I always felt Warp got a bit of a raw deal getting killed off in Salvation Run (which has numerous flaws as a story, not least the idea that half of the supervillains would willingly say “sure thing, Joker can be the leader!”). I mean, yeah, he’s a teleporter and all so he can come back easy enough, but even so – Warp is a cool character, and cool characters shouldn’t get sacrificed for a lousy climax to a miniseries most people didn’t even read. Warp’s ow-tray-zhuss French accent should be fiat armor enough to protect him in any crossover. That’s my belief and I’m sticking to it.
And really, that goes for most of the New Brotherhood of Evil – including Monsieur Mallah and the Brain, also both victims of Salvation Run and writers who don’t know awesome villains when they see them. But also Plasmus (a Nazi made entirely of acid goop, which is almost as good as Swarm, the Marvel Universe’s Nazi made out of bees) and Phobia (a fear inducing villainess with awesome costume). Those are awesome characters.
And then there is Houngan, a character who is really kind of dumb, and who escapes criticism mostly because the vast majority of his appearances have been drawn by George Perez. If ninety percent of Carcharo’s appearances were drawn by George Perez, he would be a totally awesome villain, rather than the worst of all the DC shark-themed villains. But Perez aside, sometimes you just have to recognize when a shitty character is shitty, even if they have a pretty nifty costume. (And Houngan’s, while a bit dated at this point and in need of a small bit of revamping, is pretty nifty.)
And Houngan is shitty, because his origin doesn’t exactly work. He’s a computer scientist, right? And he goes back to Haiti and he learns voodoo. Fine and good. Computers and voodoo, mix of science and magic – this could be a pretty good villain concept! And then what does he do?
He makes a voodoo doll, but it’s a computer voodoo doll. That’s it. That is Houngan’s entire fucking shtick.
Voodoo is this massive goddamn religion, right? With tons of nifty occult trappings: slave-zombies, evil spirits, secret societies, ancestral protection… hell, voodoo’s entire thing is that it is the religion that takes whatever it likes from every other religion. It is like open-source religion (which, and I know Houngan was created in the early 80s before open-source was really a thing, but whatever – the next time someone uses Houngan, they should understand how a computer scientist would think about open-source as applied to religion). All of this could be combined to make a pretty damn awesome character. (In fact, it did. And then they decided for some stupid reason he should be Sorcerer Supreme. Sorry, “Houngan Supreme.” Yeah, still bitter about that.)
But all Houngan does is one thing. He does a voodoo doll. Which he says is better because it’s done with computers, but whatever – it works the same as a regular old voodoo doll. All Houngan’s voodoo doll does that other voodoo dolls don’t is spark electricity every so often. Plus, given that Houngan needs a sample of skin or hair or whatever for his supposedly superior voodoo doll, every time he actually wants to use his voodoo doll, it’s the same scenario: the hero is unconscious or tied up or whatever, so he has time to stroll over and get a skin sample and put it in his voodoo doll, and then he uses the voodoo doll to hurt the hero.
So basically Houngan is the supervillain who’s really only threatening once you’ve already lost.