The Psychology Of Supervillians Club..March 2020 - Vandal Savage

Welcome to The Psychology Of Supervillians Club. This month we will delve and dissect Vandal Savage. Step into his mind and determine what makes him tick

This club will be discussing darker aspects and elements within the DC Universe. These aspects and elements could be viewed as overtly violent, malevolent and possibly offensive to some.

  • We acknowledge that we are not mental health professionals, and are not able to provide any diagnosis or guidance in this regard.
  • This thread does not suggest or support any mental health diagnosis or any guidance of or for people in the real world. We are dealing with purely fictional characters within fictional worlds.
  • Supervillains are potentially driven by deep seated and often dark or disturbing concepts of what they feel is the right thing to do and why the villain is the hero of their own story.
  • We will explore if the supervillain is actually correct in their views and actions, are they justified in what they do and potentially would their fictional worlds be better off if they actually did win and defeat the hero.

The club gives this warning because some may find such discussions disturbing, distasteful, and/or possibly immoral and we want the community to be well aware of what the contents of these discussions can involve.

The Ground Rules: ( Yes…even villiany has to follow a few rules . Don’t take my word for it…Go ask The Legion Of Doom or The Crime Syndicate, they have rules too.)

  • Posts must follow DC Universe Community Guidelines
  • This is a “ safe space ” to explore a sometimes taboo topic…villainy. Why it’s necessary and possibly why villains are often more interesting than the heroes that oppose them.
  • Be respectful of the opinions of others. Did I mention that … Posts must follow DC Universe Community Guidelines
  • There is no such thing as a “right” or “wrong” opinion here.
  • The views expressed are the opinions of the poster and deserve to be acknowledged as a valid opinion, even if you might disagree and debate items. What does that mean? Posts must follow DC Universe Community Guidelines
  • We are dealing with the intricacies of the mind. The one thing we do know is that we can never be ultimately sure what is actually going on in the mind of a supervillian.
  • However, we can conjecture based on what we do know about them and form our own points of view on what makes them tick and have blast while doing it.
  • In case you missed it the 3 times earlier…Posts must follow DC Universe Community Guidelines

Don’t be afraid to be bold, to challenge the status quo, to think in unique ways and be outspoken. Their is no “right” or “wrong” point of view here. There is what we each find in delving beneath the surface and into the mind of our Supervillian Of The Month.

Most importantly, have fun. Enjoy your process. Revel in it. Don’t be afraid to let some of your “evil” out. We’ve all got a bit of it in us somewhere. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t find villains interesting, now would we. :smiling_imp:


Reminder: Posts must follow DC Universe Community Guidelines

Our March 2020 Supervillian of the month… Vandal Savage.

Below are some video and comic book resources for Vandal Savage available on DCU. This is by no means a definitive list. Just a few pointers to some of his “adventures”. PLEASE feel free to add to it. Watching and reading the entirety of the resources below is not expected.

Use whatever materials you like in building up your case for his psychology. Although noting what you’re basing it on could be helpful as resources for the club and our members. Vandal plays a big role in Young Justice Season 3, and is also integral to season 1 of Legends of Tomorrow (not available on DCU) Just because it’s not included below, doesn’t mean you can’t use it if you want.

What resources you use or don’t use is up to you. The only limit is your imagination and deduction.

Since there are video resources, if someone one the club wants to volunteer to setup a watch-a-long for something Vandal related, GO FOR IT!!

Video Resources:
Justice League: S1 E24-26 - The Savage Time,
Justice League: S2 E19-20 - Hereafter

Comic Resources:
Green Lantern (1941) 10
All-Star Comics (1940-) #65
The Flash (1959-) #137
DC Universe Presents (2011-) #9-#11
All Star Western (2011) #18
Flash (1987) #13-#14, #229 & #230
DC One Million (1998) #1-#4


Items or questions to potentially consider as you develop your own take on Vandal’s psychology.

  • Vandel has been around for thousands of years and is said to have been, or close to, many of the great warriors and rulers throughout history. All that knowledge & experience of humankind.
  • What drives him?
  • Are some his plans justified? If so, which one(s) and why?
  • Is he right and justified in his actions and the heroes just don’t “get it” because their knowledge and experience are, relatively speaking, miniscule compared to his?
  • Does he actually have a more accurate view of humankind and how best to lead the planet into long term prosperity?

Without further ado, we delve into the mind of Vandal Savage.
Let the adventure begin!!!

Note: This first month will go long and will end the week after Meta Madhouse concludes. (Date pending) The second month (Sinestro) will also go a bit longer than a month. So we will be long the first two months because of Meta Madhouse and get to monthly time frames starting June 1st with “Villian 3”. “Villain 3” will be decided by a poll. The qualifications to make the poll…the villain must make it to the Round of 16 in Meta Madhouse.


Downloaded a few of these, so I can spread the reading out. But, had just read The Flash (1959) 137 as part of my History Club reading for January. In an era of fun, but often silly villains this story stood out to me at the time because Vandal Savage is a different kind of villain. He’s not motivated by robbing banks or being acknowledged the greatest magician of his age. Even in this early Silver Age story there’s a malevolence about him.


A very different take on Vandal Savage is


Set in the middle ages

Vandal shares the book with

Madame Xanadu
Etrigan the Denon
An outcast Amazon
A trans Shining Knight
A women who talks to horses
An Arab inventors

The first arc is a Magnificent Seven riff with Vandal not always being consistent on what side he is on.

Also Vandal Savage was created by Alfred Bester who also created Solomon Grundy

He wrote the novels
The Stars My Destination on teleportation
The Demolished Man How to commit murder in a society with telepaths.


I know in this case we are only looking at the comics, but most recently I have seen Vandal in the cartoons as well as Flash or Arrow as a pure conquerer where his motive is knowledge and power. To me he never really seemed interesting until I looked past the surface level and more into how big of a threat he can be. For me personally I don’t think him alone is a threat but his intelligence and charisma allows him to create a following which makes him dangerous and a great threat.


Any media you want to use is fine. I provided a few examples, comics & animation. If you want to use other sources. Like cartoons and CW shows GO FOR IT!!

It would be nice, when you deep dive into Vandal’s mind to let folks know what sources you decided to use. Just so we know.

Thanks and happy psychoanalysis. :smiley::+1:


I’ve read the Green Lantern #10, All Star Comics #65 and The Flash #137, concentrating on Savage and his actions. First, Green Lantern #10 really holds up. That is just a great story and Savage’s debut is a revelation. Since this is a visual medium we can actually delve into someone’s psyche in part by how they look. Even in his first appearance in a suit, riding a cab he is a hulking menace.

There’s no overt threat, but he is threatening. His heavy brow, thick hair and nearly Vulcan-like ears resemble a gargoyle or Chinese demon mask. Tell me you don’t see the resemblance?

The second point that strikes me is from his origin story. This will probably come into play later in our discussion. As a solo leader, he builds pyramids, turns Rome from a Republic into a dictatorship after conquering the Gauls and Brits, and then sweeps it all away as Ghengis Khan. But, then he goes behind the scenes and advises Napoleon at Waterloo and the Spanish against Drake. Spoiler alert, he looses both times.

Finally, his plot. He isn’t rpping off a bank, a trying to takeover the criminal underworld, he plots to take power from inside the US government. He does it cleverly and nearly gets Green Lantern to act as his pawn. That’s impressive.


Really looking forward to the reading “assignments,” as I haven’t seen a lot of Vandal in comic form (so thanks to everyone who is contributing their own suggestions!).

Different note: Is there a hashtag we’re using to follow this club?

Hadn’t thought about that. Many thanks @CynicalPink ,


Hmm…doesn’t autogenerate. I’ll get it working and update the thread.

1 Like

Haha, glad my self-serving need for physical reminders of posts will benefit the group! :slight_smile:

1 Like

And now if you just add #psychologyofsupervillains it will tag the post, and it now automatically pops up in the hashtag menu. so you could do “hashtag” psy and it currently narrows down to four selections one of which is psychologyofsupervillains

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming and thanks again to @CynicalPink


The #psychologyofsupervillains hashtag has also now been put in the “Clubs” hashtag section instead of content-type. It still functions the same, but being in the Clubs section should make it easier to find.

Thanks and use it freely, anywhere you think appropriate. #psychologyofsupervillains


From what I have gathered, this is my thoughts on the mind of Savage

  • What drives him- From what I have seen, He wants to conquer the world and make it his own, kind of like a Darkseid. His flaw is that he doesn’t see that his quest is meaningless, when humanity is gone, he will only rule himself like in the episode of Justice League

  • Are some of his plans justified-None of his plans are justified, They seem to have one goal in mind, “make me ruler of all”, plans in the Justice League show, The Flash #137, and even in Young Justice boil down to “take over the world plans”.

  • Is he right-Too some degree, you could say he see’s the heroes as magnets that always cause mass destruction, and that’s why he alway’s tries to stop them before he takes over so he could protect the world, but I think the dynamic is flipped here. I think that he is the one lacking the knowlege or foresite into his plans, again, like in Justice League, he didn’t know that his cannon would cause millions to die, making him the only human on earth.

  • Does he have a accuriate view of humanity-No, he see’s humanity as pesants and something that need’s his guidence even though his view has not changed with the times. He see’s himself as the one and only ruler that should be in charge of humanity, but he has dated views on them and doesn’t factor in that we have become smarter and more independant.

These are my thoughts so feel free to critique them. #psychologyofsupervillains


I don’t agree with his methods, but I think I can see how immortality would warp one’s perspective. After watching mankind stumble and screw up over and over since the dawn of our existence he sees himself as the only logical choice to take over. He had seen us rise and fall on a regular basis. He’s the ultimate senior citizen who thinks his way is best. And you know how much we like to take the advice of our elders. He was always warped and wanted to rule but I think ultimately it broke him and he has become more extreme.


I don’t agree with his views either. I do see how being around when humans were new to the planet. To where it is now b/c of us, would be disturbing if somehow anyone could ever be in that position. I think he longs for simpler times. Much like as u get older, everything u knew starts to change & gets harder to accept. Speaking of technology, music etc. not anything PC. I believe he does see humanity as the scourge of the planet, & feels obligated to correct course.


Just think of how many times over the centuries he has had to say “those kids and their newfangled music”. That alone would make someone a super villain.


I was think, he thinks their the scounge of the planet, but I wasn’t sure since he ruled them once and some still fallow him.

1 Like

No wrong answers. If that’s how u psychoanalyze him, that’s your right to your opinion. You’re right about him always having followers. From what I’ve learned of him over the years, he loved when he was a caveman post meteorite b/c everyone followed the smartest guy. Matter of survival.

1 Like

His advising historical losers appears both in his Golden Age origins and its retelling in Silver Age The Flash. I wonder how he squares those failures with his general attitude that he knows best?

1 Like

I actually put that down to his first appearance in GL. He was trying to undermine the war effort. So showing he is on the losing side in more modern times gave him an element that he was not always successful.

1 Like