October 1st, 2023 | John Miller

Do SuperVillains Rule The World?

A review of Wanted and the conspiracies of our modern age.
When comic book writer Mark Millar was a child, he asked his older brother why there were so many super-heroes in comic books, but none in real life. His older brother informed him that the supervillains ganged up and killed all of them and that’s why we only read about their legacy in the comics.
This sparked the idea for Wanted, a 6-issue mini-series in 2003 about a lost and lonely loser named Wesley Gibson, who is one day approached by mysterious people and informed that his recently deceased, absentee father was a supervillain called The Killer. Wesley is trained and enrolled into a secret society called The Fraternity, a cabal of former super-villains that rule the world from behind the scenes and have done so since 1986.
Led by The Professor in 1986, every supervillain banded together and declared war on all super-heroes simultaneously. Millions died in the months long fight, which served as a distraction for The Professor to build his machine. The Empire State Building isn’t a building erected in 1931, it’s an antenna built in 1986. When the supervillains activated it during the battle of New York, the super-science/magic contained within, rearranged the entire world in order for reality itself to become more… realistic. Gone were the fantastic powers and robots and monsters and magic and flying cars and jet packs and daring-do. We were left with the world as it is today, more ordinary and plain: taxes, war, television, fast food.
This process also hypnotically rearranged everyone’s memory as a result, leaving history as we once knew it in the shadows. Former remaining superheroes think they were actors in Hollywood movies. Events that used to be in the newspaper are now relegated to comic-books. Any vestiges of the world as it once was, are collected and destroyed by a bureaucracy called Control. The continents are divvied up amongst the top five worst leaders of the coup d'état and they rule behind the scenes, having carte blanche in every respect. Wesley Gibson, adopting his father’s moniker, and killing his way into the inner circle, mocks the reader for ignorantly and complacently living in a world ruled by the likes of him and his friends.
The book is highly violent and grotesque and morally nihilistic. Wanted is very much in line with stuff like The Boys and Preacher in that it is for mature readers only.  There is no hero in this book. No redemption arc for the villains and no real “moral of the story”. Mark Millar is notorious (or at least he was back then) for writing shock content and this story is disturbing.
The main reason I was captivated by this series wasn’t due to the shock content, however, it was the conspiratorial concept of a secret society ruling the world from the shadows. It parallels conspiracies of other sorts that are floating around out there, such as the currently in vogue World Economic Forum.
The World Economic Forum was founded and headed by Klaus Schwab. It has been the focus of patriots on the lookout for diabolical schemes aimed at hurting humanity and dominating the global order. It follows in a long line of former organizations that were criticized for doing the same.
Go back 15 years and it wasn’t Klaus Schwab, it was George Soros and the Tides/Open Society Foundation. Go back 25 years and it was the World Trade Organization and the Battle of Seattle. Go back 40 years and people were talking about the Trilateral Commission founded by David Rockefeller. Go back 50 years and you’ve got The Club of Rome. You can just keep going back and find one conspiratorial secret society after another, from Freemasons to Jesuits to Illuminati to… whatever tickles your fancy.
I’ve always been a bit partial to Nazi conspiracy stories myself. The idea that top Nazi’s took off their uniforms and carried on conquering the world by other, more clandestine means is a fascination shared by many others and backed up with enough evidence to have some good discussions over a beer or three.
Why do worries about these groups keep happening?
One reason is because there is some truth to the claims being made. There are nefarious players out there trying to establish control and seize power. Russia is run by former gangsters turned oligarchs, Putin is the biggest of them. Parts of Mexico and South America are run by the cartels. This isn’t conspiracy theory, it’s fact.
When one looks at Western nations and learns the jaded truth about “liberal democracy”, it’s hard not to think that everything is run by a "deep state" and that elections are just for show. I can’t blame QAnon folks for thinking the government is run by satanic pedophiles when all you have to do is look at some of the darkest and most egregious aspects of society and ask, “Why is this happening?”
We have a system in place in which elites’ rule via the government and the public/private “military industrial complex” actually does exist. Modern liberal democracies are far more fascistic and communist than we care to admit, and they’re run by people who don’t necessarily have our best interests at heart.
In the years since Wanted was published in 2003, so much weird stuff has transpired with more and more veils dropping from official narratives that average, normal people are now routinely talking about “fake news” and “deep state government”. From Jeffrey Epstein to Edward Snowden, from Covid hysteria to climate-change catastrophism, from PizzaGate to January 6th, there’s a lot going on out there and it’s hard for regular people to process.
Perhaps the harder truth to accept is that there really isn’t anything to process and that nobody is actually in control. Maybe it is more comforting to think that a legion of bad guys orchestrate a fallen world than it is to accept that there is no orchestration and we’re just living in chaos. At least with the former, we can rage against the powers that be. With the latter, there are no powers that be, it’s just random, heartless, crazy occurrences with no meaning.
Mark Millar shows this unfolding in Wanted, the supervillains at the top of the hierarchy begin to fracture, with one faction wanting to rule from the shadows, enjoying limitless resources and amoral freedoms, while the other faction wants to rule openly and malevolently, reveling in the terror they provoke. This leads to a war amongst the elite with bad guy “protagonist” Wesley (The new Killer) assassinating everyone on the “openly rule” side of the equation.
This is obviously applicable to our own world as well. The same psychopaths that climb to high levels of power are likely to be undone by the psychopaths coming up behind them. Bad actors and organizations don’t have the capacity for full power and control, because there’s always some other bad actor and/or organization causing actions or reactions that makes uniformity extremely difficult.
In other words, life is messy and chaotic and full of variables and self-interests. It’s extremely difficult to conspire and succeed at the same time. As Ben Franklin said, “Three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead.”
Even the conspiracies that do (or did) exist out in the open (such as stuff like: USS LibertyMKUltraOperation Mockingbird) just become “things that happened”, and life chugs on. People hoping for restitution and big systemic change that sweeps in utopia are dreamers. The human condition will always be full of conflict and compromise and troubles. It’s the nature of things…with or without attempted conspiracies.
At the end of the day, what can you personally do about it? I know, I know, I hate that line of reasoning too, but normal folks need to get on with life and not go down rabbit holes with half-baked theories about things they can’t control. Most conspiracies don’t hold a lot of truth…just enough to fire up the imagination. The real world is usually much more banal and ordinary with reasonable (and often disappointing) explanations that go with it.
Or, perhaps it was made to be that way by The Professor and his legion of supervillains.
Wanted is available in a collected edition, and the sequel The Big Game is currently in monthly publication. If you like conspiracies, alternate histories and comic book lore, check it out. It’s a fascinating combination.
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