today's PE returns to my usual practice of finding and sharing obscure characters from the realms of comic books and presenting them to you all, some of these will be PE and surprisingly dark - a good example is the character we are about to discuss.. a death-fetishist from Captain America, of all series.. let us begin the disturbing tale of Deathwatcher.
Who is He?
Deathwatcher is an elderly man who has dedicated his time and wealth to his death-fetish, in short he gets gratification from watching others die - he does this via elaborate death-traps and recording devices, leaving his victims to their torturous fate as he watches them via said devices - he had the appearance of a frail old man but harbored a twisted soul and mind that could easily rival the worst of the worst and he was quite proud of this.. yet also clever enough to evade authorities for years.
What Has He Done?
countless murders with many elaborate death-traps, he claims to target criminals but really this is just because they are easy to obtain, he found his first true "joys" in life when he was in the military and started killing people.. he tried to murder Captain America with a death-trap (this is normally standard villain fare but it has extra depravity when you think he's doing it for sexual kicks more than anything else).
He records each and every murder, watches them over and over - he's basically vile in every sense of the word.
- while in military service he grew to find joy in killing and was left "empty" when his service ended
- hired a mugger to kill a man and record it, then had similar incidents done across the city to record and "entertain" himself
- would spend most of his time and wealth building death-traps, capturing others and watching them die
- murdered a mob boss via electrocution and found the results favorable, he had previously had a bomb placed to kill another villain but found it "unappealing" as the footage was not clear enough for him.
- had Captain America captured and declared his intention to have Captain America murdered because he was interested in watching a "hero die".
- attempted murder of Captain America was by such means as suffocation via gold-dust, mauling by mechanical dogs and finally by flamethrowers, which is a painful way to die even by comic book standards - he also threatened Captain America that he would kill many police officers if Captain America didn't comply with his "requests".
- even when he was eventually beaten and lay dying on the floor he became fascinated with his own dying moments and thus simply watched himself die (..maybe not that heinous but extra points for sheer dedication to his depravity..)
Captain America has had some dark stuff but it is a superhero comic at heart, the introduction of a Saw / Hostel style serial-killer who is outright stated as a death-fetishist is not common and he is a "normal" human, this means he is well within the range of being among the most vile characters in his power-range even in the extended Marvel universe.. as far as non-superhuman characters go being a death-fetishist serial killer is about as deep as one can go.
Excuses / Sympathy Factors
none - he is obviously mentally ill to some extent but fetishism / psychopathic perversions are not migating factors nor are they seen as conditions easily "cured" (short of chemical castration), in short when someone is a sexual predator they very rarely have any sympathetic factors or excuses beyond maybe compulsion.. this guy builds elaborate death-traps, plans out murders well in advance and is thus clearly NOT compulsive in the sense of a spree-killer.. he knows exactly what he is doing and he gets enjoyment out of it.
No superhuman powers to fuel his delusions, no lab experiments or super-drugs to mess with his chemistry / mental state.. he's just a depraved psychopath and was likely born that way.
His death-fetish was so extreme he even took gratification out of watching himself die.. again.. this shouldn't be seen as a migating factor but rather just a means to show how extreme his depravity was.
a serial-killer with a death-fetish is quite rare even in modern era comics, considering this was done before modern era (and after the noir / pulp eras) he stands out as very much one of Captain America's most disturbing villains, especially as he is non-superhuman.
Also while his ultimate demise puts his sanity in question (since he literally watches himself die) again, that's not a sympathetic trait nor remotely a means to excuse his actions.. he knew how to operate complex machines, make threats and evade authorities for years.. those are not the traits of a completely insane man but simply a social and sexual predator. Ultimately his final victim was himself and to be frank he deserved his fate, being burned by his own death-traps is a fitting end for a character that took such pride in the death of others.