Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
Last time we talked about fictitious bad girls in a general way, today I would like to get specific. We are going to talk about six (6) fictitious femme fatales that make you want to root for the dark side. Now due to time and space I had to limit it to only six, I picked them because a) I love them and b) they seemed different from each other in some way. So I missed a lot of good (bad) ones so feel free to add to the list in the comments section.
Rosa Klebb: I think Rosa Klebb is my favorite Bond Girl. What you say? Bond girls are supposed to be young and hot, how could I chose a squat middle aged unattractive woman as the best BG? Well if all it took to be an awesome Bond Femme was the look, then we would all be raving about Denise Richards as Dr. Christmas Jones. Klebb is played by the awesome singer/actress Lotte Lenya who was nominated for an academy award in 1961, for her role in The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, plays the part with fiendish glee.
In the novel From Russia with Love, Fleming describes the physical and emotional ugliness of Klebb with sadistic glee. Yet out of Ian Fleming’s bluntly sick mind comes an awesome villainess. The Book FRwL ends with Bond lying on the floor poisoned by the blade hidden in Klebb’s shoe. Fleming was tired of writing about Bond, so this was supposed to be his death scene. But just like Doyle bringing Holmes back, Fleming restored his alter ego spy in Dr. No. So let me say this again in capitals ROSA KLEBB IS FREAKING AWESOME BECAUSE SHE WAS ORIGINALLY THE PERSON WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE KILLED JAMES BOND!
Klebb in ways is the perfect female antagonist for Bond because as a lesbian she isn’t susceptible to his charms. (Even though it worked on Pussy Galore). And because she is unattractive we don’t have to worry about Bond’s little Jimmy influencing how he feels about her. She is the enemy that 007 has to go up against purely on trade craft. Mono Y mono, Mad Magazine’s Black Spy vs White Spy made in flesh. And let’s face it yes I love Bond as much as the next guy but in the books, with his misogynist and sociopathic ways, he is just as ugly as Klebb.
Irene Adler: ‘The Woman’ in Sherlock Holmes’ life. The thing most people forget about her is that in A Scandal in Bohemia, she isn’t the bad guy. She only keeps the picture of her and the king to protect her life from his agents. The king is the one who is acting on a personal grudge, and thus also is his employee Sherlock Holmes. Adler an actress and an adventuress (who is right above the level of street walker in Victorian society) but clearly she is also the story’s hero. She is a perfect example of what I called in my last post a bad girl heroine.
Not only does she best Holmes, she does it by disguising herself as man. The great detective is beat at his own game. Modern versions make Holmes and Adler a couple. But that isn’t in the original story. Her love for her husband is what convinces Holmes she isn’t a blackmailer. Dose Holmes love her? I am not sure, a lot is made out of Holmes asking the King for the picture of Adler as payment. Maybe it was respect, maybe it a reminder that even he could be fooled. But whether or not Sherlock loved her, I do.
Laura Hodge: let me say this first, if you don’t read the brilliant Nick Spencer’s comic book Morning Glories you are missing out. Laura Hodge is the guidance counselor at the Morning Glory Academy, and well she may not be as outwardly psychopathic and evil as the rest of the facility she is just as bad. She doesn’t show up until issue 12. When she first pops up we think the students have an ally and a confident. But it is revealed that even though she disagrees with half-sister’s more deadly tactics she is just as dedicated to her father, the mysterious head master of the academy, as anyone. But instead of using fear on the student body she gains their trust. A trust she has more than once used against her youngcharges.
When Miss Hodge’s true intentions were revealed, I honestly felt betrayed. Just like the students I thought she was the shining moral light in the faculty. And all though she does try to protect her charges from some of the other staff, she is fanatically loyal to her father, and will do anything to bring about his ultimate agenda. We suspect a femme fatale’s motive when she tries to seduce a protagonist, but when it is someone in a position to help and the tool is trust rather than sex, we are often caught off guard.
Mystique: Raven Darkholme is Marvel’s black op shape shifter who has worked for everyone from Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, the US Government, to Professor X himself. In ways mystique is the ultimate femme fatale because she be anyone she wants, on the outside, on the inside she is always herself. It’s a petty that she doesn’t look at herself more often because she is beautiful just the way she is.
I am not sure if I would call Mystique evil, she defiantly employs evil tactics, but like Laura Hodge, she thinks she is justified in doing so. Even if that reason is just self-preservation. She rejected her son Night Crawler, because his birth revealed her as a mutant. But at the same time she raised Rouge with love (even though it was tough love). In a way I think she sees herself in a Nietzschen world view that she is beyond mere concepts such as good and evil.
Now here is a Mystique trivia fact for you. She doesn’t age and was born sometimes in the 1800’s. In the Marvel world Sherlock Holmes was killed at the Riechenbauch falls, when he comes back for the second series of stories it is Raven Darkholme in disguise. She hooks up with Irene Adler and the two become lovers. In the Marvel U, Adler becomes the supervillain Destiny. This is an attempt to tie Mystique to a bad girl from another time.
The Baroness: Anastasia Cisarovna AKA GI Joe’s Baroness, has to be my favorite bad girl of all time. Part terrorist, part scientist, all woman. She made naughty librarian glasses the haute fashion assessory for the dark side. Thing is she didn’t start out as a toy like most the other GI Joe products, but made her first appearance in Marvel GI Joe Comic #1. Her first action figure didn’t come out until 1984.
For a person that is usually associated with a piece of plastic, she has a pretty deep back story. The daughter of European aristocrats she blamed the man who would become Snake Eyes for killing her brother. Even though Snake is exonerated she refuses to believe that the US solider didn’t kill her sibling. She became radicalized and trained by the Warsaw Pact and eventually rose to the third highest position in the terrorist organization COBRA.
Though there are different version of her, including a alternative reality where she was a Joe who betrayed the team to COBRA, another where she is burned and her sister takes her place as a deep cover spy. In any universe she keeps pretty much the same personality. She can be at times jealous or vindictive, but is an extremely protective mother. Though sometimes she is blunt other times she can’t quite say what she wants too. But she is always deadly and intelligent.
Suzie Toller: The neo-noir movie Wild Things is mainly remembered for its three-way sex scene, and because it is the movie where Kevin Bacon went full frontal. But the truth is it is an extremely good movie with a surprise twist in the end. (Spoilers ahead) Neve Campbell’s Suzie tricks not only the entire cast of the movie but the audience too. In the ending it is revealed that Suzie is an off the charts genius. That is one of the requirements for a successful bad girl she needs to be smarter than everyone else around her to survive.
You could argue that Denise Richards’ Kelly is just as bad as Suzie, but she never rises above the level of spoiled teenager, even when she thinks she is in control, Suzie is playing her like a violin. Kelly may be hotter, she might even think she is more ruthless, but its Suzie’s intelligence that puts her above the doomed Kelly, and everyone else for that matter. It is Toller’s IQ that makes her so sexy, and in the end alive and rich
So who are some of your favorite bad girls of fiction?