Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Interviewing Injustice: The Questions of Evil Teamwork

Welcome to Funding the Kryptonite, where we will look at the plans of comic book super villains and discuss them from a business perspective.

One of the ongoing motifs of supervillainy is the big team-up of bad guys across multiple rogues’ galleries, usually one or two from each of the main superheroes of the day. Usually less numerous than organizations like The Society, which try to get everyone on-board, an excellent recurring example from DC Comics is the Injustice League. Despite the plethora of big names on board, I’ve always wondered what the in-character rationale for having certain membership rosters is. From a publishing standpoint, these are relatively big names that sell issues. So I’m going to ask what are considered the three “true” job interview questions to see how the recruitment process stacks up for a group like the Injustice League.

Can You Do The Job?

This question is at the core of job interviews/recruitment because it’s simple and direct. Important to note is that it’s not just about the strict technical requirements, since those can be taught, it’s also personal strengths/weaknesses and leadership ability and resilience in the face of failure. Looking at the core members of this iteration of the League (Lex Luthor, Joker, Cheetah, Doctor Light, Fatality, Gorilla Grodd, Killer Frost, Poison Ivy, Parasite, Giganta, and Shadow Thief), they all bring an ability to fight the Justice League to the table coupled with personal leadership experience in dealing with their particular superhero. They’ve certainly been able to bounce back from losses on multiple occasions as well. The only concern here comes from an uncertainty as to what the specific job is, as it’s revealed (and often easily assumed) that whoever is running the Injustice League, or any collection of super villains, has their own agenda outside of what they’re putting forward to the group. In this case, Luthor is claiming to want to lead the Injustice League to overthrow world governments after smashing the Justice League and installing their own puppet governments. In reality, he admits to be running his own game that he doesn’t share with the rest of the group. This might explain some of the recruits, like Cheetah and Parasite, who don’t really tend to world domination.

Will You Love The Job?

Easy question, no? After all, which super villains don’t like beating up the people who continually foil their plans and toss them in jail? The interesting element underlying this question though is that it’s not about figuring out who will work hard for a good reward, it’s about figuring out who wants the job because of the challenges and the environment the job offers. Certainly rewards are a given, but as part of the ongoing process rather than being the goal itself. In that sense, it’s harder to answer because not a lot of time is devoted to that question directly in the issues themselves. Poison Ivy, as an example, is often a strange inclusion in these groups due to her characterization as a pro-environment loner. She sometimes gets spurts of “let’s take over the world and turn it into the forest all over again”, but she doesn’t really want to go toe-to-toe with an entire group of heroes. Lex, on the other hand, loves that sort of environment because he’s already filthy rich and this is more about proving his dominance over others.

Can We Tolerate Working With You?

Straightforward question, can you work with the people already established in the organization and the culture/values of the organization itself? In the case of this iteration of the Injustice League, being a newly formed entity, it’s a strange beast because it’s too new to have its own identity. Instead, it takes its cues from the leader in Lex Luthor (lots of planning/discipline) for its personal identity and the individual members have some serious grudges). This leads to some significant strains in how things play out (Grodd wants to eat Geo-Force against orders, Cheetah trying to kill Doctor Light for being a rapist, the Joker is notorious for not being a team player, etc...). This sort of situation isn’t really conducive to that whole “replace world governments and take over a long-term basis” plan because the organization will fracture over the long term. Maybe they should just stick to “brutally murder people in tight spandex who stop us from being evil”.

Closing comments:
The article I drew this material from can be found in Forbes, and this particular story arc can be found in Justice League of America #13-15 and the Justice League of America Wedding Special, with Dwayne McDuffie as the author. Being on the job search right now, I’ve been looking at a lot of material about interviews/recruiting recently and they all really harp on these points as being crucial. Failure to do so can lead to really bad fits and splintering. It takes a lot more effort to patch things up after the fact than to do it right in the first place and get the right people. It’s probably why these super villain organizations need to soup up their recruitment/interview process.

Final Rating: Bad business!

Thank you for reading and please hit me up with your comments.

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