With Dionysian moxie and an Apollonian assertion to sit upon the throne of Heaven, John Cleverly Cartney is the Blue Chip Standard of Avengers Rock 'N Roll Uber-Villainy. Sliding along the banister of buttoned-down society, Cartney makes flagrant demands on his capacity for hedonistic excess balanced against his appetite for absolute control, and his knees never buckle.

For one thing, he is the only villain to re-outfit Mrs. Emma Peel to his own decadent tastes—and then have her realize that, to her horror, she kinda likes it.


Remember your Milton or you'll miss the fact that Cartney is a Mephistophelean Savile Row Puck, gorged on acid followed by a white wine chaser and a penchant for mind control. As is appropriate for the Paradigm Arch-Nemeses, Cartney enjoys his gift for mayhem while never forgetting his mission statement of personal liberty—to seek the freedom to viciously toy with others while coasting on charm and the growing power to do what he wants when he wants—and with an audience.

His HELLFIRE CLUB is the perfect battery for him to score electrical groove and its members buzz nicely inside the fiery matrix, lapping joyfully at his sloppy seconds. Cartney exists in all of us who dream, and then dream wickedly. Therefore, we must summon his opposing number to stop him—lest his example overrules civilization.

But sadly, Steed can't do it—he and Cartney are really not very much different. Cartney must destroy himself, and with a rival from a different plane. What better way to burn out than on the sugar rush of Emma Peel?

Schemes? Cartney just wants to blow up the Calverstone House and a bunch of foreign Prime Ministers. Why?—'cause he blew his illegal nuclear arms money on Grateful Dead tickets and glue. But who cares? This guy knows how to be bad, and he does it without sporting an eye patch or stainless steel hands. No, Cartney manages to make the scene go electric with his unusually good sense of tailoring. He has more costume changes than just about any other Avengers rogue this side of Maxie Martin. By picking appropriate moments to display his truly evil style, Cartney gives The Avengers a supervillain who wears comic book costumes and makes them work.


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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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