Thursday, May 28, 2015

Villain Profile: Mirror Master

Mirrors are rather fascinating, aren’t they? A surface that perfectly captures and reflects back whatever thing is put in front of them. Put an infant or an animal in front of one, and they’ll react as if there is another infant/animal across from them. Now, imagine if there was an actual dimension hidden behind the reflective surface. That’s the thought that crossed the mind of convict Samuel Scudder. Before I get started, I know that technically Mirror Master isn’t really in the same league of villain as say Lex Luthor or Ra’s al Ghul, but I’ve already done Reverse-Flash, Gorilla Grodd, and Captain Cold, so I’m forced to go with some of the B-listers. Let’s get to it.
File:Mirror Master Doom 001.png
A really cool design, not going to lie.
Sam was a convict working at a mirror factory on one of those work release programs. One day, while mixing the chemicals necessary to give modern mirrors their shiny surface, he got a few vials mix up. Despite being told to throw out the bizarre mirror that he’d manufactured by his foreman, Sam smuggled the mirror out of the factory and began to study it. He discovered that this mirror had a number of strange powers, one of which being the ability to create reverse copies of people. Sam threw together a costume and named himself Mirror Master. He used his cloning mirror to make copies of people and having them help him create crimes. His weird robberies finally got the attention of the Scarlet Speedster, the Flash, and was defeated.
Sam continued his research, somehow, in prison and discovered his own extra dimensional space. Apparently by setting several mirrors at the absolute perfect angle he could access this space, which he dubs Mirror World. Why the guards let the “MIRROR MASTER” have lots of reflective surfaces in his cell, I’ll never know. He slid into the alternate realm, but got stuck. He met and was waited upon by a telepathic species called the Orinocas. These little creatures worshipped as an extradimensional deity for his ability to make and manipulate mirrors. Sam grew very bored with his new life of luxury, they gave him everything he wanted, so he decided to escape. He used his Mirror sliding powers to lure the Flash into Mirror World, in the hope that the Flash’s speed could be used to get him out of his new prison. The Flash did get them both out, but Flash slammed Sam back into his old prison again.
Smug looking SOB, isn't he?
When on trial for one of his crime sprees, Sam uses his super mirrors to hypnotize his layer, Paul Barrett. Damn, magic mirrors are so useful. Sam ordered Barrett to don his Mirror Master costume, as well as spare costumes of his teammates on the Rogues, and cause trouble all around Central City. Seeing his supposedly imprisoned enemies around town piqued the Flash’s curiosity, and he traveled to Paul Barrett’s house to get some answers. He was ambushed by the mind controlled lawyer, who then stole his costume and went to “interrogate” Mirror Master in prison. Once inside the prison, Barrett and Sam switched clothes, and Mirror Master walked out in Flash’s costume. Why the guards didn’t question the Flash walking out of prison, I’ll never know. This bit of freedom lasted until Flash got out of Barrett’s bindings, where the Flash promptly re-imprisoned Mirror Master. Mirror Master proved to be one Flash’s most persistent foes. He never quiet really reached the same level of notoriety as Reverse-Flash or Captain Cold, but he did keep trying. He was eventually killed in the Crisis on Infinite Earths story, where his name, costume, and gear were passed on to Scottish mercenary, Evan McCulloch, but I’ll get to that another day.
Mirror Master utilizes several specialized mirrors to produce weird and quasi-magic effects. With his special mirrors he can become invisible, create holograms, alter his appearance, communicate long distance, and travel to the parallel Mirror World. Later versions also incorporated a laser pistol as well. Every villain needs a cool gun of some sort. Like many of the other Rogues, Mirror Master’s biggest weakness is that he’s completely reliant on his tech for his powers. Take away his special mirrors and he’s just a normal dude. Which makes it really, really easy for someone with superspeed to beat up.
I wonder if he can only fire from one
mirror, or from all of them.
Mirror Master has appeared in several different DC series. Again, of the various Flash villains, he’s a B-lister. As such, he is usually more of a background character than say Grodd or Captain Cold.
A version of Mirror Master appeared in Justice League Unlimited. His real name isn’t revealed, but this version seems to be a mix of the two major Mirror Master’s anyway. He doesn’t have a Scottish accent, which is part of McCulloch’s shtick, but he does have some of McCulloch’s more enhanced abilities and the laser pistol. He works with the Rogues and later the Secret Society in several episodes.
In the final season of The Batman, where Batman starts dealing with other heroes and their villains, there is another Mirror Master. This version is an optical physicist that has lost his marbles. He uses his powers to create Hard Light Hologram Clones of the Flash and later Batman and Robin. These duplicates steal components for a specialized portal ray that he uses to trap the citizens of Gotham into any reflective surface. He’s eventually defeated by Batman and the Flash.
The Mirror Master, while not the mastermind behind, is instrumental in attack on the Justice League in Justice League: Doom. Supervillain immortal Vandal Savage hires him to sneak into the Batcave, using the Batmobile’s rearview mirror to do it, and steal information from the Batcomputer. He initially wanted to try and discover Batman’s secret identity, but Savage dismisses that idea as he already knows Bruce Wayne is Batman. Instead, Mirror Master downloads Batman’s emergency contingency plans and escapes. After giving Savage the data, he’s chosen to kill the Flash. Mirror Master robs a train and holds the occupants hostage. The Flash runs in to stop him, destroying several Mirror-Holograms, but his caught off guard by the last one. The real Mirror Master nails a bomb to the Flash’s wrist. The bomb is designed to go off in the Flash remains still for 60 seconds, try to take it off, or if he decelerates once he starts moving. Flash races around the world, pushing his body to the limit until Batman is able to get in contact with him. Flash removes the bomb by phasing through an iceberg. Flash gets payback at the Hall of Doom, knocking Mirror Master out with one punch.
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Huh, Mirror Master and Heat Wave are looking unusually buff.
He appears in a non-speaking role in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox alongside the rest of the Rogues. He and the team attack the Flash Museum to lure the Flash out. They had some sort of plan to beat the Flash, but that is tossed out the window when the Rogue’s client Reverse-Flash arrives. He sticks bombs on each of the Rogues and the Flash. He’s saved by Green Lantern and Batman. GL takes them to the upper atmosphere in a bubble while Batman removes the bomb with a laser cutter.
Mirror Master didn’t appear in the first season of the Flash, but there’s always season 2.
Like so many minor villains, Mirror Master is one of those guys that I really don’t know well enough to say whether or not that I like the character. I can say, that his powers are rather unique. I can safely say that I’ve never seen a villain with this exact gimmick or power set. While he’s been a background character for most of his career, I can see him having a larger role in newer series. Not “major villain of the season” big, but definitely more than a background character or one time baddy. Just have to wait and see I guess. He’s the reflective rogue, the maniacal menacing Mirror Master. Next time, J’onn J’onzz’s evil twin, Ma’alefa’ak.

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