Very nice piece. You’re right, an interesting relationship with the hero (and with other villains) makes for a more interesting villain. I’m reminded of the various antagonists in Dexter — both the first book and the first season revolve around Dexter’s brother, also a serial killer — and, speaking of Whedon, on Buffy, the most interesting villains, Glory and Spike, were those who had their own rich inner circles. (And I agree, Whedon did so well on the first Avengers, and then failed.)

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