Lazlo Valentin (Professor Pyg)

Professor PygThe trailer for the next episode of GothamThe Balloonman, showed us that another disturbing villain is coming to the show, if Mr. Zsasz wasn’t enough: the next case Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock will face, will revolve around a killer who ties his victims to meteorologic balloons, letting them die either for the altitude or the subsequent fall. The man in question wears a pig mask. During the Selina Kyle episode, a young man named Lazlo appears, a lover of Fish Mooney who gets beaten by Carmine Falcone‘s men to teach the woman a lesson. Put the two things together, and you’ll have one of the most disturbing villains ever in the DC Universe (and that says it all): Professor Pyg, here in his first live action appearance. While it’s still unknown if the young man portrayed by Michelangelo Milano is really Lazlo Valentin or just a namesake, it’s pretty positive that his masked alias will be a pain in the back for our heroic cops. Let’s see together who this deranged maniac is in the comics.

Very little is known about Lazlo Valentin’s past. It’s sure he was a skilled chemist, a brilliant researcher who worked for Spyral, an international spy agency committed in a variety of activities. Valentin’s task was the designing of neo-pharmaceutical products, a task he excelled in. His most succesful creation was a mind-eroding gas that mimiked the effects of the Alzheimer’s disease, and brought whoever was exposed to it to a progressive state of confusion and dementia. The new leader of Spyral, the man known as Doctor Dedalus, was in reality a cruel Nazi scientist named Otto Netz: upon hearing of the success of Valentin’s research, professorpygcomics1Netz decided to use his gas in his personal crusade against Gotham City‘s superhero, Batman. Before battling the Dark Knight, however, Dedalus had to be sure of the effectiveness of Valentin’s gas on humans, and he decided to expose its own creator to it. With a growing dementia and a deep mental confusion, Valentin was forced to run into a neverending labyrinth, and the results were good enough to convince Netz to use the gas against Batman…but not to make him allow the researcher get out of the labyrinth. Growing mad, Valentin found a way to counter the effects of his own creation, and after days spent in the maze, he finally got rid of it through a massive drug abuse, self-surgery…and overall a devastating schizophrenic break. Once again the master of his own mind, or at least of what was left of it, Lazlo Valentin came out of Spyral’s headquarter with a brand new identity: Professor Pyg. He covered his face, never to be showed again, behind a pig mask, and used his own experience to conceive a brand-new vision of the world, according to which everybody was waiting to become “perfect” thanks to his drugs and his surgical interventions. Being a philantropist at heart, Pyg just couldn’t wait to share this new vision of his with others, and started kidnapping people.

Following this delusion of “perfecting” people, Pyg made gruesome interventions on his victims, “recreating” them; he then exposed them to a new drug of his, able to erase any sense of personal identity. He then proceeded to attach masks on their faces, masks that made them look all the same and that automatically and painfully sealed on the heads, modifying the skulls’ professorpygcomics2bone structure. In a few months, Pyg had for himself an army of mindless followers who did everything he said: he called them Dollotrons. Along with his “family”, Pyg founded the Circus of Strange, and moved from city to city to gather new members. During his travels, Professor Pyg met Doctor Hurt, a man who declared to be fascinated by his vision of the world, and that invited him to join him in Gotham City. Pyg, flattered to have found an admirer, followed Hurt to Gotham, and announced the beginning of the Year of the Pig, a time in which everybody would have finally been freed from the burden of their imperfection. Pyg started selling his identity-erasing drug in the city, and reacted to the local vigilantes’ interference by kidnapping Robin. Before he could operate on the Boy Wonder, however, Pyg was interrupted by Batman who, following Pyg’s minion Mr. Toad and investigating on the drug’s trail, had found his hiding. Pyg tried to fight the Dark Knight, but both he and his Dollotrons ended up losing to the hero. Pyg was sent to Blackgate Penitentiary, only to be freed shortly after by Dr. Hurt. Following Hurt’s plan, Pyg abducted Commissioner Gordon and tried to perform his surgery on him as well, but was stopped once again by Batman. Tired of having his art ruined by the Caped Crusader for the second time, Pyg chose to ignore Hurt, and to pursue his own personal, deranged agenda. Now, Gotham city had become his personal hospital, and every citizen was just a patient who didn’t know to be sick. Not yet, at least.

Lazlo Valentin is a genius in his own right, a brilliant scientist with a complete mastership over chemistry and some knowledge of medicine…at least, he was. As Professor Pyg, he’s likely one of the most deranged and demented maniacs ever arrived in Gotham City, quite a record considering the average of criminals there. He’s driven by the self-imposed mission of “perfecting” people, which means turning them into mindless dolls who look all the same with drugs and D.I.Y. surgery. Simply uncapable of a coherent thought, even less of a logical conversation, Pyg lives in a confused world in which he’s the only one understanding the rules of the game…which most of the times consists in maiming and torturing people via weird and unnecessary surgical interventions (such as replacing hands with feet). Unrestricted, completely mad, absolutely dangerous, with an army of mindless zombies at disposal, Professor Pyg is a threat for whoever crosses his path.

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