Monday, April 3, 2017

Villain Retrospect - Dr. Scarab

There are a lot of doctor bad guys in cartoons - Dr. Claw, Doc Terror, and now Dr. Scarab. Seeing what Scarab and Terror have done, I'm wondering what Claw's credentials are.

Dr. Scarab, originally Wilmer Sharp, Ph.D, was a brilliant pioneer of bionics, though not as great as his brother, Amadeus.  Dr Scarab had no intention of using his genius to help people, however: All he wants for himself is immortality and one day world domination. While Amadeus saved the Bennett family with his bionics tech, Scarab wrangled up a group of minions and augmented them with his own, somewhat inferior devices.  So nothing new there, he's your typical scientist bad guy, right?

Not really - because this guy's kinda cool.  Just like how Doc Terror didn't seem to fit the scientist mold by being a deep-voiced power-hungry bastard, Dr. Scarab here breaks the mold as well by being... pretty awesome.  He plays around, like when he's spinning his bionic implant scrambler on his finger, while pretending to be a radio DJ.  Hell, I'd listen to his broadcast, he's actually funny.  He's got the usual repertoire of insults for his goons, mainly for the scheming Glove and idiotic Mechanic, and he's not above punishing them for doing something right because as he says, he's "unpredictable."  I'll admit, it got a laugh out of me.

Image via Graphs, Paper, and Games
Indeed, much of the Bionic Six cartoon is the same way - I'm not really sure where things are going to go.  There is the tried-and-true plot, with Scarab trying to find an power source or magic object, or he plots to stop the Bionic Six, but then they throw in a surprise visit from one of the kid's ghost dad. I didn't expect a show focusing on bionic implants to have a recurring specter.  Nor did I expect to see that in addition to his group of augmented lackeys, Dr. Scarab has at his disposal an army of generic robots named Cyphrons.  Or that he's created Bionic Masking Units, which renders him and his goons undetectable by using holograms.  That's a lot of powers he has access to, and even though I didn't see it myself in the five episodes I watched, apparently he can shoot lasers out of his bionic eye and has enhanced strength of his own.

So how does this guy rate?
Coolness - 4.  I want to give this guy a higher rating on account of his personality.  He's funny and interesting and as generic as immortality is, it's not as bad as taking over the world.  He's voiced fantastically by Jim MacGeorge, doing an impression of George C. Scott mixed with a little of William Shatner's pausing speech pattern.  But just look at him.  He's an incredibly ugly character, fat and blobby with a cliche doctor's uniform.  He even has the head mirror and stethoscope for some reason.  You'd think that if he wanted to love forever, he'd want to look good doing it, right?
Effectiveness - 3.  He does have some interesting plots and they do seem to get some traction as well.  In the first episode, he's able to steal the power source from the Valley of Shadows before IQ tricks him into losing it.  And when he's using the bionics jamming radio waves, he manages to get Rock-1 hurt, and by her brother no less.  This guy isn't a slouch, but he does suffer from traitorous lieutenants, something he doesn't do much to deter either.  I just wish I could see him use some of his own bionic powers.

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