Brilliant, charismatic, utterly devious…  These are the makings of the Magnificent Bastard.  Always ready with a plan, always manipulating, prepared for emergencies and events that might even surprise Batman, they take ridiculous risks and succeed with panache.  Indeed, the best of these characters are actually terrible people (Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious comes to mind), but having the likes of Black Panther or WildCATs’ Tao on your side can help to balance the scales against the evil folks, leading to today’s nigh-omniscient query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) will take Elim Garak every time, until I remember about John Constantine, and then it’s an endless argument in my head (just like they probably wanted), asking: What character is the best, most Machiavellian Magnificent Bastard in all of fiction?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Elan’s father from Order of the Stick.
    Evil from start to finish, Tarqiuin was one step ahead until the very end.

  2. Daniel Langsdale on

    Vril Dox Jr., who machinated the founding of an interstellar “peace”keeping force leveraged Lobo into being a team player.

  3. Well, you can’t bring up Garak and expect me not to vote for him.

    But I’ll give an honorable mention to Marco Inaros from The Expanse. He doesn’t show up until the later books/seasons, but he can commit the most terrible acts and when he tells you about them, he can make it sound like he’s doing the right thing.

  4. Malone_hasco on

    Char Aznable from original Mobile Suit Gundam. He’s amazing in everything he does, dashing, handsome guy and a war hero legend almost overnight. Main protagonist only has a chance because of almost magical Gundam he pilots. On top of that, Char also achieves most his goals, wins the final duel with Amuro, the hero and spares him because of pity and chivalry, takes off and disappears. You don’t see borderline Mary Sue as the main vilain too often.

Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.