When one thinks of missed opportunities, one (namely, me) may think of that one time Halle Berry stopped by Devon-Cave with her supermodel/cheerleader entourage to help them test out their new "neck massagers." I was, fortunately or unfortunately, out adopting babies from Sweden to bring back to America in order to replenish America's underburdened trailer parks.
I won't reflect on the loss of actress/supermodel/cheerleader fun I missed out on. Instead, I choose to be secure in the knowledge that I was doing good works.
Comics' missed opportunities rarely come back.
Halle always does.
At least to me.
Anyway, back to comics... I've been called "ornery." Like Yosemite Sam. It was a compliment.
In 1996, I learned the true meaning of the word. In the pages of Nightwing #1, I was introduced to Dudley Soames and created by Chuck Dixon was the most crooked cop in the whole of Bludhaven. The only thing more depraved than being the most crooked cop in The 'Haven would be The Red Skull's taking on Archie Andrews as a sidekick, naming him "The Li'l Panzer" and dropping him off at Black Adam's front gate.
I'm just sayin'.
Anyways, while serving in the Bludhaven PD, Soames receives the notice of Bludhaven's crime boss, joining his criminal organization while also becoming an informant for Nightwing.
Soames' ambitions ultimately proved too much for Blockbuster and he attempted to have him killed. Soames proved too much to handle even for Blockbuster and in a shocking turn of events took the crime boss' ailing mother hostage. Nightwing attempted a rescue but Blockbuster got there first. Blockbuster, enraged at Soames' hubris, grabbed the crooked cop by the neck and twisted his head around A FULL 180 DEGREES!!!
That wasn't enough to stop Soames. Evil like this doesn't just roll over and die.
Soames miraculously survived having his head turned around backwards and re-trained himself to see "forward" through the use of special glasses and mirrors. Re-naming himself Torque, Soames went about the business of regaining the city he once held in terror.
Now, how dedicated to being an asshole do you have to be to re-learn everything just so you can start more sh*t?
If he wasn't so damned evil, he'd be walking out to standing ovations on Oprah, like every week.
Ratings sagging? Bring back Dudley.
Blind kid learns piano with his feet, have Dudley escort him to the piano bench, watch the ratings double.
Instead, Soames chooses this to be the last thing you see before you die.
Soames went about the business of taking over Bludhaven, striking while Blockbuster lie bed-ridden from the heart transplant from a gorilla donor. Yes. You read that right. He chose to hit his man up while he recovered from a gorilla heart transplant. Nothing says DC Comics like "gorilla heart transplant."
Torque was eventually taken down by Nightwing and sent to jail but again, Soames won't roll over and die. Instead, he marks his time until he can plan his escape by... well, effin' with gen pop just because it brings a smile to his face.
And, what a smile it is.
Soames, ever the manipulator, found a way to break out of prison using the superstrong prison guard formerly known as the Batman villain, Amygdala. From there, things rapidly went downhill for Torque.
He got a new writer.
One so shockingly involved in the story they wanted to tell and seemingly lacking any desire to tie up plotlines they didn't feel like dealing with, simply... killed off... Nightwing's only arch-nemesis of note... and proceeded to take one of comics' more interesting titles down through the use of some of the most awkward storytelling paths ever conceived.
Soames was the perfect counter to Nightwing. Where Nightwing was brilliant and valiant, Soames was brilliantly vile.
Soames, if allowed to live, could have graduated to Batman villain status. On look alone, he had everything you look for in a Batman villain. He was utterly without morals and in the ultimate bit of irony, it lead to his becoming utterly twisted.
It all ended and for no good reason, at all. Damned, damned shame.
Just a total f*cking waste of a great, great character.
He deserved better.
I can't do much about changing the past but if I could ask for anything for Dudley (Torque) Soames, I'd give him exactly what he deserves...
You had me at, "I want this city on its knees to me!", you magnificently ornery bastard.