DC’s Stargirl has featured an eclectic line-up of villains – the Injustice Society of America – to oppose the titular protagonist. Here is Courageous Nerd’s ranking of each member in the group.
From the beginning of DC’s Stargirl, the Injustice Society of America (ISA) have lurked and plotted in the background, waiting to execute their scheme – Project New America. However, these are more complex antagonists than deranged, moustache twirling maniacs – although there is an element of that. They are parents, in some cases pillars of the Blue Valley community. Many of the members also have different occupations, putting the small town completely under the ISA’s thumb.
They are led by businessman Jordan Mahkent, who lives a double life as ice-blasting villain Icicle. Other prominent members featured on the show include Tigress, Sportsmaster, Brainwave, The Fiddler, The Gambler, Solomon Grundy, The Wizard and Dragon King. This is a ranking of all nine characters listed above and does not include either Cindy Burman (Meg DeLacy) or absent/former ISA members.
This list contains spoilers up to episode 12. You have been warned!
9. Anaya Bowin/The Fiddler (Hina Khan)
Anaya Bowin (played by Hina Khan) is the Principal of Blue Valley High School and loving mother to one of its students, tuba enthusiast Isaac Bowin. Secretly, however, Principal Bowin is a member of the Injustice Society of America as The Fiddler, inheriting the mantle from her husband, whose status is unknown.
Unfortunately, Bowin’s low position on this list is simply due to a lack of screen time. Anaya did not appear often and, unfortunately, was overshadowed when the character resurfaced. Obviously, as the second person to be The Fiddler, there’s still backstory to explore in terms of her first joining the ISA. At this point, it seems Bowin got her best scenes – comforting/potentially inspiring her son Isaac (Max Frantz) and confronting teammates Sportsmaster (Neil Hopkins) and Tigress (Joy Osmanski) – in the same episode which she died.
8. Solomon Grundy
As a gigantic, murderous zombie, it’s fair to say that Solomon Grundy stands out in the already-distinctive cast of characters on Stargirl. Grundy was shown in the 2010 flashback that killed most of the original Justice Society. He later sabotaged Stripsey (Luke Wilson) and Starman’s (Joel McHale) escape, causing more damage to the latter who was injured.
Although many of Grundy’s appearances since then have been in a cell, the show has planted seeds that set the character up for the future. In episode 5, “Hourman and Dr. Mid-Nite”, it was revealed that he had murdered Rex and Wendi Tyler (Lou Ferrigno Jr, Kristin Brock) under orders from the ISA. The deceased couple’s son, Rick (Cameron Gellman) is now a member of the new Justice Society as Hourman – meaning an epic confrontation is likely to come down the line.
7. William Zarick/The Wizard (Joe Knezevich)
The Wizard makes a brief first appearance in the pilot episode – returning as Blue Valley councilman William Zarick (Joe Knezevich) later in that first hour. In that initial fight scene, Wizard’s powers are briefly shown when he attempts to use them on Pat/Stripesy, only to be prevented. Compared to his physical features as The Wizard, William Zarick himself is clean shaven.
While Icicle (Neil Jackson) is away from Blue Valley, he selects William to run things on his behalf. This either implies that Jordan had faith in The Wizard or thought he would be easy to control. Nonetheless, a conflict between the two led to William’s chilling exit in episode 3. Much like many of his comrades, William had a son: Joey (Wil Deusner), who he loved dearly. William’s heartbroken first response after his son’s untimely death is what would send him to his own grave. Overall, Wizard/William proved to be a complex character, despite a relatively short stay on the show.
6. Steve Sharpe/The Gambler (Eric Goins)
He’s conniving, ruthless and has “Southern charm”. Steven Sharpe, a.k.a. The Gambler is the Injustice Society’s technical wizard (not to be confused with The Wizard), undertaking a variety of hacks on behalf of the group. In his civilian life, Sharpe is the CFO of The American Dream, Jordan Mahkent’s company in Blue Valley. He is the only ISA member in Season 1 who does not have a child, giving him a different motivation than the others.
Despite being proven as an undeniably bad person, liar and murderer, Sharpe is also somewhat of a comedic character, courtesy of actor Eric Goins’ background in improvisational comedy. To hear Eric Goins discuss The Gambler in more detail, check out the Exclusive Interview that he did with Courageous Nerd.
5. Tigress/Paula Brooks (Joy Osmanski)
In her everyday civilian life, Paula Brooks is a wife, mother and employed at Blue Valley High School, as a gym coach and teacher. In reality, Paula is Tigress, a vicious villainess affiliated with the Injustice Society of America who has a sadistic, murderous reputation. Of the ISA members featured in Season 1, it can be argued that Tigress was the primary female during these first 13 episodes. Paula/Tigress is married to fellow ISA member Sportsmaster, also known as Lawrence ‘Crusher’ Crock.
Of the Injustice Society’s ‘day’ jobs, Paula’s is one of the most interesting. Alongside Anaya Bowin, she is in daily, direct contact with her enemies and initially had no idea about this. When not murdering innocent people as Tigress, Paula channels that competitive energy into her job as a gym coach. Overall, an interesting character that will likely be explored further in Season 2, should she make it there.
4. Dr. Shiro Ito/Dragon King (Nelson Lee)
Unlike many of his fellow parents in the Injustice Society, Dragon King cares very little, if at all, about his daughter Cindy Burman/Shiv. He is also significantly biologically older than his allies, giving Dr. Ito a more refined way of speaking on top of wearing his distinctive hood. Nelson Lee plays the character and he does an excellent job of making Dragon King not seem like a normal person at all, even before he finally removed his hood.
Much like some of the other entries on this list, Dragon King is placed slightly lower than he probably deserves due to having less screen time in earlier episodes. As such, while I enjoy the character, there are others whom I have more of a personal investment in.
3. Larry ‘Crusher’ Crock/Sportsmaster
Just as cruel and competitive as his wife, Crusher Crock has also shown more of his sociopathic side, befriending Pat Dugan and presenting a friendly front while secretly being a murderous lunatic and unknowingly one of his new client’s enemies. The actor, Neil Hopkins, was best known for playing Liam Pace on Lost prior to Stargirl. As a major fan of that show, it’s been refreshing to see Hopkins in an entirely different role.
Furthermore, had Sportsmaster only been fight scenes without personal development as Crusher, he would likely be ranked lower than third. However, his scenes with Pat were genuinely enjoyable to watch if slightly unnerving, considering who he is. To hear Neil Hopkins discuss Sportsmaster in more detail, check out his Exclusive Interview with Courageous Nerd.
2. Dr. Henry King/Brainwave (Christopher J. Baker)
As one of the leading villains of the show, Brainwave is everything that a fan would want him to be – powerful, cruel, driven and yes, very creepy. Due to his fight with Stargirl in the second episode, Dr. King spent most of Season 1 in a coma, which levelled the playing field from the New JSA’s perspective. This is not the first villain that actor Christopher James Baker has played and it shows – he executes the role perfectly. Baker can also be seen on shows such as Ozark, Agents of Shield and Gotham.
Perhaps one of the more interesting aspects of Brainwave is comparing him to Jordan Mahkent. Of course, obvious similarities – both super villains in the ISA, adept at using their powers, influential in civilian Blue Valley life and both have teenage sons. That last part is especially noteworthy. While Jordan was an absentee albeit loving father, Brainwave ultimately murdered his son, Henry King Jr. (Jake Austin Walker).
1. Jordan Mahkent/Icicle (Neil Jackson)
Could anyone else really take the top spot? Ever since Jordan made his debut in episode 3 (we met the disguised Icicle in episode 1), he has made a chilling impression on Blue Valley and the show. Yes… apologies for that awful pun. Anyway, all season long, actor Neil Jackson has bounced between scenes with the ISA, to father-son time with Cameron (Hunter Sansone) to developing a crush on Stargirl’s mother, Barbara Whitmore (Amy Smart).
In recent episodes, the show has added even more layers onto Jordan by showing him to be somewhat conflicted at having Barbara be murdered. Could Stargirl possibly be teasing a Vader-style redemptive moment? Probably not, but that would be cool. Neil Jackson discussed the character and his experiences in the role during his Exclusive Interview with Courageous Nerd.
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