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Hugo Strange. This incarnation came before the Gotham one or the Arkhamverse one, but this may have been the most dangerous of all...

Hello guys! Today, here's my forty-third PE proposal, and it's about The Batman incarnation of Hugo Strange, a member of Batman's rogues gallery. In the show, Strange serves as a recurring antagonist, and is one of the most dangerous of the whole series.

WHO IS HE / WHAT HAS HE DONE?

Professor Hugo Strange is a renowned psychiatrist who works at Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane, the local mental asylum of Gotham City. However, Strange is actually more interested in discovering how the criminal mind really works rather than curing it. He first appears in the episode "Meltdown", where he attends Ethan Bennet's court to speak for his patient and convince the judge to release Ethan. Unfortunately, Ethan loses his mind at the end of the episode and gets locked up at Arkham again after Batman defeats him. In the episode "Strange Minds", Bruce Wayne formally meets him for the first time at an opera. When Detective Ellen Yin gets kidnapped by the Joker, Strange volunteers Chief Angel Rojas to allow him to use a machine of his which can explore people's minds. Strange uses it to enter into the Joker's mind, but expresses much more interest on figuring out the Joker's past than searching where Detective Yin is being held. Anyway, Batman uses his machine too and succeeds in rescuing Yin while Strange makes his own notes at Arkham about how the Joker's mind consisted, but foreshadows his interest on studying Batman.

In "A Fistfult of Felt", Strange gathers the Ventriloquist and Scarface, along with other villains like the Joker or the Penguin, for a therapy session. Once the session ends, Strange offers Wesker a new treatment which would consist in taking Scarface away from him so he can be cured. Wesker allows Strange to take Scarface and begins a new, honest life. However, as "part" of his "treatment", Strange places Scarface offscreen in Wesker's apartment, leading Wesker to become crazy once more and use Scarface again, resulting in Wesker getting send back to Arkham. Disagreeing with Strange's methods, Batman warns him that he will be keeping an eye on him for his actions. In "Gotham's Ultimate Criminal Mastermind", Strange presents to Bruce Wayne among other people, including Comissioner Gordon and Mayor Grange, his newest invention: D.A.V.E., A.I. capable of knowing all the moves from Batman's enemies, including Mr. Freeze, the Riddler, the Joker, the Penguin and Clayface. D.A.V.E.'s purpose is to capture all those villains. However, D.A.V.E. apparently goes rogue and escapes from the computer where he was installed. As D.A.V.E. commits its crimes and plans to expose the Dark Knight's secret identity, however, Batman discovers that it didn't go rogue on its own and that Strange deliberately programmed it to do so, a discovery Strange confirms. However, Batman ends up defeating D.A.V.E. at the end and Strange is sentenced to Arkham just like his former patients.

In "Strange New World", Strange creates a toxin which makes Batman allucinate that all Gothamites, including Gordon, Robin and Batgirl, are actually zombies. He nearly tricks Batman into infecting all Gotham with the same toxin by passing the toxin as its antidote. However, before Batman can send the city into madness, he realizes Strange's manipulation and doesn't activate a machine that would have spread out the toxin throughout Gotham while Strage gets send to maximum security. In "Rumors", Strange gets captured by Rumor along with many other of his patients and members of Gotham City's criminal underworld. During his time captive, Strange desires to know more about Rumor's motivations, but ends up rescued by Batman and gets taken back to Arkham once more offscreen.

In the two-part series finale "Lost Heroes", Strange is revealed to have escaped from Arkham Asylum during The Joining's attack on Earth back at the end of the fourth season and had stolen some of The Joining's alien technology before leaving a robotic duplicate of himself behind to trick the guards and succeeding in contacting the aliens, offering them to capture the Justice League with their technology in exchange of the vast knowledge of the universe. After subduing Superman, Hawkman, Flash, Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern, Batman goes along with Green Arrow and Robin to Strange's hideout, a bunker, where Strange captures them before they free themselves and their fellow heroes, only to be revealed that Strange drained up their powers and has given them to android replicas of the super powered members of the Justice League. They escape and The Joining berates Strange for his failure to restrain them, but Strange reminds them that he warned them about subestimating Batman and demands his reward. The Joining does so and unloads all the vast universal knowledge on Strange, but this proves to be too vast that it breaks Strange's brain cortex and renders him permanently catatonic. After defeating the androids and regained their powers, the Justice League finds the catatonic Strange on his hideout and Martian Manhunter reads Strange's mind to find a way to defeat The Joining. In the end, The Joining is defeated once more but this time for good and the catatonic Strange gets send back to Arkham for the rest of his life.

WHAT'S THE WORK?

The Batman is a Batman animated television show which aired from 2004 to 2008. The show centers on Bruce Wayne, who is secretly the vigilante hero known as Batman, who fights crime on Gotham City either alone or with his sidekicks Batgirl and Robin, defending his city from many deranged supervillains.

MORAL EVENT HORIZON

The Batman has many villains, either from Batman's rogues gallery and some of villains of the rogues galleries of some Justice League members in the last episodes, as the show ended with Batman joining other superheroes like Superman and Green Arrow. However, even though the Joker from The Batman is already Pure Evil (unsurprisingly), Hugo Strange also manages to definitely stand out in comparison to other villains given his goals and what he is willing to do to get what he wants. Every PE villain must have crossed the Moral Event Horizon to be PE, and Hugo Strange definitely crosses it long before he joins The Joining in his quest to get the knowledge of the universe, by infecting Batman with a toxin that makes him hallucinate that all people around him are zombies so he can spread out the supposed antidote over Gotham City to infect all Gothamites and sending the city into utter madness just to witness the results.

HEINOUS STANDARDS/MITIGATING FACTORS?

While the Joker is Batman's archenemy par excellence, Hugo Strange is none better than the Joker, but maybe much worse than him. While the Joker is known for supposedly having been neglected by his parents when he was a kid and suffering a chemical accident that turned him into the lunatic he is today, as far we know, Hugo Strange was a completely normal person who became evil on his own. Despite his job as psychiatrist on Arkham Asylum, Hugo Strange seems much more interested in discovering how the criminal mind works instead of curing it, which should be his job. Under his public image as an expert psychiatrist and scientist, Strange is just as bad like many of his patients, having no actual intentions to cure them. Despite this, Strange has a moral agency because he knows what is right and what is wrong, but he is willing to do what's wrong if he will get what he wants by doing so, as demonstrated when he willingly decides to sell humanity to The Joining under the promise that he will receive the knowledge of the universe in exchange of his services, showing that Hugo Strange doesn't care for anyone minus himself.

Utterly selfish, even under his good persona facade, Hugo Strange can deceive people into believing him that he wants to help, but this is absolutely not true. Despite his job at Arkham Asylum, Strange doesn't really care for his patients. During Clayface's trial, Strange appears in the court and states that Clayface is totally sane, when in reality he wasn't, thus potentially endangering many lives when Clayface decides to become a full-fledged criminal. When the Joker kidnaps Detective Ellen Yin, Strange offers Chief Angel Rojas a machine he has invented so he can enter into the Joker's mind to discover where Yin is being held, knowing that her life is in danger. However, once he gets into the Clown Prince of Crime's mind, Strange focuses on discovering the Joker's origins instead of searching where Yin is being held. That said, Strange never talks with the Joker about this, thus showing only interest on why he became evil but having no interest in helping him to become a better person. Likewise, at one point, Strange seems to care for the Ventriloquist and Scarface and offers the Ventriloquist a treatment which will involve taking Scarface away so he can cure him. Once the therapy seems to work, Arnold Wesker is released and starts a new life where he can be truly happy, leaving his multiple personality disorder behind. However, just to "see if the therapy worked", Strange places Scarface on Wesker's apartment, breaking his sanity and leading him to become the Ventriloquist once again, resulting in the Ventriloquist getting send back to Arkham and shattering his newfound happiness simply out of curiosity. It was for this despicable and self-serving action that Batman lost whatever respect and trust he had for Strange. If that's not enough, Strange eventually creates D.A.V.E. by giving it his own knowledge and many qualities of other of Arkham's inmates, including the Joker and Clayface, which reinforces the fact that Strange only has interest on his patients' actions and qualities, but nothing more. Even when Strange meets Rumor, a villain who has captured him along with many other villains including his patients, he shows interest in knowing Rumor's intentions and doesn't worry about that his patients and himself are nearly killed by the vigilante.

Aside from his interest on his patients, Strange becomes obsessed with studying Batman and unveiling his secret identity just to prove his intelligence in an ultimate test. To do so, he creates D.A.V.E., a machine which has the brainwaves of some members of Batman's rogues gallery including his own, under the pretext that it can serve to predict the crimes of these criminals, but D.A.V.E. goes rogue apparently and escapes from its initial form. Once unleashed over Gotham City, D.A.V.E. endangers the whole city and even steals all money from all the banks at Gotham, leaving all Gothamites penniless for a while. However, Strange actually let D.A.V.E. escape from its initial form and has the machine deduce Batman's secret identity, threatening to expose it to all Gotham by offering him the chance to save his identity or his loyal buttler Alfred Pennyworth. As Strange created D.A.V.E., he is the one responsible for giving D.A.V.E. so much depravity and heinousness in the first place.

Following his incarceration at Arkham Asylum, however, Strange loses what little remains of his sanity and becomes a full-fledged villain to the point of becoming more depravate and calculating. His most heinous act before the show's finale involves infecting Batman with a toxin that makes him hallucinating that all people around him, even his allies, are zombies who only obey Strange. The only cure, according to Strange, is an antidote that he breaks but tells Batman that he can find more at the Gotham City Police Department. However, by the time Batman is about to spread out the "antidote" over Gotham, he finally realizes that such antidote is actually the toxin and Strange is tricking him into spreading out the toxin throughout Gotham to turn the populace insane, all just so Strange can witness the results of his experiment, which would have endangered all Gothamites if Batman hadn't realized Strange's plan. In the show's finale, Strange is revealed to have escaped from Arkham Asylum during The Joining's first attack on Earth, taking the opportunity to steal some of the alien technology he could find for his plans. Strange ultimately uses it to contact The Joining and pacts a deal with them: in exchange of capturing the super powered members of the Justice League and draining up their powers, he will be given the universal knowledge of the universe. As you can expect, Strange does what he promises and inserts the powers of Superman, Hawkman, Flash, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter into robotic duplicates to distract the League while The Joining prepares to attack, showing his extreme selfishness to a greater extext with the fact to be willing enough to sell out the whole human race just so he can get universal knowledge, which shows as that Hugo Strange is in fact an amoral and depraved madman who is willing to do what he needs to get what he wants, being him, without doubt, Gotham's Ultimate Criminal Mastermind.

VERDICT

Taking all of this into account, I would say yes about considering Hugo Strange to be approved as PE.

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