Over the years, I have seen some amazing things come out of the comic book industry. The Sandman is fantastic, and Hellboy has some wonderful moments too. Blankets is one of the most beautiful comic books I've ever seen. Zot is a great deconstruction of Utopian fiction. I've also seen some really terrible terrible stuff out of the comic industry too. I'm not just talking webcomics either. Mainstream comic companies have created some of the stupidest things I've ever seen. I’d like to take you on a little journey through some of the horrible stuff that Marvel and DC have come up with and tried to pass off as a good idea.
I know there’s a lot of really awful stuff around, but I want to start with something bafflingly terrible. First up on the chopping block is Razor Fist, possibly the most ineffective and disturbing characters I've ever seen. Razor Fist sounds like a totally kickass character, right? He has fists. And there are razors involved somehow. I imagine a crazy Wolverine-style character full of attitude, sneaky feral rage, and a ton of mutant powers. Either that or a totally awesome ‘80s gang member. Instead we get this:
I'll let that sink in a second. Well, no. I’m actually just going to sit here slack jawed for a while. I have no idea what to say. No, he's not holding two punching daggers with some sort of weird hand guards that come down over his hands. He has no hands. I'll say that again. He has no hands! His name, Razor Fist, is actually literal in this case. That would be like if Cyclops's super power was being mutated to only one eye and no laser beam discharge. Oh, on that point, Razor Fist doesn't have superpowers. He's some guy who has both his hands cut off and replaced with knives. So who is this guy? Is he mentally ill? Is he a brainwashed killing machine that you awaken with a word and throw at your enemies without caring if he dies?
Nope. As hard to believe as it might seem, Razor Fist is not a throwaway character. In fact, he's had three different incarnations now. Yeah. I'm honestly surprised he made it into print in the first place, but how has he been popular enough to be rebooted three goddamn times? The first version to exist is William Young, who popped up in 1975 in Master of Kung Fu. He's your standard mook doing your standard henching jobs — bodyguard, hired assassin, and that kind of stuff. He was working for this guy named Velcro who decided it would be totally sweet to take a relatively competent hired killer and surgically replace his hands with pointy objects thus turning him into someone who can't even take a piss without help. I suppose we can forgive Velcro though. After all, his stupidity wasn't confined to just his subordinates since he decided to keep a name more commonly associated with children’s shoe fasteners.
Honestly, I can only assume the blade thing is some kind of fetish because for some reason, Velcro thought doing this to himself was a good idea:
After William Young kicked the bucket, a pair of brothers took on the feared name of Razor Fist. Douglas Scott and his brother acted as hired assassins and pretended to be the same guy. I have to admit, that's pretty smart. Sure, you have to split what you earn, but you always have backup, and people looking for one guy are at a serious disadvantage. That is until they got into a car accident and they both conveniently lost a hand in the crash. Their employer decided it would be just the best idea to replace the brothers' missing appendages with pointy stabbing implements. Who is their employer? Velcro. I'm beginning to notice a weird pattern here with this crazy douche-bag and unnecessary surgical replacements.
Still, at least they both have two good hands between them. They can still open doors on their own, so it's not like they're as useless as their predecessor. Things went well enough until Douglas Scott was accidentally shot to death by his boss. So let's make this clear; Velcro is not only moron with a terrible name and a predilection for stupid prosthetics, he's also a horrible shot. Why would you work for him? Anyway, I digress. After Douglas Scott died, William Scott, his brother, took over. Due to an unfortunate accident, he had his other hand severed. When he appeared again, his other hand was replaced with a goddamn knife, no doubt thanks to Velcro's insatiable fetish. William is our longest running incarnation of the character and he's been up against a bunch of heroes that - in all honesty - I cannot believe would stoop to fighting him. Wolverine, Hawkeye, Elektra, Spider-Man, and even Captain America have tangled with this guy.
At some point, the writers realized that having knives for hands is a terrible power. You become a pathetic assassin when all your target needs to do is close a door in front of you to escape. So in an attempt to make him suck a little less, they gave him cybernetic hands with blades attached to them. Finally! That’s awesome! At least now he can feed himself and put on his own clothes. Still, it would have been a lot more awesome if he could have done that from the start! But because Razor Fist can never not be terrible, it seems he lost them at some point and went back to just having plain old knife hands. How hard do you have to suck to lose something that important? They're attached to you! How do you lose your own hands! Oh right. I forgot who I was talking about. Y'know what? Let's just move on.
I'd like to point out something else, if I may. No matter what version of Razor Fist we look at, he always dressed like a roid-raging gimp. I guess that's the fault of whoever dresses him, but you'd think with two knives for hands, he'd be in some kind of position to say “Get me something else, or I'll stab you.” I'm not sure if I should blame this on Velcro or Razor Fist, but it's a little weird.
Oh, and did I mention the guy has a cult of small children who do his bidding? He goes out of his way to attract children who are fascinated by self harm. If that doesn’t creep you out, you should probably get therapy. Most normal children are at least wary of strangers. And yet, somehow the guy dressed like a gimp with knives for hands gets an entire army of them to feed him, clothe him, and otherwise care for him. Because that's not just terrifying at all.
I was going to end this by saying I feel sorry for the poor guy, but I really don't. Yes, he's an amputee who can't care take care of his most basic needs, but he's also a parent's worst nightmare: a combination of poor decision making skills leading to a dead end job, awkward clothing choices, violent behavior, and a predilection for young children. This guy is basically the superhero equivalent of those creepy guys on To Catch a Predator. Honestly, I'm surprised Cap didn't start the fight with “Why don't you have a seat over there?