Hugo Strange

Hugo StrangeGotham is about to return to the small screen after the winter hiatus, and after Rise of the Villains we are about to enter the Wrath of the Villains phase of the new season. Many new bad guys are set to appear, and the most frightening so far is surely Hugo Strange, a deranged psychiatrist and scientist who will be portrayed by BD Wong. Strange has been pulling the strings from behind the curtains so far, being the one in charge of the creepy experiments in Indian Hill, a curious lab that hosts the bodies of all the villains deceased thus far, including Fish Mooney and Theo Galavan, and also takes care of the still living ones such as Firefly. It’s more than likely that Strange will be the man behind many supervillains’ origins, thus giving the GCPD quite some trouble…just the same as he did in the comics, being one of the first villains to ever cross Batman‘s path, appearing in his ninth story. Let’s see together who this deranged mastermind is.

Hugo Strange’s early life is pretty much crowded in mystery. He was born in Gotham City, and abandoned when he was still a child. He grew up in an orphanage located in Hell’s Crucible, one of Gotham’s worst neighborhoods (and that says a lot), just near the infamous Crime Alley. The trauma of his difficult childhood and the pain of having being abandoned didn’t make Hugo a frail and shy kid, nor it turned him into an aggressive and violent one: he put all his efforts in obtaining perfection, honing his body and mind to reach peak human condition, so that he would have never depended on anybody but himself. Unfortunately, growing up, Strange remained of short stature, became bold and near-sighted, far from his idea of physical perfection…but his mind was a perfect mechanism, the tool of a genius. Nobody knows how Hugo Strange managed to leave Hell’s Crucible, to attend college and after that to enter medical school, but he did it, and he obtained a degree in hugostrangecomics1Psychiatry. The results in his studies were so remarkable that he soon became Professor of Psychiatry at Gotham State University, outclassing most of his colleagues with his brilliance and his bleeding edge ideas. Apparently, however, his ideas were a little bit too much of a bleeding edge: still aiming to perfection, Strange had extended his field of expertise, studying many sciences, and developing a particular interest in genetic engineering, a science he believed could be merged with psychiatry to bring the latter to perfection. This unorthodox position led his colleagues to oppose him inside the university, until the dean found himself forced to suspend the professor due to his inconvenient positions. Strange found himself without a job…but not without supporters, as his work had become quite famous. An Indian man, Sanjay, had heard of Strange’s theories about genetics, and contacted him asking to help his brother, affected by an incurable genetic disease. Strange accepted, and succeeded where everybody else had failed: this earned him the gratitude of Sanjay, who became his assistant, following him everywhere, ready to help his master.

Encouraged by Sanjay (and by his own, overwhelming ego), Hugo Strange seeked funds to finance his genetic experiments, but the scientific community didn’t take him seriously; there was, however, somebody who did: Sal Maroni, one of Gotham’s crime bosses. Maroni allowed Strange to open his own (clandestine) lab, and to continue his researches; a corrupt guardsman from Arkham Asylum provided the “lab rats”, long-time inmates that nobody would have missed. Strange’s experiments didn’t have the expected results, and most of his patients (the ones who survived) turned into huge humanoid brutes with no mind and cannibalistic tendencies, the “Monster Men“. Unfit to be used in any other way, the Monster Men were employed by Strange as muscles, sent to kill (and eat) criminals and gamblers, whose fortune was later collected by Strange himself to pay his debts with Maroni. While the Mafia started suspecting that the man they were financing was also the same one stealing from them to hugostrangecomics2repay them, Batman had started investigating on the assaults, and had tracked down the Monster Men to Strange’s lab; a fight ensued between the hero and the brutes, and despite the obvious difference in physical strength, Batman managed to defeat the monsters and to make his escape. Hugo Strange believed he had found the genetically perfect man, observing the Dark Knight, and used a drop of his blood to create a new Monster Man, slightly more human than his “brothers”. However, Batman couldn’t be replicated, not this way: deciding to start anew, Hugo Strange burnt his lab, then proceeded to cut his bonds with the Mafia by sending his Monster Men to Carmine Falcone‘s mansion during a reunion of Gotham’s criminality. In the carnage that followed, all the Monster Men and even Sanjay got killed, and no connection between Hugo Strange and his creations remained. Starting from that point, Strange came back to psychiatry and psychology, imposing himself as one of the greatest expert of masked vigilantes, in particular of Batman. Again, his intelligence obtained credit, and he was hired by GCPD as Captain James Gordon‘s anti-vigilante task-force’s professional consultant. Now, Hugo Strange had the chance to examine, study and understand Batman from a very close point of view…

Hugo Strange is, simply put, a genius: honing his mind to absolute perfection, he’s a master of a variety of scientific fields, a proficient psychologist and psychiatrist, a skilled genetic engineer, a Machiavellian criminal mastermind and even an existentialist philosopher. Naturally weak and short, Strange manipulated his own DNA in order to get a better body, seeking also physical perfection: he’s now a superb athlete, who trains regularly to mantain himself to peak human conditions, a proficient gymnast and martial artist. His most dreaful weapon, however, is still his mind: through deduction, logic and profiling only he managed to guess Batman’s true identity in billionaire Bruce Wayne, and has always used this knowledge to psychologically torture the man he considers to be the perfect genetic template, in a desperate effort to prove himself better than he is. Obsessed by Batman and by perfection in general, Hugo Strange is a criminal just as dangerous as the high-caliber masked maniacs haunting Gotham City…only without all their crippling psychoses, mantaining his sharp mind focused and capable of critical judgement: a trait that only makes him more dangerous than ever.



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  3. […] looks like Gotham has found its own Dragon Balls, as Professor Strange has finally discovered a way to bring the dead back to life. In Pinewood we saw that the first […]

  4. […] show: Clayface, portrayed by Brian McManamon. In the show, Basil Karlo will be another one of Hugo Strange‘s gruesome experiments in Indian Hill, and judging from the picture he’ll retain at […]

  5. […] guy I didn’t notice in the previous season’s pre-finale, A Legion of Horribles. When Hugo Strange and Miss Peabody decide they’ve had enough of Edward Nygma, they put him in the same cell […]

  6. […] of, there’s one character that we already met in These Delicate and Dark Obsessions, that Hugo Strange finally names in the finale: the mysterious Temple Shaman portrayed by Raymond J. Barry, the man […]

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