I like writing angry characters. Something about having a hero unleash their rage makes me put a lot more into a scene. Yeah, I’m probably angry a lot myself, which is why I connect to this emotion more than others. Then again, a lot can happen when somebody loses their temper. They can make a mistake or defeat an obstacle. Anger isn’t always a bad thing as long as you use it correctly. I mean, it isn’t too far off from stubborn defiance and determination.
An angry hero isn’t very unusual because this tends to be the mode that most anti-heroes fall into. Hulk, Punisher, Wolverine, Guy Gardner, Red (above), and so many others take their strength from losing their cool. This makes it difficult for them to work within groups unless they’re the leaders or the dynamic is designed to accommodate them. It really is hard to depend on a hero that might snap and go charging into a fight without thinking. This action tends to force the others into a situation that they might have been trying to avoid. For example, the plan is to sneak into the enemy base and make off with the new doomsday device. Instead, the angry hero overhears two guards making fun of his mother and now you’re battling through an army of goons. Worst part is that the berserker is rarely apologetic about their outbursts.
Most times this type of character is used to create friction among the other heroes. They get along with others to a point, but they maintain a standoffish aura to make sure people know that they’re ticking time bombs. It makes for entertaining tension, but I will admit that it gets old. Most characters can’t maintain the rage-a-holic role for a full adventure and this gets even trickier if you’re doing comics, which is where they tend to be more common. Sure, it’s fun to have them snap at others or create problems because their fists were feeling twitchy. It really helps to bring a blossoming group together and force them to mature. We’ve all had to figure out a way to deal with someone that works off one of the more troublesome emotions. Heck, I’m sure most of us have been that someone at some point in our lives. The thing is that, much like in real life, tension caused by a single person can get old and frustrating after a while.
Well, that’s another purpose for the angry hero. I think being temperamental and overreacting to situations is fairly common. Many people get angry about what is happening in their lives, so a hero that functions off this emotion can draw them into the story. That person is reacting like I want to or have reacted. More importantly, we get to see if they can overcome their rage, which can be self-destructive if allowed to go on for too long. For example, I’ve met people who were always angry, but read a Wolverine comic where he was meditating, so they tried it for themselves. This might be putting a lot on the shoulders of the character, but fictional heroes can be looked up to by the readers. Them developing beyond their anger can give hope to readers that feel like they’re in the same situation. On the other end of the spectrum, you can demonstrate what happens if you stay angry for too long.
In my own stories, the poster girl for anger is Nyx. She began with a really short fuse that made her a danger to others. She would even dive into fights without thinking and get herself injured. Over time, she’s mellowed to a point where she gets angry for good reason and controls it. Honestly, I think Nyx has spent so much time around Timoran that she’s inadvertently learned the barbarian way of using a primal rage as a weapon. Although the truth is that she found a reason to be happy and naturally settled down into a more reasonable hero. An evolution can be subtle like this where even the author wakes up one day to realize their berserker isn’t going wild at the drop of a hat any more. It’s probably better this way, but that’s just me. An intervention or severe beating can get the job done too.
Have you ever written an angry hero? Do you have one that you remember or is a favorite?