Friday, August 26, 2005

Lame-ass villain #10 - Orca

The challenge I have set for myself today is to make it through this post without resorting to any fat jokes or whale puns. We'll see how I do.

Orca is a female Batman villain who appeared in Batman #579-581, which was written by Larry Hama with art by Scott McDaniel. As her name implies, Orca is half-human, half-killer whale, and all bad-ass. Actually, there's very little that is bad-ass about her. I mean, she's got a big ass, but... See? I failed right out of the gate and went with the cheap fat joke. Not cool, Dave!

You know, it strikes me that perhaps I am being a little hypocritical in my disdain for Orca. If she were created back in the seventies or eighties, I would probably think she was cool: "I know she's dorky, but damn it, Orca was from an era when comics were fun!" But since Orca was created in 2000, I think she's dumb. At least I am aware of my nostalgic bias - I'm not going to do anything about it, mind you, but at least I know it's there.

Plus, shouldn't Orca be an Aquaman villain? Dude is hurting for good villains.

I will say this about Orca: if there was any artist that had even the slightest chance of making her look cool, it would be Scott McDaniel, who gamely drew the comics in which Orca appeared.

Do you want to hear about the origin of Orca? Who she really is, and what her powers are?

No? Okay.


Anonymous said...

can't beat her rallying cry: TUNA!

Anonymous said...

Man, that Larry Hama run on Batman bombed spectacularly. I remember in the first issue Batman got shot in the head at point blank range with a shotgun... and while yes, he was protected with a kevlar lined cowl, he didn't even flinch.

One insufferable wag said it was unfair to criticize that because it's a comic where a grown man walked around dressed up as a Bat. Whatever.

Sleestak said...

The Orca from Kamandi was the best whale-based villain ever.

Anonymous said...

I like the Orca from Orca.

thekelvingreen said...

Plus, shouldn't Orca be an Aquaman villain? Dude is hurting for good villains.
See, I saw the picture and I thought that we were going for a nice easy target today; Aquaman villains.

But she's a Batman villain? Who sits there and thinks that an overweight woman/whale hybrid could possibly be a good thematic match for Batman?

Not everyone can be Frank "The Tank" Miller, but come on...

Orca is decidedly non, non, non, non, non Airwolf!

Ken said...

Dave, there was an Orca in the '70s--I remember an issue of The Avengers when Moondragon or whoever the heck she was (the bald chick in green) was in the group. After finally getting mad enough to remember he was supposed to be a god, Thor wiped Orca out in about four panels and then quit the team. Wasn't that good an issue, really.

Mark W. Hale said...

I was all excited when I saw the title but then realized it wasn't about ORKA.

Or Orko, for that matter.

Chris Arndt said...

I remember a Namor villain with the same or similar name. Biiiiig guy.

Yeah, that's Orka, alright.

No one insults Orka. and lives.

Kevin Church said...

Man, that Larry Hama run on Batman bombed spectacularly. I remember in the first issue Batman got shot in the head at point blank range with a shotgun... and while yes, he was protected with a kevlar lined cowl, he didn't even flinch.

Wasn't Hana deep in The Shit? Wasn't he a tunnel rat? Doesn't he know that SHOTGUNS WIN?

Russell P. said...

I dunno if Hama served, but I know he's a Gun Nut. Which made the bullets-to-forehead moment even more frustrating--though, if memory serves, Batsy only took about three rounds from a .45 to the forehead...


I see that neither Dave nor anyone else felt the need to mention that Orca's "civilian" identity was wheelchair-bound.

Seriously--for a trainwreck, Hama and McDaniel knew how spectacularly wreck 'em...

Brian Cronin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brian Cronin said...

Let's try that again, shall we?

Almost the entire 2000 Batman shakeup was a trainwreck.


1. Taking McDaniel off Nightwing and giving him Batman. Didn't ALL.

2. Having Hama do "superhero" Batman. The concept was decent enough (superhero Batman), but Hama read that as "superhero stories = idiotic stories," so they were awful.

3. Taking Staz Johnson out of his wheelhouse (Robin, where he was doing a marvelous job) and placing him in a TOTALLY inappropriate book, Catwoman, which pretty much ruined Johnson's mainstream career.

4. Cancelling Shadow of the Bat TWO issues before #100 to give us Devin Grayson and Dale Eaglesham on Gotham idea that worked in theory, but not in practice.


5. Bronwyn Carlton on Catwoman. It turned out terrible, but I guess I can't blame them for trying something different. It was her fault for just sucking on the book.


6. Greg Rucka on Detective. The only superhero work he has done that I really, really liked.

7. Pete Woods on Robin. While the move broke Johnson's career, it helped make Woods' career, for which we should all be very grateful.

8. Not taking Dixon off his books.

9. Land on Nightwing and Guice on Birds of Prey. Smart moves, each of them.

Anonymous said...

There definately was a Marvel supervillan that opposed Namor and occasionally the Avengers. Dave's recent review of the Marvel Universe has me reading my copies of Universe I haven't looked at in ten years.

The man who created Tiger Shark (the late Dr. Dorcas Lemuel) also created Orka by genetically enhancing an Atlantean who was a flunky of Attuma, during one of Attuma's many tries at conquering Atlantis.

Wow, with the powerful geek minds that post comments on this blog I'm amazed that I got to rattle off that origin first.

Yail Bloor

Anonymous said...

Not nearly as creepy as this ORCA.

Vaklam said...

Orca was pretty bad but she couldn't hold a candle to the follow-up villain Hama introduced next:


Okra's powers mostly involved being left on the plate after a meal. Still, the miniseries where she was mindwiped and later swore revenge on everyone was cool.

Anonymous said...

Russell: Hama is a Vietnam veteran from what I understand, but he rarely if ever talks about it in interviews, his experiences there are difficult for him to speak on.

Anonymous said...

Cronarino: I agree with pretty much everything you said there.

David Campbell said...

Holy crap, Cronin! You win.

Anonymous said...

I was dissapointed to learn when I got home last night that the marvel Orka was invented by Dr. Lemuel Dorcas, seemed I got it switched in my excitement.

Only marvel would have a supervillan named Dr. Dorcas.

Yail Bloor

Anonymous said...

Orca may be dumb, but shit like Leslie Tompkin's killing Batman's sidekick to make a point makes me nostalgic for when Orca was the stupidest thing about the Batbooks.

Anonymous said...

Also--those are the second-scariest comic boobies I've ever seen after MODAM's. I suppose I should be thankful that she doesn't have any nipples.

Brian Cronin said...

I must defend the current Bat-office for a bit on the whole Thompkins affair compared to Orka.

I think Orka is worse because, between the two, the Bat-office pretty much KNEW that people would be pissed at what they did to Leslie Thompkins.

Larry Hama seemed to think that people would not mind Orca.

That makes it worse, in my mind, the vast gap of estimation between reality and his opinion.

Russell P. said...

Dan: I can imagine. I hadn't seen a reference to his serving in any interviews, so I wasn't particularly sure. That would, however, explain the authetic feel to G.I. Joe back in the 80s--which only adds to my unadulterated love of his work on that book.

Growing up a military brat and reading stuff that reflected the world around me made a difference...

Chris Arndt said...

First of all, Greg Rucka's Batman is terrible.

Remember: Rucka's Batman is the World's Greatest Detective whom does not detect. a. thing.

Remember the murder of his love interest in Bruce Wayne M/F? Remember who solved the case?

Who wouldn't stop crying and start detecting in "officer down"?


Anonymous said...

Russell: I think Comic Book Artist #16, the Atlas/Seaboard issue (Now THERE'S a line of comics Dave should cover) Hama admitted he was in Vietnam.

Anonymous said...

Ya know what? I'll defend Orca.

She is no stupider than Killer Croc. In fact, that's all she is: the female Croc. If you accept an 8 foot tall sewer-dwelling reptile man who is either intelligent or brainless depending on who's writing him that week, Orca should be no problem.

She is holding it down for all the plus-sized, amphibious, and probably-lesbian sistas out there.

Anonymous said...

I thought I remembered reading somewhere that Orca was created as a way to introduce a special underwater costume for Batman, which was designed for an action figure.

Was the whole storyline to sell the toy?

Anonymous said...

I see that picture, and one thought springs to mind:


Anonymous said...

It took one year after the Infinite Crisis but The Mysterious Tally Man has shot Orca in the head, along w/ lame-asses such as Ventriloquist, Scarface & Magpie

Anonymous said...

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