to retreat.

Jestro and Roberto raid the arts museum for a Forbidden Power while he endangers the visitors by bringing the statues to life and advises Jestro to “bring the house down” which could kill everyone inside (but thankfully doesn’t).

Monstrox eventually discovers that one of the Forbidden Powers is in the town inhabited by the reformed Lava Monsters who refuse to obey him, which sends him into depression to the point where he’s obeying Jestro, not vice-versa (before you ask: no, it’s not played for sympathy, considering he claims monsters repayed his kindness with evil when he never was kind to them, that’s just his victim complex). The villains promptly attack the reformed monsters with their stone army, intending to make them pay for their “betrayal” (although Monstrox claims he can’t decide if he hates or loves them and doesn’t even take part in the fight), but the monsters manage to trick Jestro into capturing the decoy “power-guarding” “Rogul” and let the Nexo Knights take the real one, making Monstrox feel better over Jestro failing.

Monstrox then resurrects Ruina and has her royalnap Queen Halbert as a distraction from the monsters’ attack on the knights’ HQ. Clay finally succumbs to his curse while rescuing the queen, meaning Monstrox had finally downed a Nexo Knight without even knowing it. He thus ends up acquiring the fourth Forbidden Power, Blazing Burn, which makes him grow in size and strength, and heads towards Knightonia to destroy Merlok’s memory servers, torching a town on his way just because. The cloud attacks the capital, actually destroying some of Merlok’s memory (yeah, he’s a computer program now, long story) and almost kills the wizard himself, but Aaron manages to destroy his cloud form from the inside, forcing him to turn back into a book. The monsters retreat, but Monstrox is still bent on gaining more Forbidden Powers to unleash the Colossus of Ultimate Destruction and not just conquer Knighton, but destroy it.

Season 4

In it, the necromancer starts off still down in the dumps after his defeat, not even willing to take part in the next attack, but all it takes for him to cheer up and regain his cloud form and powers is learning that Jestro lost the battle not to the knights, but to a bunch of schoolkids, laughing and zapping his cohort with lightning to “cheer” him.

Monstrox and Jestro find the power of Shocking Scare and test it on the citizens of Bravington, turning them into cowards. The necromancer goes on to reanimate the petrified Clay to force Nexo Knights to fight him (of course they couldn’t destroy their best friend, while he could destroy them). This tactic proves successful as Clay sends the knights into retreat. Clay tries to destroy Merlok, but gets blasted to the other side of the kingdom by him, leaving the villains to search for him.

Apparently (not exactly clear what happened there), Jestro and Monstrox eventually went into the wrong house searching for Forbidden Powers, but the occupant still gave Jestro something to eat, so he apologized (but not Monstrox). On HV, Monstrox sees stone Clay fight his teammates and believes that he’s still evil and thus welcomes him in his army. At one point, he smiles when Clay punches and destroys one of his gargoyles, showing just how little he cares for his soldiers. However, the cloud decides to test Clay’s loyalty by ordering him to kill one of the junior knights, Robin, who was caught spying on the monsters (and Robin is barely a teen yet, mind you). Of course, Clay doesn’t pass the test, revealing that he’s rejoined the knights’ side. Monstrox and Jestro argue over a way to kill him, but the other knights arrive, so Clay is saved.

Due to Clay wiping out many of the Rock Monsters, Monstrox decides to attack Rockstead with the Devious Demolition power and have Arnoldi create new monsters out of its ruins. He and Jestro later assault the knights in the Halp Mountains, thrashing Merlok’s friend Rockowski’s estate just for kicks, before getting forced back not by Nexo Powers, but by Rockowski breaking most of their monsters with nothing but two slabs. Talk about a “weaksauce weakness”.

A while later, Jorah Tightwad, a business tycoon and King Halbert’s rival, discovers Lord Krakenskull and his stone army buried underground and is willing to sell them to Monstrox to use them against the king. Monstrox says he could just zap them to life and have them thrash the place, but Jorah makes a point that they have a common enemy, and after a few seconds of negotiating, Jestro and the necromancer agree to the deal and rob the bank in Stinking Rich and Happy Hill to pay Jorah, and Monstrox’s words imply that they took practically all the money the town had. Krakenskull’s army proves to be less effective than Monstrox had hoped, so he has Jestro turn all of Jorah’s gold into lead with the powerful power of…Metal Morphosis. While Jorah totally deserved that, it also means that the citizens of SRaH Hill will never get their money back.

Later, he and Jestro find three more Forbidden Powers and test them on various towns (for no apparent reason, it appears). Clay destroys the Confounding Confusion however, so they search for another one, ultimately uncovering Awesome Annihilation. Monstrox has Jestro destroy the town Strongheim with it, after which they go to Mount Thunderstrox and awaken the Colossus, which Monstrox possesses, then knocks Jestro’s flyer away for trying to order him (Jestro took it surprisingly lightly).

The villain sets off in his quest to conquer and destroy Knighton, reducing multiple towns to ruin during his rampage, and finally reaches the capital city. All hope seems lost, but, luckily, the knights (and by “knights” I mean “Clay and Merlok”) manage to turn his indestructible colossus body into crystal with a perfect Combo Nexo Power and reduce him to bits, saving the kingdom…or what’s left of it, anyway.

That’s the end of Monstrox’s story, although had the show continued, he would be revived by Ruina as a computer virus and possibly even succeed in killing Merlok for real, but these concepts were never realized outside of a non-canon comic continuation, so let’s stop here.

Heinous Standard

Oh, this one’s gonna be easy. The HS in Nexo Knights isn’t something that should worry Monstrox considering he is the one who sets it. He manipulated an innocent jester into becoming his pawn, kept mocking him despite claiming that becoming a villain would stop his humiliation, pretty much ruined his life and Merlok’s life too by turning his sister evil, intentionally or unintentionally, and “killing” his nephew. But what really makes him fit for PE status in my opinion are his actions in the last two seasons: he attempted to destroy the entire kingdom, making him the only villain in the series to attempt genocide (Jestro and Arnoldi don’t count, the former was brainwashed and the latter only wanted to get back at the king). He was pretty close to achieving it too, having obliterated several towns (although no casualties were reported, it’s not confirmed that there weren’t any either). And if you somehow believe his goal wasn’t to kill anyone but just to destroy all buildings in the kingdom (as, unfortunately, nobody in the show outright states “Monstrox is gonna kill us all!”), he claimed that after conquering Knighton, he would “utterly destroy” it, meaning he wasn’t going to take prisoners (unless he somehow expected them all to escape the country in the last minute). Even if he simply doesn’t care about possible deaths instead of deliberately targeting the citizens, he doesn’t give them any time to evacuate before he starts rampaging, and his attacks definetily endangered people in the towns. According to TBOM, he intended to keep at least some people alive as slaves, but such fate would pretty much be cruel mercy.

Mitigating Factors

Taken seriously?

The short answer is: not from the start. In the first two seasons, Monstrox as the book was often played for laughs, for example, when he had to deal with his keeper’s stupidity, or burped after eating a book, pretended to be a dressed-up kid who just wanted to see the original Ned Knightly comic, force-fed tea by a girl and practically begged Jestro to save him from her, and treated Jestro’s possession ritual as a stage play (although I think it just made him look even more sadistic). Some of his plans (giving Nexo Knights a cold and swaying support with his stand-up performance) were played for laughs, in fact.

In seasons 3 and 4, he still has some detracting comedic moments, such as jokes about his appearance, having his moisture absorbed by the cave, shrinking down due to it and having to hide inside the remains of his book body, pretending to be “a normal talking cloud” to spy on the Lava Monsters, his depression over becoming a book again, finally, complaining about letting a “dumb cloud” of dust ruin everything, then pausing as Jestro says “awkward” and lashing out at him. But overall, he’s treated much more seriously in the last two seasons, without any ridiculous plans like the ones I’ve mentioned (they are Jestro’s ideas now). Some of the usages of Forbidden Powers are played for laughs, but it’s Jestro who uses them, not Monstrox who’s just hanging around or sometimes isn’t even present, so I’m not sure if they are detracting.

Even if he was played for laughs a few times in the first half of Season 4, in the last four episodes he’s not only much more dangerous but pretty much humourless. Of course, there is a moment where he, in the second-to-final episode, in the Colossus form, wonders if his stomach hurts from “too much stomping” (he swallowed Axl by accident and the guy was trying to break out), before denying there is such thing as “too much stomping” and destroying a building. Another instance is the final episode where he claims he doesn’t need rest and is getting “stompier and stompier”. Comedic, yes, but these don’t detract from how much of a threat he currently is, considering the scenes are played for horror, his gravely voice, visuals, sound, events and all. Come on, how many comedic Pure Evils who didn't completely shed their comedic traits we have, after all?

While Jestro throws one or two quips at his master in the colossus form, Monstrox doesn’t react to them in embarrassment, and to the knights, he is a straightforward threat from that moment on (as he was before, in fact). To be honest, Jestro doesn’t seem to take his master completely seriously when he’s a cloud, thinking that he is the master, but this delusion fades away when Monstrox gets a new form and shows him who’s the boss, so I can say that he pretty much subverted the moments where he wasn’t taken seriously within the span of a single season.

Does he care for anyone?

Although some may say otherwise, I believe he doesn’t, and here’s why: it’s obvious from what I’ve said that he was only manipulating Jestro with his insecurities, forcing him to attack people who were his friends not long ago, mercilessly mocking him (making him a hypocrite too), and planning to take over his body as a thanks for restoring his powers even before the guy abandoned him. Although he orders to just kick Jestro out and not kill him once he chooses to possess Clay instead, it was most likely because he found the jester annoying or just not worth killing or keeping. In season 3, it seems that Monstrox does care for Jestro, as he apologizes before turning him evil, but he shows no regret in brainwashing him, and the second time he zaps the jester, he’s actually being sarcastic: “This is gonna hurt me more than you, kid. Well, not really”. His facial expressions in these scenes are enough to give you the idea that he doesn’t care how Jestro really feels about him as long as he can make him love him. And he still doesn’t get along with Jestro, still mocks him, gets angry at him for losing the last Forbidden Power when it wasn’t even his fault and he was just attacked and nearly killed by Clay, and after becoming the Colossus, knocks him away, saying he’s done taking orders from him (after all the talk about how he was glad to have him back on his side). I must note though that he warns Jestro of danger a few times (while he is still useful to his plans), but again, he could only be worried about losing a useful minion and potentially the power he was holding, simply pragmatic. He even admits that he’s willing to risk losing Jestro if necessary with no sign of concern in his voice.

He never showed actual care for his Lava Monsters and threatened them if they were less competent than expected, yet enters yandere mode when they abandon him for a good reason, sends his new (old) army against them, screams “I HATE THEM!”…and the next second, when Jestro asks him what’s the matter, he says: “They’re like my kids. I love them. I DON’T KNOW HOW I FEEL!”, but I still see no indication of genuine love, since his further reaction to Lava and Rock monsters fighting isn’t shown, and even though the monsters tricking Jestro amuses him, he doesn’t actually express pride in their trick, and doesn’t even mention them once after this episode, which begs the question: did he really care? Not to mention the monsters still lived in Knighton, and while he may’ve presumed at first that they got killed in Season 2 finale, we don’t know if he was going to spare them during his rampage now that he knew they were alive. So, this “love” is debatable at best and fake at worst.

He’s a jerk to Arnoldi as well, threatening him with death at least once and only seeing him as a mook producer for his army, unlike Jestro who sympathized with him.

As for the Rock Monsters, while despite not caring much about their deaths, Jestro mentions at least two of the “Monstrox-Jestro-Roberto” trio (likely including Monstrox) to have given them a day off. Reasons for this are unknown, aside from Jestro mentioning “stupid union rules” twice and not elaborating further, and Monstrox doesn’t comment on it, but it doesn’t confirm that he cares for them, could be just a way to keep them loyal, especially Ruina, who is hinted to have her own agenda.


He may apologize if he burps after eating a book, or when making a rude comment about the peasants sweating in front of Axl’s mother (he says “no offense” to her, even though she was in no position to retaliate, and it sounded somewhat genuine), but I think he fits more into “polite, but would throw you under the bus the next moment” type, as he would endanger everyone as the Colossus anyway and not care about it. As for Rock Monsters, he does seem to treat female ones, Harpies and Ruina, differently from the males, nearly to the point of flirting, but it’s most likely ingenuine considering he already knows a thing or two in manipulation.

Is he honorable?

You could argue that he was honorable in Season 2 finale, when he freed Jestro before Clay handed him over the book, and that letting Clay go wasn’t part of a deal, but you must note that: 1) he freed Jestro first because Clay lied to him that he didn’t have the book with him, and 2) he still needed a vessel to complete the ritual, and if he couldn’t possess Clay instead, he’d most likely keep Jestro prisoner and break the bargain, so even if he kept it, it was out of pragmatism. Same with Jorah – turning the gold into lead if Krakenskull failed wasn’t part of a deal, he did it out of spite.

And finally...

Moral Agency Issues?

When explaining the story behind Monstrox and the Forbidden Powers, Merlok says “He drove himself mad casting [Forbidden Powers]”. It surely makes one think: maybe Monstrox, despite his crimes, is just a victim of circumstances? After all, someone had to study evil spells, how could he know they would turn him into a villain, like Wanda…How do we know they turned him into a villain? The sequence of events according to Merlok telling his story to Nexo Knights is 1) Monstrox finds powers; 2) Monstrox has to be stopped; 3) Monstrox goes mad; 4) Monstrox is defeated. 1-2-3-4, not 1-3-2-4. And Monstrox doesn’t even deny this. In the Book of Monstrox, he claims that these powers “made [him] the bad guy [he is] today”, but the wording here is ambiguous, maybe he was indeed corrupted and had moral agency issues, or maybe he was plotting to conquer Knighton long before and just needed more power and that’s what he meant when he said “made me the bad guy”, plus he claims dark magic was more interesting to him. Not to mention he has a clear understanding of what’s right and wrong in the present, since he can easily manipulate people, and enjoys being evil (although Ruina and Jestro, who were corrupted by dark magic, also do, but unlike Monstrox, we know that they’re not themselves for sure), and seems capable of affection even if it’s subverted later on, so he’s either been cured of his mental illness or never had one. He’s really more of a psychopath. That’s it: no confirmed mitigating factors, the most probable one is still debatable.

Final verdict

I don’t think I have to type why I think he counts for the 101st time here, so just yes to him.